Digital Cinema Pioneer Bob Lambert Dies

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Thu, 09/13/2012 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Bob Lambert respected throughout the entertainment industry as a digital media trailblazer died of unnamed causes on Friday at his home in Glendale his family announced this week. He was 55. Lambert played a central role in the development of computer animated feature films and in the transition from film to digital cinema exhibition. He was a senior executive at The Walt Disney Company for 25 years until 2010 working in motion pictures television gaming e-commerce and social media. In his final position at the studio Lambert served as the senior technology executive in charge of strategic planning intellectual property patent strategy standards and regulatory issues and talent recruitment. While working for Disney Feature Animation Lambert conceptualized a strategy and methodology for replacing cel animation with CGI production. He selected Steve Job’s newly acquired company Pixar to design the software and oversee the collaborative process between the two companies. The resultant digital production system earned Disney an Academy Award for Scientific & Technical Achievement. Lambert was also a founder and chairman of the Digital Cinema Initiative the six-studio consortium that laid the groundwork for the historical transition of movie theaters from film to digital exhibtion by establishing and documenting digital cinema specifications that ensure a uniform and high level of technical performance reliability and quality control. Lambert was chairman emeritus and chief strategic officer of the University of Southern California’s Entertainment Technology Center a think tank that brings entertainment studios technology providers and other key industry stakeholders together in order to improve digital entertainment initiatives. Said Kenneth S. Williams [email protected] CEO and executive director Bob was one of the most respected technology executives in the media and entertainment business. Always generous with his time his friendship and tremendous insight will be greatly missed.” Recently Lambert served as CEO of The Digital Firm in Los Angeles and was named executive vice president of strategy and innovation for The World Technology Network. He was also instrumental in launching CityWorks (X)po in 2011 the first national conference to explore the ascendency of small cities. Prior to Disney he was executive director of development for Paramount Pictures. Lambert was an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technology Council and a fellow of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers. He also served as a judge for the Collegiate Inventors Awards and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards. Lambert held 30 patents in media technologies and was named an industry pioneer by ShoWest (now CinemaCon) outstanding alumnus of Virginia Tech and received an Astrolabium Award from the International Electronic Cinema Festival. Extraordinarily generous with his time Lambert served on the board of directors for numerous universities start-up ventures and non-profits including USC Virginia Tech the American Film Institute and the FIRST program. Lambert is survived by his wife Cheryl Murphy brother Paul Lambert and nephew Nathaniel Lambert. The family did not announce plans for a service and requested privacy. Contributions honoring Lambert can be sent to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www.aspca.org/donate/). ,3531
Skateboard King Joey Brezinski Captures His Sport with an iPhone,2012-09-14, Joey Brezinski who created the Red Bull Manny Mania contest in 2007 is the king of manual skateboarding which is balancing on either the front or the back two wheels plus variations of sliding grinding or flipping in or out. Since then the yearly event has gone international. He recently decided to capture his sport using only his iPhone. “Not too long ago I decided that I wanted to make a skating montage using only my iPhone ” Brezinski says. “When I found the Schneider iPro lenses I knew they would add that extra excitement to shots of my friends and fellow skateboard enthusiasts. “Recently I took my iPhone and iPro lenses for a ride in my Venice neighborhood ” Brezinski says. “I followed my friends capturing their moments while getting tricks sequences and action shots. Even some images of my pug Pizza who is on Instagram @pizzathepug. And we got some new product shots for boards and shoes that I’m about to release. It was all stuff I would never be able to do without the iPro lenses.” The iPro lenses enhance the iPhone Brezinski already has. Each lens easily bayonet mounts on and off and lets him capture more in every shot. The pocket-sized lens case securely protects Brezinski’s lenses as he rides his board over a variety of risky moves. The case which doubles as a tripod mount also makes a comfortable handle so Brezinski has a firm grip on his camera as he takes the iPro System through the ride. Some of the first footage Brezinski shot with the iPro lens system was done in France as part of the tour and can be seen on the Red Bull USA website. Recent footage is on Instagram and through the Facebook and twitter pages of sponsors like Cliche Autobahn Diamond Andale Bearings Val Surf Red Bull Skatepark of Tampa Party Team Independent Seige Audio So Rad Clothing Tensor and Puma. “The iPro 2X Tele allows me to get in close to the boards the action the excitement of skateboarding. The Wide Angle helps get much more into the frame and the Fisheye adds an extra wild dimension to a trick or sequence ” he says. “I really like how the iPro Lens System is a phone case and I never have to take the lens off. It’s always ready to go when I need it. Plus the glass is so good – it enhances my photos to their best potential. ,3532
Brickyard VFX Handles Effects Work on Ruby Sparks,2012-09-14, The directorial team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris recently worked with longtime collaborators Brickyard VFX for all the visual effects work on their second feature film Ruby Sparks. In Ruby Sparks Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing – as well as his romantic life. Finally he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan) in the flesh sitting on his couch about a week later he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living breathing person. Our job on Ruby Sparks was to enhance and polish the shots keeping it artful and beautiful without detracting from the storytelling says Brickyard's VFX executive producer Kirsten Andersen. All of our work needed to be photo-real and elegant fitting with the film's aesthetic. This is one of those projects where if we did our job right the viewer won’t even know we were there. Brickyard delivered 80 VFX shots for Ruby Sparks. Sequences that Brickyard contributed to include the film's opening scene a swimming pool scene shot underwater skywriting over the Los Angeles skyline and images of Ruby dreamily projected onto a ceiling. The opening scene features Ruby as an almost heavenly figure surrounded by light and seemingly walking on air. While the sequence was shot practically we did quite a bit of tweaking on the color and lighting working closely with the directors to polish the shot exactly as they intended it to be seen says VFX artist Chris Sonia. For the underwater sequence we color corrected and manipulated many layers of footage compositing and repositioning the swimming characters to achieve a very fluid and ethereal feel says VFX artist Geoff McAuliffe. Working with Jonathan and Valerie is always a treat said Andersen. It's always a compliment to get their phone call even after all these years to help them achieve their vision. ,3533
Christie Expedites VPF Process as September 30 Deadline Approaches,2012-09-15, With exhibitors facing the looming industry deadline of September 30 to join a virtual print fee Program Christie has announced that it has put its VPF program for North American exhibitors on the fast track to ensure exhibitors are quickly signed up and guaranteed reimbursements as they make their move to DCI Compliant digital cinema projection systems. 
  “Christie has initiated ‘Fast Track’ handling at all levels within the administrative process to insure that exhibitors can take advantage of the industry’s most simplified plan for making the move to DCI Compliant digital cinema ” said Craig Sholder vice president of Christie’s Entertainment Solutions. “It’s important for exhibitors to sign up on or before September 30 2012 but once onboard they will still have until October 31 2013 to make the physical conversion. During that time they’ll have complete flexibility in choosing the best financing option for their needs thanks to Christie’s highly flexible VPF program. We offer the widest financing options available from self-financing to working out terms with one of our financing partners.”
 
