HPA Names Engineering Excellence Award Winners

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Tue, 09/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The Hollywood Post Alliance has announced the recipients of the organization’s Engineering Excellence Award.  The coveted honor sponsored by NAB Show is intended to showcase and reward inventors manufacturers vendors and/or peer post-production companies for their outstanding product or technology application offerings. The Engineering Excellence Award is a central 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.   To enter the Engineering competition companies had to submit a written description followed by a presentation to an expert panel of judges. The Engineering Award presentations and blue-ribbon judging session were held earlier this month at LaserPacific. This lively session played host to some of the most significant new technologies currently on the market. Entries of either a product or process had to represent a significant step forward for post-production industry beneficiaries and could be submitted by an individual group or company. Leon Silverman president of the Hollywood Post Alliance says “The focus of the  HPA Awards  is to celebrate creativity throughout our post production industry and the Engineering Award remains at the center of these honors. We are proud to draw attention to the creativity of our technology community whose tools and technology enables preserves and allows audiences to celebrate the incredible work of our industry’s artists.” The winners of the 2011 HPA Award for Engineering Excellence include: Dolby Professional Reference Monitor Filling the gap left by the CRT the Dolby PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor is the first display capable of displaying the full dynamic range contrast ratio color gamut of leading edge digital cameras and film stocks and fully supports today’s digital work flows. The monitor delivers true blacks with exceptional dark detail high contrast wide dynamic range and precise color rendering. IBM Linear Tape File System The IBM Linear Tape File System was invented by IBM Research to provide a simple cost efficient way to access and manage massive archives of data and digital assets. Lightcraft Previzion A real time visual effects system that incorporates a combination of high precision camera tracking sophisticated rendering and VFX quality keying which makes it ideal for the real time on-set compositing of live action virtual backgrounds and CGI characters. The system provides filmmakers with the ability to create visual effects shots with dynamic camera moves and actually see the completed effects during the shot. Sony OLED Monitor The organic light emitting diode technology for reference monitoring is a panel and processor system that is practical for media production applications. The development involved significant investment in two factories and has resulted in delivering seven different monitor models. “We are honored to receive the award for Engineering Excellence from such a significant and influential organization as the Hollywood Post Alliance. It is a testament to the quality of our monitor and illustrates Dolby’s commitment to helping content creators produce the best possible entertainment content ” says Bill Admans director of production and post-production solutions Dolby Laboratories. IBM is proud to be recognized for our creation and design of the Linear Tape File System. This unique technology can help customers simplify their use of tape for storing data and video assets leveraging the low cost rugged portable efficient and long retention aspects of tape storage says Steve Canepa general manager global media & entertainment industry IBM. We’re very honored to receive the Engineering Excellence Award. The HPA Tech Retreat was where Lightcraft first demonstrated Previzion to the Hollywood community and to come full circle and be recognized by the HPA is extremely gratifying. We look forward to relentlessly improving Previzion's capabilities and to expanding what is possible in entertainment production ” says Eliot Mack co-founder Lightcraft Technology. Gary Mandle senior product manager Sony Professional Solutions of America says “We are all honored that HPA would present Sony with this award. There were so many engineers and scientists involved in the development who really don’t get the recognition they deserve. This award is for them and the great achievement that they have accomplished.” Last year’s winners of the Engineering Excellence Award included Alexa by Arri; Image Systems (formerly Digital Vision) for the Open EXR workflow; and Cine-tal for their Davio processor.   The HPA Awards will take place on the evening of November 10th at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Tickets for the HPA Awards can be purchased online at www.hpaawards.net. ,2724
Scorsese's Hugo First to Use New Cooke Lenses,2011-09-14, Martin Scorsese’s eagerly anticipated 3D film Hugo is the first production to use all three families of Cooke lenses: 5/i S4/I and Panchro/i. It is also the first major motion picture shot with 5/i lenses (closely followed by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris) and the first major film to use /i Technology (metadata) and Transvideo CineMonitor HD 3D View /i monitors. Gregor Tavenner first camera assistant to DP Robert Richardson ASC says “We heard about the 5/i lenses so we decided to take a look at them at Clairmont Camera. They were absolutely gorgeous; they had a beautiful feeling. We ended up taking three sets together with S4/i and Panchros and what we saw was incredible consistency.” In an email to Cooke Optics about the 5/i lenses Tavenner added “I hope you can feel as proud [of the images] as I do – it’s just a marvelous lens you made! Please show this to those involved with the 5/i project: they need to know how beautiful the images are from their lenses...and in marriage with the Alexa!  What a combo.” Additional firsts’include the fact that Hugo which is based on the Brian Selznick book The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the first project shot in 3D by Martin Scorsese and Richardson and the first major 3D movie shot with ARRI Alexa cameras.

