Thinkbox Releases Krakatoa SR Particle Renderer 

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Thu, 03/28/2013 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Thinkbox Software has released Krakatoa SR a stand-alone version of Thinkbox Software's high-volume particle renderer for Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems that can be integrated with any 3D content creation application.

 Previously available for Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya 3D software Krakatoa is CPU-based highly optimized heavily multi-threaded and can be used successfully on most hardware running Windows or Linux operating systems including laptops and render nodes without dedicated high-end graphics accelerators. Krakatoa SR exposes both a Python-based interface and a C++ API to connect to various professional 3D applications such as The Foundry’s Nuke or Side Effects Software’s Houdini. 

“ We want artists to be able to deploy our tools in any way they can possibly imagine ” said Chris Bond founder Thinkbox Software. “Krakatoa SR enables even more applications to leverage our software’s powerful volumetric particle rendering capabilities and we’re eager to see what our clients produce once they start adopting it.” 

“ Integrating Krakatoa SR with our existing toolset was easy and we were able to get it rolling without much effort ” said Arun Ramasamy software engineer Anatomical Travelogue an award-winning creator of incredible high-end 3D visualizations based on actual human data. 
“We received constant support from the Thinkbox development team and it worked so well that we are developing Krakatoa into a functional particle rendering pipeline inside eyeon Software’s Fusion.” 

“Krakatoa SR allows us to exploit the power of the Krakatoa particle renderer through a ridiculously simple API ” added Sven Thomas software engineer  Anatomical Travelogue. We can just choose the channels we need stream the particles to the renderer and see the results at an amazing speed.”

 Haggi Krey visual effects supervisor at Ambient Entertainment has been using Krakatoa SR for work on the upcoming animated film Tarzan which is scheduled for release in 3D later in 2013. 

“When we switched our fluid pipeline to Naiad for Tarzan we had been searching for a way to do high quality particle rendering and were extremely excited to get our hands on Krakatoa SR ” Krey explained. “We were able to implement Krakatoa SR based on the open source OpenMaya framework and Partio library and now we can read any particle system from almost any software and render in Krakatoa. Without Krakatoa it would be impossible to get the required quality on some of our shots. ”

Krakatoa SR is compatible with the network rendering licenses used by the other Krakatoa implementations (Krakatoa MX and Krakatoa MY). ,3994
Finishing Fireside Chats,2013-04-02,Los Angeles based Whirled Creative recently turned to AlphaDogs once again to complete color and audio on the 30 second pre-roll for Fireside Chats With The President. “We already had a great experience with AlphaDogs colorist Sean Stack and positive results in the delivery of Google’s Zeigeist 2012 Year-In-Review so it was really a no-brainer that AlphaDogs was our facility of choice to complete the finish for Fireside Chats ” said executive producer Jenna Cedicci.  The first presidential hangout was held in January of 2012 where five people were selected to ask the president a question during a live Google hangout.  Brett Fallentine commercial director at Whirled Creative likened the event to FDR’s Fireside chats thus coining the term Fireside Hangouts. Cedicci and AlphaDogs colorist Sean Stack teamed up once again to decide the best approach for completing the finish on the picture. “Sean is a pleasure to work with. His knowledge and experience help us in achieving the best possible results ” said Cedicci. Fireside chats required Stack to work with footage from a variety of locations throughout the United States.  The clips included an urban street setting a University campus workers building a housing subdivision the view from inside a hotel room and finally a typical office. “This project was a great example on how important it is to communicate with the client ” said Stack.  “My first instinct was to have the shots flow together with consistent color tone from scene to scene. But that was the opposite of director Fallentine’s idea who chose those shots with the intention to have the viewer jump around from place to place all over America.”  To create the desired look and offer appeal to a variety of audiences Stack added different tones and contrasts to give each setting its own personality and feel. Stack comments “I may have gone down the wrong road without the consultation and discussion that took place with the director.” AlphaDogs junior mixer Curtis Fritsch was in charge of fixing some tricky audio clips that included various sound bytes from the original FDR Fireside Chats that spanned a little over a decade. Less than stellar quality of the radio recordings changes in FDR’s voice as he aged and evolving technology of the time period made fixing the audio particularly challenging. Cedecci was quick to recognize the audio mix could be a potentially time-consuming process. “ We alerted Curtis of the issue ahead of time and when we came in to start on the mix he had already smoothed it out considerably ” he said.  “He was very passionate about working on the project and we appreciated his attention to detail. The final result was clean concise audio and a beautiful picture.  We’ve had two solid experiences with AlphaDogs and look forward to using their services beyond audio and color for future projects.” ,3999
Getting Impossible Action Shots

