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Attending Video Production conferences and educational seminars can add to your pool of creative resources, but you're missing out if you don't take the opportunity to meet people and make connections. Editor and Social Media Maven at Biscardi Creative Media, Kylee Wall shares her Top Ten List of Networking Tips for Video Production Conferences.


Adobe Ups Creative Cloud and Adobe Anywhere

Adobe Ups Creative Cloud and Adobe Anywhere

Adobe Ups Creative Cloud and Adobe Anywhere


Adobe has updated its Creative Cloud with 150 new features, including numerous video tools for Premiere Pro, After Effects, SpeedGrade and other components. In addition, the company has also planned significant updates to Adobe Anywhere Video, the "modern collaborative workflow platform" that allows Adobe pro-video solutions benefit from centralized media and assets across standard networks.


Sony Media Cloud Services Debuts New & Enhanced Services

Sony Media Cloud Services Debuts New & Enhanced Services

Sony Media Cloud Services Debuts New & Enhanced Services

Sony Media Cloud Services just debuted three new production applications (RoughCut, AudioReview and VideoReview) as well as integration of Sony's wireless camera adapter. The cloud service has already been in heavy use at Sony Pictures, and is newly adapated by broadcasters and other media and entertainment organizations.


HP's New Z: ZBook Mobile Workstation

HP's New Z: ZBook Mobile Workstation

HP's New Z: ZBook Mobile Workstation

HP is targeting disgruntled Apple Mac Book Pro users with a line-up of three ZBook Mobile Workstations, including the ZBook 14, which the company terms "the first workstation Ultrabook." Also new are enhanced Z Workstations featuring the latest in Intel architecture, the Ivy Bridge Xeon processor and Thunderbolt technology for high-speed data transfer, and two new Z Displays. These machines are far from mere attempts to "catch up," though. Instead, they offer features and power not seen elsewhere, and are turning heads of even hardcore Mac users.

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In normal times, the late night show Conan is a barrel of laughs. With the episode "OCCUPY Conan", Conan O'Brien let the inmates -- uh, the fans -- take over the asylum with a raft of fan-produced parodies of an original show, strung together to form an entire episode. The result, which aired on January 13, 2013, is now up for an Emmy for Outstanding Multicam Editing for a Comedy Series.

Concept producer Doug Karo had the idea to do a segment-by-segment parody of the show, inspired by the phenomenon of fan-created Star Wars videos found on the Internet, that range from talking heads to nerds re-enacting fight scenes. "It doesn't look anything like the movie," says lead editor Dan Dome. "You've got everything from nerdy kids in their living room re-enacting fight scenes to two guys talking on a couch to Claymation. Doug's idea was to take that model and apply it to Conan, building a show from Conan episodes and using 'best-of-fan parody clips' to make an original fan-sourced show." Don't miss this look at the outcome.



Storyboarding FX's The Bridge

Storyboarding FX's The Bridge

Storyboarding FX's The Bridge

Storyboarding is an essential part of the previzualization process, but rarely examined as a production skill unto itself. As Rudi Liden of Famous Frames has said about his work as a storyboarder, the foundations of his success range "from understanding how a camera works to what different lenses do -- and the ability to draw just about anything, especially depending on what type of storyboard you're doing. A good storyboard artist also has to have a certain amount of understanding about acting and know how to convey an idea quickly." The stakes were particularly high for the new FX Network series, The Bridge, where careful storyboarding helped ensure the safety of the cast and crew in a dangerous environment. Read more...



Women In Post Join Forces

Women In Post Join Forces

Women In Post Join Forces

"Women in Post is a new HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance) committee formed by and for a decidedly minority group in the world of film/TV high technology. After three meetings -- two of them successful round table discussions, featuring accomplished women in the industry -- the group is expanding its plans to offer networking, mentoring and camaraderie and more." So reads the introduction to Debra Kaufman's coverage of a single industry event -- but it has already sparked considerable discussion about the present state and future possibilities for women in the film and television production industry. Join the discussion!

