Hollywood’s Corporate Delusion

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Tue, 06/09/2009 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The first big summer of stereoscopic 3D movies is underway and so far the early box office and critical returns are overwhelmingly positive. Audiences have flocked in big numbers to both Monsters vs. Aliens and Up and critics have generally praised both movies. But 3D itself still has its detractors. One of the most prominent and most vocal of these is the venerable film critic Roger Ebert. In a recent lengthy blog entry he called the 2D version of Up “the true film” and he referred to the whole notion of stereoscopic 3D as “Hollywood’s mass corporate delusion. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would take Hollywood’s side against someone like Ebert a man I’ve respected for decades. But in this case “Hollywood” isn’t just the guys in suits who – right or wrong – many of us sometimes believe don’t really care about movies as an art form. In this case Hollywood is also the entire creative community the people who are pouring their hearts and souls into understanding the possibilities of this new immersive storytelling capability. In this case Ebert isn’t merely wrong he clearly just doesn’t get it. First a look at the numbers. Dreamworks Animation’s Monsters vs. Aliens opened on 7 300 screens in 4 104 theatres nationwide and 2 080 of the screens were 3D. Those 3D screens roughly a third of the total accounted for more than half of the $58.2 million dollars earned at the box office. By comparison Pixar’s Up opened on 6 700 screens in 3 766 theatres nationwide and 1 534 of the screens were 3D.  The 3D screens represented under a quarter of the total and accounted for more than half of the $68.2 million the movie earned. The premiums that theatres currently charge for 3D (and which they won’t be able to do in a very short time) obviously accounted for some of that revenue. But anecdotally the AMC theatre where I saw Up in 3D also had it playing in 2D. I spoke to the manager after the movie and he said most performances of the 3D version had sold out – for a three dollar premium – while ticket sales were weak for the 2D version.   Both movies could have benefited from more 3D-capable screens and in a situation that will get more pronounced before it gets better Monsters could really have benefited if it could have continued to play in 3D in theatres after Up opened but in most cases theatres currently only have one 3D-capable screen. Carmike was the only chain that I was able to find that was able to have both films running in 3D in the same theatre on a widespread basis. Ebert does raise one 3D issue that can’t be disputed. In most theatres the projectors can still deliver a much brighter 2D image than 3D image. Current stereoscopic 3D projection technology is not as bright as it should be or as it needs to be for 3D to move beyond this early phase. But no one understands this better than the projector manufacturers and they are all working on the problem. And they will solve it soon. It would certainly help their cause in that effort to have all the VPF agreements completed so that more money can start to flow into this business. Ebert’s blog entry on Up and 3D is too long to quote completely here but you can access it on his website.  For me this is the most critical – and inaccurate – paragraph: “There is also the annoyance of 3D itself. It is a marketing gimmick designed (1) to justify higher ticket prices and (2) make piracy harder. Yet as most of the world will continue to use 2D pirated prints will remain a reality. The effect of 3D adds nothing to the viewing experience and I have never once heard an audience member complain that a movie is not in 3D. Kids say they like it but kids are inclined to say they like anything that is animated and that they get to see in a movie theater. It is the responsibility of parents to explain this useful truth: If it ain't broke don't fix it. Every single frame of a 3D movie gives you something to look at that is not necessary.” Ebert is wrong on every point. First 3D is currently justifying higher tickets prices because of simple supply and demand. Period. When enough theatres have 3D screens premium pricing will be a thing of the past. Second 3D will in fact make piracy harder. Third people don’t need to complain that a movie isn’t in 3D – a rather intellectually empty argument to make in the first place – but rather they’re choosing 3D over 2D in significant numbers and paying a premium to do it. See point one above. Fourth I won’t even deal with what kids like or dislike. If you’re a parent you get that one immediately. If you aren’t nothing I can say will convince you of anything. Five as for “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it ” I grew up in the Midwest too and this old adage is more appropriate when talking about aging cars than it is creative endeavors. For example there is absolutely nothing wrong with Vertigo but I’d be willing to bet that if digital stereoscopic 3D was available when he envisioned that classic movie and created that signature shot Hitchcock would have at least considered incorporating 3D elements into it. He certainly wouldn’t have dismissed the idea out of hand. Much in the same way that he decided to shoot the movie in color and have the actors talk. The people he was trying to reach with his story had moved past the days of silent black and white movies an art form that Hitchcock understood as well as anyone. The arguments that Ebert is making are the same arguments that were made a century ago by people who insisted that silent movies were the pure art form and talking pictures were – take your pick – a fad a nuisance or an abomination. Utter nonsense. Why? Artists use all the tools at their disposal to tell their stories. In 2005 actor/director George Clooney shot Good Night and Good Luck in black and white because he felt that it enhanced the story he wanted to tell. And filmmakers still make silent movies when it suits their creative vision. The Triplets of Belleville from 2003 – essentially a silent movie – is just one recent award-winning example. The transition to stereoscopic 3D is the same as the transition to sound in that it is simply a tool that creative people can use to enhance their vision of the story they’re telling. And the creative community is beginning to embrace the immersive storytelling potential of 3D in a big way. And audiences seem to be saying through the extra money that they’re spending at the box office that they enjoy what 3D has to offer especially when it’s an integral part of a good story. This is not a mass corporate delusion. This is the dawning of a new era in movies and everyone involved in the movie business from filmmakers to exhibitors and filmgoers to film critics has much to learn about stereoscopic 3D. This is the beginning of that education. This is summer school. ,1007
Postales ,2009-06-10,The IFP chooses Josh Hyde’s film for its Narrative Lab. ,1009
Turning Your Movie Idea Into Movie Images,2009-06-10, By Donald L. Vasicek What do you perceive images to be?  I think of an image as something or someone I see.  How does that happen?  Well look at yourself.  How did you get your idea for your movie? One movie I wrote Born to Win began as an idea.  It was a Disney image that perhaps surprisingly came out of Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood. With Disney’s image in my mind another image appeared.  In order to understand how to turn your movie idea into an image or images so that you can “see” what your movie is going to be like before you begin writing it you must equate your movie idea with images that appear in your mind about your movie idea.  This is significant because film is a visual medium and you must write visually in order to write screenplays that can be produced. The image that appeared in my mind was that of a young boy in bib coveralls that I “saw” in Capote’s.  I drew the image with a #2 Dixon pencil.  I saw the boy in physical form on a piece of yellow legal pad paper. His hair was blonde.  So I colored it with a yellow Crayola.  His eyes were blue so I colored them blue.  The bibs were faded blue so I colored them with a faded blue look. I studied these images.  I wondered where was he standing?  What was the surrounding area like?  Was he alone?  Were there trees?  If so what kind?  How did they appear?  With leaves?  Without leaves?  What time of the year was it?  And why? And then it hit me.  The boy was on a farm.  I drew a large red barn behind him.  I colored it red.  I left the door on the barn partially open.  Why?  I didn’t know why at the time but it became vital in my screenplay. Then I saw a beat up old pickup truck. So I drew an old 1963 GMC truck that used to be a rich forest green color but now faded scratched and dented. Why this kind of truck?  I had owned one in my life many moons ago and this truck was becoming a metaphor for my movie. I “saw” this but I didn’t take time at the time to “see” why. It later stood out as I was writing the screenplay. This truck represented poverty a problem for the main character the boy that he had to overcome to attain his goal in the movie. These images had sprouted from the word “Disney.” I thought who was this boy?  “Disney Disney ” I mused.  Then like lightning I saw this boy with a red kerchief tied around his head like a sweatband. I drew the kerchief.  I colored it red with white clover designs on it.  Sort of macho but still feminine.  Why feminine?  It presented a dicohotomy something vital in all good movies.  Why the kerchief?  Why the clover design?  Why red?  Why white?  Why macho?  Why feminine?  Who was this boy?
 And why was the barn door partially open?  Who owned the truck?  Why was it so beaten up?  What else belonged in this picture?

