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Tuskegee Airmen 75th Anniversary: A Documentary Revisited

When Denton Adkinson and Bryan Williams told us the story of their documentary, In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen, back in 2011, we were amazed. It was one of the most popular stories we published that year, not just because of the inspiring subject matter, but for the remarkable way it came together as a project, and in post. In the years since then, the film has taken on a life of its own, including national DVD distribution, becoming part of high school curricula, NFL celebrations, museum presentations, and more.

Now in 2016, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, their film will be presented as a live event on over 200 screens across the US. To get there, though, Denton and Bryan had to update their SD original for the big screen, add a surround mix, and prep it for digital distribution. This is a story of faith, fortitude, upres, ProRes, and the power of positive phone calls that you won't want to miss.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! The live presentation of In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen to celebrate their 75th anniversary, is TUESDAY, MARCH 29! Playing on over 200 screens in 175 cities across the nation, it's quite likely that one of them is near you! For more details on the showing, visit http://www.fathomevents.com/event/in-their-own-words-the-tuskegee-airmen




Drone Rules Suck....and Why You Want Them

Rules! Why do we need so many rules for drones? Pilot, skydiver, and drone operator Douglas Spotted Eagle agrees, "Some of the UAV/drone rules and laws are not only unreasonable but downright ineffective," but when you look more closely from a pilot's eye view, they start to make much more sense. Starting with this principle: common sense isn't all that common!





FCPX: Trailer Editing Workflow with Charlie Austin * Apple FCPX Techniques * Charlie Austin

FCPX: Trailer Editing Workflow with Charlie Austin

Creative COW stalwart, FCPX whiz, and longtime trailer editing expert Charlie Austin recently joined the folks at FCPWORKS and their FCP EXCHANGE workshop series for a deep dive into managing this particularly intensive form of editing with the newest Apple editing offering. Charlie comes at it with both a wit and precision that you won't want to miss.

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FCPX: Trailer Editing Workflow with Charlie Austin

Creative COW stalwart, FCPX whiz, and longtime trailer editing expert Charlie Austin recently joined the folks at FCPWORKS and their FCP EXCHANGE workshop series for a deep dive into managing this particularly intensive form of editing with the newest Apple editing offering. Charlie comes at it with both a wit and precision that you won't want to miss. See more....





CoSA VFX makes Gotham City its Star: Behind the scenes of Fox's Batman Origin tale "Gotham"

We've seen many renditions of Batman in film and TV, but none like FOX television series Gotham. Here we follow a young Bruce Wayne immediately following the murder of his parents, but long before he chooses to embrace his fateful role as hero and protector. Compared to the intense action of the big-screen Batman flicks, Gotham is much more grounded, focused on crafting a believable world rooted in emotional drama. And that's where CoSA VFX has taken charge: although eye-popping visual effects are needed at times, the studio's core task has been creating a truly convincing vision of Gotham City. Read on to see how they've done it.





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Renaissance Masters Go 3D With Nuke


VFX legend Steve Wright helped Italy's Sky 3D tackle an epic project, as Italian all-3D television station set out to present the city of Florence and the masterpieces of Renaissance art housed in the Uffizi Gallery in a spectacular stereoscopic 3D movie shown in 60 countries around the world. While the majority of the film was shot stereoscopically, Steve's challenge was to use Nuke to present some of the world's most precious artworks fully dimensionalized. Here's how he pulled it off.




Joe Passarelli

Cinematographer Joe Passarelli on Anomalisa


Joe Passarelli is the Cinematographer of the stop motion masterpiece and Academy Award nominee Anomalisa. Joe and Creative Show host Ben Consoli discuss the challenges and rewards of shooting stop motion, his camera and lighting choices, working with miniature sets, and the patience needed to pull it all off. We also discuss the humble beginnings of Anomalisa and how kickstarter brought it to life. Esquire magazine raves about Anomalisa as "The most human movie of the year. And it doesn't star a single human." Says host Ben Consoli, "I couldn't agree more." Take a listen!