,2013-04-02, Travis Burke is an outdoor and adventure photographer who yearns for point-of-view shots that are almost impossible to get. “I shoot action and adventure photography everything from base jumpers rock climbers race cars surfers skateboarders snowboarders pretty much anything outdoors ” he said. “I specialize in shooting things that are either action or adventure related.” Though he uses a fully outfitted zoom lens equipped DSLR for many of his shots his signature images are those that leave the viewer wondering “How did he do that?”

One key to his exciting point-of-view shots is the GoPro range of high definition cameras. But with a camera as tiny as GoPro he had to figure out how to get it in the right position pointed in the right direction. Burke had shopped around for years for an accessory to position the GoPro in unusual angles and closer to the action. Then he found the K-Tek Tadpoles. “When I finally found it it was like wow this is basically better than anything I had dreamed of or had tried to design myself ” he said. “They really went the extra step to make sure it had everything needed and was still the high quality that I had imagined.”

What kind of shots does Burke say the Tadpoles let him get? “Anything from holding it outside of a car going down the freeway to hanging it over a cliff to get pictures of base jumpers jumping off reaching out to get closer to rock climbers so you can see their faces and even to get shots of myself ” he said. “When I’m out photographing is not just about other athletes but I like to also show the things that I’m out there shooting. I’ll be mountain biking skateboarding and snowboarding along with the guys. Tadpoles let me shoot the others but also because it has an adjustable ball head on the top of the pole I can turn the camera whichever way I want even pointed back at me.”

 The K-Tek Tadpoles attach to Burke’s GoPro cameras via a standard quarter-20 threaded screw and the gimbal head at the end of the Tadpole allows him to easily position the GoPro at any orientation. “You move it and spin it and turn it in any direction you want and then with a quick tighten of one knob it will tighten to any position you’ve put it in.”

