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Lawrence of Arabia. The name itself conjures far more than the stunning performance by Peter O'Toole in David Lean's 1962 film of the same name. It conjures words like "epic," "groundbreaking," "landmark," and a host of superlatives that point to Lawrence of Arabia as one of a handful of films that vie for the title of greatest ever.

Sony Pictures Entertainment recently finished a 3-year process culminating in a stunning 4K restoration of this masterpiece, completed just in time for the film's 50th anniversary. Guided by Sony Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, the massive restoration 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.

Remarkably enough, Lawrence of Arabia was first restored in 1988, in a process supervised by director Lean and the film's editor, Anne V. Coates. While the process at that time was able to camouflage a number of major problems, the 4K scan in 2009 made apparent how much work was still ahead of them to prepare Lawrence for its 50th anniversary celebration.

Consider this story required reading for anyone interested in cutting edge technology in general, and certainly for anyone looking for deeper insights into one of the true pinnacles of filmmaking.
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There may not be any more controversial topic in cinematography than high frame rates. Dave Stump, ASC, is a co-chair of the SMPTE Working Group on High Frame Rate Cinema, and hopes to help the industry make some sense of it. The upcoming releases of The Hobbit and Avatar 2 have highlighted a number of issues that the entire filmmaking community is going to have deal with, including exhibitors.

Dave wears a number of additional hats at other organizations. He is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Visual Effects Society (VES), the Society of Operating Cameramen (SOC), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). At the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), he co-chairs the subcommittee for Cameras, as well as the subcommittee for Metadata.

In other words, Dave is a man who knows something about standards -- and as he points out, "SMPTE standards and recommended practices don't extend to higher frame rates, so the HFR working group was a necessary step towards that."

A winner of an Academy Award for Technical Achievement as well as a cinematographer, VFX cinematographer, VFX supervisor and much more, Dave speaks from a variety of perspectives as he describes the early days of progress towards standards for High Frame Rate cinema.

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Pioneering HD cinematographer B. Sean Fairburn, SOC is working on ways to make 3D cinematography possible for all kinds of difficult and dangerous activities. Among his film credits so far are Windtalkers, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Expendables and The Mechanic. His TV credits include Super Bowl XXXVIII, Star Trek Enterprise, House MD, American Dreams, and the documentary Inside the Space Station.

As a U.S. Marine, Sean shot the beginning of Operation Iraq Freedom by mounting an HD camera on the back of a Humvee and accompanying U.S. Marines from the breach into Iraq to the streets of Baghdad. Looking for his next challenge after that, Sean turned to 3D cinematography, and has come up with some ways to work that are faster, cheaper, and far more flexible than other approaches to date.

No matter how you feel about stereoscopic 3D, you're going to be exhilarated and inspired by the ongoing innovation of one of the industry's most creative cinematographers.

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You've heard that most people use less than 10% of their brains? It's true for your software too: people can often leave the most powerful features in every release untapped while they focus on features they already know. Adobe expert Richard Harrington takes a look at 10 new features in Adobe's Creative Suite 6 that will unlock the power of new tools that you may not have known even existed. You may already have seen some of them, but Richard will take you deeper as he explores Adobe CS6 Secrets.

View the ten part series at
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Mr./Ms. Editor, meet Mr. Pressure! Multicam guru Mitch Jacobson shows how the technical and creative skills that you've developed in the edit suite translate to live production even better than you think -- if your heart can handle the strain.

Sure, we all feel pressure as editors, but it is nothing like the racing towards a live event! With the live shows, you don't have a second chance. It is live, and you must make every decision in a split second -- and it has to be perfect. You must juggle everything all at once and execute with style, precision, flair and confidence. Mitch has learned the hard way, by live-producing multicamera shoots for clients as diverse as U2, Paul McCartney, the NFL and America's Got Talent, that sometimes the biggest problems can be solved with the smallest tricks.

This is just the first part of Mitch's deep dive into the intricacies of getting live multicam production right, every single time -- part of his quest to rid the world of bad multicam forever.

Read "Live on the Net Without a Net: Cutting Live".
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Broadcast engineer Ryan Salazar has had to stay on top a lot of changes these days. Transitioning the eight audio suites at studioZ from analog to digital sounded daunting, but he tackled it the same way that other broadcast engineers have always tackled problems: with careful planning, one step at a time.

He actually found that it was easier than he thought. He also found that, whether you're working in broadcast or post, the benefits of working digital will become apparent virtually immediately. Here are the steps Ryan took, the results he got, and his advice for getting it done yourself.

Ryan tells Creative COW, "In today's technological world, there is no reason to still be using analog for your audio signal. Analog is ancient. Analog is archaic. Analog is antique. Digital is the way -- all the way. And it's not that difficult of a move, if you do it correctly and systematically. I want to talk a bit about why you should make the move and discuss how it was time-consuming but worth the effort. Not only will you be pleased with the results, you'll have moved into the present and be ready to leap into the future!"

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SIGGRAPH member, Ryan Salazar highlights a number of the key products and services from the largest and most complete display of goodies from the computer graphics and interactive techniques industry - an event which boasted over 160 industry organizations exhibiting in a mind-blowing 44,750 square feet of exhibit space. It's the year's largest and most complete display of products and services for the computer graphics and interactive techniques industry. SIGGRAPH 2012 exceeded the past three years, with even the final SIGGRAPH 2011 exhibit numbers left in the smoke!

