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Deciding to adapt the Hunger Games finale, Mockingjay, as 2 films opened up remarkable storytelling possibilities for director Francis Lawrence, and editors Alan Bell ACE and Mark Yoshikawa ACE. We spoke with the editors about the technologies, workflows, and collaborative processes that enabled them to so richly explore the nuances of power, pain, and the lifelong toll that war takes even on the victors.

We don't mind admitting that we're fans. We're fans of Alan Bell, who has been a longtime member of Creative COW, but we were already fans of the Hunger Games books, and would have been crazy about the movies even if Alan hadn't worked on them. In particular, though, we're fans of the decision to give Suzanne Collin's remarkable novel Mockingjay room to breathe on screen. You might disagree, but you're still not going to want to miss this engaging conversation with a couple of razor-sharp editors who've done some truly remarkable work on the two Mockingjays.

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Deciding to adapt the Hunger Games finale, Mockingjay, as 2 films opened up remarkable storytelling possibilities for director Francis Lawrence, and editors Alan Bell ACE and Mark Yoshikawa ACE. We spoke with the editors about the technologies, workflows, and collaborative processes that enabled them to so richly explore the nuances of power, pain, and the lifelong toll that war takes even on the victors.

We don't mind admitting that we're fans. We're fans of Alan Bell, who has been a longtime member of Creative COW, but we were already fans of the Hunger Games books, and would have been crazy about the movies even if Alan hadn't worked on them. In particular, though, we're fans of the decision to give Suzanne Collin's remarkable novel Mockingjay room to breathe on screen. You might disagree, but you're still not going to want to miss this engaging conversation with a couple of razor-sharp editors who've done some truly remarkable work on the two Mockingjays.



Peter Doyle: Supervising Visual Colourist at Technicolor * TV & Movie Appreciation * FilmLight

Peter Doyle: Supervising Visual Colourist at Technicolor

Peter Doyle, Supervising Visual Colourist at Technicolor, shares details of his upward spiraling career. His deep technical knowledge allows for a perfect blend of creativity and productivity in equal measure. Here he talks about his career, his aspirations, and his involvement in productions right from the outset.

Introducing Ultron: Trixter Builds The Avengers' Biggest Bad * TV & Movie Appreciation * Tim Wilson

Introducing Ultron: Trixter Builds The Avengers' Biggest Bad

At the heart of Marvel's biggest Avengers movie yet lies their greatest threat yet: Ultron, a self-constructing robot intelligence bent on destroying all of humanity. Munich's boutique-scale Trixter Film was given the critical task of introducing this epic-scale character, which they undertook from concept art through design, mocap, animation, compositing, and output.

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Creative COWs are talking about Documentary Editing Workflow

So much of post-production is easier than could ever have been imagined in the days of film and video that it's easy to forget: much of post is harder than could have been imagined not long ago! Multitudinous frame sizes and codecs, soaring shooting ratios, and endless output requirements -- plus a variety of NLEs with some very different approaches to dealing with massive piles of multi-format footage.

Projects like these can easily bog down the most modern systems, so COW members are also asking specifically how they can optimize their workflow and media management to maximize performance.

These hazards can arise from any kind of project with any kind of footage of course, but they're endemic to documentaries. It happens that three different threads along these lines have popped up this week.

One of them may well offer relief for the pains your current projects are giving you -- and hey, you may also have the perfect advice for some of these folks looking for help!


Offline // Online workflow for FCPX obviously extends far beyond documentaries, but that's what Elizabeth Perlman is working on as she wrestles with the best way to manage 10TB of footage -- mostly Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K, but also some drone footage. Edit in Proxy? A flavor of ProRes? What about H.264? What sequence size? What's the best way to set this all up to be passed on to Resolve or Baselight for grading? And what's the best way to handle the masters through all this?

Documentary or not, this thread is a masterclass in the nuances of advanced workflow management for Final Cut Pro X. Read more....


In Best Avid Canon C500/C300 workflow, Mary Haverstick begins by noting that the documentary feature she's working on was mostly shot on a Canon C500, or C300 in 1080p 23.97 Canon XF files. The files are linking up, and she's started light editing and grading, but has some questions before she dives deep. Are there performance advantages to transcoding? Will it impact picture quality? Others on the thread recommend the advantages of consolidation over transcoding, while not ruling out the advantages of transcoding as a final step before grading. Read more....


