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This week, we go behind the lens with Director and Cinematographer Tom Burstyn CSC, FRSA, who is a multi-award winning, Emmy-nominated DP with over 30 years experience. He trained at the National Film Board of Canada as a documentary maker, before turning to the feature film industry. Tom is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has dual New Zealand/Canadian citizenship. He directed the the Oscar shortlisted documentary This Way of Life as well as the award-winning One Man, One Cow, One Planet, both of which we covered in Creative COW Magazine.

Thomas Burstyn lensed Season One of SyFy's Defiance, currently airing on SyFy in the US and other international outlets, and is in the midst of shooting Season Two. The show is set in a near-future where a variety of extraterrestial races have found their way to a ravaged earth.

He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Creative COW about his experiences. The Defiance logo touts "New Earth. New Rules". We've discovered by speaking with Tom that he's defining some new shooting rules of his own - and with blessings from SyFy! Find out more in Behind The Lens: Tom Burstyn Shoots Defiance.


Douglas Trumbull continues to pioneer in the worlds of VFX and Cinematography shooting 120 fps at 4K in 3D.

Douglas Trumbull Pushes New Limits With High Frame Rate Cinema

Douglas Trumbull Pushes New Limits With High Frame Rate Cinema

Douglas Trumbull wanted to make UFOTOG, a 10-minute short, to showcase his vision of immersive movie-going: 120 fps at 4K in 3D, on a curved screen. To shoot and present a movie in a never-before-seen format, he turned to JMR Electronics to design and build a server and storage system that could collect, manage, playback and edit the huge amounts of image data generated by 120 fps, 4K and 3D. In this story, we learn how Trumbull created an innovative pipeline and worked with JMR Electronics to come up with a tailored solution to his very demanding production needs.


Wayne Brinton, visual effects supervisor at Modus FX takes readers behind the scenes of the company's VFX magic in creating 227 visual effects shots for Now You See Me.

Now You See Me: Modus FX Helps Create the Magic

Now You See Me: Modus FX Helps Create the Magic

Modus FX created 227 visual effects shots in Now You See Me, a movie starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher about four young magicians who appear to rob banks during their performances, distributing the spoils to their audiences, while the FBI and Interpol pursue them. Launched in 2007 by co-founders Marc Bourbonnais and Yanick Wilisky, Modus FX is located in a 12,000 square foot facility just outside Montreal.

Modus was charged with many of the film's CG-heavy sequences, including the 5Pointz segment, which was almost entirely CG. In this article Modus FX visual effects supervisor Wayne Brinton takes Creative COW readers behind the scenes of the company's VFX magic.
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Shapeshifter in Los Angeles most recently color-corrected and added VFX to ten of the new 15 episodes of the cult TV show Arrested Development. The job came to the full-service post facility almost accidentally, when colorist Randy Coonfield advised the production on how to best round-trip between the company's Avids and its DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Design. Since all 15 episodes were released at once, Randy had his hands full, often color-correcting two episodes at a time to make the final push, turning out an entire season in a matter of days.

Here, Randy Coonfield talks to Creative COW about what it took to get this new on-demand season out and streaming.


The Great Gatsby VFX: Animal Logic Sets the Scene in 3D

The Great Gatsby VFX: Animal Logic Sets the Scene in 3D

Award-winning, Sydney-based VFX and animation company, Animal Logic delivered 590 shots for the gilt, luxurious and captivating film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. 175 people worked on Gatsby over the course of a year and a half. VFX Producer Ingrid Johnston and VFX Supervisor Andy Brown talk to Creative COW about their work on The Great Gatsby.


The Great Gatsby VFX: Iloura's Valley of the Ashes

The Great Gatsby VFX: Iloura's Valley of the Ashes

In director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, one of the more dramatic locations is the Valley of Ashes, a bleak, depressing rubbish dump that the characters pass through on their way between Manhattan and Long Island. Nearly everything there was created by Iloura, an Australian VFX company. Iloura Visual Effects Supervisor Julian Dimsey and Compositor Matt Ond speak with Creative COW about the work they did to create the Valley of Ashes.


Behind the Lens: The Kings of Summer with Ross Riege

Behind the Lens: The Kings of Summer with Ross Riege

Ross Riege just finished shooting his first feature film, The Kings of Summer. Currently working on a feature-length documentary with director Greg Kohs, Ross took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Creative COW about his career path as a young cinematographer and his experiences shooting The Kings of Summer.


