LaserPacific Forms New Business Unit for Digital Mastering

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Wed, 11/19/2008 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

LaserPacific Media Corporation has announced the formation of a new team and business unit to focus on digital motion picture mastering and re-mastering. With this expanded capability LaserPacific CEO Brian Burr also announced the appointment of Ron Burdett as general manager of the mastering unit and Lou Levinson as the supervising colorist - mastering among others. Burr says the company has added some of the industry's most capable and accomplished operations and creative talent to its team. There is no doubt that Ron Burdett brings incredible perspective and experience to the task of creating motion picture masters with more than 25 years as a post production industry pioneer he says. Ron literally helped invent the mastering business. Having a world-class talent such as Lou Levinson lead our creative efforts allows us to keep the needs and viewpoint of the creative community firmly in our sights. While technology will be an important component of our service delivery and we certainly intend to bring our unique color management and innovation legacy to this space having an expert such as Lou guide our creative hand as we make technology decisions will truly put the focus on our customer's product. LaserPacific's entry to this business compliments its already fully-staffed and integrated digital intermediate home video delivery and motion picture trailer operations and anticipates the industry's current focus on re-mastering for Blu-ray and the creation of other high-quality digital masters. In explaining the strategy behind the expansion of LaserPacific's mastering capabilities President Leon Silverman says LaserPacific is fully engaged and ready to meet the coming challenge of helping to prepare motion picture libraries for the era of digital file-based deliveries and to create suitable masters for new digital distribution opportunities. To that end we have expanded our team to include some of the industry's most-seasoned and accomplished operations and creative talent as we continue to build out infrastructure and capability to meet the demand. Burdett who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Post Alliance is known for the leadership roles he has played in post-production for more than 25 years. As founder and owner of Sunset Digital he helped to create the modern motion picture mastering and restoration industry infrastructure. He also led efforts to create digital authoring and encoding facilities for DVD and other new digital media as well as building one of the industry's first digital cinema mastering environments. To be part of LaserPacific with its history of technical excellence and innovation backed by Kodak which is so important to our industry is a great career highlight says Burdett. We are building a team with capabilities that are second to none and to have someone of the caliber and talent of Lou Levinson to lead our creative efforts is powerful. Levinson a world-famous colorist's colorist received an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. He has distinguished himself over his career as someone whose creative eye and point of view has helped to guide the likes of directors Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson cinematographers Vittorio Storaro Janusz Kaminski Allen Daviau and many others as they created digital masters of their cinematic images. His considerable credits include digital masters for such important culturally iconic motion pictures as Apocalypse Now E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Saving Private Ryan Forrest Gump Schindler's List Jurassic Park Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and many others. Levinson has played a number of important leadership roles within the industry including helping to create the Standard Test Evaluation Materials (SteM) which served as the definitive reference for the evaluation of digital cinema systems and standards. In addition Levinson chairs the Digital Intermediate Sub-Committee of the American Society of Cinematographers Technology Committee where he plays a pivotal role. His contributions to what has become the de-facto industry color metadata system the ASC CDL (Color Decision List) are widely acknowledged. I am honored and excited to join LaserPacific and to help them create a team and a creative/technology point of view at this very important time in our industry Levinson says. The film-based images of our industry need to be prepared for new digital technologies and I am proud to help LaserPacific and Kodak ensure that those images are true to their creative intent and represented in the highest possible quality. Additionally LaserPacific has also brought on important members to this new unit including mastering colorist Tom Forletta who has 13 years of mastering experience specializing in both motion picture and television titles such as digital restoration on titles such as Remains of the Day Bugsy and the digital re-mastering of the original Star Trek television series adds another level of depth to this growing team. Forletta joins such seasoned colorists as LaserPacific's senior digital intermediate colorists Dave Cole and Mike Sowa who will participate in the mastering operations. Cole's credits include Lord of the Rings and King Kong; Sowa provided his mastering skills on Brokeback Mountain Pleasantville and the Austin Powers series. Sowa is a protégée of Levinson whom he worked alongside at the industry-pioneering High Definition Center at Universal Studios. Also joining the expanded new unit is veteran quality assurance specialist Fred Johannsen and David Houck who will head mastering client services. Johannsen comes to LaserPacific with significant experience in quality control and total quality management specifically geared to the QC of master and element deliveries for many post facilities over the past 10 years. Houck has 20 years of post-production experience and has looked after mastering clients and motion picture library servicing work for many of the major Hollywood studios. Burr who in addition to his role as CEO of the company also oversees company operations as the company's chief operation officer sums up LaserPacific's aggressive mastering moves when he says It should be apparent by the team we are building and the infrastructure we are creating that we intend to be a significant world-class player in the mastering and 're-mastering' business. As a Kodak company it is essential for us to play a leadership role in preserving our film heritage for the future. ,548
Peace Arch Entertainment to Receive Government Funding,2008-11-20,Peace Arch Entertainment Group an integrated global entertainment company has announced that Telefilm Canada has made Peace Arch Releasing eligible for the Canadian Feature Film Marketing Fund. The federal culture agency’s official recognition of Peace Arch’s theatrical distribution arm will permit the company to seek financial support for the domestic release of Canadian-produced films. Dedicated to the development and promotion of the nation’s audiovisual industry Telefilm Canada provides the private sector financial support to create distinctive Canadian film productions appealing to domestic and international audiences. “We are very excited to start this new relationship with Telefilm and help drive Canadian box office results ” says Berry Meyerowitz president of Peace Arch Home Entertainment which oversees the company’s theatrical releasing activities in Canada.  “We will work with Canadian filmmakers to exploit their films across all media in Canada as well as in the United States and all foreign territories.” Since entering the theatrical distribution business in late 2007 Peace Arch has released eight films in Canada. The latest is the critically acclaimed JCVD starring Jean-Claude Van Damme which debuted last month in Canada and 20-plus U.S. markets. More than a dozen new releases are also planned for 2009 and beyond.   Peace Arch Entertainment   ,550
S3 Entertainment Group Yessian Music/Dragon Licks Create Michigan Music Licensing
,2008-11-20, S3 Entertainment Group of Ferndale Michigan has teamed up with Yessian Music/Dragon Licks Detroit to form Michigan Music Licensing. S3 managing partner Jeffrey Spilman and Yessian president Michael Yessian jointly made the announcement.