And don't forget! The NAB Show is sooner than you think! Now less than 6 weeks away, we've got show event news and product announcements rolling in on a daily basis. We'll keep sending weekly updates of course, but for the very latest, be sure to check Creative COW News's NAB coverage!




Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Art of the Edit * Tim Wilson

Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

On Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the latest collaboration of Mary Jo Markey, ACE and Maryann Brandon, ACE​ once again collaborated with J.J. Abrams, following their previous successes with him on pictures including Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible III, Super 8, and the TV series Alias. Here, they tell us about putting together this new instant classic.







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There are 1200 visual effects shots in this movie. No, we're not talking about the latest comic book adaptation or fantasy epic. We're talking about Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, an action-comedy starring Tina Fey as a journalist covering the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the fourth and latest film directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

Like their previous film Focus, they used Apple Final Cut Pro X for editing. Rather than a story about editing software, though, this is a story about FCPX from a filmmaker's perspective: specifically, how keeping as much VFX and audio temp work as possible inside FCPX during production helped allow Glenn Ficarra and John Requa to open up new options and saved weeks of production time. This article has already been provoking considerable conversation, both in the comments on the article and in the Creative COW forums, about the impact that their approach might have on the future of mainstream filmmaking. Read on, and be sure to let us know what you think.



Blackmagic Design Fusion: Building Your Own Keyer

In his latest tutorial for Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell points out that you can of course simply use Fusion's built-in keyer, and quickly get a good result, but here he shows how combining visual effects nodes to build your own keyer helps you understand the processes to refine trouble keys. Even if you'd prefer not to build your own, you will gain practical insights into channel operations and other techniques to help you unlock Fusion's unique visual effects power. Take a look at Blackmagic Fusion in action!

Hey, and speaking of Blackmagic Design software, you've heard about Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve enabling unique collaborative workflows between editors and colorists working on the same project. Now, here's your chance to see exactly how it works. Expert colorist Mathieu Morano shared an episode of his "My Montreal Studio" podcast showing you exactly how to set up your network and project to take advantage of all that Resolve has to offer for the entire post process. Take a look at DaVinci Resolve in action!




Congratulations to Sara Bennett of Milk Visual Effects for her Oscar® for Ex Machina!

We've been very pleased to work with the folks at London-based Milk on a number of stories over the years, most recently, for the company's work on the BBC mini-series event, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Co-founded by Sara Bennett and Will Cohen, the company has been punching above its weight for some time now, and it has been a real pleasure to document some of their growth here at Creative COW. We couldn't be more pleased to see Sara's recognition by the Academy. Everyone involved in Ex Machina did remarkable work, as seen in the many awards it was nominated for at the Oscars and elsewhere, including a stunning 92% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but we know you're going to enjoy this speedy refresher of what Sara and the 28 artists at Milk put together for this remarkable picture. Read more....

We're also pleased to note on behalf of our friends at the American Film Institute (AFI) that their graduates played important roles for Best Picture winner Spotlight. Producer Steve Golin (AFI Class of 1981) was one of the folks who took home a Best Picture Oscar® itself, but cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi is a member of AFI Class of 2002 -- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe journalist Michael Rezendes (played in the film by Mark Ruffalo) is a graduate of AFI Class of 1999! Read more....



And don't forget! The NAB Show is sooner than you think! Now less than 6 weeks away, we've got show event news and product announcements rolling in on a daily basis. We'll keep sending weekly updates of course, but for the very latest, be sure to check Creative COW News's NAB coverage!
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Close Encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC

Named by his peers as one of the 10 most influential cinematographers in history, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC was responsible for some of cinema's most indelible images in films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind (for which he won an Oscar), The Deer Hunter (winner of the BAFTA Award), McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and Heaven's Gate. In this wide-ranging conversation with his friend, colleague, and co-founder of the Global Cinematography Institute Yuri Neyman, ASC, the two go well beyond the usual limits of typical conversations around cinematography to the worlds of art, education, collaboration, trials, errors and beyond.