And in Advice on docu workflow with SD tape footage, FCPX or not?, Mauricio Lleras throws in a couple of wild cards. He has worked with both Media Composer and FCP 7, is ready to think about FCPX -- but most of his footage is a combination of PAL SD shot on both DV and Hi-8, as well as some HDV. Yikes! Folks on the thread explore the potential advantages (or not) of transcoding SD footage, approaches to uprezzing (or not), touch briefly on archiving, and come at the issues of image quality and system performance from a variety of perspectives. Read more...

(And yes, the title graphic is editing pioneer Sergei Eisenstein, a man who knew something about massive piles of footage, photographed in 1927 at work on October.)


A scene from Pixels

Pixels: Going From 8-bits to Epic is No Game

You may have missed this movie in the theater, but here's your chance to catch up on some really, truly stellar VFX work that's pulled off with both wit and finesse, in a family-friendly action comedy.

Classic video game characters like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong sent by aliens to destroy Earth? No worries! Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks are on the case. It turns out that integrating 8-bit characters into a world recognizable as our own is a lot harder than it looks.

It was also a lot of fun for everyone involved, and hearing about it from the two VFX supervisors will be a lot of fun for you too.
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Lead VFX vendor Atomic Fiction needed a more efficient way to do the compute-intensive, and traditionally very expensive, processes of rendering. The company used the cloud-based software Conductor (http://renderconductor.com), which allows artists to offload the processing from their own computers and send it to the cloud. By the end of the project, Atomic Fiction had completed 9.1 million hours of processing in the cloud, which equates to over a millennium of processing time!


Affordable, Easy LTO Archiving


Affordable, Easy LTO Archiving

It's a simple idea: your stuff is precious, but there's too much of it to easily store. The world of LTO seems expensive and confusing, and straight talk is hard to come by. Well, it happens that Creative COW's Bob Zelin is the master of straight talk, and has had to learn a lot about archiving to help his clients meet their needs. Here's what Bob has found as he looks at the latest and greatest technology and projects for affordable, easy LTO archiving.


BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! HOT THREAD: PC WORKSTATION FOR 8K FILES IN AFTER EFFECTS

There's sometimes a difference between the longest threads at Creative COW, and the ones receiving the most attention from Google and the world at large. Here's a perfect recent example in Creative COW's Adobe After Effects forum: a thread of only moderate length that a lot of people have nevertheless found their way to, Advice needed on PC workstation for 8K files in After Effects.

Multimedia pioneer and longtime Mac loyalist David Lawrence found himself embarking on a stereoscopic, 360 degree, VR project that could benefit from a sizzlecore PC. Creative COW After Effects leader and multi-platform multimedia whiz Walter Soyka offers some suggestions from his own experience using both Macs and HP workstations.

If our traffic to this thread is any indication, this is obviously something that a lot of people are wondering about. Regardless of your own platform of choice, if you're looking for maximum performance on massive files, here's a great place to start. Read more!
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It's a simple idea: your stuff is precious, but there's too much of it to easily store. The world of LTO seems expensive and confusing, and straight talk is hard to come by. Well, it happens that Creative COW's Bob Zelin is the master of straight talk, and has had to learn a lot about archiving to help his clients meet their needs. Here's what Bob has found as he looks at the latest and greatest technology and projects for affordable, easy LTO archiving.



David Boyd, ASC

Behind the Lens: David Boyd ASC & The Walking Dead

As Season 6 of The Walking Dead dawns on AMC, one of TV's true game changers is continuing to raise its own game yet again. Episode 602 in particular, "JSS," stands as a series highlight, with director and TWD fans calling it one of the 20 greatest hours in TV history.

Thanks to the combination of the show's fans and Google, we've seen a spike in traffic to a Creative COW story from a few years ago, an interview with the show's original DP, David Boyd ASC. Before lensing the show's first season and a half, he'd also shot Friday Night Lights, Without A Trace, and every episode of Firefly, among others.

Since our conversation, David's credits have included shooting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as directing episodes of Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon a Time, 12 Monkeys, and four more episodes of The Walking Dead.

While we've obviously covered a lot of ground since our first conversation, David's insights into shooting in general, and the core aesthetic of The Walking Dead in particular, are every bit as enjoyable as the day we first published it. We think you'll definitely enjoy another look at Behind the Lens: David Boyd ASC & The Walking Dead. Read on...