For all of his extreme-angle shots in difficult environments it’s important for Burke to be able to keep a hold on the Tadpole-mounted GoPro. “It’s really easy to grip and to hang on to even when you’re in a precarious position. With just one hand you can still hold it and have it fully extended and still feel safe that it’s not going to slip out of your hands.” ,4001
Melbourne Convention Center Upgrades Goes Green,2013-04-02,One of Australia’s foremost event venues Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center has upgraded its audio-visual capability while simultaneously enhancing its environmental credentials and is now the first Six Star Green Star environmentally rated convention center in the world. MCEC uses solar panels to provide 100 per cent of public amenity hot water requirements deploys radiant slab heating and cooling and has used low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) throughout its building for nearly four years. In keeping with the ‘green’ theme MCEC had environmental considerations on its agenda when it came to choosing its supplier of video projection technology. MCEC’s director of technology operations Michael Walsh said “We were really on the hunt for the right product for our customers. The projectors are part of a continuing investment in technology at MCEC to ensure that we keep meeting our customer’s needs and lead industry when it comes to new products and innovation.” MCEC boasts 52 meeting rooms of various sizes gala dinner space the Melbourne Room a spectacular entry-level foyer and a 5 500+ capacity plenary that can be divided into three self-contained acoustically separate theatres and 30 000 square meters of exhibition space. F35 and F85 projectors from projectiondesigns are now used in 24 rooms at the convention centre and six meeting rooms in the exhibition center– many with alternative pairings of projectors and screens so that they can be used as long deep rooms or as wide shallow spaces. MCEC’s technology services manager Paul Rumble says that environmental considerations were included in his team’s planning of the equipment upgrade. “We value the environment and seek ways to lead industry in all areas of our business. When it came to the procurement process parameters such as power consumption and lamp usage had to be identified for each model in the proposal as well as current replacement cost for servicing and replacement parts like lamps filters and coolant.” The projectors were supplied by the manufacturer’s Australia and New Zealand distribution partner Hills Sound Vision and Lighting Group and installed by local systems integration firm Rigoni Hall. Andrew Shearer brand manager AV at Hills says “In the summer of 2012 both projectiondesign and ourselves worked closely with Rigoni Hall in putting together a compelling offer for MCEC’s projector refresh. Among the key elements of our proposal were the ruggedness and reliability of the projectors’ DLP light-source technology the ability of the projectors to operate 24/7 without any variation in performance and their predictable cost of ownership.” Mike Hall of Rigoni Hall confirms the strength of the supply chain throughout the tender design and installation phases. “This project was supported by projectiondesign’s fantastic customer-centric service ethic and technical resources ” Hall says. “Our company has 32 years’ experience in audiovisual and related industries so we understand the importance of specifying leading-edge technology that is also robust and trustworthy. As well as powerful dynamic imagery and accurate color representation projectiondesign’s products represent a business philosophy that is all about professional integrity and high-quality service. Designed for 24/7 operation with no filters and a variant of UHPTM lamp technology to increase longevity the F35 and F85 projectors deliver outstanding reliability and performance as well as a low total cost of ownership to MCEC.” Jason Coy regional manager Australia & New Zealand at projectiondesign says “Our F35 is the world’s only WQXGA projector which because it offers almost double the pixel count of comparable units reduces the channel count in complex systems by up to half – and does much the same to operating costs. The other model used in Melbourne the F85 is our top-of-the-range DLP projector boasting 3-chip technology for the ultimate in brightness and industry-leading color performance. Both models of projector have already been well received by MCEC staff and their customers alike. This is a landmark installation for projectiondesign and we are delighted to support MCEC’s commitment to sustainable technology.” Images: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Center and Chris Holder Alchemedia ,4002
Christie Expands South American Presence,2013-04-02,Christie has expanded its presence in South America with the opening of its first office and showroom in São Paulo Brazil which was celebrated with a reception attended by customers and business partners of Christie Digital Systems South America and leading dignitaries of the Brazilian cinema exhibition industry. The opening is part of a wave of global expansion by Christie which includes new subsidiaries and offices in South Africa Australia and India during the past twelve months. Jack Kline president and CEO Christie Digital Systems USA said the opening of the São Paulo facility is critical in meeting the accelerating demand for Christie’s digital cinema ProAV  visualization and simulation solutions and services throughout South America especially in Brazil.  “The country of Brazil specifically is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and São Paulo is the ideal central geographic location from which to increase our share of the South America market and to provide in-region customer service and support most notably in the digital cinema market where we already have an established and growing customer base ” Kline added. Bruno Tavares general manager of Christie Digital Systems South America Ltda. said the new facility at Rua Gomes de Carvalho 1765 Suite 12 São Paulo will initially be headquarters to a dozen sales and service staff as well as showrooms and training rooms with many products including the DCI-compliant Christie Solaria One which is ideal for community theaters in emerging markets such as South America. Tavares told guests attending the opening ceremony “Christie projectors and other solutions have been in use in theaters throughout South America for years but with the move from film to the mandatory digital movie format we fully expect Christie to become the digital cinema supplier of choice.  As a consequence we have an option to expand in this same location in anticipation of Christie and its South American partners capturing increased market share in the region.” Among distinguished guests attending the opening ceremony and reception were national and local government dignitaries as well as blue chip representation from the Brazilian cinema industry headed by Manoel Rangel president of the Brazilian Motion Picture Agency. The guest list also had a strong representation from Christie’s key customers in Brazil including Luiz Severiano Ribeiro Neto from Kinoplex; Marcos Araújo Grupo Araújo de Cinemas; Adhemar Oliveira Grupo Espaço de Cinema; Marcos Barros Cinesystem; Gilmar Santo Cineflix; and Toninho Campos Roxy Cinemas. Several Christie business partners also attended the opening and tour of the new facilities including Lorenzo Garcia from Kelonik; Francisco Severino da Silva and Thiago Pereira from Santa Clara Poltronas; and Guillermo Younger Alex Younger and Guillermo Younger Jr. of CE+S. Christie has been active in Brazil through partners for many years and has sponsored key film festivals and industry conferences including the 6º Show de Inverno Campos do Jordão on April 25-27. ,4004
Cinedigm to Distribute SXSW Winner Short Term 12,2013-04-02,Cinedigm has acquired all North American and Latin American distribution rights to Destin Daniel Cretton’s 2013 SXSW Film Festival dual Grand Jury and Audience Award winner Short Term 12. Cinedigm plans to release the film theatrically in late summer with an eye towards awards for the film and its performances. Short Term 12 is the touching and uplifting story of Grace (Brie Larson) a twenty-something social worker who has channeled the demons of her own troubled past into a passion for helping at-risk teens. Her newest ward Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) forces Grace to relive her own difficult upbringing just as she and her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) are on the cusp of making a decision that will change their lives. This is writer/director Cretton’s second feature following the 2012 Sundance Film Festival selection I Am Not A Hipster.  The film also features Rami Malek and newcomer Keith Stanfield. Writer/director Cretton spoke with enthusiasm about his new partners “We all couldn't be more excited to be teaming up with the Cinedigm family to release this movie ” he said. “I feel very lucky to have found a company that shares our passion and vision for this story and can't wait for everyone to see the film. “ “Short Term 12 is an inspiring beautifully crafted film that represents the best of what American Independent cinema can be ” said Vincent Scordino vice president of theatrical acquisitions for Cinedigm. “This is a career-defining performance for Brie Larson and all of us at Cinedigm are supremely excited to share this incredible film with audiences everywhere. This is exactly the kind of film Cinedigm is looking to champion as we expand our theatrical presence.” Scordino negotiated the deal with Traction Media and Cinetic. Traction Media’s Maren Olson and Asher Goldstein produced alongside Joshua Astrachan of Animal Kingdom and independent producer Ron Najor. Executive producers are Frederick W. Green Douglas Stone and David Kaplan. Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom co-produced.  Animal Kingdom fully financed the feature. Cretton is represented by WME manager Jonathan Hung and Chad Christopher of SMGSB. ,4005
Schneider Optics Making Distributing Clairmont In-Camera Filter System for Alexa ,2013-04-02, Schneider Optics has announced that it is manufacturing and distributing an In-Camera Filter System developed by rental house Clairmont Camera for the Arri Alexa camera. Working closely with Schneider Clairmont Camera’s Andree Martin and Alan Albert designed custom assemblies that hold interchangeable Schneider filters in front of the Alexa’s CMOS sensor assembly.