 Sholder added: “The sooner one begins the conversion the better since VPF revenues will not be earned until one has converted at least 50 percent of one’s complex. Exhibitors have nothing to lose and everything to gain by signing up with the Christie VPF program.” 

 Christie’s VPF program has been endorsed by all major Hollywood studios including the Walt Disney Company Twentieth Century Fox Universal Pictures Paramount Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. The program has been recognized as giving exhibitors the greatest independence in planning a digital cinema conversion. As a result more than 110 separate theater companies representing more than 1 500 screens across North America have enrolled in Christie’s VPF Program to date.
  Landmark Cinemas which operates 33 theaters in Canada is among the many exhibitors already subscribed to the Christie VPF. It selected Christie Solaria Series digital cinema projectors for all of its 100-plus screens throughout Western Canada and the Yukon. With the digital conversion completed Landmark now shows 2D and 3D movies live events and other alternative content. 
  “Christie has always been exceptionally committed to providing exhibitors with superior products and technical expertise ” said Neil Campbell chief operating officer Landmark Cinemas. “We selected their VPF program because it provided us the ultimate in flexibility. Their technicians worked with our installation company King Cinema Services to ensure every conversion took place without any disruption in service.”
 
 As part of the VPF arrangements Landmark worked with Christie in support of sourcing integrating and testing hardware enabling Christie to remotely monitor and manage Landmark’s digital cinema projection environments. 
 
 “We are ready to roll today with signing and installations ” said Sholder. “We can handle hundreds of projector orders simultaneously – absolutely no waiting or bottleneck. When the exhibitor is ready we’re ready.”
 