The fine point of this discussion is to show you how important it is to begin at the beginning when writing your screenplay. The beginning is at the point when your movie idea pops into your head and stalks you. What images immediately surface from that idea?  What do those images look like when drawn?  Why are those images there?  How would those images look in a movie?  From where did your idea and the images come? It is vital that you understand this if you want to take your movie idea to the next level. It is also vital that you go through this incarnation if you want to make your movie idea into a screenplay. This incarnation is to be certain from where your movie idea came and to draw the images that sprout from that idea.  This will enable you to better decide whether your movie idea is viable enough to write into screenplay form. It must viable within the content of writing screenplays.  Is your movie idea good enough to sprout the kinds of images that will make a good movie?  It can’t be unless you have images that show color character story action and that are entertaining. When a movie idea strikes you don’t think.  Be spontaneous.  Draw the first image that comes to mind.  And don’t’ worry about being a world-class artist.  Just draw and color.  Free associate.  Follow your mind and get the images down as soon as possible after the movie idea strikes.  This is one area of life where first impressions can mean the difference between success and failure. Author’s Credits Donald L. Vasicek studied producing directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simen’s and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay with Sally Merlin (White Squall). He has taught mentored and is a script consultant for over 400 writers directors producers actors and production companies and has also acted in 20th Century Fox’s Die Hard With a Vengeance NBC’s Mystery of Flight 1501 ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley and Red-Handed Production’s Summer Reunion. These activities have resulted in Don’s involvement in more than 100 movies during the past 23 years from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million Warriors of Virtue Paramount Classics Racing Lucifer and American Pictures The Lost Heart among others. Vasicek has also has written and published over 500 books short stories and articles. His books include How To Write Sell and Get Your Screenplays Produced and The Write Focus. Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+ LLC Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting http://www.donvasicek.com [email protected] ,1010
The Narrows,2009-06-10,Cinedigm Hosts Live Q&A with Opening Audience and Cast of Feature Film Cinedigm Digital Cinema will host what it is calling the first-ever live virtual Q&A between a film cast and theatre audiences nationwide as a part of the June 19 opening night of the feature film The Narrows. The live Q&A will be simulcast to selected theatres across the country giving audiences direct access to the movie’s cast members.  The cast members including Kevin Zegers (Transamerica The Jane Austen Book Club) Vincent D’Onofrio (Law and Order The Break Up) and Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) will be located in New York and will answer in real-time audience questions submitted via text message as well as questions submitted prior to the event via The Narrows Facebook page.   The Narrows premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and will be released nationally on June 19. Directed by Francois Velle (New Suit) The Narrows is about a photography student from a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn who takes a job from the local mob boss in order to pay his college tuition. His double life becomes dangerous when the two worlds violently collide. The Narrows also features Eddie Cahill Monica Keena and Titus Welliver. Tatiana Blackington adapted the screenplay from the novel Heart of the Old Country by Tim McLoughlin. “Digital cinema allows for this wonderful mashup of interactive media with traditional movie theatre entertainment.  We are upgrading a passive viewing experience to be more dynamic immersive and even interactive and the possibility for continued innovation is endless ” says Bud Mayo CEO of Cinedigm. “We are truly excited to be able to present an event like this for the first time ever and the release of The Narrows provides the perfect opportunity to do so. We know both the cast and audience will be thrilled to share this kind of interaction.” Leslie Urdang producer of The Narrows says “We are extremely excited to be participating in this historic first-ever event with Cinedigm and The Narrows.  The success of this experience in the changing landscape of film distribution will suggest important new options for filmmakers trying to reach audiences around the country.”    The film premieres in 17 cities nationwide on June 19 including New York Los Angeles Baton Rouge Detroit Little Rock Las Vegas Mobile and more. For additional information on The Narrows please visit www.narrowsthemovie.com. Cinedigm Digital Cinema www.Cinedigm.com Olympus Pictures www.olympuspics.com ,1012
A New Experience,2009-06-10,The Heineken Brewery Visitor Center in Amsterdam Gets an Upgrade The Heineken Experience at the historic Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam is enjoying renewed success following a major upgrade that was designed and produced by BRC Imagination Arts. The re-designed visitor experience makes extensive use of specially produced high definition video programs. The re-designed visitor experience seeks to draw its audience deep into the world of Heineken. Simulation rides and interactive kiosks give visitors a stronger understanding of Heineken’s history the brewing process and much more. Electrosonic’s UK office was appointed by BRC as its principal sub-contractor for audio-visual systems integration. Electrosonic utilized high definition display and surround sound technology to encapsulate the visitor in a life like environment.  Standout examples include Raised by the World which features eight synchronized screens that envelop the audience with high definition video and sound. The world bar features an interactive virtual environment. Projected “virtual beer mats” appear whenever a visitor puts down his or her glass. The Brew U simulation ride features a high definition film on a three-meter wide screen accompanied by 5.1 surround sound. The ride places the audience on a platform that shakes rattles and rolls as they undergo the complete brewing process. Working with BRC Electrosonic was responsible for the engineering supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems. There is an International Welcome display that illustrates the spread of Heineken’s international activities diagrammatically with the help of thirteen 12-inch LCD monitors. In an area themed as a traditional Amsterdam Bar visitors view a show called Born in Amsterdam where they learn about the origins and development of Heineken since its founding in 1863. The presentation is informal apparently given by a genial barman standing behind the bar. Two large (three meters wide) rear projection screens are built into the set and the show plays from two synchronized high definition video players. It is accompanied by high quality multi-channel sound that both ensures correct location of the voice and creates the appropriate ambience. Several exhibits feature live presenters. Sound forms an important part of the Heineken Experience with appropriate ambient sounds being delivered to all areas. Where live presenters are involved a local control ducks the ambient sound when the presenter is speaking. When visitor traffic is heavy guides use a lavaliere wireless microphone to ensure everyone can hear properly. Visitors enjoy the Brew U simulation ride where they undergo the complete brewing process from being mashed up as barley boiled up with water fermented stored and bottled. In order to accommodate peak visitor flow there are three near-identical installations. Each one consists of a space dominated by a three-meter wide screen. This presents a high definition film accompanied by full 5:1 surround sound and a raft of special effects including lighting and water spray. The audience stands on a platform which provides the requisite “shake rattle and roll” that is particularly effective when you (as the now brewed beer) proceed through the bottling plant. Raised by the World is a fast paced presentation shown on eight screens that surround the audience. It shows the impact of the Heineken brand in countries all round the world using footage from many sources. The presentation runs on four high definition players each feeding two screens playback the show. A lot of the original material is for historical reasons standard definition but is up-converted for playback. The audience can enjoy the show on the comfortable seating and at the same time admire the amazing ceiling which is entirely composed of Heineken bottles. Innovation Station shows how Heineken has always led with innovative ideas in respect of both its products and its brand. Near the end of the tour visitors once again get a chance to taste the product in the World Bars; one of these includes a pouring demonstration. Video cameras allow visitors to get a close-up view on the LCD monitors near the bar.  The main spaces are surrounded by a frieze of LCD monitors that show city panoramas from around the world – all in high definition. In the centre of the rooms interactive bar tables have back projected images that match the theme of the main displays but also include “virtual beer mats” that appear wherever a visitor puts down his or her glass. Electrosonic’s UK office was responsible for the engineering supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems. However local company Mansveld carried out installation. Some items from the “old” Experience for example the video system for the Gallery viewing chairs which had also been supplied by Mansveld were carried over into the new show. The companies Alterface and Bitmove developed the interactive displays. BRC Imagination Arts produced all video media and sound tracks. All audio and video source equipment is rack mounted. In order to improve access and minimize cable runs there are three control rooms. However it is possible to monitor the status of the entire system from any one of them. The whole system is under network control both in respect of operation and system monitoring. In one neat touch Electrosonic provided a snapshot facility for control of the main projectors. This stores all the projector settings so that if a projector has to be replaced the unique settings for a particular projector position can be instantly downloaded. This feature is particularly useful in Raised in the World where the effect of the green bottle ceiling is to require a special color balance for some of the screens. Electrosonic www.electrosonic.com ,1015
Dante Spinotti ASC AIC,2009-06-11,A Conversation with the Cinematographer of Public Enemies Dante Spinotti ASC AIC was born in Italy and raised in a rustic environment near Venice. He began taking still photographs and making enlargements in a homemade darkroom when he was about 11 years old. When he was 17 Spinotti went to Kenya where he worked with an uncle who was a documentary and news film director/cinematographer. He shot his first documentary footage with a handheld spring-loaded Eyemo camera. After about a year Spinotti returned to Italy where he worked on commercials documentaries and dramas for RAI the state television network. That led to opportunities to shoot his first features during the early 1980s. Dino De Laurentiis discovered Spinotti and brought him to the United States to shoot Manhunter in 1986. He subsequently earned Oscar nominations for L.A. Confidential in 1997 and for The Insider in 1999. His body of work also includes Beaches True Colors Bandits The Mirror has Two Faces The Last of the Mohicans Blink Nell Heat Wonder Boys and Red Dragon. His most recent project is Public Enemies which will be released in July. What follows is an edited text of a conversation that took place in 2003. DCR: Where were you born and raised? SPINOTTI: I was born in sort of an out of the way place in Italy north of Venice and Trieste very close to the Austrian border. It’s an area with a very specific culture. They speak one of those romance languages that came out of the encounter between the Romans and the local population. After I was born we moved almost immediately to an area close to Venice on the farmland plains where I lived until I was 15. I lived in the country which was kind of good for a kid to be around nature. DCR: When and how did you get interested in photography? SPINOTTI: I started doing still photography with a camera that my uncle gave me when I was about 11. He was a cinematographer who became my mentor. I took pictures of my sister my aunt and others in my family. I also took a lot of pictures around the countryside landscapes and winter scenes. I developed the negatives and made prints with an old photo enlarger that was in my bedroom. I became the official photographer for the local soccer team when I was around 12 or 13. I would station myself behind the goal net with a camera and a flash attachment that I built myself. My photos of the soccer team were enlarged by a local photographer who posted them at the local bar with my name on the bottom—‘Photo by Dante Spinotti.’ A newspaper also published them. That’s how I started as a photographer. Another big passion in my life was drawing still life pictures. I got my highest grades in school in that class.     DCR: What type of cinematography did your uncle do? SPINOTTI: He was a director/ cinematographer who specialized in documentaries and newsreels. I worked with him in Kenya when I was 17 after I finished high school. We did quite a bit of newsreel work for United Press International. We had an old 35mm spring-loaded Eyemo camera which was such in bad shape that you could see the gap between the lens and the lens holder with your eye. I remember shooting with it handheld for the first time. It was a story for UPI covering Jomo Kenyatta who was supposed to be one of the Mau Mau leaders. He was coming out of imprisonment and on the way to become the first president of independent Kenya one year later. I remember being in the middle of a number of international documentary and newsreel filmmakers. I had to elbow my way into the crowd to get some of those shots which caused some problems with the British newsreel cameraman. UPI from London said it was a little bit too repetitious but they paid for the coverage so I was paid for it. DCR: In retrospect what did you learn from that experience? SPINOTTI: I learned that you have to be willing to go where you can work. I traveled far away from home to Kenya which in those days was uncommon. I had to learn a new language and also take personal responsibility for myself. I had to make a commitment to being the best I could be at everything I did. I learned how to overcome frustrations and difficulties. Once I was assigned to cover a three-day East African safari rally which is an absolutely magnificent speed race. I loved the cars. I was driving with an Australian team manager and asked him to stop because I saw a great shot. I jumped out put the camera on the tripod and got these beautiful shots of other cars coming around a curve except I forgot to take off the cover of the lens.    Another time I worked on a German film called Our House in Africa. I was assigned to be the assistant to the sound mixer. They had told him not to worry about bringing somebody to Kenya because he’d find fantastic technicians who can help you there. Instead he found a guy who knew nothing about sound recording. I was one of his boom operators. I still remember the German cameraman telling me to keep the shadow of the mike out of the picture. I also remember long nights spent with a German crew in the Hatari Hotel where we could see Mt. Kilmanjaro. Everybody spoke German so I couldn’t understand a single word. It was frustrating but I was determined to make the most of that experience. I wasn’t going to give up. DCR: How long were you in Kenya? SPINOTTI: After about a year I decided it was time for me to return home and be more on my own. I worked on commercial crews and then I met one of the directors of the government television network (RAI) in Milan. He had been a prisoner of war in Kenya so we had a lovely conversation. He hired me as an assistant cameraman on a freelance basis at first for television. DCR: What type of work were you doing? SPINOTTI: Once I became a cameraman I was working on small features. We would spend three weeks shooting each one-hour TV movie. There were many different types of projects that offered a possibility for experimenting. It was also secure. They couldn’t fire me because it was a state owned company. I experimented with shooting reversal film at 2000 ASA. It was all 16mm film for television. Sometimes they were six or seven hour films. One crew would shoot videotape on the stages in the studio and we the film crews would integrate shooting 16mm black and white or color film on location. Video was never a mystery to me. DCR: How did you get a chance to shoot movies for cinema? SPINOTTI: I was working in my safe television job but I wanted to be a cinematographer like Gianni Di Venanzo. His control over the whole range of grays was absolutely beautiful. He brought pictorial realism to stories. Do you remember the scene with Marcello Mastroianni at the public baths in 8-1/2? It was beautiful black and white images with over-exposed whites and perfect camera work directed by Federico Fellini and photographed by Gianni Di Venanzo. It was surrealistic but at the same time extremely realistic. I have a marvelous original poster of 8-1/2 at the entrance of my house. When Vittorio (Storaro ASC AIC) visited us he almost fell to his knees like it was a sacred icon. Vittorio took what Gianni Di Venanzo began and he brought it forward to an even higher level. Vittorio changed the way audiences look at movies because of the influence of his images on storytelling. During the early 1980s you began shooting feature films in Rome? SPINOTTI: I have always tried to do films that had something interesting to say about humanity. I was lucky because the first pictures I did were with talented directors. I worked with Lina Wertmuller on several films including Sotto… Sotto (Softly Softly in 1984). My first 35mm film was an extremely low-budget period film. We shot it in Venice with a number of French and Italian actors. I remember timing it at Technicolor (in Rome) with Ernesto Novelli who was like a legend to me. I was lucky because I had opportunities to shoot movies but it took some time for my work to be noticed on films that had some wider success. DCR: How did you become involved with Dino De Laurentiis? SPINOTTI: One of the directors I was working with was Liliana Cavani. She was very conscious about the quality of images. One of those pictures was The Berlin Affair which was a love story set in Nazi Germany before the war. Around that time (1985) Dino De Laurentiis was planning to open a studio in North Carolina. He was looking for collaborators including directors production and costume designers who weren’t from the mainstream Hollywood industry. I was shooting some good movies and I spoke English because of my Kenyan experience. Dino offered me a three-year contract. It was like the scene in Alice in Wonderland when the door opens and there is a whole new world. The first director he introduced me to felt that I wasn’t experienced enough to shoot his film. It was Taipan and Jack Cardiff (BSC) ended up shooting it. The next day Dino said ‘Dante don’t worry. We’re going to put you together with a very young upcoming American director who is very bright and talented.’ He arranged a meeting with Michael Mann which was a major turning point for me. I flew to Wilmington North Carolina and screened 10 to 15 of my shots for him. He must have liked what he saw because he said ‘okay let’s give it a try.’ I started working with Michael Mann on Manhunter. It was a story about a serial killer which Michael took to a transcendental level. I loved every minute of that experience. Michael’s decisions about the visual dynamics camera angles—why we put a camera two inches to the right as opposed to inches to the left or two inches higher as opposed to two inches lower—or why the background has to be slightly blue-green. That was the opportunity I was looking for. It was a total immersion in a filmmaking experience right down to the very last drop of blood circulating in my veins. It was an amazing experience. We spoke very little and just about basic issues. He probably liked what I did because we did a few more movies together after that one including The Last of the Mohicans and Heat. DCR: How does your cultural background affect your approach to filmmaking? SPINOTTI: When I was a boy in Italy I could go to the local cinema and see a film photographed by William Daniels (ASC) and other great cinematographers from different cultures. Whether you realize it or not you are learning something every time you see a movie. I remember shooting a 16 mm television program for RAI. We were shooting in a beautiful palace that was built around 1600. Every room was different. I remember deciding I would light one room like Vittorio Storaro and another room like Giuseppe Rotunno (ASC AIC) and a third room like William Daniels or Daniel Fapp (ASC). All of them were huge heroes to me.     DCR: How about Crimes of the Heart directed by Bruce Beresford in 1986? SPINOTTI: Dino De Laurentiis recommended me. Bruce Beresford hadn’t seen any of my pictures. I was a relatively unknown Italian. He asked if I could show him a film which would make him feel comfortable. I told him I had just shot Manhunter with Michael Mann who was still cutting the movie. We called Michael and he sent a reel with eight or nine shots. Bruce also asked me how I would approach shooting a scene in the script for Crimes of the Heart. After that discussion he asked me if I wanted to work with him? Bruce has an interesting approach to making films. We had a wonderful working relationship. He came to the set in the morning with very small storyboards that he usually designed himself. They were very simple sketches…maybe showing the face of an actress with a little cross expression for a close-up. He would arrive in the morning with eight 10 or 12 of those sketches saying this is the day’s work. Having said that it was just the beginning. We were free to invent different shots. It was the first time in my career that I was working with three big movie stars Diane Keaton Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek. You have to find ways to transfer these beautiful faces and interesting personalities to the screen along with the quality of depth that is inside of their souls. It comes through their faces and eyes. I remember a scene with all three of them sitting at a table. Bruce wanted to shoot this scene with three cameras at the same time. It was an emotional scene where he wanted to show what happens between the three of them in real time. They were moving from crying to laughter in the same scene. Each of these actresses had their own “custom” light. On the first day of shooting we had a scene with Jessica Lange at a piano. Bruce wanted to put the camera down at a low angle. Later when we saw dailies Jessica told us ‘you guys can do whatever you want but please do not put the camera below my chin again.’ Later on another film (Illegally Yours in 1988) Peter Bogdanovich told me to always shoot women stars from higher angles. There are a lot of rules but you also have to know when they should be broken. I can’t imagine doing a picture without breaking rules and doing some things that I haven’t done before. DCR: How did you happen to shoot True Colors with Herbert Ross and what was that experience like? SPINOTTI: A production designer (Ken Adam) who I had worked with told Herbert Ross about me. He called and asked me to fly to Paris to meet him. We spoke and then Herbert asked me to work with him on this film. It was a very interesting story about politics and corruption. I learned a lot from him about how to shoot action scenes. We had a scene with a fistfight between two characters that alternated. One of them the character shot from behind was a stuntman who had the same hairstyle as the main character. Herbert showed me how to use handheld camera lenses and camera angles so the action of the stuntman integrated with the performance of the real actor. My point is that every film opens new windows and those experiences become part of you. I remember this method when shooting a fight between Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential.     DCR: What about The Last of the Mohicans? SPINOTTI: Michael Mann called and spoke with me about this film and he sent me the screenplay. What else would you want from life than a chance to film a great story set in 1700? Michael’s visual references included a couple of paintings including Thomas Cole and Alfred Bierstadt. This is very typical of Michael. He shows you a simple image and says ‘this is the movie.’ The paintings all showed how small human beings are in the scope of nature. Michael wanted everything to be extremely accurate. He offered me the picture but it took a lot of time for him to put this project together. While I was waiting Gary Marshall offered me a film called Frankie and Johnny. That was the film which finally allowed me to get into the camera Guild. That opportunity was very important to me. It enabled me to work on other films in Hollywood and also because I was always connected to union activities in Europe. Gary Marshall is a wonderful director and human being. A few weeks after we finished Frankie and Johnny I was in Rome. One of the producers called and said Michael Mann wanted me to shoot The Last of the Mohicans. They booked me on a Concorde on a three-hour flight on Friday night. I was jet-lagged when I arrived and saw this amazing set of a British fort with actors dressed in military uniforms from 1700. All of our lighting was going to be based on sun and moonlight bonfires torches and candles. There was a wonderful cast including Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. Michael said he wanted was to keep the look monochromatic. One of the scenes that I was happiest with reproduced the pounding power of a waterfall in an interior shot set in a cave at night. You can’t see the waterfall but you can feel its immense power in the pounding water on the faces of the actors. We bounced light from a couple of 4K Xenon’s with some big 12 x12 Mylar frames that a grip was shaking in front of them You can see the pattern of moving light on the faces and feel the power of the waterfall. DCR: How do you make decisions like that? How do you know what to do and what effect it’s going to have when you create that kind of light and you put it on a film? SPINOTTI: A big part of the art comes from your collaboration with the people you have around you. I needed some reflective material and my key grip suggested Mylar. Many times in situations like this you don’t have a lot of time to think about what you want to do. Every other art form give you more time to think. A painter can spend months in front of his canvas and repaint and repaint it until he is satisfied. An orchestra can rehearse until the maestro is satisfied and a writer can write and rewrite. As much as you prepare a film countless decisions have to be made 30 seconds before you shoot. When I was shooting Blink in Chicago there was a gaffer who had a great idea for using a Chinaball for long Steadicam shots. You could walk with your Steadicam wherever you wanted to place your camera and still have the actors lit. It seems simple and obvious now but back in those days (1994) it wasn’t that simple. I remember another film where my gaffer Jeff Petersen and I designed a lamp that had a row of tiny PAR 16s. We used it to light Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni sitting across each other at a table in a restaurant. The unit was shaped as kind of a half a circle four to five feet in diameter so it could be used to light both actors. We used it to create ring backlight for one or both actors. The light also wrapped around their faces. It could be a ring-light on one actor and light the other’s face. DCR: What film was that light used in? SPINOTTI: The first time we used that light was in The Family Man (2000). We had a lot of location shooting hours. We had Steadicam shots that moved 360 degrees around rooms. The lights were on dimmers so I could lower or raise either the front light or backlight. They are very small units so we could hide them in the corner of the ceiling where the camera couldn’t see them. The output doesn’t look like movie lighting. It has a very interesting rendering on the faces. DCR: Who was the director of Blink? SPINOTTI: Michael Apted was the director. Madeleine Stowe recommended me to him I think because she was very happy with a close-up I shot of her in the infirmary scene in The Last of the Mohicans. I knew what kind of light I wanted on her face but my gaffer gets credit for suggesting a wedge light with a diffusion frame. The light was very soft. In Blink one of the challenges was to show the audience how this woman sees the world after she regains her eyesight after 20 years of blindness. Our inspiration came from paintings by Francis Bacon. I also did some research including reading medical studies. I felt that if the problem was the cornea of the eye I had to create a problem in the lens. I decided that we needed special lenses that lost details around the edges of the frame. Denny Clairmont was totally open to that challenge. He invented a set of lenses that were called blurtars. We also invented a set of plastic filters that we undulated with heat so they were irregular. Clairmont also constructed a matte box that could rotate. There are images that are distorted so there is a question of whether she actually saw the killer and if so was it in real time or images that she recalled seeing maybe an hour earlier? DCR: We also want to ask you about shooting Nell? SPINOTTI: Nell was my second film with Michael Apted. The star Jodie Foster was also the producer. It was also an opportunity for me to work with Natasha Richardson again. She was in a film called The Comfort of Strangers (1990) which I did with Paul Schrader. Nell is about a woman who lives in her mother’s house somewhere in the countryside with the memories of her twin sister who died at a young age. It’s a lonely place with no communications with the outside world. This girl rarely sees anybody. Jodie Foster felt that we should shoot the movie in 1.85:1 aspect ratio because it was an intimate and dramatic story. I felt the anamorphic wide screen format was a better approach to telling an intimate story. Michael Apted said he was okay with the idea of shooting in anamorphic but I had to convince Jody that this was the right approach. DCR: How did you convince her? SPINOTTI: Due to jet lag from Italy I woke up in the middle of the night with an inspiration and began writing why Nell should be produced in anamorphic. I mentioned other movies that were shot in anamorphic and spoke about using a big screen to show Nell in her environment. Her house in Tennessee was surrounded by glorious artificial lakes and dams. I thought we should make that background part of the film. The house was in the forest with a jetty and a lake nearby and mountains in the background. I described how we could create a feeling of infinity stretching towards the mountains. I suggested the film should not have ended up like something I watched on a small screen in a multiplex with a muddy print off a dupe negative in 1:85 spherical. One of the interesting challenges is that we had some day-for-night scenes in that environment. I used a day-for-night technique that I learned from an Italian director who made his own grad filters. Maybe these days that is not even worth talking about because you can do that in the computer with a touch of the button. We had a day-for-night dream scene with Nell on the jetty with her twin sister who had died and scenes in her house against a forest setting at twilight. It was the only way we could do it because we couldn’t light acres of land and miles of a lake surface at night. It would have looked unreal whereas day-for-night can look extremely realistic. DCR: How about L.A. Confidential (directed by Curtis Hanson)? SPINOTTI: The producer sent me a script and a screenplay. I found the script very fascinating. It is a wonderful story. After I read the script I was shooting a documentary for some friends in the Italian Alps. It was about the history of skiing. We were shooting with a video camera that I was operating myself. We were running up and down the slopes following the skiers. After I got back home there was a telephone call and someone started speaking with me about L.A. Confidential. I asked him who are you? Are you the producer? He said ‘No Dante I’m the director.’ It was Curtis Hanson. We spoke for a while and he said ‘Dante if you tell me now that you will do the picture I’m going to go to the studio and say that I want to work with you.’ That was three very short weeks maybe three and a half at the most before we started production. I visited locations with Curtis and (production designer) Jeannine Oppewall. We had to decide on a visual language that would guide the choices we made while shooting this picture. Every movie has a different language. Los Angeles in the 1950s had a fascinating atmosphere. It was a very different city. One day at lunch with Jeannine and Curtis someone said there was a great exhibition of Robert Frank pictures in town that we should take a look at. I knew that Robert Frank was a photographer who came to the US from Switzerland in the ‘50s. The lighting in his pictures generally came from natural sources. That influenced the way we designed our lighting. Robert Frank had a very intellectual approach to photography in the way he used his camera to express ideas that were totally constructed inside of his mind. There is dry symbolism in his composition. It was a very deep form of storytelling. I said to Curtis ‘Why don’t we photograph this movie as if we had a Leica in our hands?’ The Super 35 format was the closest thing to a still photo. Curtis of course is an Angeleno so he knew what he was looking for and he shared those ideas. Every director has a different way of communicating with his collaborators. Curtis’s way of communicating with his actors production designer and cinematographer is to plant a seed of an idea and have you think about it. He allows you to stretch your imagination in any direction knowing that he is interested and will listen to your ideas. There was a very close collaboration with Curtis Jeannine and myself. The production designer is absolutely essential. They give you the elements of the background and their suggestions and then with the director and your crew you figure out how to get deep into the intimate emotional details of the story. DCR: Can you give us an example of techniques you used to accent emotions? SPINOTTI: The techniques you use are only useful as vehicles that deliver the emotions you want to portray to the movie screen. Do you remember the sequences with the police interrogations using two-way mirrors? I remembered Robert Frank’s photographs looking through store windows. Every shadow and other elements of those photographs had a meaning. We used that technique. I also used a technique that I learned from a TV director in Italy in sequences in the interrogation room. It was a little trick for photographing bare bulbs that are the source of light for whoever is in the scene. He told me to buy a tiny paintbrush and China ink…it’s called India ink here. It’s very thick ink and anywhere we’d put it it would stay. I used the paintbrush and ink to block tiny portions of the filament of the bulb so we avoided flares that would have been distracting. You can see the shape of the bulb and still use it as a source. DCR: We also wanted to ask about The Insider another film you did with Michael Mann. SPINOTTI: The grammar of part of this story was based on staying with the thoughts inside the heads of our characters. A lot of drama plays on the faces of the actors and the very interesting psychological interplay between them. There are times when their spirits are really high and also moments of frustration and other moments that verge on tragedy. This movie was about photographing faces and there was also a very exacting stylistic approach to the settings right down to selecting the right colors for the walls of hotel rooms. We did an incredible amount of scouting and it was very exacting. We carried a couple of tiny torchlights and used them check all our key sources. We would move this torch light and say yes in this sequence this top light will work nicely on Russell Crowe. We were also looking for camera angles. In one case we shot over the rim of a glass with the actor’s face only a few inches away. We also decided when to use a handheld camera to convey the state of mind of a character. Michael is not impatient. He gives you the time to light. We have known each other for some time so I knew that he would want to shoot in five different directions with five different actors without lighting changes and he would want to move the cameras. We had a very delicate dialogue scene in a restaurant where the wife of a scientist at a tobacco company finds out that her husband is going to do a television interview about very secret information. She’s scared because she knows the interview could destroy their lives. Diane Venora played the wife (Liane Wigand). Russell Crowe was her husband (Dr. Jeffrey Wigand). Al Pacino played the part of a 60 Minutes journalist Lowell Bergman. Mike Wallace was played by the great English actor Christopher Plummer. In the background we had a bar in a beautiful restaurant. Michael Mann wanted to play this scene in a very soft and reassuring atmosphere with three cameras. All of them were moving around the set and free to choose the actors he wanted to focus on. There was a sense of instability in the cameras movement which were mounted on shot bags with long lenses and a contrasting feeling of richness and softness in the environment. We had warm beautiful soft diffused light. All the actors had to look their best. That is the kind of challenge I love. The goal is to have the audience experience the emotions. DCR: When we were speaking earlier you mentioned that a number of cinematographers have recently timed movies digitally. Do you have an opinion about how advances in digital intermediate technology will affect the future of cinematography? SPINOTTI: I think that’s the way movies will be made in the future but if you think about it it’s nothing new. When I was a boy I used to go into the darkroom with my still pictures and enlarger and change certain things that were on the negative. Why not do that shot-by-shot on a movie? Sometimes when you are shooting a film you are working in conditions when you have to compromise because of lighting changes beyond your control or there are problems with schedules. There are thing you can do during digital timing that can make your images go more in the direction of the original concept of the picture. DCR: What do you think it’s going to take for cinematographers to retain control of that process rather than having the director or even a producer take over and alter their images? SPINOTTI: We have always had to deal this issue. Dede Allen was an editor on a movie I shot and we became good friends. She told me that when she cut Bonnie & Clyde she ended up timing the movie because there were some political complexities between Warren Beatty the director and of course the cinematographer was caught right in the middle of it. I said this earlier. Technology is like a form of transpiration that delivers the film to its destination. It doesn’t replace human judgment. There are directors who are very good at understanding the visual aspects of their movies. On The Insider I was with Michael Mann during the first three passes of the answer print at the lab. I left for Italy knowing that Michael would keep working on the answer print. You have directors who that have that kind of ability but that’s more the exception than the rule. I think most directors are going to want their cinematographers who intimately know the intensions of the images there during digital timing sessions. I don’t see digital timing as a threat. I plan to use it on my next film.    You have to master new technologies but that shouldn’t be what your movies are about. When I was 23 years old I shot a documentary about how language is connected to power and the history of Italy. We shot a sequence in the trenches during World War It showed how people from the rural south of Italy were coming together with the industrial workers from the north. They couldn’t communicate because they didn’t speak the same language. I shot these scenes with a handheld 16mm camera and black and white film. After it was processed we took the negative through an electronic transfer and recorded it back to film to raise the contrast. It was almost all black and white with almost no grays. It looked very close to stock footage from the war. Thirty years later I saw that same look in scenes in Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg’s film with Janusz Kaminski (ASC). They used a newer technology but it is the same look and feeling and it still took a cinematographer’s eye. DCR: Dante you have such a large and interesting body of work. A few years ago you shot The Family Man and Wonder Boys and last year you filmed Red Dragon and Pinocchio which are all totally different genres. How do decide what films you want to shoot? SPINOTTI: I consider a combination of factors. How pleasant do I think the experience will be working with the director producer and cast? How will the film allow me to express my ideas and myself? Ideally I have to be fascinated by the screenplay. I also like working on films that are challenging to the mind. You also have to consider your family when you make commitments to shoot a film. How long will you be separated from them and how far away will you be? Of course there are financial considerations. If you are raising a family you have to think about that too. All of those things are part of the equation. DCR: I understand that you designed the film test that ASC shot for the seven studio’s Digital Cinema Initiative committee. This is the test footage that they are going to use to evaluate the performance of digital projectors made by different manufacturers. SPINOTTI: It was a great team effort involving Daryn Okada (ASC) Ron Garcia (ASC) and Cutis Clark (ASC) and other cinematographers. I had an idea for designing a wedding scene with the groom dressed in black and the bride in white with different colors in other costumes and backgrounds. They want the film to test the technical qualities of projectors and also how effectively they convey the emotions of the scenes. We wanted to design a test that will allow the studios to compare how digital projectors handle colors and contrast. My basic idea was to repeat the master shots at least six times with more or less exactly the same set-up at different times of day and into different night situations. We planned for one on the yellow and another on the cold blue-green area as both these—colors yellow and sienna—represent a problem in digital reproduction. The bride and groom and a group of people are coming out of a church and walking to a dinner table in the middle of a village square where there’s a party going on. We designed a test that was shot on the European street on the backlot at Universal Studios. Cameras were panned to shoot in different formats including 35 mm anamorphic and spherical (1.85:1) and 65 mm. We planned to shoot in full daylight with overhead sunlight. Another shot was planned for sunset where we would ideally deal with warm yellow sunlight crossing the scene. A third shot was planned for twilight where we would light some darker areas. The fourth pass was a candlelight shot with torchlight. We wanted a very yellow warm background lit with sodium lights. The fifth pass was more traditional with white light and a blue-green background. We planned to use mercury vapor lights which is a very critical color for digital rendering. The sixth pass was a rainy day where the actors were under an awning. The husband and wife kiss and we pull back and see drops of rain coming across the screen. We also designed a scene where thousands of pieces of bright white confetti are pouring down against a blue-sky background to test the compression system in projectors. It was a fascinating project. DCR: Are you optimistic about the future of this industry? What do you say to young filmmakers at the beginnings of their careers when they ask you that question? SPINOTTI: I tell them that they have to stick with it and understand that every project is an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. There were times when I could have become discouraged but I chose to keep moving forward. I also tell young filmmakers I hope they will make films with human values that will have a place in history. ,1030
Transparent Raincovers,2009-06-11, Petrol Offers Two New Versions of Popular Model Petrol has introduced two new versions of the popular Petrol Transparent Raincover. The PCR-15 provides weather protection for medium-size video cameras like the Sony PMW-EX3 and JVC GY-HD200 while the extra-large PRC-25 is designed to shelter full-size broadcast cameras like the Sony PDW-700 and Panasonic AJ-HPX2700.