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"We talk about great movie title sequences in movies all the time, but prior to a thread in Creative COW's TV & Movie Appreciation Forum, I'd never seen much conversation about great TV opening sequences," says Creative COW's Tim Wilson. "It can be hard to separate 'opening sequences' from theme songs, and certainly a lot of openers are visually irrelevant - they're just there for the theme songs. There might as well be a black screen.

"That's obviously not always the case. There are of course a TON of great TV openings whose visuals are every bit as memorable as their songs. Two particular nights in the history of television struck me at the time as having five absolutely perfect openers in a row, at the top of five outstanding shows. I'm going to save the other for a future article, but this time, I'm going to look at Friday night on ABC, 1971-72. Five great shows, five fantastic opening sequences, and, as a bonus, five incredibly memorable theme songs.

"It happens that none of these shows debuted in the 1971-72 season. This is just when they landed in one place, driving each show to the peak ratings of its run. Indeed, the night worked so well that the network kept the same line-up for one more year. By the end of 72-73 though, half of these were gone. Two more seasons, they'd all be gone. Nope, 71-72 is the season that the shows of ABC's Friday night first came together in a truly magical way: The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, The Odd Couple, and Love, American Style."

It's a personal, typically off-kilter look that we think will bring back memories for our older readers, and perhaps point our younger ones in the direction of some new ones. Take a look!
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Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, three African-American teenage brothers formed a band in their spare bedroom and played proto-punk music. In this era of Motown and disco, record companies found Death's music -- and band name -- too intimidating, and the group disbanded.

Released by Drafthouse Films, A Band Called Death chronicles the journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a 1974 demo tape stored in an attic found an audience several generations younger.

Here we share the lengths that directors Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino went to for their indie documentary, with everything from funding, to editing multiple codecs, to a traumatic interview with Jello Biafra, and yes, a remarkable group of musicians whose story has been long overdue for telling.
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Neill Blomkamp was hailed as a visionary for his direction and co-writing of District 9, and the three years since then have had audiences eagerly awaiting Neill's next picture. Elysium has likewise been hailed as a striking exploration of contemporary political and social issues in a science fiction context. In our interview with him, he's quick to point out that he doesn't believe his movies will change anything, but that they arose organically out of his own experiences.

"Organic" is in fact one of the key words to describe Neill's approach to filmmaking: a writer-director who moved up from the world of visual FX, taking special care to understand and engage himself in every discipline's contribution to a movie's organic whole. Read the article here.



For a look at how the effects were handled, read Elysium: Insights From The VFX Supervisors

Elysium: Insights From The VFX Supervisors

Elysium: Insights From The VFX Supervisors

Vancouver-based VFX facility Image Engine was the VFX unit for Elysium as well as the lead VFX vendor. Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Chapman and overall Production Visual Effects Producer Shawn Walsh talk about how their company handled the visual effects works from pre-production through to completion.


And here is a special look at Creating the Details of Elysium's Luxury World, including a plate and final delivered only to Creative COW:

Creating the Details of Elysium's Luxury World

Creating the Details of Elysium's Luxury World

VFX facility Whiskytree accomplished approximately 80 shots in Elysium, all of them focusing on the creation of the mansions, municipal buildings, flora and fauna of the wealthy enclave on Taurus. Lead VFX house Image Engine and Whiskytree created an unusually close collaboration to get the job done.
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After attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts on the way to his MFA in Film Production in 2006, Stephan Fleet has done "countless amounts" of TV visual effects as a VFX supervisor and artist. Among his TV VFX work at Encore are series Magic City, Beauty and the Beast, Vegas, The River, and Castle. Now Encore VFX's Executive Creative Director, Fleet oversees work on the CBS/DreamWorks production of the Stephen King series Under the Dome.

The challenge, says Stephan, is to understand the language spoken by each department. "I think one overlooked aspect of the VFX supervisor is that we need to function as a 'digital language translator.' The director and cinematographer and producers in Wilmington are thinking about the work in one way, with a specific set of terms and the VFX team in Hollywood is approaching the same shots from a very different perspective." Along the way, he also has to balance creative and technical considerations into a unified vision.