The Sisterhood of the X-Files Fandom * TV & Movie Appreciation * Kylee Peña

The Sisterhood of the X-Files Fandom

As the first show to create a rabid, real-time internet fandom, devotion to "The X-Files" has been growing in intensity with each year since the original series finale, with a fanbase that is clever, thoughtful, and largely female. Not that there's any shortage of male X-Philes, but there's a generation of women who was inspired to technical careers by the Gillian Anderson's Dana Scully. Kylee Peña is among them, and additionally very specifically inspired by

Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Art of the Edit * Tim Wilson

Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

On Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the latest collaboration of Mary Jo Markey, ACE and Maryann Brandon, ACE​ once again collaborated with J.J. Abrams, following their previous successes with him on pictures including Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible III, Super 8, and the TV series Alias. Here, they tell us about putting together this new instant classic.

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Yes, we're wishing you SEASONS GREETINGS, plural, because there are two of 'em, actually. Just as Awards Season kicks up a gear with recognition for the best work from the wide world of guilds, critics, and artists of every variety, here come the first round of announcements for NAB Show 2016!

It's allll about to get real, so take a look at what's coming from every corner of the industry, with congratulatory looks back, and the first glimpse of what's coming over the horizon in the coming weeks.

NAB & Product Announcements


Awards & Honors


And that's just the beginning! We've got dozens more fresh stories below, on top of all the juicy goodness you'd expect to find in Creative COW's over 250 peer-to-peer support forums.

Please let this serve as a reminder: if your team has been nominated for an award, and certainly if your team receives an award, be sure to send us a note! Don't forget pictures!

If you're going to be exhibiting at the NAB Show, or have announcements you'd like to make, please don't wait until the last minute! Even if your news is embargoed, let us get it queued and ready to go. We'll get hundreds of announcements a day in the leadup to the show, and if there's one thing we've learned in our 21 years online, it's always best to avoid a stampede if you can!

Either way, drop a line to press@creativecow.net, and help us tell your story! Congratulations, best wishes, and yes, Seasons Greetings. BOTH Seasons!
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When Blackmagic asked broadcast engineer, systems designer, and all-around straight shooter Bob Zelin to take a look at the new Teranex Mini line, he told them no. Converter stories are too boring. Just one problem, though: his clients couldn't see pictures out of their SDI gear going into HDMI inputs of consumer 4K TVs. BMD promised that one of the Minis would do the trick, and it did -- but Bob was pleasantly surprised to find even more than he was looking for! Find out why he calls the Teranex Mini lineup a no-brainer, and what it might be able to do for you. Read more...




Checksums, Speed, and Acceptable Risk * Art of the Edit * Kylee Peña

Checksums, Speed, and Acceptable Risk

Do you hang out under a tree during a lightning storm? Do you perform a checksum every time you copy important files from one place to another? If you don't have an equally strong opinion about both these questions, it's time to learn about checksums: how they work, how much you can trust them, and how this technical task can save a creative person from certain doom.







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Checksums, Speed, and Acceptable Risk

Do you hang out under a tree during a lightning storm? Do you perform a checksum every time you copy important files from one place to another? If you don't have an equally strong opinion about both these questions, it's time to learn about checksums: how they work, how much you can trust them, and how this technical task can save a creative person from certain doom.





