On the Road with Napoleon

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Sun, 01/30/2011 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

Jim Carbonetti stereoscopic supervisor and compositor for 3D Blast in Los Angeles was recently tapped to guide the stereoscopic production for Napoleon 3D a new comedy starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Russian actress Anna Semenovich that brings an entirely new perspective to this legendary historic military conqueror. Using the latest version of Iridas Speedgrade 2010 on location during filming of Napoleon 3D in Kiev and Yalta Ukraine Carbonetti was able to quickly make adjustments and corrections to stereo footage. “We shot this 3D feature comedy with 2 sets of Red One MX-chipped cameras mounted on two Element Technica Quasar rigs. I was able to load raw 4K Red footage along with smaller HD stereoscopic files recorded on Convergent Design's NanoFlash recorders on my Windows7 3D laptop scrub through the clips checking alignment and other stereo settings while monitoring our live feed in our stereoscopic video village ” Carbonetti says. At one point halfway through production the producers needed a three-minute stereoscopic music video for presentation to distributors in eastern Europe. Our editor was set-up in our hotel conference room where he was cutting sequences on his Avid edit station. After exporting an EDL from the Avid and loading it into SpeedGrade 2010 we imported all the Cineform-mixed stereoscopic files directly into the timeline ” Carbonetti says. “I then synchronized and aligned each clip in the edit going quickly from cut- to-cut. Since I favor setting my convergence in post I was able to make all geometric corrections quickly allowing me more creative time to play with convergence to get it just right. I was portable; I had just a small RAID connected to my laptop in my hotel room where I was able to build adjust and render back out. Real time playback was not necessary but surprisingly I was able to play short sections at speed; I just needed to be able to quickly jump from cut-to-cut and work each shot. Color adjustments were mainly made using SpeedGrade’s new automatic color match feature [which was a] big time saver.” SpeedGrade 2010 plays an important role in Jim’s stereo pipeline today largely because his experience with Iridas and its early innovations in real time stereoscopic and HD playback tools goes back to 2002.  Much like with Napoleon 3D Carbonetti was faced with some significant challenges on a very high profile project with Paramount Theme Parks. My history with Iridas' stereoscopic software began eight years ago ” he says. “After principle photography was completed on Paramount Theme Parks' StarTrek: Borg Invasion 4D in late 2002 we needed a realtime stereoscopic HD playback solution as we began the post-production at Threshold Digital Research Labs in Santa Monica California. I had heard about FrameCycler DDS Bichannel (the predecessor to Speedgrade) and how it was able to playback dual streams of uncompressed HD content. We contacted [Iridas CEO] Lin [Sebastian Kayser] in Germany and he sent us a demo of the Bichannel software. We loaded it up on one of our Dual Xeon IBM workstations with an early Nvidia Quadro graphics card. We then plugged into twin linear- polarized projectors. The next thing I know we have full HD playback going.” “Paramount was thrilled to see our work on the big screen in real time. Reviewing shots on the big screen became such an important aspect for the artists; instant feedback allowed faster turnaround times for the work. That version of DDS BiChannel really pushed the envelope and allowed us to become one of only a few post houses equipped to playback dual stream HD stereo footage direct-from-disc. I remember the constant procession of producers and directors visiting our facility where we would showcase our latest stereoscopic magic all played back using Iridas' software.” “And ” Carbonetti says “from those early beginnings to the latest fully-developed Speedgrade 2010 incarnation the basic principles still exist: fast uncompressed dual-stream playback but now with the addition of a full DI color toolset compositing timelines and real time geometric adjustments. I'm amazed at where the software has grown in these eight years and I'm thrilled to be along for the ride. ,2197
NEC Awarding $100 000 in Products to Contest Winners,2011-01-31, NEC plans to award a total of $100 000 in NEC products through a series of new contests. Registrants of its Star Student (education) Business Advantage (small-to-medium businesses) Medical+ (healthcare) and Cinema Advantage (theatre) programs are each eligible to win $25 000 for their respective facilities.

 Besides registering in the NEC marketing program for which it qualifies each participating organization must complete a registration form and upload a two-to-three-minute video detailing why its classroom office lobby or theatre needs a technology makeover.  The deadline for photos and video entries is February 28. 

 “The makeover phenomenon on television and the Internet has really struck a chord with people so we wanted to give our valued customers the opportunity to showcase the energy they exhibit each and every day to succeed ” says Ashley Flaska vice president of marketing at NEC Display. “Successful organizations put their creative hats on to inspire students turn prospects into advocates and assist patients in their respective fields so we’re looking forward to channeling that creativity into some very compelling entries.”   

 The top five entries in each marketing program will be chosen by NEC judges and then posted on NEC’s website for public voting between March 7 and March 31.

 Winners will be announced in April. In addition runners-up in all four categories will each be awarded a 32-inch NEC E321 LCD display for their respective schools offices medical facilities or theatres.

 For more information on participating please visit www.necdisplay.com/25KGiveaway/. ,2199
Singapore’s VHQ Installs Pandora Revolution Express,2011-01-31, Singapore post house VHQ has selected Pandora's Revolution Express to anchor the company's color correction workflow from ingest to deliverables. Along with YoYo software included with the Revolution Express package VHQ now has data workflow for all file formats crucial for the volume of work required of a modern facility.

 We chose the system because we knew we were going to be getting more and more digital formats like Red and Phantom says Billy Fong producer and technical manager at VHQ. We wanted a simple streamlined way to process those file formats for postproduction and grading on our Pandora system. Founded in 1984 VHQ is one of the region's leading media and post-production companies and now has facilities across Asia in Kuala Lumpur Jakarta and Shanghai. The company has won numerous awards for groundbreaking work in film broadcast and commercials.

In 2008 VHQ invested in a new Pandora Revolution color corrector. Since then the facility has seen a sharp increase in file-based projects especially with the rise of the Red camera so the need for data management for a wide range of file formats was clear.

 In 2010 VHQ decided to ramp up their data pipeline with the Revolution Express kit. This upgrade includes the YoYo file management software and Pandora's proprietary PCI card. The PCI card is installed in the Mac Pro running YoYo and formats data for the color corrector in real time. With the Revolution Express configuration VHQ can now plug in a Firewire drive containing Red footage for example and stream the material directly through the Pandora Revolution applying color grading straight off the disk to DPX and any number of other file formats. 

 This saves VHQ an incredible amount of time that would otherwise be required to prep the material says Adam Welsh sales manager for Pandora/YoYotta. The system has no ingest requirement and conforms & converts from R3D to DPX with colour in real time. On top of that it can handle multi-format mixed timelines including Phantom Arri ProRes and others. With the Revolution Express you just get straight to work.”  

 We looked at a number of other options but found they did not offer the efficiency and flexibility of the Revolution Express with integrated YoYo combination says Fong from his office in Singapore. We're in the process of consolidating all of our storage on a central server and we find the Mac platform easier for mounting different drives or media. Plus YoYo's working directory is on the same server so we don't have to keep copying content from one drive to another which makes it more efficient.

 The Revolution Express has become our turnaround system Fong says. You could do many of these functions using various other tools and plug-ins but it's so much more streamlined if you can do it all in one sweep. We're already using YoYo on almost every project to prepare files add timecodes and export media. VHQ is one of the industry leaders in Southeast Asia says Welsh. We're delighted they chose to join the growing number of facilities around the globe who are rediscovering Pandora for managing their data workflows.
 Pandora International www.pandora-int.com