Tomorrowland -- Building a World Beyond with cineSync *  NEWS: Product News * Whiskytree

Tomorrowland -- Building a World Beyond with cineSync

Earlier this year, Disney brought another of its theme park attractions to the silver screen in Brad Bird's Tomorrowland - a VFX-fuelled adventure that whisks viewers across time, space and alternate dimensions. Computer graphics facility Whiskytree was brought on to the project to create the gleaming cityscape of Tomorrowland itself.

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Behind the Lens: David Boyd ASC & The Walking Dead

As Season 6 of The Walking Dead dawns on AMC, one of TV's true game changers is continuing to raise its own game yet again. Episode 602 in particular, "JSS," stands as a series highlight, with director and TWD fans calling it one of the 20 greatest hours in TV history.

Thanks to the combination of the show's fans and Google, we've seen a spike in traffic to a Creative COW story from a few years ago, an interview with the show's original DP, David Boyd ASC. Before lensing the show's first season and a half, he'd also shot Friday Night Lights, Without A Trace, and every episode of Firefly, among others.

Since our conversation, David's credits have included shooting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as directing episodes of Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon a Time, 12 Monkeys, and four more episodes of The Walking Dead.

While we've obviously covered a lot of ground since our first conversation, David's insights into shooting in general, and the core aesthetic of The Walking Dead in particular, are every bit as enjoyable as the day we first published it. We think you'll definitely enjoy another look at Behind the Lens: David Boyd ASC & The Walking Dead. Read on...



The Drive: Pac-12 Football

The Drive to Create "The Drive: Pac-12 Football"

We've also seen a big spike to our recent conversation with 16-time Emmy Winner Jim Jorden about The Drive: Pac-12 Football. Jim helped create pioneering sports programming for NFL Films, NASCAR, and Hard Knocks for HBO, among many others: in all, two and a half decades, 69 series, 7 features, and, yes, 16 Emmys for his shooting, his editing, and his role as Executive Producer.

This year marks Season 3 of The Drive: Pac-12 Football, an unprecedented, all-access series taking a look inside one of college football's most competitive divisions. We spoke to Jim at the beginning of Season 2, which focused on UCLA. This year, the focus is on Oregon State and Utah, and their quest for a national championship.

(As we send this, Utah is ranked at #3 in the AP's national rankings, #7 in the coaches rankings.)

Once again, Jim takes everything he has learned in his career to date, combining multiple cameras and shooting teams telling a variety of stories, editing on a scale and with a speed that even NFL Films has yet to attempt: compelling stuff from Jim's perspective as a shooter, editor, producer, and director. We know you're going to enjoy this look at The Drive to Create "The Drive: Pac-12 Football. Read more....

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3D Dance Show in After Effects
When Ari Grunzeweig needed to create a dynamic promo, he turned to a remarkable combination of keyed footage, particles, and the dynamic 3D compositing and cameras in Adobe After Effects to build a virtual world exploding with dance and light. Take a look to see how to build your own 3D world in After Effects.


A scene from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Colour Grading The BBC's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a seven-part adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel set in the Napoleonic Wars, and says Technicolor Montreal's Head Colourist Nico Ilies, a beautifully crafted period fantasy drama with outstanding acting, great cinematography and art direction, beautiful costumes and amazing VFX work -- an absolutely ideal colorist's playground. Working in Baselight Nico took pictures in a variety of directions for an unusually diverse tale.





Perfect Chroma Keys from Bad Green Screens in After Effects * Adobe After Effects * Bracer Jack

Perfect Chroma Keys from Bad Green Screens in After Effects

High-quality green screen footage is a luxury that many of us will never have. Your quest for perfect chroma keys from awful green screen footage is nearing its happy conclusion as Bracer Jack shows you exactly how to achieve success using only the tools built into Adobe After Effects.

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In an industry where mental health is hard to come by, Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña reminds us how important it is to ask ourselves, and our peers, "How are you? No, really. How ARE you?" Kylee also offers some suggestions for helping ourselves be honest with the answers, as we also move toward a future that allows us to be more creative, more productive, AND more sane.




Positivity: Editor Jesse Averna on Evolving Your Career * Art of the Edit * Kylee Peña

Positivity: Editor Jesse Averna on Evolving Your Career

Five-time Emmy-award winning editor Jesse Averna has been a lifelong fan of filmmaking, a love reflected in his ambition to move into directing. Jesse shares insight about evolving his career, including the importance of being a positive force in your post community.