CatDV Connects with Avid

CatDV Connects with Avid

Square Box Systems' has just unveiled a CatDV asset management system for integration with Avid nonlinear editors. Pegasus is a premium CatDV client that is based on the CatDV Enterprise product and, in addition to integration with Avid Media Composer, also offers metadata support for RED Epic. With this addition, CatDV now offers support for Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere and Apple Final Cut Pro.
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VFX Titans Remember Ray Harryhausen

"When we grieve Ray Harryhausen's passing, we are at least in part grieving perhaps the last living link to the earliest days of movie visual effects," says Creative COW's Debra Kaufman. She spoke to many of today's VFX giants who were inspired by Ray, including Phil Tippett, Richard Edlund, Jeffrey A. Okun and ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel, who says, "Ray Harryhausen's impact on an entire generation (several actually) of filmmakers cannot be overstated, each of them trying again and again to reproduce the wonder they first felt as a child watching Jason fight those skeletons."


Bob Zelin Looks at the Blackmagic Design SmartScope Duo

Bob Zelin Looks at the Blackmagic Design SmartScope Duo

Stop using the high price of HD waveform/vectorscopes as an excuse for not checking your video. Join Bob Zelin for a closer look at a real-world installation of Blackmagic's new SmartScope Duo, a practical, flexible, and yes, affordable approach to broadcast-quality monitoring.


And don't miss the story on a great mentoring program with Biscardi Creative Media and CDAT teacher Mike Reilly.

Creating Animation for PBS - in High School

Creating Animation for PBS - in High School

Lanier High School students work with 3D Studio Max creating a real world project thanks to a collaboration between Biscardi Creative Media Principal Walter Biscardi, Jr. and CDAT teacher Mike Reilly. Instead of just working on a class assignment, these students are creating something that will be part of a PBS documentary due to air in Fall 2013.
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A jam-packed newsletter this week, so let's dive in!

Iron Man 3, Marvel & The Future of the Superhero

Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Visual Effects and Post Production, began her career in the early days of the digital visual effects industry. Creative COW's Debra Kaufman had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Victoria about the Iron Man movies, post production's evolution, remote dailies and coloring on set, 4K & HFR, and keeping the modern superhero movie fresh.


FCPX For Broadcast News

Michael Garber has spent hundreds of hours learning the ins and outs of editing broadcast news features with Final Cut Pro X. He describes a workflow that takes advantage of the best that FCPX's new approaches have to offer, while being honest about its limitations. Every editor already working with FCPX, or still just considering it, will benefit from Michael's experience.


Review: GenArts Releases Sapphire 7

Frequent COW Contributing Editor Kevin P. McAuliffe reviews the latest version of GenArts Sapphire plug-in effects filters for both Adobe After Effects and Avid AVX versions, with ratings for current and new Sapphire users. Kevin also observes Sapphire's ability to plug into other NLEs and finishing systems, and takes a closer look at its licensing options, including purchasing, monthly rental and site licenses. You'll definitely want to see the latest and greatest of what this must-have software package has to offer.

And if you're looking to raise your game with Avid Media Composer and Avid Symphony, Kevin McAuliffe is your man, with more Avid tutorials than you'll find anywhere else on the web. Here's the index page to get started.

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With the second biggest opening weekend in US history, and $300 million worldwide box office in its first eight days, it's clear that Iron Man 3 is off to a roaring start with audience. Readers of Creative COW know that some of the best stories actually come from the artists behind the scenes. Offered here are tales and insights from Alessandro Cioffi, VFX Supervisor for Trixter. Seventy artists from Trixter worked an entire year to create a formidable 208 VFX shots for Marvel's Iron Man 3. Each new episode in the Iron Man saga details a slick new technology created by the ingenious Tony Stark, and the new installment does not disappoint! Combining the hard surface geometry of the Iron Man suit auto-assembly with the flexibility of the human body was one of the challenges that Trixter brought from previs to believable screen reality.

Trixter's very first task was to create Iron Man 3's opening sequence. Trixter VFX Supervisor Alessandro Cioffi adds the punchline: "This very sequence was selected by Marvel to be shown at Comic-Con, and we had eight weeks to do it. In addition to the short turn-around, another problem was that all we had in our hands was the main suit design -- that was it. At the start, we didn't even have a model for the suit. Oh, and principal photography hadn't started yet either." In the end, they had 30 shots to turn around in this narrow window.