 Petrol's ingenious one-piece design makes the raincover extremely easy to install while shooting. Constructed mainly of transparent polyurethane for maximum visibility both models offer quick and easy access to camera controls. Putting on the cover's viewfinder protector takes just seconds thanks to its special waterproof zipper.   On the new PRC-15 this zipper also provides hand access to the camera's LCD screen. The larger PRC-25 is roomy enough to enable work with the flip-out LCD screen fully open. A rigid front hood section comes outfitted with a hotshoe connector that anchors and stabilizes the raincover on camera. On top of the hood a unique six inch ABS track allows for the addition of an on-camera light and/or wireless receiver. 

 U.S. list price is $160 for the PRC-15 and $189 for the PRC-25. Petrol www.petrolbags.com ,1035
Customer Care,2009-06-11,Kinoton Opens a New Technology Center for Service and Support Kinoton has opened a new Technology Center just a few hundred meters from their head office near Munich Germany. Modern technical equipment state-of-the-art presentations technology and flexile seating enable versatile use. The new premises serve as training facilities demo center and showroom. Besides this they are perfectly suited for testing new projection and display technologies.    The new Technology Center is Kinoton’s response to the increasing information and training demand of the industry which is brought about by the introduction of digital cinema. The large auditorium of the new training center is outfitted with comprehensive technical equipment and corresponding presentation media to meet the requirements of technical seminars held for Kinoton’s own service technicians as well as for their international sales and service partners. This constant training ensures that their knowledge of Kinoton products general cinema technology and industry standards stays on an expert level. Moreover Kinoton offers various cinema technology workshops for interested customers. A cinema completely equipped with state-of-the-art sound and projection equipment adds to the practical relevance of the seminars at the same time acting as a test and demo center for E- and D-Cinema. In this environment even complex issues like the interaction of analog and digital technology or the integration of digital cinema equipment into the classical projection booth can be explicated in step with actual practice. Of course all common digital 3D systems can be presented as well.   The Technology Center also contains a spacious showroom for Litefast 360-degree LED Displays the innovative Digital Signage technology engineered by Kinoton. Interested visitors can experience all Litefast models in action and get a real picture of the impact of digital 360-degree presentation. Besides this the Technology Center accommodates the new premises of DVC Digitalvideo Computing. DVC develops produces and supplies integrated system solutions for the digital video presentation HDTV and streaming media market. Kinoton has been holding a share in DVC for years. The new vicinity of the two companies is expected to bring noticeable synergy effects for their further cooperation in Digital Signage AV and presentation technology.   The new Technology Center is only part of Kinoton’s customer support effort. Kinoton has announced that it will soon have digital cinema systems installed in more than 25 countries. The company believes that its success in the digital cinema market is accompanied with a rising demand of professional service and support concerning the new technology and as a result has improved its comprehensive support for customers. Recently the team supervised by senior service engineer Otto Hadek supported by Stefan Natterer and Michaela Fuerst and Kinoton’s digital cinema product manager Markus Naether added Maik Schoenebeck a service engineer from the Kinoton agency in Berlin with many years of experience as a trouble shooter. The team’s job is to serve as a helpdesk and knowledge base for any inquiry about digital cinema. A telephone hotline ensures fast and exhaustive on-demand support. But the assistance given is by far not limited to trouble shooting to eliminate problems arising from operating errors or misalignment. The engineers are happy to answer literally any question arising from the daily handling of the new technology like content specific issues the connection of new content sources required changes in the projector set-up color calibration questions about network problems or help and advice concerning digital 3D projection just to name a few typical topics. The digital cinema support team even assists in problems with third-party players.     The team also arranges for the dispatch of necessary spare parts from Kinoton’s central warehouse. If a technical problem cannot be solved from afar the engineers of the team will pay a visit to the customer to render technical assistance on site. Kinoton www.kinoton.com ,1036
If it’s 3D it’s (Maybe) 2K,2009-06-12, By Michael Karagosian   While most people are aware that the DCI Specification calls for a compatible distribution of images having either 2K or 4K resolution there are several related issues that are worth explaining.  One of these is the natural limit in resolution of 3D images. A 2K image as delivered to the cinema has either a width of 2048 pixels or a height of 1080 pixels.  For 4K these numbers double allowing either an image width of 4096 pixels or an image height of 2160 pixels.  Digital cinema picture data is compressed using the JPEG2000 algorithm the nature of which allows a 4K image to contain a 2K image.  This feature allows a single 4K distribution to play in either a 4K or a 2K server and projector. Compression reduces the amount of data required to store an image.  Heavy use of compression produces smaller files; light use of compression produces larger files.  Heavy compression can produce visible artifacts; light compression can result in visually lossless images.  Heavy compression requires a lower bit rate or lower bandwidth in the system electronics and light compression requires a high bit rate or higher bandwidth.   In practical systems one needs limits.  When it comes to the degree of image compression the director and producer determine the lower bandwidth limit as too low a bandwidth produces visual artifacts.  The high bandwidth limit is set by DCI.  The DCI specification calls for a maximum bandwidth of 250 Mb/s for image data.  If this limit wasn’t in place equipment developers would arbitrarily pick a limit for their products and without direction they wouldn’t all pick the same limit.  Neither would movie directors who would likely push for high bandwidths for their images only to learn later that not all digital cinema systems can support their choice.  The consequence would be disastrous.  There would be no guarantee that a movie plays on one’s digital cinema system. While the bandwidth limitation is necessary it imposes other constraints.  The upper bandwidth limit of 250 Mb/s for image data is for both 2K and 4K images.  Since 4K images have 4 times as many pixels as 2K images the maximum bandwidth allowed per pixel in a 4K image is only ¼ that of a 2K image.  This and other factors that affect the perception of quality such as contrast and detail in the blacks are not revealed in the simple comparison of image resolution numbers. The limit on bandwidth also sets a natural limit for frame rates.  DCI wisely included the 48-frame rate in its specification.  See Table 1 below directly taken from Table 1 of the DCI specification: With a 48-frame rate image the total number of pixels in any time period are double that of 24 frame rate material.  Putting this in the same framework as for the earlier 4K/2K comparison each pixel of a 48-frame rate image has ½ the maximum bandwidth allocation of a 2K image.  This sits nicely in-between the maximums allowed for 2K and 4K images. If you follow the logic to include a 48-frame image at 4K within the maximum bandwidth allowed by DCI would then reduce the available bandwidth per pixel to 1/8 that of a 2K image.  This is deemed to be too low for a quality presentation so 48-frame rate content is limited to 2K. Let’s apply this to 3D images.  3D images are only distributed at the 48-frame rate.  From Table 1 above one can see that 3D images will only be 2K.  DCI does not allow 48-frame rate 3D at 4K as there isn’t enough bandwidth available at that frame rate and resolution to produce a quality image. Now how many projectors actually display full 2K images in 3D is another little secret of the industry.  The answer is:  not all of them.  In fact only two types of projectors the “higher brightness” version of the 1.2” DLP array designs and all of the .98” DLP arrays can actually produce 3D in full 2K.  All other projectors display less than 2K in 3D.   If you think this situation would not meet DCI approval you might be surprised to learn that at least at this time DCI does not specify 3D in its system specification.  DCI only specifies the 48-frame rate capability. Have I thoroughly confused you?  Just remember if it’s 3D it’s 2K or less or something like that. Michael Karagosian is founder and president of MKPE Consulting LLC a Los Angeles-based consultancy in the entertainment industry.  Visit his company at http://mkpe.com. ,1038
A Close Collaboration,2009-06-12, Public Enemies Brings Director Michael Mann and DP Dante Spinotti Together Again “I started working with Michael Mann on Manhunter ” says cinematographer Dante Spinotti ASC AIC. “It was a story about a serial killer which Michael took to a transcendental level. I loved every minute of that experience. Michael’s decisions about the visual dynamics camera angles—why we put a camera two inches to the right as opposed to inches to the left or two inches higher as opposed to two inches lower—or why the background has to be slightly blue-green. That was the opportunity I was looking for. It was a total immersion in a filmmaking experience right down to the very last drop of blood circulating in my veins. It was an amazing experience. We spoke very little and just about basic issues. He probably liked what I did because we did a few more movies together after that one including The Last of the Mohicans and Heat.” Over the years the close collaboration has increased as the two men have developed a mutual trust. “There are directors who are very good at understanding the visual aspects of their movies ” Spinotti says. “On The Insider I was with Michael during the first three passes of the answer print at the lab. I left for Italy knowing that Michael would keep working on the answer print. You have directors who have that kind of ability but that’s more the exception than the rule. I think most directors are going to want their cinematographers who intimately know the intensions of the images there during digital timing sessions. I don’t see digital timing as a threat.” A superb stylist Italian cinematographer Spinotti was a prime factor in the artistic success of such '80s critical favorites as Fabrio Carpi's Basileus Quartet (1982) and his first American film Choke Canyon (1986) which is distinguished by its excellent use of the widescreen format and its heart-stopping aerial photography. Throughout the late '80s and early '90s Spinotti alternated between American and Italian productions. These included the collaborations with director Mann with whom he worked on Manhunter (1986) The Last of the Mohicans (1992) Heat (1995) and The Insider (1999). One of Spinotti's greatest triumphs came in 1997 when he earned an Oscar nomination – as well as a number of other honors – for his work on L.A. Confidential. This year he has teamed up with Mann again to make one of the summer’s most anticipated movies Public Enemies an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI 1933–34. The crime drama is set during the Great Depression with the focus on the FBI agent Melvin Purvis’s attempt to stop criminals John Dillinger Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. The cast includes Johnny Depp as Dillinger Christian Bale as Purvis Marion Cotillard as Dillinger’s girlfriend and Channing Tatum as Floyd. No one could stop John Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone – from his girlfriend Billie Frechette to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. But while the adventures of Dillinger' gang – later including Baby Face Nelson and Alvin Karpis – thrilled many J. Edgar Hoover made Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number One and sent in Melvin Purvis the dashing Clark Gable of the FBI. However Dillinger and his gang outwitted and outgunned Purvis' men in wild chases and shootouts. Only after importing a crew of Western ex-lawmen (newly baptized as agents) and orchestrating epic betrayals – from the infamous Lady in Red to the Chicago crime boss Frank Nitti – were Purvis the FBI and their new crew of gunfighters able to close in on Dillinger. Principal photography began in Wisconsin in March 2008 and continued various Wisconsin towns and in Chicago until the end of June. Some parts of the movie were shot in Crown Point Indiana the town where Dillinger escaped from jail. Burrough has read the film's screenplay and says It’s not 100 percent historically accurate. But it’s by far the closest thing to fact Hollywood has attempted and for that I am both excited and quietly relieved. The decision to shoot parts of the film in Wisconsin came about because of the number of high quality historic buildings. Mann scouted locations there as well as looking at 1930s-era cars from collectors in the area. In addition the film was shot on actual historical sites including the famous Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters where Dillinger’s most famous gunfight with the F.B.I. occurred. “Michael always brings the cinematic language a little step forward – and others watch and follow. So it wasn’t a surprise that he decided to shoot Public Enemies in high definition ” says Spinotti. “His idea was to create a hyper-reality to bring a very realistic and beautiful look – not in terms of cosmetic Hollywood but in terms of a direct approach to the number of locations and realistic settings ” Spinotti says. “We’d done a number of commercials together using the Sony F23 cameras and decided to test the Sony against film. Once we got through the whole process – digital to film and film-to-film – the final film-out sold us. The shots with the F23 camera were sharper and gave us the hyper-realism we wanted.” The depth-of-field of the F23 combined with the ability to go into the camera and do modifications as they were shooting rather than recording to raw signal and doing corrections later in the D.I. process were also a plus for the team. “To me digital gives you creative freedom ” says Spinotti. “No matter what the situation you can go in without any predetermined rules. In film you walk into a location and say ‘This is what I have to do – I have to raise the exposure.’ The toe is slow in film while in digital it is linear so the capabilities of the F23 cameras give me more freedom.”     “When combining the F23 with either the Zeiss 6-24mm 17-112mm DigiZooms or the DigiPrime lenses we could get anything we desired ” Spinotti says. “The lenses are sharp. They gave us the hyper-sharpness Michael wanted for this picture. And their rendering of the chromatic was amazing. At times when Michael wanted an extra shot acrobatic moves or to get into small spaces we used the Sony EX1. I recently saw all the footage cut together and I was amazed. The footage cuts together seamlessly.” “Public Enemies featured a vast variety of challenges including extreme darkness extreme cold and hard to reach locations ” Spinotti says. “No matter where we went or how hard we rode the cameras and lenses – the images were spectacular. Sony and Zeiss really came through for us on this picture.” ,1039
The Summer of 4K?,2009-06-29, This was supposed to be the summer of 3D but instead it has quickly become the summer of 4K or at least the summer of the 4K press releases. The real question is this: What does any of this really mean to exhibitors the people who are already trying to integrate new technology into their actual day-to-day businesses? First some history: The 4K-2K debate has been ongoing since the very earliest days of digital cinema. In the run up to the formation of the Digital Cinema Initiative Sony and a few others lobbied strongly to have 4K included as a central component of the original specifications. The initial response from the Texas Instruments people who were involved at the time – many of whom are no longer with the company – seemed to be to resist or at least to ignore 4K at every turn. And once TI successfully demonstrated its first 2K chip to the movie community the digital cinema era began in full force. Meanwhile and for some time the Hollywood production and post-production communities have been solidly behind a move to 4K. The almost cult-like acceptance around the world of the Red One camera has helped lead that charge. Other camera manufacturers are competing strongly at the high-resolution end. Sony’s own newly released F35 camera is currently being used on several productions in Hollywood Panavision’s Genesis camera is a favorite of many cinematographers and JVC has announced that it will soon bring to market its own professional 4K camera. A growing number of studios support at least the idea of 4K-movie distribution. This Spring Sony Pictures Entertainment released Angels & Demons in 4K which is to be expected but in a sign of a growing trend Paramount and Twentieth Century-Fox both recently released movies in 4K The Soloist and X-Men Origins: Wolverine respectively.  The dream of many in Hollywood is to have a production post-production and exhibition workflow that is built – seamlessly they envision – on 4K technology. Agree or disagree but some have made the case that a 4K workflow from start to finish most closely mirrors the current worldwide celluloid workflow that digital cinema was designed (and is destined) to replace. Which brings us to the most recent 4K developments. They began of course with Sony’s announcements that first AMC and then Regal would incorporate Sony 4K technology – projectors and servers – across the board in all their theatres. These press releases were followed rather quickly by a series of 4K announcements including: Texas Instruments DLP Cinema’s plans to incorporate enhanced 4K technology as an extension of the next generation electronics platform for DLP Cinema projectors. TI says it will continue to innovate on and further the development of its DLP Cinema 2K chips. The new chip is designed for theatre screens as big as 100 feet and 3D screens as big as 75 feet. Cinemark says it will work exclusively with TI when adopting 4K. In tandem with that announcement Doremi Cinema says that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Cinemark to provide 2K and 4K-server technology for their digital cinema deployment. And Barco says that it will supply Cinemark with 4K projectors. Also and in a move that is likely to be followed by other server manufacturers GDC Technology says that it is developing a 4K Media Block which will be compatible with the new generation of 4K chip being developed by Texas Instruments. Finally Christie says it plans to introduce its Solaria series digital cinema projectors based on the new TI 4K chip. The new product line includes the Christie CP2210 Christie CP2220 and the Christie CP2230 – all available at 2K and 4K-ready; as well as Christie’s premium 4K projectors for screens up to 100 feet: the Christie CP4220 and the Christie CP4230. All of the above developments are set to go into effect next year – at the earliest. When Texas Instruments announced that it would introduce a 4K chip next year Nancy Fares TI’s manager of DLP Cinema made a point of emphasizing that the company has said for a long time that “There’s nothing to keep us from doing 4K except timing and the market.”  Fares continues to stress both the success of 2K versus 4K and that TI has no intention of abandoning 2K technology as a viable option. When projecting 3D she says “We have more pixels in 2K than 4K projectors do. Our 4K is not a replacement for 2K. It’s an option for 4K for exhibitors to use on big screens. We will continue to innovate in both areas.” She called offering a choice “The reality the industry deserves.” Making a case for offering choices is sensible for Texas Instruments and its OEM partners if only for the fact that for now at least Sony seems to be sticking to its 4K guns and has no plans to introduce a 2K projector. Gary Johns vice president Digital Cinema Systems Division Sony Electronics says “Sony has always maintained that 4K is the right choice for digital cinema and that fact continues to be embraced by both exhibitors and studios. The adoption of 4K technology now by other companies is just further endorsement of the position to which Sony dedicated its financial and technology investments five years ago.” He says that “4K technology is still the most effective foundation for a digital cinema system with a noticeable improvement in picture quality. It allows exhibitors to future-proof their operations for the expanding number of 4K motion picture releases.  It gives theatres the flexibility for high-quality 2D playback as well as the increasingly important ability to display spectacular 3D releases. It is also capable of displaying 2K content better than 2K projectors.  Sony has no plans to offer a 2K-only projector for digital cinema.” For market leader Christie the move to 4K seems to an inevitable step in the ongoing evolution of the digital cinema era. Jack Kline Christie’s president and COO says “The industry told us they could see no difference between 2K and 4K projection on screens of 40 feet and smaller the standard in exhibition. But – in some cases – exhibitors said they would prefer higher resolution. We listened to our customers.”
 Nevertheless he says “We still believe that DLP 2K will continue to be the dominant platform in theatres.”
 The lone holdout – at least for now – among the three OEMs for Texas Instruments has been NEC which has so far made no announcement one way or the other about 4K. Jim Reisteter NEC’s general manager of digital cinema says as a matter of corporate philosophy NEC believes in listening to customers first. Reisteter says he has spent the summer talking with customers and prospects to gauge their interest in 4K. Prior to this summer no one had ever even mentioned the subject of 4K to him and while some have done so recently he attributes this to all of the publicity generated by the recent announcements. He says he still hasn’t seen a groundswell of demand for a move up from 2K. “We really don’t rush to market [with new technology] ” Reisteter says. “I’ve been listening to customers and their main question for 2K or 4K is still: ‘Where is the money going to come from?’” That is the sentiment I got from the exhibitors I spoke with about the issue. None of them wanted to speak on the record because they have relationships with many manufacturers and don’t want to be seen as taking sides. One industry veteran whose entire small chain has been 2K digital for years was typical. He didn’t want his name used in this article but he had plenty to say and summed the situation up beautifully: “I think all these announcements are just meant to keep their hats in the ring.  As we both know anyone can craft a press release. But given the sudden about face of TI’s position on it I would question their ability to deliver. Separately Sony is cutting back production and it remains to be seen if they can deliver at the pace required on their existing contracts. The presentation difference presently doesn’t justify the expense.  Additionally until the Studios see the need to spend more producing a 4K version they probably won’t be big supporters. 4K will probably be in our future somewhere but prices will have come down beforehand.  I think price is the final arbiter.  4K is nice…at 2K prices.”   
Launch Experience,2009-06-29,The big screen version of what it’s like to ride the space shuttle. ,1050
The Anatomy of Theme in the Screenplay and Movie
,2009-06-29, By Donald L. Vasicek What is theme?  What does it mean?  How does it apply to the screenplay? The common definition of theme is a subject or topic of discourse or artistic representation. In the screenplay the theme must be introduced as early as possible. It should be introduced as a visual if at all possible by page three of the screenplay or minute three of the film. Since film is a visual medium the screenwriter must strive to visually write.  So showing should take the place of telling in screenwriting.  This is vital if you want to sell and get your screenplay produced. How does one do that?  Well in Born to Win one of my produced and award-winning screenplays Justin the main character in the film has shown on page one through a metaphor that trust is the theme in the movie. This was visually accomplished in minute one of the movie by showing a butterfly fluttering away from Justin’s mother’s headstone. Justin won’t let go of his deceased mother a problem he exhibits throughout the movie. The butterfly shows letting go by flying away as a means for having trust. On page three the theme for the movie is exhibited: “Callie smiles.  She tends the graves.  Justin lingers. He notices Charlie’s shadow lengthen over him. Charlie places his hand on Justin’s shoulder. He guides him towards the car. Justin slips his arm around Charlie’s waist.” Can you identify the theme of trust in this movie?  What visual shows that?  

