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In this article from our November/December 2011 issue of Creative COW Magazine, Stephen Menick shares the trials, tribulations and successes of planning and executing a project involving a DSLR shoot that also included two Panasonic AF100s. It is a project that serves as a reminder to both plan for everything, and be ready for anything.

Stephen Menick reports that, "People ask me to help them tell stories -- theirs and other people's, past and present. As a producer based in DC, I've done short documentaries, magazine segments and promos for PBS, commercials, PSAs, and shows for many other clients over the years. But one of the things I'd never done was produce a music video.

"I always told myself that if I ever did get to do one, I wouldn't show a band lip-syncing in a warehouse with cobwebs, and I wouldn't run out of shots. Too many music videos cycle through their shots in the first 40 seconds, and then it's just a recycle of more of the same. If I ever got my chance, I'd keep it interesting, with a live look and a live sound.

"One day I got tired of waiting and dreaming, and I called some friends.

"The project had labor of love written all over it -- a bunch of professionals coming together just for the creative juice of it all. For me, that meant planning, most of all because I didn't want to waste a second of my colleagues' time. But when you're working with a complete and utter lack of funds, sometimes you've just got to roll with the punches and stay determined.

"The story of how we pulled this thing together is a story of two dances. One, between planning and nowwhat- am-I-gonna do? The other, between keeping my vision in mind -- eyes on the prize -- and trusting my team."

You can read the complete story online at
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Douglas Trumbull is far more than a visual effects artist. Certainly, he played significant roles in three of the most powerful and influential visual effects movies of all time: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Blade Runner (1982), Douglas also received an Academy Award® nomination for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). But he started his career as an illustrator, and his love of art and sci-fi led to a career that includes countless inventions, 22 patents, simulator rides, as well as writing, producing and directing. His visionary developments include Showscan, a filmmaking and exhibition format -- 65mm negative filmed at 60 frames per second, with 70mm prints projected at 60 frames per second -- that presciently predated today's renewed attention to high-frame rates shooting.

In Part 1 of our interview with Douglas in the September/October issue of Creative COW Magazine, he described the development of his 1983 feature film project Brainstorm, which was intended to be for Showscan what Avatar became for 3D, until the project was stymied by studio politics and the death of its leading actress Natalie Wood. This precipitated Trumbull's move from Hollywood to the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the beginning of his career in simulation rides, first with Back to the Future: The Ride for Steven Spielberg. He went on to discuss the lamentable state of motion picture exhibition, and points the way to a future that not only includes higher framerates, but brighter screens.

Here in Part 2 of our interview, we rejoin Douglas in our November/December 2011 issue cover story, as he takes us more deeply into his career, and gives us his vision for the future of filmmaking.

Douglas was just in Hollywood to receive the 2011 SMPTE Presidential Proclamation, which recognizes "individuals of established and outstanding status and reputation in the motion-picture, television, and motion-imaging industries worldwide," for his more than 45 years of pioneering work in visual effects photography and groundbreaking innovation in motion-picture technologies.

He will be back in Hollywood in February to receive the Visual Effects Society's George Melies Award which honors individuals who have "pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by a way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work."

Also, shortly after our November/December issue appeared, we were happy to hear that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences will be giving Douglas Trumbull a special lifetime achievement Technical Oscar® this year.

However, his career is by no means relegated to the past. Douglas most recently served as the Special Photographic Effects Supervisor for Terence Malick's Tree of Life (2011), and has five movies under contract based on new technology he is developing.

Creative COW recently spoke to Douglas Trumbull about his past work, his current work, and the industry's future and you can read the interview here.
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When one of the giants in the world of reality television switched to Final Cut Pro after years of using Avid, it was big news because they have hundreds of edit stations. It was a big red ding in Avid's sales numbers when Apple rode off with the account.

But things always change and sometimes they change back.

In this article, Bunim/Murray lays out the decision-making process that brought them back to Avid, following years of using Final Cut Pro. It was not an easy decision and was not one that the company made in haste.

Mark Raudonis, Senior Vice President of Post Production at Bunim/Murray told us in this exclusive report for Creative COW: "I was invited to Cupertino in February 2011, to see the first incarnation of Final Cut Pro X -- virtually the same presentation that they gave at NAB a few months later. My feeling in February was, 'This is interesting, but obviously it's not ready for primetime. I hope by the time they release it, some of these things will be addressed.

"Over the last 10 months, Apple has addressed some of those issues, and they are working on others, but in my opinion they've diverted from what we, as a company, need.

"We said that 'we're not doing anything until 2012' because a large organization like Bunim/Murray can't just turn on a dime. In fairness to Apple, we also wanted to give them a chance to address all of the criticism that came up. Since then, I've seen enough of their development to know that the direction they're headed in still isn't the right choice for us. As a result, after years of building our editing workflow around Final Cut Pro, we have decided to return to Avid Media Composer and Avid ISIS as the heart of our post process.

"This was not a decision that we took lightly. Change is inevitable. But, different is not necessarily better. Our editorial process requires some specific features that seem to be disappearing from Final Cut."

What are these specific features that Bunim/Murray sees disappearing? You can read it in Mark Raudonis's "Real World Editing: For Avid to FCP...and Back Again."

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The Creative COW StockYard is now in full public beta, so you can now explore the newest service we are adding to Creative COW. In the StockYard you can buy and sell stock video footage, photos, audio files, sound effects, even full music scores, project files (for programs like After Effects and others) and 3D models.

The interface is our first foray into building out what we are calling our "channels" interface. Instead of our old one-size-fits-all "wrapper" in which every area of our site shows in the same wrapper, our new interfaces will feature unique interfaces built for each specific area of Creative COW -- maximizing the features of the area you are in and downplaying areas of our site outside your immediate interest. We are really pleased with the interface for the StockYard and we'd like to hear your thoughts about the interface as this is the kind of stuff that we'll shortly be bringing to other areas of the COW.