The film is now in the final stages of post and is due for release in late November. ,2725
IDC Introduces Superflex Pro Cinema Event Player,2011-09-14,International Datacasting Corporation has introduced the Superflex Pro Cinema Event Player for high frame rate 2D and 3D digital cinema distribution. According to IDC the Pro Cinema Event Player delivers significant image quality improvements for live alternative content and reduces the cost for theatre owners wanting to distribute 2D and 3D live content to numerous screens within a multiplex. IDC is ahead of the curve in innovation with this new technology supporting 60fps for 2D and 3D content distribution. The Pro Cinema Event Player is our response to the evolving needs of the digital cinema industry says Frederick Godard president and CEO IDC. This technology enables theatre owners to maximize revenue streams while minimizing content distribution costs. Cinemas can now enhance their alternative content choice and image quality thereby expanding their audience reach. The Pro Cinema Event Player includes integrated Sensio 3D technology. Sensio is proud to be associated with this latest innovation from International Datacasting says Nicholas Routhier president and CEO. We have been collaborating in the development of solutions for live 3D events in cinemas since 2007. International Datacasting Corporation www.datatcast.com ,2726
Death of a Forest Named Finalist at IFFF,2011-09-14, The documentary Death of a Forest explores how warmer winters are allowing pine beetles to survive in higher numbers and as a result kill millions of acres of pine tree forests in the western United States and Canada. The project was named a Finalist in the Shorts category at the 2011 International Forest Film Festival a collaboration between the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival based in Jackson Hole Wyoming. 
 Mike Pellegatti who runs Phoenix-based Wild Visions shot Death of a Forest over several years across the region. Pellegatti would go to the same locations year after year to collect wildlife stock footage for his clients and noticed that more areas of forest were dying over time. “I just started documenting little bits of it ” he recalls. “I had no intention to do anything with it.”
Last fall however he heard about the film competition and Pellegatti who tries to limit his own impact on the environment decided it was an important story to tell. With only a month to produce the short he and writer Lance Schelvan were able to develop a script and edit together video footage from Pellegatti’s extensive catalog including an interview with Dr. Jesse Logan who had worked as a research entomologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Interior West Bark Beetle Project. Encouraged by his success at the IFFF Pellegatti is now hoping to produce an hour-long documentary on the subject. 
While Pellegatti has used many cameras to shoot stock footage including a JVC GY-HD200U for some of the older shots in Death of a Forest his camera of choice these days is the JVC GY-HM700U. Unlike some cameras which he considers far too menu driven he said the lightweight ProHD camera has easily accessible controls. “Everything is where it needs to be I don’t have to hunt for anything ” he says. “Because of its size it’s easy to stop along the trail and take shots. It’s built like a production camera should be.”
Pellegatti says the camera has functioned well in weather extremes from the -20 degree cold climates of the Rocky Mountains to the 112-degree desert heat of Arizona and the humidity of Panama. With no tape mechanism to maintain he says the GY-HM700U has eliminated significant operational issues and maintenance costs. Plus he says it is easy to work with the SDHC media cards and they have eliminated the dropouts associated with videotape. “The integration with the .MOV files and Final Cut Pro is really pretty sweet ” says Pellegatti. JVC Professional Products Company http://pro.jvc.com Wild Visions www.wildvisions.net ,2728
Les Cinémas RGFM Quebec Now All Digital,2011-09-14,Les Cinémas RGFM a leading Quebec independent movie chain is now 100 percent digital at its 23 first-run screens following the installation of Christie digital projectors.   The chain is using Christie CP2000 Christie CP2210 and Christie CP2220 projectors which were installed over the past two years with no disruption to operations.   A family business spanning three generations Marcel Venne president and Réjane Angers vice president in Joliette founded Les Cinémas RGFM in 1972. It has since grown to serve three regions with full-service first-run cinemas as well as some drive-in and revival locations. Sons Frédéric and Guillaume grew up in the business and are now partners and associates.   “We have always focused on friendly service and professional presentation ” says Marcel Venne. “Christie’s digital projectors and expertise in installation and support are helping us continue to give our customers the best experience available.”   Dave Muscat senior director of sales Christie Canada says “Christie is pleased to have been entrusted with a key part of RGFM’s ongoing efforts to be at the top of their game in their market. Our track record for delivering state-of-the-art equipment backed by unmatched customer service and maintenance has gained Christie more than 90 percent of Canada’s digital cinema exhibition market with RGFM being the latest addition.”   Christie Digital Systems www.christiedigital.com ,2729
Lightstorm and Christie Sign Five-Year Deal to Collaborate,2011-09-14, In a move designed to accelerate the development and adoption of next-generation 3D digital cinema Christie and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment have signed a milestone five-year agreement to exchange research testing development and technical support on the industry's most exciting new technology. The companies say that the cooperation between them heralds a significant shift in how movies will be made and shown in theatres. 