For those of you interested in the numbers, SIGGRAPH 2012 is the world's premier conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. In 2012, SIGGRAPH received over 21,200 artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academicians from 83 countries around the world in Los Angeles, with a total of 19 countries represented on the show floor! Over 160 industry organizations exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2012, in a mind-boggling 44,750 sq. ft. of exhibit space -- about 5,000 sq. ft. more from the SIGGRAPH 2011 event! Check out the floorplan:

As we all know, the SIGGRAPH conference is held by the Special IInterest Group on GRAPHics -- including Interactive Techniques -- and is one of the most important research assemblages within the ACM, the premier research society in computer science. Game developers often do pioneering studies while developing games i.e., writing new and unique algorithms that may or may not be used for the game they're creating, and SIGGRAPH is a forum to showcase those efforts.

"The SIGGRAPH exhibit hall has become notorious for delivering the newest leading hardware systems, software tools, and creative services. Not only are we witnessing an influx in exhibitors, but also in first-time exhibitors that bring with them some of the industry's most cutting-edge and advanced technology," said Mike Weil, SIGGRAPH Exhibits Manager.

So what were this year's most exciting and show-stopping entries? Join Ryan Salazar as he takes you inside SIGGRAPH 2012...
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All eyes are on High Frame Rate Cinema, the latest technology shift touted by such heavyweight filmmakers as Peter Jackson and Jim Cameron. But how many frames per second is ideal? How does HFR cinema change the workflow and the bottom line?

Douglas Trumbull is both an expert and a pioneer in high frame-rate cinema, with his development, in the late 1970s, of the 60 fps/70mm Showscan format. Thirty years later, he's as bullish as ever on the aesthetics of HFR cinema. "The higher the frame rate, the more realistic the image, and even more so with 3D," says Trumbull. "My interest is in hyper-cinema. By combining 3D with extremely high frame rate on an extremely large screen at extreme brightness, the result is more like live performance. This offers a new interesting unanticipated opportunity to make movies that are like live events. The viewer is in the movie, on the adventure."

Trumbull isn't the only advocate for HFR cinema. Most notably James Cameron has taken up the cause and plans to produce a high-frame rate sequel to Avatar. Trumbull and videotaped presentation by Cameron were just two of the speakers at a panel on the topic at SIGGRAPH 2012.

The following illustrious group of experts -- moderated by Christie CTO Paul Salvini -- weighed in on why we should be excited by the opportunities of HFR cinema and what we can expect in day-to-day production and post workflows. The panel consisted of:
  • ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren, ASC;
  • Lightstorm Entertainment Producer Jon Landau;
  • Phil Oatley, Head of Technology at Park Road Post Production;
  • Darin Grant, CTO, Digital Domain;
  • Jim Beshears, Head of Post Production and
  • Lincoln Wallen, Head of Animation Technology both at Dreamworks Animation;
  • Luke Moore, Director of Special Projects at Side Effects Software;
  • RealD Chief Scientific Officer Matt Cowan; and
  • John Helliker, director of the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) Centre at Sheridan College in Toronto.

High frame rate (HFR) cinema isn't here yet, but it's one of the most talked-about topics in the media and entertainment space. The recent news that Warner Bros. has curtailed its 48fps release of The Hobbit to a handful of large cities was cause for yet more conversation about the viability of HFR cinema.

Join the discussion online at
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Paul Cameron, ASC, just finished work on the remake of "Total Recall," directed by Len Wiseman and starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel with Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston, and John Cho. Cameron was last featured in Creative COW for his work on "Henry's Crime." His previous credits include director Michael Mann's "Collateral" and Tony Scott's "Man on Fire."

Cameron, who studied at State University of New York's Purchase College Film School and joined NABET (National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians) while he was in college, started his career shooting commercials and music videos. In 2003, he won top cinematography awards at both the Clio Awards and AICP Awards for his photography on the BMW featurette "Beat the Devil" with director Scott. He won another Clio--his third--in 2008 for the VW Golf Night Drive spot with director Noam Murro.

In this new installment of Behind the Lens, Paul takes Creative COW readers inside the making of "Total Recall." You can find it online at:

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Aaron Sims talked to Creative COW about his work on the much-lauded TV series "Falling Skies," as well as summer VFX hits "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." Sims is also working on a feature-length version of his short "Archetype."

Born in Texas, Aaron Sims began work as a concept artist in California in the mid-1980s. His career in the movie industry started when he designed the creature in From Beyond, a 1985 film based on an HP Lovecraft story. Next came Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II. Soon after he started working with Academy Award® winning effects geniuses Rick Baker and Stan Winston.

Aaron Sims talked to Creative COW about his work on the much-lauded TV series Falling Skies, as well as summer VFX hits Amazing Spider-Man and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Sims is also working on a feature-length version of his short Archetype.

Defined with a broad stroke, a "concept artist" helps the filmmaker realize both characters and environments for his movie. A character concept artist - which is what The Aaron Sims Company is known for - designs a character to be unique and iconic for a film property. A concept artist can also work with production designers to create worlds.

Learn more about The Aaron Sims Company and the work they do, by visiting:

Aaron Sims: Concept Artist in the Creative COW Magazine Library
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