 Christie Digital Systems www.christiedigital.com 
 ,3536
Celebrity Theatres Signs VPF Agreement with Cinedigm,2012-09-15, Cinedigm Digital Cinema has announced a long-term virtual print fee deployment agreement with Celebrity Theatres.  The agreement will enable the conversion of theatres to digital cinema under the terms of Cinedigm’s long-term agreements with all the major studios as well as ongoing interim agreements with over one hundred independent distributors. Celebrity will be providing its own financing in the Cinedigm exhibitor-buyer deal structure and will deploy up to 30 Cinedigm-Certified screens with installation expected to be completed in the fall. The theaters have chosen to utilize digital projector systems from NEC Display Solutions. Celebrity Theatres currently has three locations in the Baton Rouge Louisiana area totaling 26 screens but is expanding up to 30 screens. Celebrity Theatres is a member of the Cinema Buying Group a buying program formed by the independent theatre operators of the National Association of Theatre Owners to find cost-effective solutions for converting theatres from film to digital projection.  Cinedigm is the digital cinema integrator partner for the CBG. “Celebrity has been very diligent in evaluating its digital cinema options ” said Gary Loffredo Cinedigm’s President of Digital Cinema Services.  “We look forward to sharing the benefits of digital cinema with all their constituents from employees to customers.” “We applaud Cinedigm’s achievement in eclipsing the 11 000th screen deployment and our ongoing joint initiative toward digital cinema conversion ” said Jim Reisteter general manager of digital cinema projectors at NEC Display Solutions.  “More and more theater patrons are experiencing the benefits of digital cinema as a result of this initiative.” ,3537
FGV Schmidle Increases its Codex Digital Technology Investment,2012-09-15, FGV Schmidle one of the oldest and largest camera rental houses in Germany has enhanced its digital cinematography resources through a new investment in digital recording technology from Codex Digital. The company which has facilities in Munich and Berlin has purchased a number of Codex Onboard M recorders. The Onboard M supports digital cameras made by Arri Sony Canon and other leading manufacturers and has become hugely popular among film and commercials productions for its proven ability to record and process raw data. FGV Schmidle plans to use the new Codex recorders to support foreign film and television productions working in Germany as well as local producers shooting raw. “German producers have only recently begun to embrace raw formats ” says FGV Schmidle managing director Markus Schmidle. “With the help of this Codex technology we hope to drive the market and show producers the qualitative advantages of raw media.” Schmidle adds that Codex technology is essential to servicing productions originating in the U.S. and the U.K. where it’s common for film productions to capture raw media. FGV Schmidle has been supplying productions with Codex technology for more than three years. In addition to recorders it maintains an inventory of Codex Transfer Stations that are used for on-set and near-set dailies processing and archiving. The company expects soon to offer The Vault Codex’s new media management environment. ,3538
Odeon UCI Cinemas Group Signs VPF Deal with Dcinex,2012-09-15, European digital cinema service company dcinex has a long-term virtual print fee agreement with UK-based Odeon UCI Cinemas Group covering the deployment of 520 digital screens in Spain.
 
Under the terms of the agreement Cinesa the Spanish branch of Odeon UCI group and largest cinema circuit in the country 44 cinema sites are now equipped with digital projection systems including NEC 2K and 4K projectors Doremi servers and Unique TMS. In addition Cinesa will equip its cinemas with satellite delivery which will allow distributors to deliver films directly to the cinemas and provides the opportunity to receive live 2D or 3D transmissions.
 
Serge Plasch CEO of dcinex said “This deal with Odeon UCI is really something special for us; we concluded many important VPF deals in the past and throughout the whole continent but this one is record-breaking and proves the acceptance of our expertise in the market.”
 Drew Kaza executive vice president of digital development for Odeon UCI said “We appreciate the efforts of dcinex in expanding the digital footprint throughout Europe and are looking forward to this partnership with them in the Spanish market where Cinesa is not only the biggest cinema chain but now the biggest all-digital cinema operator.”
  Christian De Stoop VPF sales director at dcinex added “Having already deployed 45 screens for UCI in Portugal we are thrilled to work with Odeon UCI once again and look forward to continuing our excellent business relationship in the digital era.”
 