“Justin lingers”?  It would work to show trust with the exception that Justin lingers.  It shows that Justin is giving Callie some consideration as someone he can trust.  The key to utilizing “Justin lingers” as the theme is identified in the verb “lingers.”  “Lingers” exhibits the possibility of trust but it does not exhibit trust.  So “Justin lingers” is not the theme in the movie. How about “Charlie places his hand on Justin’s shoulder.”  There is an indication of trust here.  Remember Justin is the main character so everything should be written and seen from his point-of-view.  Here Justin allows Charlie to place his hand on his shoulder.  So this visual allows the first peek into the theme for the movie trust but it is not the theme. Utilizing the visual approach to screenwriting and moviemaking empowers the characters and it empowers the story.  Without the screenplay and/or the movie falls flat and theaters will not want to exhibit it let alone distributors picking it to put in theaters. So the more visuals the screenwriter can write and the filmmaker can film the more powerful the screenplay and the movie will be.  This in turn will create revenue.  This in turn will create more work for the screenwriter and the filmmaker.  That’s the way it works in the movie business. So instead of giving examples of screenplays and movies that back up what I am writing here I will leave that up to you. Look at movies.  Study them for the theme particularly early on in the movie. The screenwriter and filmmaker can show opposing views of the theme.  For example in Born to Win Justin learns that the bad guy in the movie is one he should not trust while the bad guy shows that he doesn’t trust law enforcement and even his cohort. And instead of telling you what visual in my example Born to Win depicts the theme of the movie trust you tell me. 

Your choices are:  “He guides him towards the car.” Or is it:  “Justin slips his arm around Charlie’s waist.” You tell me.  And remember the theme once exhibited in the screenplay and movie must be visually shown in every scene from page one of the screenplay and minute one of the movie through to the end.  If the screenwriter fails to execute the theme this way then the screenplay and the movie will fall flat. My email is [email protected].  I’d love to hear from you. Author’s Credits Donald L. Vasicek studied producing directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simen’s and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay with Sally Merlin (White Squall). He has taught mentored and is a script consultant for over 400 writers directors producers actors and production companies and has also acted in 20th Century Fox’s Die Hard With a Vengeance NBC’s Mystery of Flight 1501 ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley and Red-Handed Production’s Summer Reunion. These activities have resulted in Don’s involvement in more than 100 movies during the past 23 years from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million Warriors of Virtue Paramount Classics Racing Lucifer and American Pictures The Lost Heart among others. Vasicek has also has written and published over 500 books short stories and articles. His books include How To Write Sell and Get Your Screenplays Produced and The Write Focus. Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+ LLC Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting http://www.donvasicek.com [email protected] ,1051
Making the 4K Case,2009-06-29,A Sony White Paper In a summer that has been dominated by conversations about what 4K digital cinema technology can or can’t deliver Sony makes its case. Click here to download their white paper. ,1053
Making Postales,2009-06-29, Prizewinning Movie is selected for the 2009 Narrative Independent Filmmaker Lab Postales (Postcards) is a cross-cultural love story shot in the streets of Cusco Peru in which Pablo a postcard-selling street kid meets a young America tourist and curious follows her back to her hotel setting off a chain of events that culminate with a stolen wallet young love and a family losing its home. The movie written and directed by Josh Hyde was chosen to participate in the Independent Feature Project’s 2009 Narrative Independent Filmmaker Lab which was held last month New York City.  It was one of only ten narrative rough cuts singled out by the IFP because of its artistic vision and outstanding promise. The director of photography was Dan Fischer. The earlier short version of Postales entitled Chicle was one of 17 student shorts selected to screen at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to win prizes at the Hamptons Black Mariah and Chicago International Film Festivals as well as to screen at the Berlin International Film Festival. The feature was shot with Panasonic’s AG-HPX500 2/3-inch P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder.

 “We needed a robust camera like the HPX500 that could easily take primes and fit onto a Steadicam to tell a story set 12 000 feet in the Andes plus have the footage available immediately to edit on site ” says Hyde. “And when I say immediately I mean instantly. The camera was a tank; it never flinched during production.”

  “The HPX500 was a great fit for Postales ” says DP Fischer who owns the camera that was used on the shoot. “Cusco has virtually no production support so we needed a fast efficient team and gear. I loved the idea of a solid-state camera and when Josh and I evaluated the P2 line-up at Abel Cine Tech in New York I was turned on instantly by the ease of workflow and immediate results. We tested the HPX500 and given the quality of lenses available for it the image quality is unsurpassed in its price range.” “Our Peruvian family lives in a mud brick adobe house that was extremely dirty and dusty ” he says. “That was one location where I’d have been terrified if I were shooting film. Not having moving parts in the camera was phenomenal.” Postales had a 24-day shoot on location in Peru last fall. The filmmakers shot several camera tests in their home base of Chicago. “I color timed the tests ” Fischer says.  “We shot it as clean as we could as I didn’t want any effects limiting me in post. I already knew our look and this way we could walk into the post house with the deepest saturation giving me the best ability to bring the image right where I needed it.”   “The dynamic range of the HPX500 is great eight to 10 stops depending on where your exposure sits ” he says.  “I liked to underexpose just slightly because I can pull it up in post and keep my blacks solid and bring out desired detail in my highlights. I rate the camera at 500 ISO so I had ND filters on often during day shoots. All of our nights moved quickly; while I was setting lights with my gaffer I could shoot some doc moments with the available ball sodium vapors that line the streets of Cusco. Incredible. I’ve been very surprised by how much I can tweak the image in post. Having worked extensively with film negatives in post I loved how much I could pull and push the HPX500 image around.  I’ve been disappointed in the past with the lack of latitude most video cameras seem to have but that isn’t an issue with the HPX500.”

 On the Postales shoot the HPX500 was equipped with 2/3-inch Canon HD primes and a Fujinon HD zoom lens matte box follow focus and a Panasonic BT-Lh80WU 7.9-inch widescreen multi-format color electronic viewfinder and production monitor. The production was shot with four 16GB P2 cards. “We shot at 1080 24pa getting about 70 minutes shooting sequentially on the four cards ” Fischer says.  “We dumped twice everyday once at lunch and once at wrap. Our editor Evan Smith would offload the cards to two hard drives so we always had backups of the MXF files. Then he would bring them to a working/editing drive drop them into Final Cut Pro and make sure every shot was accounted for per the script notes. When he was done he called and we could clear those cards. We were always very cautious and never rushed it always having multiple backups. The workflow was great and simple once you were comfortable; we never ran into any issues.

”Once Evan had the working footage he synced up any audio and began rough string outs. If there were any problem scenes that day we would ask him to cut them right away so we could view the scene and know we had it.  We had a rough assembly when we finished shooting: that ability was incredible and is the future of filmmaking for our generation of storytellers.”

 ”We used a total of eight terabytes of storage during production ” says Hyde. “Upon picture lock and final mix we bought another three terabytes for archiving mastering and backing up.  Two drives were used to edit the film one copy in New York and the other copy in Chicago.  We would pass sequences back and forth and reconnect them as the edit evolved. When the project got close to picture lock we edited together either in New York or Chicago.  We had a lot of test screening both physical and virtual.”

 “We used Final Cut Studio 2 to edit because of our post production work flow ” he says. “Our color timer Ken Wald works for Optimus in Chicago where they have a good DI path using FCP Color and then finishing to a data file that can be used to make D-5 HD masters.”
“I have absolute confidence in shooting with the HPX500 on either a narrative or a documentary ” Fischer says. “It’s a great camera especially with some nice glass in front. We just saw a cut of Postales on a 16-foot HD screen and man did it look good.”
 Panasonic www.panasonic.com/hvx200 Postales www.lofuproductions.com ,1056
Brew U,2009-06-29,The Heineken Experience at the historic Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam is enjoying renewed success following a major upgrade that was designed and produced by BRC Imagination Arts. The re-designed visitor experience makes extensive use of specially produced high definition video programs. The re-designed visitor experience seeks to draw its audience deep into the world of Heineken. Simulation rides and interactive kiosks give visitors a stronger understanding of Heineken’s history the brewing process and much more. Electrosonic’s UK office was appointed by BRC as its principal sub-contractor for audio-visual systems integration. Electrosonic utilized high definition display and surround sound technology to encapsulate the visitor in a life like environment.  Standout examples include Raised by the World which features eight synchronized screens that envelop the audience with high definition video and sound. The world bar features an interactive virtual environment. Projected “virtual beer mats” appear whenever a visitor puts down his or her glass. The Brew U simulation ride features a high definition film on a three-meter wide screen accompanied by 5.1 surround sound. The ride places the audience on a platform that shakes rattles and rolls as they undergo the complete brewing process. Working with BRC Electrosonic was responsible for the engineering supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems. There is an International Welcome display that illustrates the spread of Heineken’s international activities diagrammatically with the help of thirteen 12-inch LCD monitors. In an area themed as a traditional Amsterdam Bar visitors view a show called Born in Amsterdam where they learn about the origins and development of Heineken since its founding in 1863. The presentation is informal apparently given by a genial barman standing behind the bar. Two large (three meters wide) rear projection screens are built into the set and the show plays from two synchronized high definition video players. It is accompanied by high quality multi-channel sound that both ensures correct location of the voice and creates the appropriate ambience. Several exhibits feature live presenters. Sound forms an important part of the Heineken Experience with appropriate ambient sounds being delivered to all areas. Where live presenters are involved a local control ducks the ambient sound when the presenter is speaking. When visitor traffic is heavy guides use a lavaliere wireless microphone to ensure everyone can hear properly. Visitors enjoy the Brew U simulation ride where they undergo the complete brewing process from being mashed up as barley boiled up with water fermented stored and bottled. In order to accommodate peak visitor flow there are three near-identical installations. Each one consists of a space dominated by a three-meter wide screen. This presents a high definition film accompanied by full 5:1 surround sound and a raft of special effects including lighting and water spray. The audience stands on a platform which provides the requisite “shake rattle and roll” that is particularly effective when you (as the now brewed beer) proceed through the bottling plant. Raised by the World is a fast paced presentation shown on eight screens that surround the audience. It shows the impact of the Heineken brand in countries all round the world using footage from many sources. The presentation runs on four high definition players each feeding two screens playback the show. A lot of the original material is for historical reasons standard definition but is up-converted for playback. The audience can enjoy the show on the comfortable seating and at the same time admire the amazing ceiling which is entirely composed of Heineken bottles. Innovation Station shows how Heineken has always led with innovative ideas in respect of both its products and its brand. Near the end of the tour visitors once again get a chance to taste the product in the World Bars; one of these includes a pouring demonstration. Video cameras allow visitors to get a close-up view on the LCD monitors near the bar.  The main spaces are surrounded by a frieze of LCD monitors that show city panoramas from around the world – all in high definition. In the centre of the rooms interactive bar tables have back projected images that match the theme of the main displays but also include “virtual beer mats” that appear wherever a visitor puts down his or her glass. Electrosonic’s UK office was responsible for the engineering supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems. However local company Mansveld carried out installation. Some items from the “old” Experience for example the video system for the Gallery viewing chairs which had also been supplied by Mansveld were carried over into the new show. The companies Alterface and Bitmove developed the interactive displays. BRC Imagination Arts produced all video media and sound tracks. All audio and video source equipment is rack mounted. In order to improve access and minimize cable runs there are three control rooms. However it is possible to monitor the status of the entire system from any one of them. The whole system is under network control both in respect of operation and system monitoring. In one neat touch Electrosonic provided a snapshot facility for control of the main projectors. This stores all the projector settings so that if a projector has to be replaced the unique settings for a particular projector position can be instantly downloaded. This feature is particularly useful in Raised in the World where the effect of the green bottle ceiling is to require a special color balance for some of the screens. Electrosonic www.electrosonic.com ,1057
Another Opening,2009-06-29,The Last International Playboy Gets a Makeover prior to its Theatrical Release Director/writer Steve Clark’s independent movie The Last International Playboy sold out at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City as well as the GenArt Film festival in New York City. The producers released the film independently in New York City last month and are opening it in additional theaters and cities around the country. The movie shot for 23 days in New York and one day in Tampa and had a budget under a million dollars. A year later the movie had a new title and a new opening sequence and that’s the story here. The film was shot on the Sony F900 and was edited at Rogue Post in New York using Final Cut Pro. The new opening sequence was shot with a Red camera because cinematographer Brian Burgoyne was able to get the camera for free. All the technology decisions were a function of the budget Clark says. The cast includes Jason Behr (Roswell) Monet Mazur (House Bunny) Lucy Gordon (Spiderman 3) Krysten Ritter (Confessions of a Shopaholic) India Ennenga (The Women) and Mike Landry (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead) with a special appearance by Lydia Hearst.   Roswell star Jason Behr assumes the role of a New York City playboy who sinks into a deep depression after learning that his childhood love is engaged to another man. Still haunted by his mother's recent suicide professional charmer Jack Frost (Behr) is shattered to discover that his one true love (Monet Mazur) is about to take the plunge with another man. As Jack begins spiraling into a self-destructive cycle of whisky and reckless behavior his best friends Ozzy (Krysten Ritter) Scotch (Mike Landry) and Kate (Lucy Gordon) struggle to find a means of jarring their depressed pal back to reality. Strangely enough it isn't Jack's grown-up friends who offer him the most useful relationship advice but his eleven year-old neighbor Sophie (India Ennenga) whose unusually wise and thoughtful words have a special way of helping the self-absorbed urbanite shake off the nostalgia and excess that may ultimately consume him. The movie was co-written by Clark and Thomas Moffett and produced by C Plus Pictures a production company that specializes in creating uniquely voiced independent feature films.  Founders Mike Landry and Carlos Velasquez are actors in their own right and approach filmmaking from an actor’s perspective.   Born in New York City Clark attended Trinity College where he graduated with a degree in Third World Studies and won the John Curtis Underwood Prize for Poetry. Clark was senior editor for George Plimpton's The Paris Review (1995 to 2002). He has published fiction in The Paris Review (issue 150) various poems in magazines (Salinas Trinity Review) translated several books from the Spanish (Set Planet by Valenti Gomez 1997 Flor de Fuego by Valenti Gomez 1996 Locus Naked by Marga Clark 1995). He lives in New York City. According to the film’s producers the screenplay’s original title was The Last International Playboy and after a re-shoot and a re-edit of the film they felt the original title captured the spirit of the film better for its theatrical release.  The re-shoot featured the following renowned international supermodels as they have never been seen before including: Jessica Gomes (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition) Shannan Click (Victoria’s Secret) Lisa Cant (Juicy Couture) Nicole Trunfio (Make Me a Supermodel) Leticia Cline (Playboy cover girl Sept 2007) and Amy Finlayson (MAC). Clark and Moffettsaid that the film was a tribute to George Plimpton a friend and colleague from their time as editors at The Paris Review. Moffett also recently penned the 2009 Sundance sensation Shrink starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams. According to All Movie Guide in The Last International Playboy “Roswell star Jason Behr assumes the role of a New York City playboy (Jack Frost) who sinks into a deep depression after learning that his childhood love is engaged to another man. As Jack spirals into a self-destructive cycle of whisky and reckless behavior his best friends Ozzy (Krysten Ritter) Scotch (Mike Landry) and Kate (Lucy Gordon) struggle to find a means of jarring their depressed pal back to reality. Strangely enough it isn't Jack's grown-up friends who offer him the most useful relationship advice but his eleven year-old neighbor Sophie (India Ennenga) whose unusually wise and thoughtful words have a special way of helping the self-absorbed urbanite shake off the nostalgia and excess that may ultimately consume him.” After the initial edit of the movie Clark took the movie on the festival circuit. When it was on the festival circuit the movie was called Frost after the title character. Clark says he took what he learned from that experience and did another edit a three-week process also at Rogue that he called a “brush up.” He was happy with the movie “but.” First there was the title Frost which was getting confused with Frost/Nixon. More important he says “you didn’t see a big enough change” in the main character. The movie as it stood saw the hero depressed at the start and depressed at the end. He admits that the opening sequence is in his words “wild and over the top ” but he doesn’t believe it qualifies as soft porn. While there is brief nudity and suggested sex scenes Clark says “All those bits end up paying off.” He stressed that the actors had all seen the previous version of the movie and understood what the new opening sequence was meant to accomplish in terms of bolstering the story. Clark’s next project is extremely personal. His new screenplay is an adaptation of his mother's novel Marga about his great aunt Marga Gil Roësset a child prodigy artist in Spain in the 1920's (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry cited her drawings as inspiration for his The Little Prince) who fell in love with Spanish Nobel Laureate poet Juan Ramon Jimenez and killed herself at twenty-three.   At present he is also at work on a script about thirteen year old kids in New York in the 80s. He is looking for financing for both projects. ,1058
Oceans 3D – Into the Deep,2009-06-29, The Mantello Brothers Talk about the Making of their Latest Movie Disneynature has acquired the North American and Mexican distribution rights to the underwater film OceanWorld 3D the first feature-length nature documentary ever filmed and released in 3D it was announced by Jean-Francois Camilleri executive vice president and general manager for Disneynature and Francois Mantello chairman of 3D Entertainment. The film is presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau son of the legendary Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and was directed and produced respectively by veteran filmmakers Jean-Jacques and Francois Mantello. OceanWorld 3D premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Annual Film Market last month and will be released theatrically in France and Russia starting this August. The film's North America debut will be announced at a later date. Digital Cinema Report recently spoke with the Mantello Brothers about the production. Digital Cinema Report: Introduce yourselves and give a brief background of your careers in film.
 Mantello Brothers: We are Jean Jacques and Francois Mantello or the Mantello Brothers as we are often referred to.  Our path through the film industry began with L’Equippage Video our post-production house founded outside of Paris which specialized in CGI effects and new digital technologies. Being in this space allowed us to expand our horizons leading to our first underwater 3D short film Miracle Mermaid which received the Public’s Choice Award at the 1992 World Festival of Underwater Pictures.  This success spurred us to change our career paths from post into production where we pioneered work in stereoscopic films for theme park rides.  However being avid divers and conversationalists we were drawn back into the underwater world and developed an ambitious plan in 2001 to produce a series of three 42-minute-long edutainment films for IMAX theatres and a feature-length documentary for 35-mm cinemas filmed entirely in 3D. Jean-Jacques would direct the films and manage the entire post-production process whereas Francois a trained engineer would produce finance and oversee all distribution activities.  In 2003 Ocean Wonderland 3D was released in IMAX 3D. Two years later we released Sharks 3D followed by Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean in 2008. DCR: What was the genesis of OceanWorld 3D (working title)? MB: It began in 2001 when we came up with a plan to produce a series of 3D edutainment films for IMAX theatres and a feature-length documentary OceanWorld for traditional 35-mm cinemas on the importance of ocean conservation. Our goal was to combine our passion for environmental awareness with our experience as filmmakers to educate the general public on the state of our oceans which have suffered greatly from the world’s industrialization. We worked on the feature film during the entire seven years we spent filming our IMAX theatre projects Ocean Wonderland 3D (2003) Sharks 3D (2005) and Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean (2008). When murmurs of a 3D revolution started making their way through the film industry in 2006 we decided to go back and produce OceanWorld 3D in digital 3D which was actually always our ideal as we were well aware of the power of the stereoscopic medium. 
 DCR: How was it financed? MB: The financing for OceanWorld3D came solely from private equity.