So, if you have a moment, please visit the new Creative COW StockYard and help us put this new service under the hammer so that we can fine-tune the performance levels to meet COW standards. There's also a link to the StockYard forum if you would like to talk with us about questions you may have, or to offer suggestions. We always appreciate constructive criticism.

You can find the new Creative COW StockYard at

Please let us know what you think.
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The audio in your productions can make or break your efforts. They say that you can have an average movie with a great soundtrack and suddenly you have a great movie, while even the best of movies with a lousy soundtrack equals a lousy movie.

Major productions have the luxury of dedicated audio production and finishing teams but as budgets tighten in other market segments, many video professionals are starting to sharpen their audio skills. If you are one of the many people working in film and broadcast that has been wanting to increase your skills in audio production, we'd like to point out a series that is so good that we know experienced engineers who admit to having learned new tricks from it.

The series comes to you from Alan Parsons, a man whose credits have included some of the world's top albums over the years: Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon," The Beatles' "Abbey Road," and Al Stewart's "Time Passages," et al. Then came his decade long Platinum-selling career with the Alan Parsons Project, whose "Eye in the Sky" and "Time" are still popular radio staples more than 30 years after their release.

Creative COW's Ronald Lindeboom bought the series when it first appeared a year ago and has been living with it for the last year. What does he think of it? You can check out his report online.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo officially opens tomorrow in the theaters and for those of you preparing to check out the movie, we'd like to introduce you to the behind the scenes work that the Light Iron Digital team in Los Angeles did to bring the exquisitely shot super-high-resolution movie to the screen.

Re-teaming with director David Fincher after their successful collaboration on The Social Network, Michael Cioni and the team at Light Iron built 5K workflows for real-time, full resolution post for Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The running time of the 4K print is 2:38, creating a data size larger than six 2K features combined.

Cioni and Light Iron co-founder Ian Vertovec spoke to Creative COW's Debra Kaufman about how working that way in real-time is even possible, about working with David Fincher, and about what frame sizes larger than 4K mean for all of us.

Check out this great new story at
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Steven Fierberg ASC is well known for the pilot of the new ABC hit series Once Upon a Time, for HBO's Entourage, and the movies Love and Other Drugs and Secretary. But this American Society of Cinematographers cinematographer was also the artist behind the lens on many other titles, including the pilot of How to Make it in America, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and Rage, the groundbreaking Sally Potter-directed cell phone movie.

He won a 2001 A.S.C. award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Mini-Series/Pilot for Cable or Pay TV for the miniseries Attila. Most recently, Fierberg shot two feature films with the RED MX: Oranges and Ten Year.

Look behind Steven Fierberg's lens in this Creative COW interview by Debra Kaufman.
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He first won acclaim with his groundbreaking visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and his own Silent Running, but with the invention of Showscan in the late 1970s, Douglas Trumbull became the godfather of high-frame rate cinema.

Showscan was based on 65mm negative filmed at 60 frames per second, with 70mm prints from those negatives projected at 60 frames per second. Often projected onto screens at over 30 foot lamberts of brightness, the experience was tremendously immersive, for what viewers often described as "a window onto reality."

In 1993, Trumbull, Geoffrey Williamson, Robert Auguste and Edmund DiGiulio were awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Scientific and Engineering for the Showscan camera system.

Trumbull developed the feature film project Brainstorm to launch the ShowScan process but the project was stymied by studio politics and the death of its leading actress, Natalie Wood. This precipitated Trumbull's move from Hollywood to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts and the beginning of his career in simulation rides, starting with "Back to the Future: The Ride," for Steven Spielberg.

At the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition in October, Trumbull spoke about what it will take to make the moviegoing experience the best it can be, starting with higher framerates.

Earlier in the week, he spoke with Creative COW's Debra Kaufman about lessons learned from over 40 years of work with filmmaking and exhibition technology, as well as some hard lessons in the movie business. This is Part 1 of that conversation. Look for much more from Douglas Trumbull in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Creative COW Magazine.

Join Douglas Trumbull in part one of our two part interview with Douglas Trumbull.

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The Sony F3 with the S-LOG option uses its 35mm chip to shoot 4:4:4 RGB with 13.5 stops, for a picture so good it's scary. Here's a report from the very first feature shot with it, as told by Jonny Revolt: "I had just gotten back from SXSW in 2010, where I saw Elektra Luxx, a film by Sebastian Gutierrez. It looked great, and in the Q&A Sebastian discussed shooting the feature with a Canon 5D DSLR for around $12,000. Sign me up for a 5D! I'm ready, let's shoot.

"But after I got my hands on one, my friend Alin did some tests with it, and was not satisfied that this would be the right camera for shooting out particular feature. He did some additional research and came across the Sony PMW-F3, an affordable video camera with a Super 35mm CMOS sensor. At around $24K, the F3 already sounded like a more affordable solution than RED or ARRI Alexa, especially because the price includes PL adaptor, and three Sony PL Primes: 35, 50 and 85 mm, T2.0. (The F3 without a lens lists for $16,800.)

"I've shot a lot of film, both 16mm and 35mm, so when I saw that out of the box the F3 shoots XDCAM at 4:2:0 at around 35mb/s, my first reaction was, 'Really? Like an EX3?' The EX3 is a great camera, but this was frustrating. It was clear that the F3 had much more brain sensor power than it was using, and we wanted to tap into that brain. The potential was clearly there, though, so Alin decided to go for it."

You can read the article online at
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