 “I selected Christie for this journey of discovery because the company is fully committed to my vision and shares my dedication to continually push the boundary of digital cinema ” says Cameron.  “Lightstorm is committed to realising the full potential of 3D and high frame rate technology to fully immerse audiences in the world of the movie before them ” says Craig Sholder vice president Christie Entertainment Solutions division. “This alliance promises to spark a new wave of excitement creativity and innovation in film-making that will provide audiences with an unparalleled sense of total immersion in the movie-viewing experience.” 
 As part of its agreement with Lightstorm Christie will supply the latest Solaria Series of 3D-capable projectors ongoing access to emerging research and development on 3D and input into Lightstorm’s engineering related to 3D and high frame rate innovation. Christie will also assist in outfitting Cameron’s new production facilities including two screening rooms that will serve as virtual production sites for the next two installments of Avatar the most successful film in history using ground-breaking 3D technology from Cameron.  In exchange Lightstorm will share with Christie its findings into 3D high frame rates and the enhancements format and color space requirements for achieving the optimal viewing experience. This knowledge in turn will be used to enhance Christie's 3D technology as it relates to desirable projector and server functionality as well as help Christie create market-leading tool kits for exhibition and post-production markets and applications. Lightstorm will provide sample content for testing and demonstration of technical enhancements for the overall promotion of Christie's 3D technology. 

 Adds Cameron: “At CinemaCon Christie projectors were critical in helping me to demonstrate higher frame rates of up to 60 frames per second which dramatically improves the viewing experience. Most importantly Christie engineers share the same passion for perfection for continuously raising the standard of excellence that I do. I have full confidence that this collaboration will yield exceptional results.”  “With the right server technology our Series 2 projectors are already fully capable of being upgraded to deliver higher frame rates. Further collaboration will provide us with a wealth of information from Cameron’s award-winning production studio that will allow us to rapidly advance our pace of innovation in the development of 3D ” says Sholder. “Cameron demands – and delivers – nothing less than perfection in all of his movies which do more than break global box office records. They are true cultural phenomena that mark new milestones in visual entertainment.”  The Lightstorm and Christie agreement also provides Lightstorm with 24/7 access to the Christie Network Operations Center call center support and replacement parts that are included in all of Christie’s warranty services to all exhibitors. ,2730
Barco Gets New Contract from Malco,2011-09-14, Barco has been awarded an order for another 120 projectors completing Malco's conversion of its entire circuit to digital. Expanding upon its long-term partnership with Malco Barco will install both 2K and 4K models. Malco will also install a dual-stack 4K projector at its flagship Paradiso cinema in Memphis Tennessee to create a premium giant screen 3D experience for its loyal patrons.  

“We've enjoyed a very successful history with Barco collaborating with them on new features and serving as a beta site for emerging technologies so we know we're getting the best and brightest projectors with the lowest total cost of ownership ” says Bobby Levy executive vice president of Malco. “We are continually striving to elevate the cinema experience and with Barco's outstanding projectors and support we can offer our patrons the ultimate in movie presentation.”  

Malco has a Cinedigm's long-term VPF agreement via an exhibitor-buyer deal structure which enables the exhibitor to recoup most of its costs – including financing fees – associated with the deployment. 

“We're honored to complete Malco's digital cinema deployment and share their enthusiasm in becoming a 100 percent digital circuit so they can enjoy Barco's superior image quality world-record brightness 24/7/365 customer support and the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry ” says Patrick Lee vice president digital cinema for Barco North America. 

Method Opens Facilities in Australia,2011-09-14, Method Studios the visual effects group within the Deluxe Entertainment Services Group has announced the addition of three facilities in Australia further expanding Method's already established network of studios in Los Angeles Vancouver New York and London. Feature work being completed across the Method brand includes Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Fox directed by Timur Bekmambetov) Dark Shadows (Warner Bros. directed by Tim Burton) Clash of the Titans 2: Wrath of the Titans (Warner Bros. directed by Jonathan Liebesman) and J. Edgar (Warner Bros. directed by Clint Eastwood).