The Sisterhood of the X-Files Fandom


The Sisterhood of the X-Files Fandom


As the first show to create a rabid, real-time internet fandom, devotion to The X-Files has been growing in intensity with each year since the original series finale, with a fanbase that is clever, thoughtful, and largely female. Not that there's any shortage of male X-Philes, but there's a generation of women who was inspired to technical careers by the Gillian Anderson's Dana Scully. Kylee Peña is among them, and additionally very specifically inspired by the production values of The X-Files to build a career in the technology of TV storytelling in particular. Here's Kylee's look at what it has meant to be a female fan of the art, technology, and empowerment of The X-Files in the 21st century.
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The gifts Vilmos shared with the world of cinematography through his interaction with students and co-instructors past and present will continue to have a lasting legacy at Global Cinematography Institute as we all look forward to the growth and expansion of GCI into 2016 and beyond.

Join us as GCI President and Founding Partner Yuri Neyman, ASC, as well as former GCI Students, share their fun memories and recollections of their time with Vilmos. Click here



The provocative, consummate musician, the hero, the star, the man David Bowie leaves us with his music, his shocking stage presence, his life. His journey lasted from January 1947 -- January 2016. Not nearly enough time, but, oh, what worlds he filled with his song! His family was with him and his son, director Duncan Jones released a statement, "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer," it said.

As Creative COW CEO Ronald Lindeboom posted on his personal Facebook page, "I can still remember the first time that I heard him long ago, listening to Mike Sakellarides on the legendary KQIV FM in Portland, Oregon as he played the song 'Changes.' Looking at this wonderful animation of all the phases of David's musical adventure by Helen Green, there was no telling how true that first introduction would be... 'Ch-ch-changes...'"




Rest in Peace.





Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Art of the Edit * Tim Wilson

Editing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

On Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the latest collaboration of Mary Jo Markey, ACE and Maryann Brandon, ACE​ once again collaborated with J.J. Abrams, following their previous successes with him on pictures including Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible III, Super 8, and the TV series Alias. Here, they tell us about putting together this new instant classic.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe



Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the latest collaboration of Mary Jo Markey, ACE and Maryann Brandon, ACE​ once again collaborated with J.J. Abrams, following their previous successes with him on pictures including Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible III, Super 8, and the TV series Alias. Here, they tell us about putting together this new instant classic.





Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC
Born: June 16, 1930, Szeged, Hungary; Died: January 1, 2016, Big Sur, CA


The cinematography community has lost a loved and revered member: Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, who worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Deer Hunter, among others, died Jan. 1st. The octogenarian Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC possessed a genius as well as a sense of duty as a storyteller. The images he could draw from those cold cameras and lenses were alive, were life, themselves. He created emotion through colour and shadow and impacted his peers and students in every endeavour. Zsigmond's five-decade career included work on Deliverance, Blow Out, The Ghost and the Darkness and The Long Goodbye.

He won an Academy Award for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and was nominated for his work in The River, The Deer Hunter and The Black Dahlia. ICG president, Steven Poster stated: I was privileged to work as his 2nd unit DP on three of his movies. We all knew what a giant he was as an artist at the time. But working up close with him, I also learned about perseverance and an obligation to the story from the master. Rest in Peace, our dear friend.




Haskell Wexler, ASC
Born: February 6, 1922, Chicago, IL; Died: December 27, 2015, Santa Monica, CA


And earlier in the week on December 27th, we lost yet another stellar appellation -- the ever-remarkable Academy Award-winning Haskell Wexler, ASC. Wexler was an American cinematographer, film producer and director who was judged to be one of film history's ten most influential cinematographers in a survey of the members of the International Cinematographers Guild.

Both cinematographers were members of the ASC and the International Cinematographer's Guild, with current president, Steven Poster remarking on the highlights and celebration of their lives, and the profound loss that the industry will feel.

ICG president Steven Poster comments on Wexler with fond remembrance: His steady focus on safety over the years further demonstrates his commitment to the welfare of the crew and our industry.

I was first introduced to Haskell on the set of Medium Cool in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in 1969. It was a day I will always remember -- he was one of the greats. He and I went on to have many discussions over the years about cinematography and about the role of the union. Although he had his differences with the Guild over the years, we admired his dedication and passion to be an instrument for social change.

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