Encore VFX is now handling 30 TV shows at the same time, giving Stephan a front row seat for the merging of production and post. Don't miss this unique peek into a side of TV you only thought you understood.
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Panavision's John Galt is one of the industry's straightest talkers. That hasn't always sat well with those who disagree with him, but even they will acknowledge that he's also undeniably a technical visionary and a great storyteller -- all among the reasons why this 2009 interview remains one of the most popular we've ever published.

As Panavision's Senior Vice President of Advanced Digital Imaging, John led the team that created the Genesis camera, and was responsible for the F900 "Star Wars" camera that started the digital cinematography revolution. In this wide-ranging, no-holds barred conversation, John cuts through what he calls the "intentional obfuscation" of "marketing pixels," and explores the range of high resolution and high frame rate options that was just coming into view at the time of the original interview.

These topics were among the very hottest then, and even hotter today as many of John's predictions are coming to pass.


And don't miss our look at The Future of Cinematography: Part TWO - Insights From the Rental Houses

The Future of Cinematography: Insights From the Rental Houses

The Future of Cinematography

The first challenge that rental houses have had to adapt to is the constant evolution of acquisition formats, from film to tape and now, to data. As the use of film has dramatically declined, so the makes, models and formats of digital video cameras have proliferated.

Each rental house has had to decide whether or not to hold onto its film cameras and services. And each has had to decide what video cameras to purchase and support, from the earliest days of HDTV until today's evolution to 4K. As the number of formats and, now, codecs, changes rapidly, rental houses have to be cautious about amortizing technology that may be obsolete before it's paid for. In Part 2, we look at the ways that rental houses have adapted to thrive in a new digital age.


And discover a great way to use DaVinci Resolve and Avid in Covert Affairs and Suits with Online Editor Scott Freeman

Covert Affairs and Suits with Online Editor Scott Freeman

Covert Affairs and Suits with Online Editor Scott Freeman

Scott Freeman figured out how to use Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve in an innovative way to dramatically speed up media matching in the online editing process for USA Network's dramas, "Suits" and "Covert Affairs." He describes how he round-trips between the Avid Symphony and the DaVinci Resolve and why he wants every other online editor to learn his trick.
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Camera rental houses have a unique perspective on the film and television industry, because they've seen it all. As far back as the 1920s, they were supplying gear to productions, and watched the industry move from studios, to independent productions and owner operators who may own cameras, but not all lenses, lights or cranes. They've also watched technology move through film to video, and into files.

Along they way, they've had to make careful decisions about which gear is going to stick around long enough to pay for itself. And because those decisions make the difference between life and death for their businesses, rental houses have had to keep close watch on the entire breadth of the industry, with an eye to its future.

Creative COW's Debra Kaufman offers the most comprehensive look yet into the world of cinematography gear rental, and the insights these business operators offer for what's happening in the industry today, and where it might go from here.

The State of Cinematography: Part ONE - Insights From the Rental Houses

The State of Cinematography: Insights From the Rental Houses

The State of Cinematography

Today, the trends that rental houses experience -- from technology to business practices -- are a lens for understanding what's going on in the bigger ecosystem of the film/TV industry. In Part 1, we look at the challenges facing rental houses in today's production environment.


The Future of Cinematography: Part TWO - Insights From the Rental Houses

The Future of Cinematography: Insights From the Rental Houses

The Future of Cinematography

The first challenge that rental houses have had to adapt to is the constant evolution of acquisition formats, from film to tape and now, to data. As the use of film has dramatically declined, so the makes, models and formats of digital video cameras have proliferated.

Each rental house has had to decide whether or not to hold onto its film cameras and services. And each has had to decide what video cameras to purchase and support, from the earliest days of HDTV until today's evolution to 4K. As the number of formats and, now, codecs, changes rapidly, rental houses have to be cautious about amortizing technology that may be obsolete before it's paid for. In Part 2, we look at the ways that rental houses have adapted to thrive in a new digital age.