 Joining the group under the Method banner is a brand new commercial facility in Sydney's fashionable waterside district of Walsh Bay and the Deluxe owned and operated commercial post-production business in Melbourne previously known as MRPPP and Sydney-based feature visual effects studio at Lane Cove previously operating as CIS-Postmodern.

 Uniting our Australian visual effects businesses under the Method Studios brand paves the way for those creative facilities to work together even more synergistically says Stefan Sonnenfeld president of Deluxe Creative Services. It's our plan to continue to increase the level of collaboration among all the creative facilities within Deluxe's global network to further benefit our clients both creatively and financially wherever they may be.  Method Studios in Australia launches with a team that is already well known in the local Australian and Asian markets says Dan Glass Method Studios' executive vice president senior visual effects supervisor. We share the same goals of a strong creatively driven brand and will be working together to build on our creative and technical resources for both commercials and feature films. Being part of Method's international network means we can really raise the bar creatively for local clients says Alaric McAusland head of Deluxe in Australia. With the recent increase in the tax rebates for feature film production our international clients will also be able to get their visual effects done locally. This is a win-win situation for the creative community of Australia.

 The Method Australia feature visual effects facility will include a dedicated software team under Paul Ryan vice president of technology and former CTO of WETA the goal being the ability to share tools assets and shots across the facilities. The feature division also includes VFX supervisor James Rogers who has enjoyed close collaborations with filmakers such as Alex Proyas and Baz Luhrmann.

 Deluxe Entertainment Services Group www.bydeluxe.com Method Studios www.methodstudios.com ,2732
Summer Box Office Sets New Record,2011-09-14, The summer 2011 box office reached a new record of $4.4 billion reports the National Association of Theatre Owners. Summer admissions were up an estimated one percent over summer 2010 to 546 million. 2011 also marked the fifth consecutive summer in which box office revenues exceeded $4 billion. (Summer is defined as running from the first full weekend in May through Labor Day of each year.)

 NATO president and CEO John Fithian says “In the midst of nine percent unemployment and a continuing weak economy it is striking that the movie theater industry can continue to grow revenues and admissions. Along with our distribution partners movie theaters offer compelling entertainment in state-of-the-art facilities at reasonable prices. In a weak economy or strong the movie theater remains the first and most affordable choice in out-of-home entertainment.” Both box office and admissions have rebounded strongly since the difficult Q1 comparison with 2010. Second quarter box office outstripped the same quarter in 2010 by 4.4 percent. Admissions were ahead by two percent. The -21-percent first quarter gap has been nearly erased with year-to-date box office behind 2010 by only 4.3 percent and a likely very strong fall and holiday period ahead. ,2733
Open Road Licenses Cinedigm Distribution System,2011-09-14, Open Road Films will license Cinedigm's Theatrical Distribution System to serve as the platform to manage key aspects of Open Road’s theatrical distribution to its domestic territories. Cinedigm expects implementation will be completed in time to support Open Road’s first theatrical release Killer Elite which will be released nationwide on September 23.

 Open Road Films is a joint venture between the nation’s top two theatre operators AMC and Regal. The foray into the distribution business by these top exhibitors comes at a unique time in the entertainment industry as the number of major studio releases has declined over the years and there is an increased demand for content. “Tom Ortenberg and his entire Open Road team have been aggressive and forward-thinking since the day the company was announced ” says Chris McGurk CEO and chairman of Cinedigm. “Open Road Regal and AMC are breaking new ground in the industry and we are pleased to be a part of this history.” “It’s important that we have the most sophisticated and efficient software to track releases and maximize productivity ” says Elliot Slutzky executive vice president of distribution for Open Road Films. “Cinedigm's TDS system is a powerful solution designed specifically for movie distributors of all sizes making it the perfect choice for Open Road.” “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the veteran team at Open Road Films as they bring their unique vision to the theatrical marketplace ” says Jim Miller president of Cinedigm’s software division.  “We look forward to their insight and perspective as we innovate new technologies for the industry.”