DCR: How much experience have you had shooting underwater? MB: For OceanWorld 3D alone we spent over 1000 hours underwater and came back with 200 hours of footage in 3D which we’ve edited down to create an 85-minute film. In 1992 we shot our first 15-minute underwater film in 3D  Miracle Mermaid  which we screened that year at the International Underwater Film Festival in Antibes France. Much to our surprise we ended up taking home the Public's Choice Award. It was there as well that we met the legendary Albert Falco captain of Jacques-Yves Cousteau's ship Calypso who paid us the greatest compliment. The first thing he said after seeing the images was I felt like I was really there! That's the magic of 3D. It takes viewers straight to the heart of the images and transports them places they'd normally never be able to go themselves. DCR: How much experience have you had shooting stereoscopic 3D? MB: We were pioneers of sorts in the medium as we shot our first 3D film back in 1991. It was a four-minute CGI promo spot in 3D for a Hewlett Packard computer that was to be shown to 500 European sales agents in Monaco. As soon as the spot began and the HP logo came off the screen  the entire audience jumped to its feet and started clapping. There was such enthusiasm and interest in the spot that it ended up being shown around the world including in the US.  After that we moved into the entertainment industry and founded a company that specialized in creating motion simulator rides where the viewer is placed in a seat that moves according to the action appearing in the 3D film. For close to 10 years we produced and installed stereoscopic rides at locations all around the world including at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. From there we moved into underwater films in 3D so we have a lot of experience not only in CGI- but also live-action stereoscopic filmmaking. DCR: How many people were involved in the [OceanWorld 3D] shoot? MB: OceanWorld 3D is the result of 25 filming expeditions around the globe over seven years so the size of the film crew varied. We generally worked as a team of about 10-15 but in some of the more remote and difficult-to-reach locations we had a small crew of just four or five. DCR: How many cameras? What cameras did you use? MB: We filmed with standard Sony HDW-F900 and HDW-750 cameras but had to design and build an underwater rig ourselves that could house two cameras simultaneously in order to shoot in 3D.  The first rig we created weighed approximately 300 pounds and was difficult to maneuver as it took a crane just to get it in and out of water. It was also impractical since it could only be transported on a large boat whereas many of the areas in which we wanted to film are only accessible by zodiac so we went to work on a new design. We were able to bring the total weight down to 150 pounds on the second-generation housing making it considerably easier to move around. The less bulky design also allowed us to infiltrate certain marine species’ habitats much more easily and to get closer to them than we’d ever been able to previously. In terms of the number of cameras we sometimes had two teams working simultaneously so we used about six throughout.
 DCR: Did you light any sequences? If so describe that. MB: Certain sequences were lit but we mostly opted to shoot in natural lighting to avoid distressing the animals. When we did use lights we generally had one fixed on the camera rig as well as two underwater lighting operators. But this procedure remained unusual for this film. DCR: How did you handle audio? MB: The only audio actually recorded underwater for OceanWorld 3D was the male humpback whale songs because as anyone who’s ever dived can attest to the majority of the sounds you hear underwater are incredibly different from those we’re accustomed to on land. We used sound design and music to recreate the sensation of being there with each animal. Our longtime musical composer and sound engineer Christophe Jacquelin wrote each piece of music directly on the images to create a perfect symbiosis of image and sound. DCR: What lessons did you learn about shooting 3D underwater? MB: We’ve been shooting underwater 3D films for nearly two decades so most lessons were learned when we first started out. At that time we didn’t have much formal knowledge about shooting stereoscopically underwater but we quickly learned for example that you must frame the subjects differently than you would in traditional cinema to fully take advantage of the 3D-stereoscopy medium. Perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned though is that a tremendous amount of patience is needed when filming underwater animals. Unlike most directors who work with a cast of trained professionals the stars of our films are wild occasionally act in totally unexpected ways and don’t always show up when you want them to. DCR: Where was the project edited? MB: Our films have always been edited in-house. As a vertically integrated company we have the luxury of being able to oversee the entire process from shooting to post-production ourselves. The editing process was entirely done in 3D and this was done in real-time. DCR: What technology was used?
 MB: We used a customized workstation and brand new editing and data management software that was developed in-house. This fully proprietary system allowed us to complete post-production in high definition and 3D simultaneously. The entire process and system have been enhanced by our engineers over the years. DCR: How long did the edit take? MB: The entire post-production process including editing took not less than twenty months.
DCR: In your mind how does editing in 3D differ most from editing in 2D? MB: For me if you’re making a 3D film you must also edit it in 3D. That’s the best way to make sure there are no issues with stereoscopy. It also allows a much better appreciation of your film. DCR: What is your next project? MB: We have several film projects – both underwater and on land – currently in the works but they’ll be announced at a later date.  I can say though that they’ll all be in 3D. 3D Entertainment www.3defilms.com ,1061
Duty Free America,2009-06-30,Airport Retailer Streamlines Operation with New Signage System Duty Free America is the premier duty-free retailer in America.  It operates more than 90 duty-free and news and gift stores in US airports and along the US borders with Canada and Mexico.  At the Detroit Metro Airport an Electrosonic signage system has been installed in the opaque-paneled exterior walls of the DFA stores facing the concourse traffic hallways. As a result duty-free shopping there has never been easier. Each deployment features a 2x2 video-wall configuration with four Panasonic plasma screens with a big-picture module to create a single large image.  The video-walls typically display the hero content of fashion shows and broadcast commercials showcasing the luxury lifestyle clothing fragrance jewelry and watch brands sold in the stores.  Playback is accomplished with Electrosonic MS9500GL HD media players which output High Definition MPEG2 1920x1080 files. Electrosonic’s MS9500GL can live anywhere on the network providing high performance manageability and efficiency. Support for video bit rates up to 50Mbs ensure high quality HD images and its dedicated video hardware design guarantees reliable operation year after year.  As a dedicated HD playback appliance the MS9500GL has the horsepower and reliability to decode high quality HD video without ever having Windows error messages appear on the screen. Identical “mirror” systems have also been set up in Florida at DFA’s corporate headquarters and at a consultant’s office for content approval purposes.  All of the systems are run and monitored from Electrosonic’s headquarters in Burbank California. Designed for use in education/training medical museum retail/digital signage and theme park applications the HD digital signage system comprises a suite of software offering a simple way to manage a virtual private video network.  It includes easy-to-understand tools to efficiently and securely ingest video catalog and index scenes and takes schedule multiple channels and distribute content – all with industry-standard protocols.  The software is capable of managing HD and standard definition video content. “We manage all the content for DFA ” says Thomas Brighton media support specialist and studio manager at Electrosonic.  “Because of airport security it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to have remote access to DFA inside the airport from our location outside the airport.  The solution was to have DataMirror the software tool on the MS9500GL HD media players call out to the remote content file server every 15 seconds to check for schedule changes and new content.  When DataMirror detects something new it pulls the content and new schedule back to the players.”   Brighton is tasked with encoding content received from DFA and remotely uploading those files to the content server.  Much content still originates as standard definition which Brighton has to upconvert to high definition for playback and then he creates a content play list for client approval.  Once DFA approves the new playlist DataMirror automatically detects the new content and begins downloading the necessary files.  DataMirror is smart enough to manage hard drive space and download only new items significantly reducing bandwidth requirements. “Currently content changes monthly but the system is also capable of running content for special days and special times ” says Brighton.  “The MS9500GL HD media players have the ability to turn the video walls on and off too.  The video walls run between 6:00 am and midnight daily and have been up 100 percent of that time since they were installed last October with no downtime.” DFA plans to install Electrosonic systems in multiple stores at JFK International Airport in New York and Miami International Airport and in the company’s Latin American locations as well. Jim Landy is business development manager for Electrosonic; Tom Rowat served as project manager for the DFA installations. Electrosonic www.electrosonic.com ,1063
BAFTA 3D,2009-06-30, Academy Installs Dolby 3D in its Piccadilly Theatre The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has installed Dolby 3D Digital Cinema in its London headquarters’ showpiece theatre at 195 Piccadilly. The Princess Anne Theatre sits at the heart of the BAFTA headquarters building. The state-of-the-art cinema equipped with premium digital projection facilities seats more than 220 people and plays host to many leading industry events. “BAFTA is committed to embracing the ever-changing world of film and with the dramatic growth we are seeing in digital 3D features it is vital that BAFTA offer a premium experience for its 3D screenings ” says Keith Fawcett head of technical services BAFTA. “We chose the Dolby 3D system because it produces the most fantastic 3D images without having to change our screen or degrade our 2D presentations. Also with Dolby’s reusable 3D glasses BAFTA continues its mission to be environmentally friendly.” The Princess Anne Theatre projection room at BAFTA already boasts a selection of Dolby digital cinema equipment including a Dolby Digital Cinema server and Dolby Show Library Dolby DMA8Plus Digital Media Adapter and Dolby CP650 Cinema Processor. The addition of Dolby 3D Digital Cinema brings a stunning and realistic extra dimension to the 3D content shown in the theatre. 

 “We have been proud to be involved with the work of BAFTA for many years ” says Julian Pinn manager business development Dolby Laboratories “and the choice by the Academy to add Dolby 3D Digital Cinema to their already excellent facilities reinforces their commitment to providing the very best screening and presentation facilities at 195 Piccadilly.” Dolby www.dolby.com ,1064
The 1K Question,2009-07-13,When if ever will Hollywood agree to expand the digital cinema specifications to allow for DCI-compliant 1K systems? There has been a lot of conversation this summer about the differences between 2K and 4K digital cinema for movie theatres. Invariably however many if not most exhibitors are still faced with prices that are higher than they can legitimately afford. This is true for theatre owners around the world. Given the current state of the industry as Wendy Grossman illustrated nicely in a recent article in the UK’s Guardian News some independent theatres and independent filmmakers are testing alternatives. In her report she told the story of independent filmmakers Michael Bergmann and Doug Underdahl who at Wahington Theatre in Washington New Jersey screened their movie Tied to a Chair using a high-end Leica business projector powered by a Macbook Pro running QuickTime Pro. The result was a 1920x1080 image that was thrown 100 feet at 24 frames per second that even impressed emissaries from Leica. Bergmann's latest film Tied to a Chair for which Underdahl was director of photography and which recently won the best in festival prize at the Heart of England International Film Festival “is caught in two traps like many independent films ” wrote Grossman. “First: the transition from film to digital. Second: shrinking distribution for independent and art films. Bergmann's movie has been digitally produced but the Washington theatre in New Jersey which wants to show it only has film projectors. Buying a digital projector costs $60 000. A good 35mm transfer about the same. Neither filmmaker nor cinema can afford it.” According to Grossman Bergmann read about Leica's Pradovit D-1200 which sells for roughly a quarter of the price of a 2K-projector and thought its specifications might suffice. “To compensate Bergmann and Underdahl placed their system in the 10th row of the theatre blocking off about 20 seats ” Grossman’s article continued. “Underdahl who co-designed and fabricated the remote-controlled pan/tilt head for the deep-dive segment of Titanic has built a box to hold the projector and laptop. For a commercial cineplex with a projectionist who services six or seven screens at once it wouldn't work. But for an independent cinema or a film festival it may change the game.” As Grossman correctly notes in her article “venues such as the Washington Theatre (which also shows first-run Hollywood films) are dying everywhere. [Owner/operator] Marco Matteo who grew up watching movies in this 1927 theatre wants to restore it and turn it into a multipurpose community resource that shows movies stages concerts and gives local students hands-on facilities.” But as things stand today he can’t. Tied to a Chair stars Mario Van Peebles and Bonnie Loren. The film begins on the last day of Naomi Holbroke's marriage to a high-ranking British government official. Seeming to be a failure as a housewife Naomi sets off to reclaim the acting career she gave up “for him” twenty-five years ago. In France at a film festival she meets film director Billy Rust and falls in love with…his script particularly with the sequence in which the girl gets tied to a chair. Alas the part calls for a “name or a much younger woman” but Naomi perseveres and extracts a promise of a screen test in New York. Naomi arrives in New York and gets to her screen test at the last minute but only after getting involved with a terrorist suspect stealing a taxi and discovering what appears to be Billy Rust's dead body. In addition to making a string of successful independent films Bergmann is no stranger to movie technology. He has appeared as a lecturer and panelist at independent film conferences speaking on the latest trends in state-of-the-art technology. He believes that the use of the latest digital technology enhances cinematic creativity by enabling filmmakers to do much more on budgets which restrict them much less. Now he and hundreds of talented – and proven – filmmakers just like him would like the opportunity to get their work seen in mainstream theatres. And as with the Washington Theatre there are many exhibitors who would like the opportunity to at least consider showing those independent movies on their screens. But an affordable DCI-compliant 1K system is something Hollywood continues to reject. The technology is in place. All of the current projector and server manufacturers already make viable 1K systems that could easily and at reasonable prices be adapted to DCI specifications. Independent theatres and many smaller screens in larger cineplexes would benefit from such an option. Hollywood is the only hurdle. The question remains: When if ever will Hollywood agree to expand the digital cinema specifications to allow for DCI-compliant 1K systems? ,1081
Connecticut Science Center Opens 3D Theatre,2009-07-13,Selects Dolby 3D to Illustrate its Commitment to the Environment The Connecticut Science Center has selected Dolby 3D and Dolby Digital surround sound for its Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation 3D Science Theatre which opened to the public last month. Dolby 3D will be a signature attraction at our theatre says Greg Kowalewski theatre manager Connecticut Science Center. We are opening with two exceptional 3D movies: Dinosaurs Alive! and 3D Sun. These movies were chosen to enhance our educational programs and exhibits. By choosing the Dolby 3D system and its reusable glasses we are also reinforcing our eco-friendly message to our visitors. The Connecticut Science Center located in Hartford Connecticut is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing science education throughout the state and the New England region. Designed from its inception to be a green facility the Connecticut Science Center believes it will receive at least a Gold Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED awards are given by the U.S. Green Building Council to projects that show a high level of commitment to sustainability through design and operation. In alignment with the science center's green initiative the Dolby 3D system uses high-performance eco-friendly passive glasses that require no batteries or charging and can be reused repeatedly reducing waste associated with a disposable glasses model. The Connecticut Science Center selected the Dolby 3D system not only to support its eco-initiative but also to deliver a premium viewing experience to it patrons. Dolby's 3D solution uses a unique full-spectrum color-filter technology licensed from Infitec that provides realistic color reproduction and an extremely sharp image. Visitors will not only see spectacular 3D images but will feel the power of the audio with Dolby Digital surround sound that processes precisely 17 600 watts of sonic power delivered from 29 speakers (4 subwoofers 22 surrounds and 3 Left/Center/Right cabinets). I know patrons are going to be dazzled by the spectacular 3D picture and immersive surround sound that the Dolby system provides. In addition Dolby 3D fits perfectly into the Connecticut Science Center's eco-agenda says Page Haun senior director of cinema marketing Dolby Laboratories. Dolby 3D brings the Connecticut Science Center a truly immersive 3D experience adding another layer of storytelling for educational content. Click here for more information on Dolby 3D at the Connecticut Science Center. www.dolby.com/ctsc Click here for 3D movie information at the Connecticut Science Center including Dinosaurs Alive! and 3D Sun. www.ctsciencecenter.org/theatre.php ,1083
National Archive,2009-07-13,Post Logic Studios restores historic scientific films. ,1085
Screenplay Wordplay,2009-07-13, By Donald L. Vasicek Although you might want to write a screenplay or you have written a screenplay that is unique fresh and original if you fail to write your screenplay according to what Hollywood seeks in a screenplay your screenplay will fail.  What Hollywood seeks in a screenplay are elements that parallel the genres as established by Hollywood.  They also have a preference for certain types of words. Perhaps the most vital element in writing a screenplay these genres action comedy thriller etc. must contain the feeling of action that manipulates and causes the audience to be so deeply imbedded in the movie that they forget or dismiss their realities for 90 to 120 minutes.  This differs for each genre and writing this kind of screenplay is largely determined by the kinds of verbs you use. Film is a visual medium.  Therefore you must visually write.  This means that you must write so that the reader of your screenplay can see your movie via the written word.  This is accomplished by showing in place of telling.  This approach to writing your screenplay is accomplished by the appropriate usage of active and passive verbs.  Active and passive verbs determine how the entire sentence is written.

For example in an action sequence in an action movie:   EXT.  MOUNT PRINCETON – DAY Jakey hammers his foot into the scree.   END OF SCENE. Or EXT.  MOUNT PRINCETON – DAY Jakey puts his foot down on the scree.
 END OF SCENE In this action/adventure screenplay which verb works best?   Which verb would be more impressive to Hollywood readers?  The active verb “hammers” or the passive verb “puts”?  Which verb generates more interest in you?  First if you know what scree is you have the awareness that Jakey better hammer his foot into it or he could tumble thousands of feet to his death. Many Hollywood readers are so focused on this approach to writing screenplays that they become conditioned to the structure of the genre that is being written.  This structure is determined by certain things must happen at certain times or the pacing will be off and it will throw the reader off.  Many Hollywood readers are so habituated to pace that they are unaware of it. So if you are able to capture the Hollywood reader by the appropriate utilization of verbs that fit the genre you are writing you will also be able to capture the director the producer the money people and…the audience.