The support services will be managed out of Liège in close cooperation with Cinesa’s local partner Suministros Kelonik. ,3540
Fox Releases Two Fall Features in Dolby Atmos Outfits Post Facility with Format,2012-09-15, Dolby Laboratories and Twentieth Century Fox have announced that two of the studio's fall 2012 releases Taken 2 (U.S. release October 5) and Chasing Mavericks (U.S. release October 26) will be mixed and released in Dolby Atmos the new audio platform. Anticipating additional Dolby Atmos titles Twentieth Century Fox is outfitting its Zanuck Theater post-production facility with Dolby Atmos capabilities. Dolby Atmos the latest sound technology from Dolby Laboratories delivers a more natural and realistic sound-field that moves sound around and above audiences transporting them into the onscreen adventure. Dolby Atmos transports audiences into the onscreen adventure with the most lifelike sensory experience ever offered in cinema said Doug Darrow senior vice president cinema Dolby Laboratories. Dolby Atmos will immerse moviegoers in the sounds of Istanbul's bustling streets in the action-packed Taken 2 and atop the big waves of Chasing Mavericks. Two acclaimed sound re-recording mixers will be at the helm of the Dolby Atmos mixes. Craig Henighan will mix Chasing Mavericks in Dolby Atmos; Chuck Michael will conduct the Dolby Atmos mix for Taken 2. According to Darrow Dolby has a long history of transforming and reinventing cinema sound and is attuned to the desires of both movie audiences and the creative community behind each film. Twentieth Century Fox and Dolby have had a long and trusted history together said Ted Gagliano president of post production Twentieth Century Fox. It is therefore not surprising to me that the breadth of Dolby's experience has given them a keen insight not just into the moviegoing experience but into the wants and needs of post-production. This has obviously greatly influenced the vision of Dolby Atmos. Fox looks forward to enriching the cinematic experience with this latest innovation from Dolby. ,3541
Doremi Introduces Two New Media Players,2012-09-15, Doremi has introduced two new media players designed to streamline operations and expand opportunities for digital cinemas and for the events and large venue markets. The LE100 live event player and the NP100 video player are each intended for specific markets. With the majority of the world’s movie screens now being digital the new LE100 live event player is designed to simplify the presentation of alternative content which has the potential to increase theatre usage and revenues. For occasions including opera sport live band performances and theatrical events the LE100 enables live 2D and 3D alternative content to be viewed by cinema audiences. The LE100 is a 1RU video streaming and playback device for digital cinema satellite distribution applications. It plays HD 4:2:0 files up to 50Mbps and has native support for files created with MPEG2 H.264 or VC-1 compression. It accepts transport streams via Gigabit Ethernet or DVB-S/S2 satellite input that can be decompressed in real time for baseband (HDMI / HD-SDI) playback. The incoming stream can also be recorded to the 1TB (40h) internal storage as a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for future playback. The NP100 video player is designed to provide the affordable versatile media playback of quality 2D and 3D required for markets including special events large venues museums theme parks and high-end digital signage. For these applications file-based workflows and high definition video are now the norm. Doremi’s NP100 allows the presentation of such high quality content that may be offered in many different forms from many different sources. Housed in a 1RU box it is an affordable versatile media player for SD and HD 4:2:0 files up to 1080p60 and 50Mbps and supports files created with MPEG2 H.264 or VC-1 compression. Supplied with Doremi Asset Manager software it can play almost any required file. Both the NP100 and LE100 have outputs that can include dual HDMI and dual 3GSDI and with support for full resolution 3D and can connect to most 2D and 3D displays including dual-projector setups. Control is via Ethernet and the included web interface provides easy-to-use device and playlist control. The web GUI is accessible from any computer on the network including laptops or tablets. Remote monitoring and control is available via the SNMP support. ,3542
Finish Adds Two FilmLight Baselight Systems,2012-09-15, Award-winning London post house Finish a specialist in 2D and 3D visual effects for commercials has broadened its service offering to include high-end color grading through the purchase of two Baselight systems from FilmLight. The company has also employed colorist Paul Harrison a veteran of MPC and The Mill. Harrison oversaw the technical and aesthetic design of two new purpose-built grading suites that along with the Baselight Twos features a Baselight Assist and FilmLight’s revolutionary Blackboard 2 control surface. The addition of color grading via Baselight allows Finish to offer a complete and highly efficient solution to a client base that includes some of the top advertising agencies in London and across Europe. “Our recent move to new premises gave us the physical space to add grading something we have wanted to offer to our clients for some time ” says Finish co-founder Justine White. “The affordability of Baselight and Paul coming on board made everything fall in place at the perfect time.” Harrison has already used Baselight to grade commercials for Coke Zero Sol Beer and Goodyear as well as a music video for Scottish pop singer Emeli Sandé. Twice named Best Colorist at the British Television Advertising Awards Harrison is a long-time Baselight user. “Over the past several years the system has grown faster by leaps and bounds ” he says. “It can handle any file format that’s thrown at it. With so many formats in use today it is essential to have a grading system that can cope with whatever comes through the door.” Finish’s new Baselights are linked