 The kit includes a specially designed magnetic filter holder that replaces the light baffle in the Alexa camera. Once in place the assembly allows secure mounting and precise positioning of the specially manufactured ultra-precision Schneider filters.

Clairmont Camera’s CEO Denny Clairmont says the high light sensitivity of the Arri Alexa (600 ISO and beyond) makes use of neutral density filters particularly important. “One of the things cinematographers appreciate most about the Arri Alexa is the excellent light sensitivity. Working at higher ISO ratings can lead to lots of ND if you want to shoot wide open. The standard In-Camera Filter Kit consists of an in-camera filter holder with cover ring all required shims (to precisely compensate for the focus change resulting from the behind the lens filter) a filter installation tool and seven (7) mounted Schneider Ultra Precision Multi-Coated In-Camera Filters: Clear IRND .3 .6 .9 1.2 1.5 and 1.8.

With the new system a camera assistant can change the filters in a few minutes. When no filtering is desired a clear filter is used to precisely maintain focus.   All filters for the system are high-efficiency multi-layer coated to minimize flare and ghosting.

The In-Camera Filter Kit for the Alexa will interface with most PL lenses but is not compatible with Zeiss T2.1 16mm 24mm 32mm Arri Macro 16mm 24mm and 32mm as well as Cooke Series II and III 18mm 25mm and 32mm. Lens extenders may also interfere with the kit’s filters.

The Alexa In-Camera Kit is also available without filters so users may buy only the filters desired. Schneider Optics anticipates adding other popular filters to fit the kit such as the Black Frost.