Oh and if you’d like to check my e-book How to Write Sell and Get Your Screenplay Produced. At the least it’ll give you a base from which to work. Good writing to you! Author’s Credits Donald L. Vasicek studied producing directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simen’s and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay with Sally Merlin (White Squall). He has taught mentored and is a script consultant for over 400 writers directors producers actors and production companies and has also acted in 20th Century Fox’s Die Hard With a Vengeance NBC’s Mystery of Flight 1501 ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley and Red-Handed Production’s Summer Reunion. These activities have resulted in Don’s involvement in more than 100 movies during the past 23 years from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million Warriors of Virtue Paramount Classics Racing Lucifer and American Pictures The Lost Heart among others. Vasicek has also has written and published over 500 books short stories and articles. His books include How To Write Sell and Get Your Screenplays Produced and The Write Focus. Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+ LLC Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting http://www.donvasicek.com [email protected] ,1086
Offhollywood Comes to the Big Apple,2009-07-13,Production Company Opens a New Facility in New York City Offhollywood has opened a new facility in New York and is currently providing three high-profile films — Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman Fair Game with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and Twelve with 50 Cent and Kiefer Sutherland — with production packages bundling 4K Red cameras on-set DITs Red workflow technical support with dailies and digital intermediate post and finishing services. As more and more leading directors and DPs see how successful Red acquisition and workflows can be our goal is to provide them with the very best support service and equipment in an end-to-end solution says Offhollywood CEO Mark L. Pederson. We are fully committed to this technology constantly evaluating every accessory and software solution to ensure that our offering brings filmmakers the full benefits of Red production and post. Offhollywood is on the front lines and continuously working hard to stay there. We are extremely excited to open our new camera rental and service facility here in New York in July solely dedicated to Red digital cinema cameras. Working with Olympus Pictures of Los Angeles and Blossom Films Offhollywood is providing end-to-end services for Rabbit Hole which features a screenplay written by David Lindsay-Abaire and based on his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play. John Cameron Mitchell who directed the 2001 film Hedwig and the Angry Inch is director for the drama which began principal photography in New York on June 1. In shooting Fair Game on Offhollywood's Red cameras Doug Liman got behind the camera as both DP and director for the first time since Go. Adding to Liman's action film credits which include The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith this latest film tells the story of former CIA agent Valerie Plame whose identity was illegally revealed in 2003. Liman completed principal photography in New York and Washington D.C. and now is traveling with Offhollywood's Red cameras and technical crew for shoots in Egypt Jordan and Malaysia. Directed by Joel Schumacher with directory of photography Steven Fierberg ASC Twelve is the story of a young drug dealer who watches as his high-rolling life is dismantled in the wake of his cousin's murder and sees his best friend arrested for the crime. The eagerly anticipated feature which is based on the bestselling novel written by Nick McDonell at the young age of 17 wrapped May 27th in New York City. Offhollywood www.offhollywoodny.com ,1088
Move the Media Block?,2009-07-14,By Michael Karagosian   Digital cinema’s greatest challenge is its cost.  The cinema marketplace isn’t big enough to allow the scale of manufacturing needed to produce equipment inexpensively.  To get the benefit of scale components need to be off-the-shelf.  In other words they need to be useful for things other than digital cinema.  Of course the stumper is that if digital cinema were off-the-shelf the cinema experience wouldn’t be unique.  So it’s a rare and valuable opportunity when a system architecture emerges that begs for off-the-shelf components.  This is precisely the direction the industry can move in with the trend to put the media block inside the projector.   The media block contains all of the unique hardware required by DCI-compliant digital cinema.  By moving this component into the projector and out of the server the system architecture is greatly simplified.  Most notably the server can now be an off-the-shelf device purchased and managed by an IT department.  For those without an IT department it means you can buy the server off the web directly through companies such as Dell HP or IBM with all of the associated cost savings.  Given that the components unique to digital cinema will be inside the projector it’s easy to see which vendors are going to lead this trend. With media block in the projector and off-the-shelf components outside the projector one might think that there could be industry agreement on the link that connects the two.  The idea is so obvious that I have been receiving emails from more than one proponent suggesting industry activity to reach such an agreement.  It follows then that this subject was raised in a recent industry meeting.  But surprisingly the idea of a common link was met with strong pushback from certain companies.  It was as if the lessons of the past 30 years of failed technology ventures were thrown out the window.  It’s time to review those lessons. The computer industry graveyard is abundant.  Great names such as Digital Equipment Corporation Data General Tandem Computers and Wang stand out among the dearly departed.  While the legacy of some of these companies still lives in product lines now absorbed by survivors these are not growing markets.  This was not always so.  These companies were kings of proprietary hardware.  At one time great marketing stands were made for their proprietary designs.  But they also met their fates by hanging onto the religion of proprietary design and not responding to major shifts in the market.  Their lessons are for all who venture in technology. Stepping into the present there is a different set of examples I can point to.  The history of the desktop computing platform provides tremendous insight into how digital cinema equipment will likely evolve.  The two leaders in the desktop area Apple and Microsoft offer platforms that are both successful and uniquely different.  Most interesting is that both now utilize the same CPU underscoring the evolution in computing away from specialized hardware that buried so many bodies in the computer industry graveyard.  Regardless of one’s personal preference of desktop computer it is the shared success and widely different market approach of these two companies that is worth understanding.   Apple is the epitome of the vertical integrator.  Its hardware and software platforms are highly developed largely through in-house engineering.  To succeed it has to be excellent in all aspects of its product both hardware and software.  Apple would be joining so many former peers in the graveyard if its software was sloppy or if its hardware wasn’t the best.  To be sure this approach has not led to Apple’s win of a majority of the market.  But Apple clearly understands the key to success as a vertically integrated product manufacturer. Microsoft took a different approach in its pursuit of success.  Microsoft focused on serving the business community with strictly software.  Its hardware platform was open and while initiated by IBM the competitive nature of “clones” ensured that market penetration was deep.  Microsoft’s success is in large part due its ability to provide a software platform that meets the needs of its sizeable target market as well as its efforts to encourage the ubiquitous hardware to run it.   Each of these strategies is mirrored in the emerging architecture of digital cinema systems.  Sony Electronics as a projection technology provider is going down the vertically integrated path.  Its key to success will be to follow Apple's lead in becoming excellent in every way possible from TMS and SMS to its projection hardware.  The other projector technology provider Texas Instrument's DLP CinemaT is going down the open architecture route allowing 3rd party media block hardware and software to plug in.  Considering the usual evolution of technology and a strong market demand for the lowest cost solution it won't be long before the plug-in hardware becomes a pure commodity clone media blocks if you will and the software is the only differentiator.  This is the Microsoft model. These models will serve well for those exhibitors formulating their future purchasing strategy.  By understanding them one should be able to navigate towards the long-term solution that meets your company’s needs.  Remember that success in the marketplace is not about religion it’s about being excellent in one’s game.  I take no pleasure in pointing out that we already have a few bodies in the digital cinema graveyard and more will likely be buried.  Both Apple and Microsoft avoided the graveyard and achieved great success by correctly understanding their game and playing it well.  We could use a little more of that understanding in digital cinema. Michael Karagosian is founder and president of MKPE Consulting LLC a Los Angeles-based consultancy in the entertainment industry.  Visit his company at http://mkpe.com. ,1092
The Road to Freedom,2009-07-14, Independent Film Starts Production in the Cambodian Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge Imagine having to deactivate live land mines to prepare for film production.  Despite his muscle and grit both on and off the camera this was not a challenge that Tom Proctor and his production team ever imagined tackling.  But the set is ready and the cast and crew of the war movie The Road to Freedom are off to the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge to tell an account of two photojournalists who brave the deep jungles of war-torn Cambodia to get their story of despairing humanity during the 1972 Khmer Rouge terrorism.   Based on true-life events theirs is a journey of self-discovery that defines what it means to be a man and moreover a human being.

Not since the days of The Man Who Would Be King has Hollywood attempted a ‘buddy story’ of this magnitude and nobility.   Starring Joshua Fredric Smith as Sean and Scott Maguire as Dana The Road to Freedom is a film of substance replete with movie magic punch and panache and with all the human feeling it takes to grip the adventure by the heart. “The script is everything and rock solid thanks to the amazing story of director Brendan Moriarty and the artistry of screenwriters Margie Rogers and Thomas Schade ” says Tom Proctor veteran film actor and producer of The Road to Freedom and who is also co-starring in the film as the existential Frenchman Francias.  “Our characters are true-spine and for the lead roles of Sean and Dana we had the good fortune to find actors who can deliver authentic gut-wrenching performances.” Teaming with Moriarty gave Proctor the fortitude to pull off this challenging location shoot.  Raised in Cambodia Moriarty knew all the right people to help make a big budget film on a surprisingly low budget.  Prison camps have been built. The Cambodian Army is playing the role of the Cambodian Army.   Not to be outdone Tom called on veteran cinematographer David Mun to pack his Red camera package and hightail it to Southeast Asia.  

 “Seeing his work from Sons of Anarchy and Grey’s Anatomy and having worked with him on two feature films I knew Dave was the stylized shooter we needed ” says Proctor. “But I also knew he had bigger projects lined up.  So I threw him the same hook line and sinker that reeled me in: the amazing script.  It didn’t take him long to say yes after he read it.” Production of The Road to Freedom is scheduled to wrap at the end of July and its expected release date is January 2010.   For more information including links to behind the scenes footage please visit www.theroadtofreedomthemovie.com. ,1094
Blast Off,2009-07-14,New NASA Attraction Recreates the Space Shuttle Experience The $60 million 44 000-square-foot Shuttle Launch Experience is the most technologically advanced attraction ever created for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and it gives riders a realistic feel of what it’s like to blast off in a space shuttle. After riders are strapped into their seats the shuttle simulator lifts off taking its “crew” on a four-minute sensory overload ride into space culminating with a 63-degree tilt back that abruptly ceases.  When passengers arrive in orbit the shuttle’s cargo bay doors open and passengers are tilted slightly forward to show a spectacular view of planet Earth just as real-life NASA astronauts would see it. Emil Poggi chief operating officer of Poggi Designs was approached by Technomedia Solutions the systems integrator for the attraction to work on the project. “Technomedia Solutions who had the contract reached out to us because this was a fairly involved design project and something that we have years of experience in designing ” says Poggi.  “I have been using Harkness Screens for the past 10 years in the designs of rides attractions and movie theaters.  The quality of its screens and frames creative designs attention to detail and customer service made it the obvious choice for this special project.” According to Poggi the screen requirements for this attraction were very unique and very specific.  In order to accomplish the true feeling of being in space the Shuttle Launch Experience called for a 20-foot by 38-foot rear projection screen with a custom frame about four feet larger to be installed and hung at a 75-degree angle 60 feet above the ground with a mock up of a space shuttle underneath it.   The tricky installation required some ingenuity on the part of Harkness Screens.  The company came up with the idea of a window shade at the high end of the screen.  This involved designing a frame in which the screen could be winched up and dropped in like a window shade so it could be pulled down with drag on it and then laced in place.  The lower end of the screen frame and screen was radiused (curved) to represent the horizon line of the earth and corresponds with the radius of the earth as seen from the Shuttle when it is 100 miles above earth. “Harkness Screens was the only company that was able to provide us with everything we needed for the project - all at one shop ” says Poggi.  “They were able to design and engineer the screen and frame and also have it inspected seismically certified and approved.  Harkness Screens did a fabulous job in the actual heavy engineering of the frame.” In order to accommodate the large volume of visitors passing through the Shuttle Launch Experience three simulators were made.  As a result Harkness Screens had to create the same custom screen and frame multiple times.   “Harkness’ screens have provided for incredible images that continue to captivate passengers ” says Poggi.  “All of the NASA astronauts that have taken a ride in the simulator swear by it and claim it is as close to being in the real shuttle as anyone can get.” Harkness Screens www.harkness-screens.com                 ,1095
Cinema Expo 2009,2009-07-14,The Impressions of a European Correspondent By Fiorenza Mella It was an unusual feeling for me to walk to the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam not to attend IBC but to get my badge for Cinema Expo a much smaller event. I was at the Expo for the first time. Strangely enough no cloakroom had been set up. Nobody was available for giving directions. Eventually I thought that the event might be close to the auditorium. That was a good guess. At the reception I picked up my badge and only later did I hear what an honor I was given to be part of a crew of 20 worldwide press representatives. I received a great bag full with all kinds of gadgets and walked to the catering area by the auditorium. No espresso or cappuccino although a lot of Italian could be heard in the room. On Day One of the show I concentrated on several of the presentations. In the first Fiona Deans presented a case study about Iron Maiden. She had been asked to make the presentation because she had successfully promoted the film Flight 666. The agency reasoned that they would have to target their campaign to a niche market. They started consumer blogging. Then last January they placed a teaser video on YouTube. The tickets went on sale in March. Posters were made. A microsite was created to direct people to the countries where the film was shown. They started getting some strong press coverage. Radio promotions delivered good results. The film premiered in mid March in Rio. The night before the band gave a concert. The end result was the movie was deemed a success. In another presentation Gwendal Auffret introduced Arqiva’s solution that integrates satellite services to enable simultaneous live HD broadcasts and delivery of DCP to theatres. In another Elizabeth Draper told about the ecologically conscious premiere her team organized for launching The Age of Stupid by Franny Amstrong. In yet another the head of strategies at Xpand spoke and introduced the company as the fastest growing 3D cinema solution. He said the new glasses from Xpand have a lifetime of 3000 hours and that a pair of glasses costs one cent per screening. The glasses are fully automatic. A sensor warns if the battery is too low to view a whole movie (cool!). He said the Xpand glasses offer flexible set-up are easy to move around easy switch from 2D to 3D and that no color space correction is required. He also highlighted their eco-friendliness: they do not trash anything away. At Cannes Festival a 3D animation film opened the day and the audience was wearing Xpand’s glasses. The company is currently exploring other niche markets where these glasses could be used such as for medical and tutorial purposes. The lunch came and the Italian audience was happy with the quality of the food – focaccia antipasti lasagne. Afterwards the Digital Seminar started. Dave Monk CEO of the European Digital Cinema Forum got on the stage. He stated that in Europe digital screens rose by one third in 2008. He said that Europe has been growing more slowly than the U.S. and that in Europe as elsewhere 3D gives a reason to people to go back to the theatre. He also said that as elsewhere 3D movies regularly outperform 2D versions. Monk said that the Russian Republic is the only country that went directly into 3D screens without going through digital screens first. According to Monk the digital transition’s progress is driven by 3D and on digital cinema’s 10th anniversary the outlook is bright: 3D is providing the essence of the new money generation. Monk said the remaining issue is who pays for the glasses studios or exhibitors. He acknowledged that no answer is available right now. On my second day at the Expo I visited the technology booths. All the exhibitors were concentrated in one hall. I checked with a few of them and most said that they were happy with the visitor traffic. Some expressed their confusion about another similar event in Brussels that took place one week before this one. Again the catering was superb. Apart from the outstanding quality (several cuisines were available…. Spanish paella Italian pastas wine etc…) even the setting was perfect. Chapeau! I also saw the Ugly Truth but I promised I would respect Mitch’s request of not editorializing about the screening. ,1100
Executive Briefing,2009-07-14,Basic 3D Perception Concepts By Phil Lelyveld [email protected] Click here to read the white paper. ,1102
Expanding the Payload,2009-07-14, Sachtler Introduces the DV 10 SB Fluid Head

 Sachtler has introduced the DV 10 SB fluid head the smallest 100mm bowl-mount head in the Sachtler DV line. The DV 10 SB is equipped with an array of state-of-the-art functions including a 12-step counterbalance as well as five horizontal and five vertical levels of drag plus “0”. Its SpeedBalance technology enables fast and smooth adjustments while the head's payload range from 2-26 pounds (1 to 12 kilograms) and tilt range of +90 degrees to -75 degrees make the DV 10 SB the ideal tool for diverse shooting conditions.

 Like other members of Sachtler's DV family of fluid heads this new head offers the SpeedBalance feature that greatly reduces setup time due to its 12 steps of counterbalance. In addition to finer counterbalance graduation SpeedBalance expands the payload range including a reduction in minimum payload so the DV 10 SB ideal for lightweight camcorders such as those in the DVCAM HDV and DV classes.

 The DV 10 SB also features Sachtler's Touch & Go Plate DV for quick camera mounting and a wider sliding range a self-illuminating Touch Bubble and the ability to operate in diverse climates from -40 to +140 degrees F (-40 degrees to +60 degrees C). The head weights 5.7 pounds (2.6 kilograms) and is available as a system with any of Sachtler's 100mm bowl mount tripods.

 Sachtler www.sachtler.us ,1103
Summer Encores,2009-07-29,Opera Returns to 275 Selected Movie Theatres The Metropolitan Opera and NCM Fathom are showing two special summer encores pre-recorded from the first season of the Peabody Award-winning The Met: Live in HD series. Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Barber of Seville) played July 29th and will be followed by Mozart’s The Magic Flute on August 5th in 275 select movie theatres nationwide. One of the most beloved operatic comedies of all time Il Barbiere di Siviglia was an instant audience favorite at its first showing as part of The Met: Live in HD series in March 2007. Returning to select theatres on Wednesday July 29th Il Barbiere di Siviglia cast includes Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Rosina and Swedish baritone Peter Mattei in the title role of the swaggering barber. Il Barbiere di Siviglia is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher and conducted by Maurizio Benini. Mozart’s masterpiece The Magic Flute is presented on August 5th in an abridged English-language version created especially for families. The production takes audiences to a magical world of dancing bears giant birds and colorful adventure in Mozart’s ever-popular masterpiece on August 5th. This performance was originally presented in December 2006 as the inaugural transmission of The Met: Live in HD series. Directed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor (The Lion King) and conducted by Metropolitan Opera Music Director James Levine the dynamic cast includes Ying Huang as Pamina Matthew Polenzani as Tamino and Nathan Gunn the bird catcher Papageno. Originally broadcast to a limited number of movie theatres in the U.S. and internationally in the inaugural 2006-2007 season of The Met: Live in HD series Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Magic Flute will each be rebroadcast one night only in 275 select AMC Entertainment Inc. Celebration! Cinema Cobb Theatres Goodrich Quality Theatres Georgia Theatre Company Hollywood Theatres Kerasotes Showplace Theatres Malco Theatres National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group movie theatres as well as El Raton Theatre (Raton NM) Hollywood 14 (Asheville NC) Palace Cinema 9 (South Burlington VT) and Penn Cinema (Lititz PA) through NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network.    The Met: Live in HD series has featured a total of 24 live operas and one live Gala during its three season-run. The 2008-09 season was the biggest yet with 11 LIVE high-definition opera transmissions including the Met’s Opening Night Gala starring Renée Fleming Lucia Di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly. The first Met: Live in HD opera The Magic Flute was seen in 56 theatres in December 2006. Fathom has since expanded its participating theatre footprint which now reaches nearly 500 movie theatres in the United States.    The Met: Live in HD series was recently honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for its “vividly designed smartly annotated productions of Hansel and Gretel Dr. Atomic Peter Grimes and other operas ” and the use of “state-of-the-art digital technology to reinvent the presentation of a classic art form.” In addition the Met won a special Emmy Award in January 2009 for “advancing technology through ongoing live global transmission of high-definition programming to movie theatres.”   The Met: Live in HD is expanding the appeal and reach of opera around the world and has been met with both critical and popular acclaim. Using robotic cameras and state-of-the-art technology The Met: Live in HD captures the onstage action from striking angles and heightens attention to the narrative elements of both performance and production. The series offers behind-the-scenes features live interviews with cast and crew insightful short documentaries and bird’s-eye views of the productions offering an unprecedented look at what goes into the staging of an opera. The Met: Live in HD is made possible by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation. Tickets for The Met: Live in HD summer encores are now available at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theatre box offices.   More information about the summer encores is available at http://www.metoperafamily.org/hdlive.   National CineMedia www.ncm.com The Metropolitan Opera www.metopera.org ,1119
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso?,2009-07-29, In the 1989 Italian classic Nuovo Cinema Paradiso the volatility of film fuels the fire that destroys a local cinema. That is a fitting metaphor for the current state of exhibition in Italy and the rest of Europe. Admittedly it is the worse case scenario but there are concerns in some government circles overseas that if no workable economic solution can be found more than half the movie screens in Europe could go dark in the coming years when Hollywood moves exclusively to digital distribution. That such a disastrous event is even a possibility makes a mockery of all the promise the new technology has to offer. In response Italy has proposed a 30 percent tax credit for exhibitors to help fund the digital transition but the European Commission is studying the proposal and may reject it. The Commission has opened the formal investigation into Italy’s proposed 30 percent tax credit for installing digital projection equipment in Italian cinemas because it has concerns that the measure may mainly benefit large multiplexes which should need less support. The EC says the opening of an in-depth investigation gives third parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measure. Click here to comment.  Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes says A public debate on the impact of digital cinema in Europe is long overdue since some have suggested that thousands of Europe’s art house and local cinemas may face closure because they cannot afford the conversion costs. Over 75 percent of Italian cinemas have one to four screens and due to their lower profitability they seem less likely to benefit from the proposed tax credit than larger multiplexes. I am therefore grateful to the Italian authorities for their cooperation in examining this complex topic and for proposing to organize a workshop on digital cinema during the Rome Film Festival in October. There are approximately 33 000 screens across the EU and as one European observer told me “If it really costs €100 000 (which is currently a little over $140 000) to install digital projection equipment in one screen that would imply a total cost of €3.3 billion ($4.7 billion). In the current economic climate as you note in your [recent] editorial this looks prohibitively expensive for many cinemas even with State aid which most EU Member States seem unlikely to be able to afford. So the theory is that some 18 000 European screens would have to close down once films are only available digitally unless governments step in with significant public funding. This seems to be a surprising consequence of what ought to be a positive change for the film sector.” Even so Italy’s proposed 30 percent tax credit for the costs of installing digital projection equipment in cinemas does raise a number of legitimate questions about the necessity proportionality and adequacy of State aid for digital cinema. These include the following: Is €100 000 per screen a fair estimate of the cost of installing digital projection equipment? If so is it affordable even with State aid?