Michigan Music Licensing will provide clients with a one-stop solution to license enhance edit mix or rearrange songs for feature film and television productions. The company will now offer productions the highest tax incentive in the country an average of 40 percent when utilizing their Michigan-based music and licensing. Michigan Music Licensing identifies the best tracks and artists for production needs; composes original songs or covers of existing tracks; creates and maintains promotional alliances; backs every step with research and a creative strategy; and enhances tracks to fit individual picture needs.

Michigan Music Licensing says it has collected some of the hottest indie and renowned talents in the music industry and made them available to the world of film television advertising and video games. The company has sought out and continues to seek out artists and bands for exclusive licensing for their pre-recorded songs as well as for assignments to create original compositions for media entities.

“Yessian /Dragon Licks brings decades of licensing experience and widespread sound design opportunities to our clients ” says Spilman. “With Michigan becoming a hotbed for filmmakers creating a service that provides music licensing in Michigan is a natural next step for both S3EG and Yessian Music/Dragon Licks.”

 “Michigan Music Licensing is an ideal venture for our current and potential clients as well as our employees ” says Yessian. “We have proven relationships working with labels and production studios across the country and now we can bring the bulk of our work and new opportunities to our team in Michigan while continuing to offer our clients wonderful products and incentives.” S3 Entertainment Group ,551
Schneider Introduces Century HD Lens Add-ons for Sony PMW-EX3
 ,2008-11-20, Schneider Optics has introduced a line of Century HD lens add-ons for Sony's new PMW-EX3 camcorder. These attachments are designed to expand the capabilities of the Fujinon 14x lens supplied with the camera. Operators can increase the field of view with no loss of ability to zoom instantly shift the focal range to telephoto when needed or enjoy the ultra wide angle of view and remarkable barrel distortion of the widest fisheye. 

 The Century .75X HD Wide Angle Converter is a newly designed lighter weight optical tool that is ideal for shooting situations that require both a wider angle of view and full zooming capabilities. It attaches neatly to the front of the lens to offer 25 percent more coverage when set to wide angle telephoto or anywhere in between. Other Century accessories for the PMW-EX3 include the .6X HD Wide Angle Adapter 1.6X HD Tele-Converter Super Fisheye HD Adapter and the Extreme Fisheye HD Adapter.

 Schneider Optics ,552
IndiePix Offers Katrina Documentary Free to Schools Libraries,2008-11-20, IndiePix has announced that following its partnership with The Cinema Guild earlier this year The Axe in the Attic a candid documentary that captures the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina just days after it struck is now available to educational institutions. The Axe in the Attic shows the physical devastation as the hurricane hit but also the dignity humor and perseverance of thousands of evacuees who three years on continue to piece their communities back together. It is available to schools universities and public libraries across the U.S. before being made available to a global consumer audience through IndiePix – to purchase or download-to-own – early next year. 

 Independent filmmakers Lucia Small and Ed Pincus took a sixty-day road trip from New England to New Orleans just days after Katrina hit the States in August 2005. Katrina brought about one of the biggest migrations in the country's history and as they travelled down the Gulf Coast the filmmakers recorded incredible stories. Our film touches on what it means to be exiled in your own country with a government that is conspicuously absent says Pincus director of The Axe in the Attic. The title is a reminder of all the families who faced the reality that they might drown in their own homes unless they were able to break through the roof. We really pushed the boundaries with The Axe in the Attic and it brings home just how the influence of race class and gender still affects today’s society. Roger Ebert the celebrated film critic on the Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert praised the movie and gave it three stars out of four. In his review he said I had no idea what happened after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. No idea. I read the papers and watched the news on TV and I had no idea. 

 I appreciate Roger Ebert's stars but I appreciate more his directness says IndiePix president Bob Alexander. Katrina was an extraordinary event and although the wind rain and waves were shown on television they are not the story. The people who live through these disasters and who come back to repair their lives are the story and this kind of story is one that independent filmmakers – with their emphasis on people and their stories – are ideally suited to tell. The public record is incomplete without their work and we are very pleased to contribute to the distribution of this film by working with our partner The Cinema Guild in an effort to make that record complete.

 Our documentaries are one of the most effective ways to teach youngsters about real life. Instead of simply reading a textbook they now have the opportunity to see first-hand how everything from homelessness to drug use affects everyday people. Click here to see the trailer of The Axe in the Attic IndiePix Films