to a central server via 10-gig Ethernet connection allowing Harrison to collaborate seamlessly with the facility’s team of visual effects artists. Complementing Baselight TWO with a Baselight Assist results in a highly efficient workflow as the latter can be used for rendering and for accommodating editorial changes and other routine tasks. Harrison is also enthusiastic about Blackboard 2. “The software has been written expressly for the surface ” he explains “so controls that you previously had to dig for are on top and accessible.” The emphasis on quality and creativity that has made Finish one of London’s top boutique post-production service providers is clearly evident in its new Baselight grading service. “Everything we have done here is top notch ” Harrison insists. “We are a very slick professional outfit and it’s reflected in our choice of equipment. It shows how serious we are about the work we do.” ,3544
Winners Named for 2012 HPA Engineering Excellent Award,2012-09-15, The Hollywood Post Alliance has announced the 2012 recipients of the organization’s HPA Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters Show. The winners Sony Electronics Cinnafilm Dolby Laboratories and Crossroads Systems were selected from a large and varied field of technology offerings. The coveted honor is an integral part of the HPA Awards which have become the standard by which creative and technical excellence in the art science and craft of post-production is measured. The 2012 HPA Engineering Excellence Award will be bestowed upon its recipients at a gala event scheduled for November 1 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Leon Silverman president of the Hollywood Post Alliance said “The Engineering Award not only represents the creativity of technology and technical innovation but also helps to enable the creative power of our artistic community. The products and processes that we honor with this award continue to demonstrate the important engineering work that is done ‘behind our industry’s scenes and screens.’ The HPA Engineering Award has become a mark of excellence within our post production community and we are proud to honor these organization with the recognition they have earned through hard work and achievement.” The winners of the 2012 HPA Engineering Excellence Award: Cinnafilm – Tachyon Tachyon the world’s first Standards Transcoder was created to eliminate time-consuming trips to/from SDI hardware when high quality conversions are needed in transcoding workflows. Broadcasters and web/mobile media content providers can leverage Tachyon to simultaneously perform the most complex cadence corrections mixed mode normalizations repair compositing errors and perform standards conversions while simplifying workflows and dramatically decreasing processing times. Crossroads Systems – Strong Box StrongBox is a file-based and fully portable storage solution for long-term data retention. The enterprise-level solution is the first to leverage Linear Tape File System (LTFS) technology combining the scalability of tape with the speed and accessibility of disk. Crossroads believes StrongBox is the industry’s most cost-effective answer to ever-growing data storage requirements seamlessly scaling for today while future proofing for tomorrow. Dolby Laboratories – Dolby Atmos Dolby Atmos delivers a more natural and realistic listening experience that moves sound around and above audiences transporting them into the onscreen adventure. It provides content creators with a new creative freedom to tell their stories and simplifies movie distribution with a single universal package to deliver to audiences the full impact of the artist's intent regardless of theatre configuration. Sony Electronics – F65 Camera Sony Electronics F65 CineAlta digital motion picture camera system derives true 4K resolution using a unique 8K CMOS sensor that has higher resolution increased exposure latitude and wider color gamut than any previous digital motion picture camera.  As part of an overall camera system based on Sony’s SRMASTER open platform the F65 is the gateway to an end-to-end 4K file-based mastering workflow. The F65 camera is currently in use shooting several motion picture and episodic TV productions.   Crossroads Systems is honored to receive a 2012 HPA Engineering Excellence Award for its StrongBox data archive product said David Cerf executive vice president of corporate and business development at Crossroads. This recognition from HPA underscores the impact that StrongBox can have in the media and entertainment industry.” The HPA is committed to supporting total workflows from lens to screen said Joel Ordesky marketing manager at Sony Electronics’ Professional Solutions of America group. “This is also a critical goal for Sony as we continue to develop our own 4K production technologies. The F65 camera system was designed to give production professionals not only the highest quality imaging but also a total and effective workflow solution from content creation through post-production. We’re proud to have our efforts recognized with an HPA Engineering Excellence Award.” Lance Mauer CEO Cinnafilm said “It is an honor to be considered for the HPA Engineering Excellence Award and to win is truly amazing.  We have worked tirelessly on Tachyon because we believe firmly in the importance of providing high quality standards and format conversions within the file-based transcoding workflow. To receive an award from distinguished industry peers at the HPA gives us validation that our research and vision really do matter.” “Dolby’s many years of engineering research and understanding how people perceive sound has led to a significant milestone in the development of Dolby Atmos. To have the Hollywood Post Alliance recognize this achievement is a true honor for Dolby engineers and scientists as well as the many people in the content creation community who helped us develop this new audio platform that will change the way people experience entertainment sound forever ” said Doug Darrow senior vice president cinema Dolby Laboratories.