Are there no commercial business models which could install digital projection equipment at least in the more profitable cinemas?

 Would audiences find a wider choice of films at those cinemas receiving State aid for digital projection equipment? If not what is the advantage to the taxpayer?

 It has been argued that if they cannot afford the equipment many cinemas could close when film distributors switch from 35mm to digital. How real is this threat and what is the timeframe?

 Would one-off State aid provide a sustainable and uniform solution for digital cinema? In particular would the cinemas which could not afford the equipment without State aid be able to meet the apparently higher running costs of digital projection equipment and replace it at the end of its useful life?

 Would cinemas be induced by the State aid to invest in one digital standard in preference to another? As a condition of the State aid would cinemas have to ensure that films released in any open digital format could be screened on the supported equipment?

 In view of the limited number of cinema screens worldwide and the limited production capacity of projection equipment designed specifically for cinemas would State aid for such equipment artificially inflate its price?

 And finally is it possible that State aid for digital cinema could actually accelerate the closure of the least profitable cinemas? As noted above these questions and more will be discussed during a digital cinema workshop which will be held October 21st in conjunction with the Rome Film Festival. The Italian government and the EC are to be commended for taking these measures now and however unlikely it might seem I wish them success. Click here for information on the workshop.   Toward the end of Cinema Paradiso (the movie’s title when it was released in the United States) the protagonist Salvatore who is now a famous film director has returned to his hometown for a funeral and discovers that the old theatre where he worked as a projectionist as a teenager is being torn down to make room for parking lots.
 Barring the development of a realistic private or public funding mechanism in the coming years that scenario could be played out in scores of small towns in Europe and all around the world. ,1121
The Achievers,2009-07-29, Documentary Follows Interesting Path to Success It is a business model that independent filmmakers are certain to adopt increasingly as the number of digital cinema theatres expands. The Achievers: the story of the Lebowski fans a documentary based on the fanatical following of the Coen brothers’ cult-classic film The Big Lebowski has announced the official DVD release on August 18 to be distributed by K-Man Productions. The documentary by director Eddie Chung follows the intertwining lives and sub-culture of Achievers – fans of The Big Lebowski. The documentary made its official premiere with two sold-out screenings at the 2009 San Francisco Independent Film Festival and is set for a limited theatrical run this summer as well as special screenings at upcoming Lebowski Fest dates. 
 In 2004 Chung contacted the founders of the Lebowski Fest to get permission to document the festival. With camera in hand he left for Las Vegas not knowing what to expect. “I started interviewing the founders but they were so busy setting up that it was hard getting them to sit down for an interview so I started interviewing people who were in line waiting to get into the event. When I started this project I had no idea the popularity of The Big Lebowski but when I arrived to my first Lebowski Fest I was amazed to find a long line ” says Chung. One by one Chung started to discover a diverse cross section of people. 
During the event he met a group of Achievers (fans of The Big Lebowski) who were avid members of the Lebowski Fest chat room know as the Forum. Members who chat daily have developed life long friendships not bound by geographical location. It is a favorite feature on the Lebowski Fest website where Achievers share like-minded ideas expressed primarily through the Lebowski language. This is where Chung concentrated his efforts. “I wanted to find out what it was about the film that pulled all these people together ” he says. Year after year the festival began getting larger with attendees growing into the thousands while the original group of Forum members began getting tighter and used the festival as an annual meeting place.
With 136 hours of interviews and festival film (including a performance of Jeff Bridges and his band at Lebowski Fest in Los Angeles singing to “a sea of Dudes” as Bridges describes ) Chung arranged a deal with Universal Studios to use footage of The Big Lebowski in his documentary. After four months of negotiations Chung was granted use of clips from the movie in exchange for a 15-minute featurette about Lebowski Fest which was included as bonus material on the ten-year anniversary release of The Big Lebowski. The only thing left was to get the actors from The Big Lebowski to agree to be a part of the project. “The hardest part was getting the actor’s agents to pass on the info to their clients ” Chung says “but once they knew of the project they were all happy to donate their time and work. Everything just fell into place in spite of everything it all came together.”
The Achievers features the real behind-the-scenes stories that gave inspiration to the Coen brothers and brought an authenticity to the characters in Lebowski. Considered to be the modern day Rocky Horror the Lebowski Fest propelled lesser known actors and non-actors to cultish status. The Achievers www.theachieversmovie.com ,1122
Great Museums,2009-07-29,Echo Pictures and Crawford Post have completed a new season of the award-winning program. ,1126
Story Elements Hollywood and Audiences Demand
,2009-07-29, By Donald L. Vasicek If you look at movies that have been box office successes you will see that they are movies with specific story elements. The story must have a main character.  The main character must have a goal.  The main character must have some kind of character trait or traits that inhibits him/her from accomplishing his/her goal.  The story then is about the main character accomplishing his/her goal.  In order to overcome the character trait or traits that is/are preventing him/her from accomplishing the goal the main character must go through a transformation. If any one of these elements is missing the story will fall flat. For example in Management a 2009 release starring Steve Zahn Jennifer Anniston and Woody Harrelson written and directed by Stephen Belber Steve Zahn the main character plays a night manager Mike at his parents’ motel in Kingman Arizona.  Jennifer Aniston plays a businesswoman who sells artwork to motels who stays at the motel.   Mike becomes smitten with her.  This begins the story. Mike’s goal becomes getting Aniston to marry him.  His character deficiency is he acts like a thirty-year old kid.  He’s lived in Kingman all of his life and now this world becomes empty without Aniston.   Mike’s only chance to land Aniston without any guarantees this will happen is to change.  He must go through a transformation.  So throughout the story he transforms from as some people would call him a nudge to a mature grown up guy. Mike has to evolve from being a nudge to trying to change his life to discovering what he has to do to change and then successfully implementing that change. I’ll leave it up to you to see if Mike transforms and accomplishes his goal.
 The next time you see a movie that falls flat for you check out the main character.  Did he/she go through a transformation?  If he/she did not then you have watched a movie that has larger than life characters like the Spiderman franchise the Batman franchise or the James Bond franchise or you have watched a movie that has failed in executing characterization in a way that will attract Hollywood audiences and create good box office receipts.   Author’s Credits Donald L. Vasicek studied producing directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simen’s and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay with Sally Merlin (White Squall). He has taught mentored and is a script consultant for over 400 writers directors producers actors and production companies and has also acted in 20th Century Fox’s Die Hard With a Vengeance NBC’s Mystery of Flight 1501 ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley and Red-Handed Production’s Summer Reunion. These activities have resulted in Don’s involvement in more than 100 movies during the past 23 years from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million Warriors of Virtue Paramount Classics Racing Lucifer and American Pictures The Lost Heart among others. Vasicek has also has written and published over 500 books short stories and articles. His books include How To Write Sell and Get Your Screenplays Produced and The Write Focus. Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+ LLC Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting http://www.donvasicek.com [email protected] ,1127
Cinemark Celebrates 25th,2009-07-29,Last month Cinemark which is celebrating its 25th anniversary opened a new Cinemark XD auditorium the company’s new large screen digital format at the Cinemark 24 Jordan Landing location in West Jordan Utah. The new venue was ready in time for the opening weekend of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. The Cinemark West Jordan theatre will be the only large screen venue in the Salt Lake City market exhibiting the movie for the first two weeks of the picture’s release. 

Cinemark has transformed one auditorium at the Jordan Landing location so that guests can experience cinema like never before. The new auditorium offers a complete entertainment environment. Once customers enter a screen that is 67 feet wide more than 550 plush seats and a completely redesigned viewing environment greets them. As guests settle in for the show they are treated to Cinemark’s Custom JBL Sound System that has more than 30 speakers. The digital image is delivered by a Doremi server and Barco DP3000 projector with a light output of 30 000 lumens. “The Cinemark XD format will offer our Salt Lake City area customers an extreme digital experience ” says Alan Stock Cinemark’s chief executive officer. “Moviegoers get ready for sensory overload. We have created an environment that engages all of your senses and pulls you into the picture. Another benefit worth mentioning is that Cinemark will be able to exhibit all movies in this auditorium including Real D-3D pictures.”

Even if Cinemark had not opened a new theatre July would have been a big month. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 9th. The anniversary theme “25 Years of Movies and Magic” recognizes the quarter-century of superior customer service great entertainment experiences and lasting memories that Cinemark has provided to customers throughout the years. 

Cinemark was founded in 1984 by theatrical exhibition pioneer Lee Roy Mitchell. According to the company Mitchell’s initial vision was to bring high-quality modern movie theatre entertainment to underserved markets in the US. In 1993 he expanded his vision by focusing on underserved markets outside the US and launching one of Cinemark’s first movie theatres in Latin America. “What has always set Cinemark apart is the level of importance that we place on our employees customers vendors and studio partners ” says Mitchell who is now Cinemark’s chairman. 