And don't miss our look at Warner Bros. Pictures Pacific Rim and the animation created by Industrial Light + Magic

Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light + Magic

Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light + Magic

When director Guillermo Del Toro conceived the battle between the Kaiju monsters and human-controlled Jaeger robots, he knew the best possible VFX facility to bring this vision to reality would be Industrial Light + Magic, the company that pioneered CG creature-creation. In an unusually close collaboration between director and VFX facility, Pacific Rim gets up-close-and-personal with organic and metallic creatures that are both believable and thrilling.


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"I'm the online editor for Suits since the pilot and Covert since Season 2," says Scott Freeman. "What makes it a fascinating position is that it's 100 percent file-based, which provided me with a fun dilemma to solve. I first heard about Blackmagic Design through their 10-bit codec, which offered uncompressed SD at a smaller file size and became a huge fan. I'm also a die-hard Avid fan. I love Avid and its metadata has always been a great treat for me.

"When Blackmagic Design released Resolve, I realized how I could use it to solve my dilemma. Some people might think it's strange for an online editor to use Resolve, but it does much more than color correction so I decided to use it to pull my shots. I had been looking for this solution for a long time. What took me five days now takes me 11 minutes. I dove into using Resolve v.7 in March 2011 on Suits and Covert Affairs and haven't looked back."

Take a look at how Scott Freeman rountrips between Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve and Avid.


Take a look Behind the Lens of The Lone Ranger with Bojan Bazelli

Behind the Lens: The Lone Ranger's Bojan Bazelli

Behind the Lens: The Lone Ranger's Bojan Bazelli

Bojan Bazelli, ASC, working with Director Gore Verbinski, designed and executed a unique look for The Lone Ranger. With a nod to the much-filmed Western genre, they made a uniquely contemporary film with a much more desaturated color palette and a grittier look to the classic locations.


And for a deeper look into the workflow for The Lone Ranger, read A Contemporary Style for a Classic Genre

Behind the Lens: The Lone Ranger's Bojan Bazelli

The Lone Ranger: A Contemporary Style for a Classic Genre

When cinematographer Bojan Bazelli, ASC decided to shoot The Lone Ranger with 35mm film, he also realized that some of the scenes might best be served with a digital camera. Choosing the ARRI Alexa Studio for the film's anamorphic look and Codex recorders, Bazelli was able to create a filmic look in digital that seamlessly integrated with the 35mm footage.
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World War Z depicts a world overrun by ravenous, fast-moving zombies. Shooting this cataclysmic environment was no walk in the park; the production went to numerous challenging locations including Malta (in the middle of a sweltering summer), the West coast of England and Ireland where all the ocean sequences were filmed, an abandoned water treatment facility on the East coast of England, a city building in Glasgow, Scotland that doubled for Philadelphia City Hall, and Budapest.

When World War Z producers knew they would be taking the production to a variety of tough locations, Unit Production Manager Colin Wilson knew who to call for help with video assist, camera and VFX support: Video Hawks Founder/President Tom Loewy, Principal Dan Moore and Technoprops Founder/President Glenn Derry. The trio had worked together on a variety of tough assignments, including making virtual cinematography a reality for director James Cameron during the shooting of Avatar.

Read about how the team created an advanced system for everything from video assist to capturing lens metadata, able to stand up to eight weeks of 14 hour days, in remote locations and extreme conditions around the world in World War Z: Advanced Location Production for the Zombie Apocalypse.


Also, read about using Blackmagic Design's Teranex 2D for Documentary Upconversion

Using a Little Blackmagic to Revisit a Documentary

Using a Little Blackmagic to Revisit a Documentary

Pixie Dust flows from Blackmagic Design's Teranex 2D Processor to integrate and upconvert newly discovered vintage SD footage, photographic stills and new interviews into a re-edited and remastered 2001 documentary memorializing the 1963 NCAA "Game of Change" between Mississippi State University and Loyola. Over 60% of the new DVD/Blu-ray includes new footage or pictures, and the challenge was to make the old SD footage look as good as possible in an HD project.
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