Perfect Chroma Keys from Bad Green Screens in After Effects * Adobe After Effects * Bracer Jack

Perfect Chroma Keys from Bad Green Screens in After Effects

High-quality green screen footage is a luxury that many of us will never have. Your quest for perfect chroma keys from awful green screen footage is nearing its happy conclusion as Bracer Jack shows you exactly how to achieve success using only the tools built into Adobe After Effects.

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Five-time Emmy Award winner, Editor Jesse Averna on Evolving Your Career
Please join us in belated congratulations to our dear friend Jesse Averna on his FIFTH CONSECUTIVE EMMY AWARD for editing Sesame Street! We couldn't possibly be more delighted for him. (Even if we could have been more punctual.)

Jesse Averna is the quintessential lifelong film lover, starting in eighth grade when he got his hands on a camcorder. After spending high school working late into the night on video projects (VHS to VHS of course) and talking teachers into accepting videos instead of papers, he began to work toward a career in post production. His path eventually led him to New York, where, presumably, someone told him how to get to Sesame Street.

Recently inducted into ACE as an Affiliate Member and a founder of Twitter's #postchat, Jesse has also been building on his successes as an editor as he grows into directing -- while also trying to balance his life as a husband, father, and teacher. Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña spoke to him about the positivity that keeps it all moving forward.

Jesse Averna with his fifth consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing.
Jesse Averna with his fifth consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing.




Apple Motion 5: Crystal Spheres * Apple Motion * Simon Ubsdell

Apple Motion 5: Crystal Spheres

Apple Motion 5 has many powerful compositing and graphics features, but its 3D feature set is, alas, limited. (For those keeping score, it's only 2.5D). Simon Ubsdell applies his his VFX and motion graphics expertise to cleverly working around those limitations by exploiting the best of Motion's behaviors, filters, lights, cameras, blend modes, refractions, and more -- along with everything you'll need to customize the effect to your liking, and to deepen your own Motion

Editors on Editing, Emmys, and Everything Else * Art of the Edit * Kylee Peña

Editors on Editing, Emmys, and Everything Else

The Emmy Award-nominated editors of Amazon's Transparent and Lifetime's Project Runway All-Stars (Cate Haight ACE, and Emmy-winner Mary DeChambres, respectively) sit down with Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Wall for a wide-open conversation on getting started in Hollywood, getting ahead, and, most important, staying sane. Anything you want to know about editing in the real world? You'll find it right here.

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Apple Motion 5: Crystal Spheres

Simon Ubsdell has developed dozens of Apple Motion tutorials that are out of this world. This one is LITERALLY out of this world, as he cleverly works around the limitations of Motion's 2.5D environment to create a remarkably realistic, other-worldly 3D scene: three mysterious crystal spheres on a desolate planet's desert, reflecting the surrounding mountains and sunlight.

Here, Simon applies his VFX and motion graphics expertise to cleverly work around Motion's limitations by exploiting the best of its behaviors, filters, lights, cameras, blend modes, refractions, and more -- along with everything you'll need to customize the effect to your liking, as well as deepening the Motion skills you'll need to build worlds of your own. Get started!


Editors on Editing, Emmys, and Everything Else * Art of the Edit * Kylee Peña

Editors on Editing, Emmys, and Everything Else

The Emmy Award-nominated editors of Amazon's Transparent and Lifetime's Project Runway All-Stars (Cate Haight ACE, and Emmy-winner Mary DeChambres, respectively) sit down with Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Wall for a wide-open conversation on getting started in Hollywood, getting ahead, and, most important, staying sane. Anything you want to know about editing in the real world? You'll find it right here.


Six Benefits of Microbudget Filmmaking - And How To Succeed! * Indie Film & Documentary * Gex Williams

Six Benefits of Microbudget Filmmaking - And How To Succeed!

Microscopic budgets present limitations, but can also create opportunities. Gex Williams and Brian Crone produced Ctrl+Alt+Dance for $12,000, and it made $50,000 on its first night -- which included showings on every inhabited continent, has followings in nearly every major city, translated into 9 different languages by its fans. Want to know how to achieve that kind of global engagement? Look no further than the Six Benefits of Microbudget Filmmaking.


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