 Cinedigm www.cinedigm.com Open Road Films www.openroadfilms.com ,2734
Optical Art Hamburg Upgrades 3D Capabilities,2011-09-14,Hamburg-based post-production house Optical Art has upgraded its f color-grading suite with a Kinoton Digital Cinema system to meet the demand for premium 3D services. The first project using the system is the animated feature Legends of Valhalla – Thor. The production system features a DCP 30 SX II digital cinema projector and a RealD 3D post-production kit. Thor an Irish-German co-production will be finished this year. The S3D projector closes the last gap in our workflow says Optical Art CEO Christian Burgdorff. We can now grade stereoscopic pictures for cinema and television and review our finished S3D digital cinema packages under realistic cinema conditions. Optical Art's services are now also available in Berlin. Optical Art Film und Special Effects http://www.optical-art.de ,2735
Polaroid Eyewear Launches Professional 3D Collection,2011-09-14, Polaroid Eyewear today announced the launch of the first two styles in its professional 3D eyewear collection. The Polaroid professional 3D collection which uses passive circular polarization has been specifically created for 3D professionals and producers of 3D content. These first two styles both have interchangeable lenses meaning that after work professionals can simply change the lenses and use them as sunglasses. The frames are produced using premium quality materials and precision making them both lightweight and robust. The lenses are produced using Thermofusion technology which is exclusive to Polaroid Eyewear and ensures distortion-free vision. Polaroid Eyewear already has a wide range of consumer 3D glasses on the market place which offer high quality and comfortable viewing and can be used with passive 3D systems such as RealD and MasterImage as well as a number of passive 3DTVs. Both the professional and consumer ranges have curved lenses which wrap around the sides of your face and therefore block out any excess light providing high contrast vision right across the lens. “Polaroid Eyewear’s entire range of 3D glasses combines stylish design and expert technology to deliver great quality passive circular-polarized 3D glasses ” says Eva Dudek marketing project manager Polaroid Eyewear. “With the professional range we have taken that one step further to give professionals extra comfort for long viewing periods as well as a picture-perfect 3D viewing experience.” The collection is due to be expanded shortly and will offer a choice of exclusive high quality styles. ,2736
SMPTE 2011 Focuses on 3D,2011-09-14,Presentations at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference will cover a number of significant developments related to 3D. The conference convenes at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel & Spa October 25-27. Mary-Luc Champel of Technicolor France will speak on the set-top-box as a possible new rendering platform. SMPTE member Mike Finegan of the USA will address 3D point-of-view videography for sporting events and Michael Watford Ciena Canada will talk about 1080p50/60 and beyond as network architectures for wideband video transport. For complete program and registration information click here www.smpte2011.org ,2738
Laika Options Wildwood for 3D Animated Feature,2011-09-14, The animation studio Laika has optioned Wildwood the debut HarperCollins children's novel written by Colin Meloy lead singer and songwriter for The Decemberists with illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis.  Travis Knight president and CEO of the animation studio made the announcement. Laika the Portland-based animation studio which produced the Oscar and BAFTA nominated feature film Coraline is currently in production on the 3D stop motion animated feature film ParaNorman. “Wildwood is a marvel an exquisite staggering and lyrical work of art ” says Knight.  “It’s an uncannily perfect fit for Laika commingling the time-honored qualities of classic fantasies and fairy tales with a bold contemporary sensibility.  Colin's captivating melodic prose and Carson's gorgeous spellbinding illustrations form a rich bounty of ideas language and imagery.  Wildwood is a wonderful work of literature and Laika is fully committed to honoring it with an exceptional groundbreaking film. Wildwood the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic wonder and danger set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland Oregon tells the story of Prue McKeel whose ordinary life is changed forever when her younger brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness an enchanted and forbidding forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in or at least returned to tell of it. Within this secret world Prue and her friend Curtis embark on a rescue mission and find themselves entwined in a violent struggle for freedom amidst warring creatures peaceable mystics and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. Wildwood filled with 85 intricate and beautiful illustrations by artist Ellis was published on August 30 by HarperCollins' Balzer + Bray imprint. Hands down there is no other movie studio in the entire world besides Laika that I would entrust Wildwood to ” says Meloy.  “Carson and I were prepared to stonewall any and all suitors for the movie rights so close was this book to our hearts. However when Laika came calling our defenses promptly came down. There is no doubt in my mind that they will come to this story with the passion imagination and general awesomeness required to make this book into a truly beautiful animated film. I'm a stop motion enthusiast ” says Ellis “and I've been a fan of Laika since we saw Coraline a couple of years back.  When we visited the studio and saw all the brilliant creative work happening there – someone building a waist-high New England village in painstaking detail someone else sewing pinhead-sized rivets on tiny blue jeans – we were won over completely.  It's an amazing place staffed by patient meticulous super-talented people who wouldn't work there if they didn't love stop-motion animation.  I'm so excited to see what Wildwood will look like in their hands.