Trixter worked on two key sequences in particular. One of them is among Iron Man's most distinctive ingredients: Tony Stark's Iron Man suit's assembly. This third movie in the series made things considerably more difficult because, unlike previously, actor Robert Downey, Jr. was in motion the entire time. "We had to perfectly match-move his body to make it look real," says Alessandro. "We shot passes in the studio to see what happens if someone is moving that frantically. A human body is very flexible, whereas the suit is rigid, a hard surface geometry. We had to think how to combine these two things." Alessandro refers to the second major sequence that Trixter worked on as "The Glove and Boot Fight," but we'll let him fill you in on the details on this, and the rest of Trixter's work on Iron Man 3.




We'll also draw your attention to Creative COW Contributing Editor and industry leader Walter Biscardi's first look at Adobe Premiere Pro NEXT Top Ten!
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As we enter the last round of our coverage of NAB Show 2013, you'll want to begin by checking out Debra Kaufman's coverage of the key companies exhibiting at this year's show.

We're also pleased to bring you the final wrap-up from Mr. NAB, Creative COW's own Ryan Salazar. He was everywhere at the show, with tweets, blogs, and regular broadcasts carried on NAB Show Live! Rather than his typical coverage as a freelance journalist, we asked Ryan to give us his impressions as a working media professional, about some of the products and technologies that he was evaluating for his "day" job. He's the Director of Engineering & Post Production Technology at studioZ Productions in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where his staff of 37 audio, video and new media pros bangs out more than 1,800 television and 800 radio spots monthly.

Don't miss the latest installment of storyboard artist Gare Cline's look at previsualization, What Is Previs?

For the past decade, cinematographer/director Bill Megalos has concentrated on social documentaries, focusing on poverty reduction and the developing world. He filmed in 50 countries so far, and we are pleased to bring you his article series, Cinematographer's Journey: Rightfooted - Travels to Ethiopia. Working with first-time documentary feature director Nick Spark, Bill followed Jessica Cox, a 29-year old woman without arms who is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is licensed to fly planes solo (among her many accomplishments). Bill and Nick's story to tell Jessica's story is absolute must-reading for every fan of filmmaking.
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Calling Bob Zelin one of the industry's most respected voices of engineering and systems experience is an understatement. (We might also have to add "most feared.") For over 20 years, he has been at the leading edge of building next-generation post houses and broadcast facilities using the latest, greatest, and most affordable new technology. He's also been around long enough to have seen through an awful lot of hype, so when Bob drops the "R" word, it's because he really believes it's revolutionary himself. His coverage of the 2013 NAB Show is once again don't-miss reading.

You also need to check out Debra Kaufman's detailed conversations with nearly two dozen companies on their product offerings and their perspectives on where this business is going. Featured companies in this installment include Panasonic, AJA, Anton Bauer, ARRI, Autodesk, Blackmagic Design, Canon and more. You can find the whole series here.
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What's that you say? A quiet NAB? Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't wall to wall news. Reports are still being gathered, but for now, here is but the first round of reports from the biggest news week in the world of product announcements for media professionals.

Debra Kaufman will be anchoring our vendor-by-vendor coverage from the industry's heavy hitters and up-and-comers. In the meantime, here's her overview of the show as a whole.

You may also have heard that Adobe Anywhere was one of the show's biggest stories...and it was. Debra spoke to Adobe Director of Video Product Management Bill Roberts, a conversation you won't want to miss.

Wally Cam. The name alone conjures wonder and delight, but you have no idea. Here is Walter Biscardi's informal, enlightening and delightful video coverage of the show, including interviews with Blackmagic founder and CEO Grant Petty, Adobe's Kevin Monahan, Autodesk's Marc-Andre Ferguson, Small Tree's Steve Modica, and a visit to the best donuts in town. Wally Cam. Walter also offers a terrific show wrap-up here.

Ryan Salazar and Dennis Kutchera provided coverage and insight into the worlds of Broadcast (Ryan) and Post Production (Dennis), Ralph Hajik offered ongoing commentary in Creative COW's NAB Show forum, and Kylee Wall added her insights into the strange, strange world that is NAB, both as an attendee and working a booth.

There's lots more to come, including the epic reporting of Bob Zelin, Debra's overviews of 4K and Software as a Service, and dozens of interviews with industry leaders.

Hey, and when you need a break from the show news, don't forget to check out this behind-the-scenes look at Jurassic Park 3D: A New Dimension For A Modern Classic.
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