In 1986 Stock joined Cinemark and partnered with Mitchell to implement this vision. In 2006 Cinemark acquired Century Theatres and added approximately 77 theatres to the company. A year later Cinemark completed its initial public offering and the company’s stock is now traded on the NYSE. As of March 31st Cinemark operated 420 theatres and 4 846 screens in 39 states in the United States and internationally in 12 countries mainly in Mexico South and Central America. “We have strived to provide the best movie-going entertainment experience possible ” says Stock. “Today Cinemark is positioned as the world’s second largest motion picture exhibition company. It’s important to recognize Cinemark’s employees and customers without whom this level of success would not be possible.” One of the ways that Cinemark celebrated was by launching a new online contest. The grand prize is a trip to Paris France courtesy of Sony Pictures and the upcoming film Julie and Julia. The new contest is one of several that have been offered over the past few months to help celebrate the 25-year milestone. In April Cinemark and Universal Pictures teamed up to give away a new car with the release of the movie Fast and Furious. In May for the release of Land of the Lost and Public Enemies twenty-five winners were selected each day for 25 days to win a $25 Cinemark Gift Card. “All of these contests have been introduced in order to thank Cinemark’s loyal customers for their continued support and to invite them to celebrate with us ” says. Stock. 
Cut to the Bones,2009-07-29,Australian post house Cutting Edge used a Digital Film Technology Bones Dailies post-production workflow system to deliver dailies for 20th Century Fox summer hit X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  The movie was shot in Australia and New Zealand over 21 weeks on approximately 850 000 feet of film. Roughly 157 hours of footage were shot and on certain days as many as 11 film cameras were used. It was filmed on the Arriflex 435 and on the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL with Primo and Angenieux Lenses. The project used Kodak Super 35mm Vision2 200T 5217 and Vision3 500T 5219 stocks.   The dailies were delivered on approximately 130 Digital Betacam Tapes 500 XDcam disks 400 HDcam SR tapes and 2 500 DVDs.   “Bones Dailies provided us with a tool to deliver fully graded fully logged fully sound synchronized 10 bit 4:4:4 quality dailies. Being an uncompressed non-linear template based system; we were able to instantly create tailor made versions by a single click of a button ” says Stuart Monksfield general manager of Cutting Edge Sydney. “Our client 20th Century Fox loved the flexibility as we had to specifically tune deliverables for the various departments involved and all without any loss of image or sound quality whatsoever.” With Bones Dailies Cutting Edge were able to scan the 35mm negative on their Spirit4K Datacine apply a best light color correction with their DaVinci 2K and record totally uncompressed HD 4:4:4 images in real-time to EditShare disks.  Once in Bones Dailies the lab rolls were marked up manually according the Scene Take Camera. All the metadata was maintained by Bones Dailies in its internal database alongside the Keycode information coming from the Spirit 4K.   Location audio was imported into Bones Dailies faster than real-time and specially designed algorithms analyzed each file identifying Sticks/Slate closures.  Audio and image synchronization is semi-automatic based on a variety of sync markers. “Bones Dailies provides a way to boost productivity in the Dailies process “ says Morris Lindenkreuz DFT product manager for Bones.  “It is a template-driven tool which automates processes ultimately saving time and eliminating mundane tasks.  Facilities can work concurrently on the Dailies processes – audio and video ingest and synchronization ASC CDL based primary and secondary color-correction and play out of the color-corrected sound synchronized fully logged Dailies to multiple file formats all while transferring the next film roll.” Cutting Edge www.cuttingedge.com.au DFT Digital Film Technology www.dft-film.com ,1132
Interactive Wonders,2009-07-29, The Sony Wonder Technology Lab a technology and entertainment museum open free to the public which is located at Sony’s U.S. headquarters in midtown Manhattan added 14 new interactive exhibits this summer. The new exhibits are the result of extensive collaboration between Sony’s electronics and entertainment companies and more than a year of development and construction. The multi-million dollar renovation features two floors and 6 200 square feet of exhibits designed to inspire young visitors to think about how technology enables them to create communicate and collaborate with one another. Many of the exhibits also provide historical context for the technological evolution that is rapidly transforming today’s society. “The multi-million dollar investment we’ve made in this facility reflects Sony’s ongoing commitment to education and the communities we serve ” says Sir Howard Stringer chairman CEO and president of Sony Corporation. “The Sony Wonder Technology Lab is a manifestation of ‘Sony United’ in every sense. Bringing our content and technology together in this educational environment has enabled us to create a compelling and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.” Visitors can design a unique digital profile at Log In; and explore the inner workings of digital devices at How Devices Work.  They can learn tricks of the trade create an animated character or design a computer-generated world in the Animation Studio. They can see their very own dance moves performed by their favorite Sony-animated characters in Dance Motion Capture.  They can program a robot in the Robot Zone.  And they can use haptic technology to “feel” what it is like to perform open-heart surgery in the Lab’s Virtual Surgery experience. They can even become a part of a broadcast production team at WSWL the Lab’s HDTV production studio and learn about digital signals nanotechnology and much much more. As part of Sony Corporation’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability the Sony Wonder Technology Lab is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council. In addition to taking an environmentally conscious approach to construction Sony has also worked hard to incorporate content into its exhibits that helps raise awareness of global environmental concerns while providing a glimpse of how technology is being used to help solve global challenges. The Sony Wonder Technology Lab occupies 14 000 square feet and is fully funded by Sony Corporation of America.  Its exhibits are targeted primarily to visitors aged 8 to 14. The renovated third and fourth floor exhibits are a result of a multi-year collaboration between Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership/Big Show Construction Management Joint Venture Unified Field and the following Sony companies and joint ventures: Sony Corporation; Sony Computer Entertainment America; Sony Electronics Inc.; Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications; Sony Music Entertainment; Sony Online Entertainment; and Sony Pictures Entertainment (including Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks).  Media hardware systems were designed and implemented in conjunction with Scharff-Weisberg Inc. and Three Byte Intermedia and lighting was developed in consultation with Available Light. The Sony Wonder Technology Lab www.sonywondertechlab.com ,1133
The 27 Club,2009-07-29,Independent Feature Explores the Unique Pain of Death at an Early Age When you’re dead you’re gone. You exist only in the minds of those you leave behind. You become a fragment of a story: a beginning middle or end. Tom is dead. Elliot has been left behind. Tom was the front man of their successful band Finn. He died on his 27th birthday. Elliot is left to decide if he too will join The 27 Club. Jimi Hendrix Janice Joplin Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain also belong to this infamous club—they all died at age 27. As Tom and Elliot’s story is revealed and the history of their lives unfolds it becomes clear that it takes more than just a number to determine one’s fate. The perils of rock and roll fame often lay only on the surface of more deeply felt wounds. Elliot is devastated and in a desperate attempt to escape from all he knows he hires a grocery store clerk to drive him from Los Angeles to New York where Tom’s funeral is to be held. The fragmented memories inside Elliot’s head are juxtaposed against the ever-changing anamorphic landscape as the unlikely pair travels across America together. When beautiful hitchhiker Stella joins them Elliot’s healing begins. With her new film director Erica Dunton has crafted a unique visual style. The daughter of celebrated cinematographer and camera technician Joe Dunton she graduated with a law degree and then went on to spend three years at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield UK. She has directed commercials promos shorts and features. Her short film fe produced by Arcane Pictures was very well received on the international film festival circuit among them Edinburgh and Berlin festivals. She has made films in London Africa USA China Moscow and India. Her traveling has also allowed her passion for still photography to advance. Find Love her first experimental feature was produced by Gill Holland and Matthew Parker LaSalleHolland (The Group Entertainment) in New York and won many awards including Best Independent Vision at Sarasota Film Festival; Best Actor Best Director and Best Script at the DIBA Barcelona Film The 27 Club was shot all across America on 35mm film with anamorphic lenses and stars Joe Anderson (Across The Universe Traveling The Ruins Control) David Emrich James Forgey Alexie Gilmore and Eve Hewson. It had its world premiere at The Tribeca Film Festival. The 27 Club received high definition post-production services at Crawford Post in Atlanta. Crawford Post’s creative crew for The 27 Club included senior editor/HD specialist Ron Heidt for the HD conform and graphics; senior colorist D.C. Cardinali on HD tape-to-tape color correction; and sound designer Steve Warner for audio layback. The film has taken home many awards from various screening events including best film best director and best screenplay at the Milan International Film Festival. TV audiences can access The 27 Club on demand via Bright House Cablevision Cox Communications and Time Warner through August. Dunton is currently developing two feature scripts: Indigo a psychological thriller that looks at false and repressed memory and the chilling story of a young woman finding out her life is not what she knows it to be and St. Peter’s List a dark and twisted supernatural thriller. Crawford Post Production www.crawfordpost.com The 27 Club www.the27clubmovie.com ,1134
Developing a Super Slo-Mo HD Camera ,2009-07-29, Background Slow motion replays are now widely accepted as an integral part of television sports coverage. Indeed many sports now rely on these replays to help game officials judge close plays and questionable calls. To create a slow-motion replay which appears smooth it is necessary to have a camera and a recording system which is capable of shooting faster than the normal 50 or 60 fields or frames per second rate. Capturing more pictures than normal then playing those out at the standard speed gives you smooth motion at a reduced speed of action rate. This was the thinking behind the development of the Grass Valley LDK 23 which set the standard for live super slow-motion system or super slo-mo. The LDK 23 shot at three times normal speed producing 75 or 90 frames a second depending on video format giving perfect motion at one-third normal speed for 3X super slo-mo. The important point here is that the technology existed for this to happen within a live production without complex processing or delay. With a special super slow- motion server the 3X output could be recorded then played back instantly at variable speeds. The recording could go on indefinitely; normally super slo-mo server channels are permanently recording capturing the entire game. Without this approach viewers had to put up with jerky motion or there was a significant delay while complex processing and rendering took place to estimate the in-between pictures. This did not produce satisfactory results and was of no practical value in the world of fast action sports because of the processing delay. Today the broadcast market sees a number of very high-speed cameras: speeds as high as a million frames a second have been quoted. But these are limited to very short recording durations – a fraction of a second in the case of the highest speeds – and the outputs need to be downloaded and processed before they can be used. This makes them attractive for very specialized shots but not a practical proposition for live applications. Sports broadcasters are accustomed to the idea of 3X super slo-mo and directors routinely call for replays instantly. They are an established part of the language of televised sports productions. Sports productions are leading the migration to HD for broadcasters around the world. Audiences expect landmark events – like the  2006 FiFA World Cup The Super Bowl Euro 2008 (European football) and the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics – to be broadcast in HD and increasingly there is an expectation that other more routine sporting events should also be available in HD. This all leads to a significant demand for an HD super slo-mo system. The development of such a camera though faces a number of technical demands if it is to meet the uncompromised quality standards that viewers expect of HD. This paper looks at some of these design challenges and how they have been addressed by Grass Valley engineers in the LDK 8300 Super Slo-Mo HD Camera. Signal-to-Noise Ratio The majority of high-end professional television cameras use three 2/3-inch CCDs as its image sensors with CMOS sensors beginning to make their appearance. In this context it does not matter whether the imager is CCD or CMOS though as both achieve the same end result. The imager sensor is a chip on which there are a large number of photosites. These photosites convert light energy into electrical energy: they collect photons falling on the photosite and output a signal which is proportional to the number of photons collected. In the imager’s output amplifier the signal charges will be converted into a proportional output voltage. The output voltage from the imager is extremely low and has to be immediately amplified before being converted from analog to digital for downstream processing (all imager sensors are analog devices). The imager output is directly proportional to the amount of light falling on it but it is also directly proportional to the length of time that it is exposed to that light. It is counting photons: if you reduce the time that you are counting photons then of course you reduce the number of photons which hit the imager. Shooting at three times the normal frame rate means that the imager is exposed for one-third of the normal time for each frame.  This reduces the total amount of light on the image sensor and the output from the imager degrading the signal-to-noise ratio at the front end of the camera. One possible solution would be to use a special imager developed with low signal-to-noise as its primary design requirement. The disadvantage of this would be that its pictures would not visually match the other standard-speed broadcast cameras being used during the event. This would probably be unacceptable even if the output of the camera was only used for slow-motion replays. But in practical situations the super slo-mo camera is used as part of the broadcast program and differences in image quality certainly in HD would not be tolerable. Furthermore having a standard-speed camera alongside the super slo-mo camera is not an acceptable solution either. The additional capital and operational costs of camera cable and operator would add to the production budget and in many sports applications there is only one perfect spot for the camera not two spots side-by-side. For those reasons Grass Valley engineers decided to use the same head block in the Grass Valley LDK 8300 Super Slo-Mo HD Camera as used in its standard-speed equivalent the LDK 8000. An added benefit is the use of DPM – dynamic pixel management – to create native 1920x1080 and 1280x720 resolutions from the same imager without compromise. In the LDK 8300 ultra low-noise electronics minimize the impact of noise. In 3X operation it achieves a signal-to-noise ratio of 54 dB significantly better than other slow-motion cameras available on the market and an acceptable noise floor for HD. Another design decision taken in the LDK 8300 was that it should offer native 2X as well as 3X super slo-mo. Some sports – basketball for instance – are so fast that there is no time between plays to replay a shot at three times its length before the live game has moved on. One of the reasons for providing the additional 2X setting is that this can easily be recorded by super slo-mo recorders in use today and provides the director the opportunity to call for slow-motion shots during fast-moving events.  The LDK 8300 achieves this by using the clock at the camera head so that no additional electronics processing is required. This gives a 50% increase in the exposure time for each frame with a consequent increase in output from the imager and improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio. Whether shooting at 2X or 3X the standard-speed output for live use is created at the camera control unit. The sophisticated algorithms which blend the two or three video phases into the standard-speed output also improve the signal-to-noise figure by a further 3 dB. The result is that the LDK 8300 can be intercut seamlessly with the LDK 8000 camera in HD without any visible differences to the audience. Data Rate It is well known that uncompressed HD as 720p or 1080i has a data rate of 1.5 Gb/s. However if you are shooting at three times the normal frame rate you are faced with a data rate of 4.5 Gb/s. To accommodate this data rate Grass Valley developed a new fiber system. It uses either SMPTE hybrid fiber cables or two cores of standard single mode dark fiber cables and operates securely over distances of up to 13 000 ft/4000m including the delivery of power to the camera. With local power at the camera head even longer distances can be covered. The base station is specifically designed to unpack the triple frame rate video (for 3X speed) carry out the necessary processing then offer the output as three parallel HD-SDI signals to an external recording device (2X speed is output as two parallel HD-SDI signals). As already noted the base station also creates a very high-quality standard (1X) speed output for live use simultaneous with the 3X or 2X. This requires two sets of algorithms: one for progressive and another for interlaced image capture. The camera always operates at the native rate and format of the production so if the requirement is for 1080i then that is what is generated in the camera head electronics. As can be readily appreciated creating a single realtime stream of interlaced HD video from three interlaced frames per output frame calls for very complex mathematics and consequently a great deal of processing power in the base station. It is very difficult to create smooth slow-motion in interlaced formats and this is an issue that broadcasters have to address. For the sort of action events that require super slo-mo 720p provides far superior results and is a much better origination format in this application. However it is important that the technology does not impose restrictions on the operational requirements of the production company or broadcaster so the processing power and capability is included to create a very high-quality realtime 1080i output as well. While interest is now emerging for working at 1080p50/60 formats users will be glad to know that the design of the LDK 8300 is prepared for this standard should it come into common use. The main challenge will be the data rate between the camera and the base station: transmitting 9 Gb/s without jitter or glitches even over fiber is a very significant challenge. Grass Valley engineers are working on a new universal transport standard which will accomplish this. In transmission and processing latency is an important issue especially when cutting between the standard speed output of an LDK 8300 and a traditional LDK 8000 HD camera and the entire fiber transmission system has been designed for minimum processing delays. Making super slo-mo systems fit seamlessly into production environment is also a primary consideration. Camera set-up and shading can be controlled from a standard operational control panel (OCP) so matching Grass Valley super slo-mo cameras to Grass Valley standard-speed cameras is simple. Grass Valley’s camera control system uses Ethernet to link the OCP panel and the camera's base station together and LDK 8000 and LDK 8300 cameras can be controlled on the same network. Flicker When sporting events are played under artificial lighting there is another important issue to consider: flicker. While the eye automatically integrates the output of many different types of artificial lighting so that the level appears constant they remains cycling with the mains power frequency. Typically this is not an issue with television cameras either: a 50 or 60 fields per second camera under 50 or 60 Hz lighting respectively will always receive the same amount of light – effectively integrating the illumination over a complete cycle - so the picture will appear stable. This is the case even if the lighting and the cameras are not synchronized: provided they are operating at the same frequency the light will be integrated over a field of the video to provide a constant level of illumination. But when shooting at 150 or 180 frames per second successive frames will receive a different amount of light because each will capture a different part of the power sine wave. When slowed down these changes in light levels will appear as a visible and distracting flicker. The diagram below illustrates the different levels of light received in each field by a 3X super slo-mo camera under artificial lighting. This flicker appears not just with single-phase lighting but also with two- or three-phase lights and discharge lamps. While other high-speed cameras ignore this problem and as a result produce a very disturbing flicker under artificial lighting conditions Grass Valley has developed a unique compensation system to eliminate it. And a simple automatic gain control is not sufficient for high-quality results: players moving quickly through the frame would fool the detectors and actually risk introducing flicker rather than reducing it. Grass Valley’s solution is AnyLightTM a system of sophisticated algorithms running in the signal processing unit. Control is important: any image processing of this nature risks introducing motion blur which would be unwanted. AnyLight has five presets (including off) which allows the engineers to precisely dial in the amount of correction required for each set-up. These presets are: •    optimal - no flicker reduction for use in optimal lighting conditions •    good - artificial lighting with minor amplitude changes including incandescent or well-balanced three-phase lighting and mixed daylight and artificial lighting •    fair – when there are significant amplitude changes such as under fluorescent lights •    poor – for lighting with major amplitude changes like HMI MNHD gas discharge lamps and neon •    extreme – which results in a completely flicker-free image but does introduce an increased level of motion blur: this setting should be used only when there are extremely challenging lighting conditions The LDK 23 Mk II standard definition super slo-mo camera introduced flicker compensation and rapidly became regarded as the industry benchmark for slow-motion. Qualitative evaluations of AnyLight in the LDK 8300 HD camera suggest that it is an even more effective implementation. Obviously the AnyLight processing like the signal blending for the standard speed output has to be done in real time. It is equally important that it too is performed with very low latency to ensure there are no jumps in the action particularly when cutting from a standard-speed LDK 8000 camera to an LDK 8300. Conclusion Super slo-mo replays have become such a regular part of the vocabulary of television sports and events that it is impossible to imagine life without them. Broadcasters producers and directors migrating to HD are aware that their audiences expect the same production values that they have grown accustomed to with SD which means delivering super slo-mo with the same replay speeds and operational convenience but with the higher quality of high definition. The practicalities of television outside broadcast coverage though are such that super slo-mo cameras have to provide a live realtime output as well as sending the high-speed output to a server for replay. So most of the design constraints are centered on ensuring that the camera output whether live or in slow-motion replay matches in image quality and colorimetry the standard-speed broadcast cameras used elsewhere on the production. We can summarize the design challenges therefore as: •    the ability to capture full resolution HD pictures at 2X and 3X normal speed •    identical image quality from the optical block and camera head and comparable signal-to-noise ratio •    a transport system to carry the high data rates (4.5 Gb/s for today’s HD) over standard cables and practical distances including those pre-installed in sports venues •    a means of minimizing the effect of lighting flicker in slow-motion replays •    advanced signal processing to create a smooth stable and clean realtime signal from the high-speed video even from an interlaced output •    maximum commonality between components and operations for standard-speed and super slo-mo cameras including lens and viewfinder mounts and operational control and master control panels Meeting all these challenges was demanding and Grass Valley waited until all issues were addressed and resolved before bringing the LDK 8300 to market. The LDK 8300 Super Slo-Mo HD Camera was first used on the Euro 2008 football championships in June 2008. At both that event and in Beijing later that year production companies had the opportunity to directly compare the performance of the LDK 8300 with its competition: the widely held view was that the LDK 8300 not only met but exceeded all of the imposed technical and operational requirements and thanks to its very low noise and flicker reduction creates a visibly superior image. In North America the LDK 8300 recently debuted at the center-court camera position during the 2009 Western Conference Finals of the National Basketball Association (NBA) providing extraordinary super slo-mo replays of the action as well as supplying realtime shots of the play-by-play announcers. The LDK 8300 then continued with the NBA as the “hero” camera during the 2009 NBA Championship Finals. ,1141
Tony Dungy’s Red Zone ‘09,2009-08-12, High school football will take center stage in movie theatres across the country where former Super Bowl champion NFL head coach Tony Dungy will be joined by a team of premier NFL players and coaches to engage and motivate high school football players share personal training tips and unveil the secrets to success during an exclusive first-of-its kind in-theatre event on August 25th. Tony Dungy’s Red Zone ’09 will officially kick-off high school football season in more than 460 select movie theatres with three-time league MVP Peyton Manning Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Receiver Michael Irvin USC head coach Pete Carroll and many others. Presented by NCM Fathom MaxPreps and Fresh Air Media Tony Dungy’s Red Zone ’09 gives athletes unprecedented access to professional coaches and players who will present inside tips on football the keys to winning at any position and discuss the importance of hard work team building conditioning skills development and mental toughness.  Regardless of ability level audiences of all ages will be inspired to work hard eat right stay focused and expand their skills – on and off the field.  In addition USC coach Carroll will specifically address how parents can help their high school athletes prepare and potentially increase their chances of receiving college athletic scholarships.    Tony Dungy’s Red Zone ’09 which will be pre-recorded at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano Texas on August 24th features a bench full of the game’s finest professional players and coaches including:   Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts running back   Gary Brackett – Indianapolis Colts middle linebacker Pete Carroll – University of Southern California head coach Dallas Clark – Indianapolis Colts tight end Joe Ehrmann – Coach for America inspirational speaker Michael Irvin – Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame wide receiver Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts quarterback Bob Sanders – Indianapolis Colts safety Jim Sorgi – Indianapolis Colts quarterback   Jon Torine – Indianapolis Colts strength and conditioning coach Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis Colts kicker   When Coach Dungy retired earlier this year his .667 winning percentage was highest among active coaches and his six consecutive seasons with a 12-4 record or better is an NFL record.  He led his teams to six Division Championships and a victory in Super Bowl LXI and has written three New York Times best-selling books. He returns to the game this season as a commentator on NBC’s Football Night in America.   “Throughout my coaching career I have been interested in high school athletes knowing that this is often their first real sports experience and can shape character qualities for the rest of their lives ” Dungy says. “What you learn while playing sports can be carried over into any career path you take – whether it’s in sports or another profession. We hope this event will impact our next generation of student athletes and inspire them to not only be a better athlete but also a better person.”   Tony Dungy’s Red Zone ’09 will feature highlights from NFL college and high school games throughout the event as players share their approach to training and challenge young players to avoid drugs play clean and learn the benefits of hard work.   Former pro football standout Joe Ehrmann will discuss the importance of student athletes playing for others. A fearsome defensive lineman Ehrmann retired from the game after losing his brother to leukemia causing him to re-evaluate what really matters. Named “The Most Important Coach in America” by Parade Magazine for his work transforming the culture of sports he has dedicated his life to helping young athletes overcome the stereotypes of masculinity that may hinder real development. Ehrmann is the subject of the best-selling book Season of Life. “NCM Fathom offers diverse and exclusive forms of entertainment – and Tony Dungy’s Red Zone’09 is yet another first for Fathom ” says Dan Diamond vice president of Fathom. “This event brings together an unprecedented line-up of the finest football players and coaches in the world for an unforgettable evening of insights and lessons from the greatest in the game all at your local movie theatre.” Tickets are available at participating theatre box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. National CineMedia www.ncm.com ,1162
Thinking Outside the Box,2009-08-12,Faced with declining profits from DVD sales ongoing abuse from in-theatre camcorder thieves and too many websites where people can download feature films days – sometimes weeks before they reach movie theatres – the Hollywood studios are reacting differently to the opportunities and perils of the digital world in the 21st Century. Recently as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Twentieth Century Fox has declared war on Redbox the company that is rapidly flooding the U.S. with its distinctive red kiosks where people can rent a DVD for a dollar a night. For its part Redbox has already filed a lawsuit against Universal for taking similar action as Fox. Meanwhile Sony Disney and Lionsgate have signed deals with Redbox and separately Lionsgate and Paramount have deals with DivX. Redbox currently has more than 17 000 kiosks in the United States in convenience stores groceries gas stations and airports. And it is growing at a fast pace. That the Wall Street Journal was first to report the Fox dispute with Redbox is not surprising since both companies are a key part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire. According to the article “Fox is trying to slow the arrival of its DVDs in low-cost rental kiosks run by Redbox” because some studios believe it is contributing to slumping DVD sales. It’s been estimated that DVD sales to retailers and rental outlets will decline by as much as $850 million this year. The Journal article also said that during talks prior to the dispute Fox requested that Redbox keep its movies out of rental kiosks for 30 days according to a person familiar with the situation. It also offered to continue to make its DVDs available on the official release date if Redbox agreed to better economic terms such as sharing rental revenue. Redbox declined those terms. Now according to the Journal Fox is instructing its distributors to make its movies available to Redbox only after 30 days. Fox favors the 30-day delay for vending machines in order to protect the enormous money creativity and effort it invests in its movies the company said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Redbox didn't immediately have a comment to the newspaper the report said. In a similar situation Redbox sued General Electric’s Universal Pictures after the studio told distributors not to make its movies available to Redbox. That lawsuit is awaiting a federal judge's decision in Delaware. Universal had demanded a 45-day delay before Redbox put its movies into kiosks. Redbox refused to comply. Some of this could simply be large companies jockeying for better terms in a deal. For example Sony would seem to have negotiated a favorable package with Redbox. It couldn’t have hurt that Sony is strapped for cash these days. According to the Hollywood Reporter Sony stands to earn $460 million from its Redbox deal which runs through 2014. Even better that article said if Universal should win its lawsuit with Redbox Sony would apparently have the right to impose a 45-day release limit too. Further Sony also has the right to back out of the agreement at its discretion. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop said “Our consumers have always been the best barometer of where our business needs to go and clearly Redbox has become an important distribution option. The agreement supports two of our overall business objectives: increasing the availability of our titles and eliminating a key source of previously viewed product in the marketplace.” According to court documents Redbox agreed not to resell Sony discs a practice that's part of its arrangement with wholesalers Ingram and VPD and effectively dumps recent releases into discount bins more quickly than might otherwise be true. While all of this has been going on Paramount and Lionsgate have negotiated separate deals with DivX that will enable the digital media company to download their movies and other content for use on millions of DivX-certified devices that have shipped worldwide including digital TVs Blu-ray players and a variety of mobile devices. The Paramount agreement covers titles available for digital distribution from both Paramount Pictures’ extensive library as well as new releases. Movies available for download in the DivX format will include action films hit comedies some of the most successful franchises in film history and several Oscar winners from Paramount Pictures. “PDE is committed to delivering premium digital content in formats that offer optimal quality portability and security says Alex Carloss executive vice president and general manager worldwide digital distribution Paramount Digital Entertainment. The DivX platform provides distribution partners with a device ecosystem that allows for a seamless consumer experience.” “We are thrilled to add video content from Paramount Pictures’ extensive film library to the growing catalog of major studio content now available in the DivX format ” says Kevin Hell chief executive officer of DivX. “By supporting all types of content from premium Hollywood films and independent movies to Internet and user-generated videos we continue to fuel the growth of the DivX ecosystem.”   The multi-year agreement covers the full digital catalog of Lionsgate content including both standard definition and high definition titles available in the Lionsgate digital library. “Adding Lionsgate films to our premium content offerings is a significant milestone for DivX ” says Hell. “As our fourth format approval agreement with a major motion picture studio this agreement demonstrates the traction we are gaining in making premium Hollywood content available to DivX consumers worldwide.” “In partnering with DivX we are ensuring that our films are made available to video-on-demand sites in a secure high-quality format ” says Curt Marvis president of Lionsgate Digital Media. “It’s important to us that Lionsgate fans enjoy the same cinematic viewing experience watching our movies at home or on the go as they do in the theatre. The DivX format enables us to do that.” Hopefully soon all the major studios will finalize the deals that would enable their movies to be shown digitally on the big screens in all (or at the very least a large majority of) the movie theatres in the world. That would really be thinking outside the box. ,1164
I’m No Dummy,2009-08-12, Salient Media will distribute I'm No Dummy billed as the first feature-length documentary about ventriloquism. The movie debuted this year at the 35th annual Seattle International Film Festival. The film directed by Bryan W. Simon and produced by Simon Marjorie Engesser and Timothy T. Miller of Montivagus Productions features popular ventriloquists including Comedy Central’s two-time Comedian of the Year and YouTube sensation Jeff Dunham Tony Award winner Jay Johnson Campus Entertainer of the Year Lynn Trefzger and ventriloquism historian Tom Ladshaw. I’m No Dummy examines the now obscure art form of ventriloquism (kept alive by an ever-diminishing group of dedicated artists) through the minds of the “vents” and their puppets. The film which runs 86 minutes was Simon’s brainchild. He says the idea came to him while on a bike ride in Los Angeles as he kicked around ideas for a new project and decided to focus on a documentary about something he loved as a child. Simon believes that the film will introduce contemporary audiences not only to the masters of the art form but to modern geniuses as well whose puppetry and “re-definition of the art form has lead to hundreds of millions of hits on YouTube such as Jeff Dunham’s controversial dead terrorist puppet. The growing success of Dunham and the unique opportunity to give both fans of Dunham and other ventriloquists a “behind the strings” glimpse of the historical art of puppetry is what led Salient Media to I’m No Dummy. Gary Binkow CEO of Salient Media says “We are delighted to be in business with Bryan Marjorie and Tim from Montivagus Productions. They’ve put together an impressive film and we are anxious to show it to the world.” Simon says A dozen distributors were interested in my film but it was Salient Media's ability to navigate this volatile marketplace and protect my artistic vision that made them the perfect partner for the documentary.”
Salient Media is the company behind several successful comedic releases including those of multi-platinum selling comedian Katt Williams Eddie Izzard Kevin Nealon and most recently the hit Showtime series Live Nude Comedy. The company is planning for a DVD release of I’m No Dummy which will kick off with a promotional tour to a few key cities (to be announced at a later date) to include a Q&A session with Johnson Trefzger and the creators of the film.