Quick Chat: Cogswell’s Assistant Professor Jonali Bhattacharyya

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a lesson the students in Cogswell College’s Digital Art & Animation program learned recently. When borrowing animation rigs for classes outgrew its usefulness, the class was tasked with creating 3D animatable rigs for 12 original digital characters. They called this Project Avatarah. Assistant Professor Jonali Bhattacharyya and her students have now made these rigs available free to the public through open source.

We reached out to Bhattacharyya to find out more about Cogswell, her classes, how she helps prepare her students for the real world and how Project Avatarah came about.

Can you tell us a bit about your job?
I teach Character Animation — from introductory to advanced level — Quadruped Animation, Continue reading

Cleaning, creating and mixing sounds for ‘The Americans’

Sync Sound digs into its third season of audio post for this FX series

By Jennifer Walden

The concept of FX’s The Americans, now in its third season, is incredibly compelling — two Cold War-era Soviet spies, who look and sound as American as the proverbial apple pie. They have two kids, a house in the D.C. suburbs and a very dangerous double life dedicated to gathering intel for the Motherland. The couple, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), struggle to balance family values with espionage.

To learn the secrets of The Americans sound, I infiltrated the inner circle at New York-based audio post house Sync Sound, which has handled the audio post on all three seasons. Continue reading


Get to know film trailer composer Yoav Goren

Yoav Goren is co-founder of Immediate Music, which creates music for motion picture trailers as well as for high-end product advertising, television programming and promos.

Goren is also owner of Imperativa Records, which recently released a compilation of Hollywood trailer music featuring big names within the genre, called This is Epic Music — Volume 1.

Santa Monica-based Goren, an Emmy award-winning composer and producer, has been working in trailers and related worlds for over 20 years. What better time than now to reach out and get some background on the artist and his music.

Writing music for motion picture promos is a very niche field. How did you get into it?
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Behind the Title: Artjail CD/owner Steve Mottershead

NAME: Steve Mottershead (@stevemotts)

COMPANY: New York City’s Artjail @Artjail

We do visual effects for commercials, films and video art. Recently, we have done production as well.

Creative Director/Owner

As creative director I am the creative leader of our studio. Big picture it involves thinking of initial ideas, technical and creative solutions, or just executing creative projects that we have been tasked with from an ad agency or director.

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The color of Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight of Cups’

Modern VideoFilm’s Bryan McMahan on grading the dailies and final film

By Randi Altman

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in early February, has literally been years in the making. Shot in 2012, on 35mm, 65mm and a variety of digital formats, Knight of Cups has had a two-year post-production cycle.

For the film, which stars Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter having a sort of crisis of conscious, the director called on frequent collaborators, such as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has a brand-new shiny Oscar for his work on Birdman, and Modern VideoFilm colorist Bryan McMahan, who also graded Malick’s Tree of Life and The New World, among other titles.

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PostChat: Composer Rob Gokee

By Randi Altman

This week’s #PostChat guest was LA-based composer Rob Gokee, whose resume includes a variety of work, including projects for film, television, commercials and the Web.

Gokee was excited to be in the hot seat on this week’s Twitter chat. In fact, he says that over the last seven years the majority of his industry contacts have been made through Twitter. But it hasn’t all been about work. Gokee actually met his wife on Twitter. “Most of my groomsmen were people I met on Twitter, and we live tweeted the wedding,” he reports. “I also wrote a book about it.”  That’s how integrated Twitter is in his life.

During Wednesday’s #postchat, which took place at 6pm PST/9pm EST, he enjoyed talking about the relationship between composers and editors. “It was interesting to talk about the relationship with temp music — editors love it, composers hate it,” he laughs. Continue reading

Blog: Narrowing distances, building creative relationships

By Lenny Mastrandrea

Remote collaboration is not a new concept to our industry. The technology to do so is available to all. A number of software and hardware providers have used the expanded capabilities of robust Internet connections to encourage creative people to connect on projects across great distances, or to allow an artist beginning a project in one location to finish in another.

For us, the service emerged from a concern of clients outside of the New York area: time and budget constraints often precluded a trip to New York for color grading. We needed a solution that met our clients’ needs remotely without sacrificing production value or client experience. Our engineering team did extensive research into existing solutions in order to Continue reading

My ‘Top 3’ prosumer filmmaker necessities

By Brady Betzel

I love to tinker with every type of gadget that I can get my hands on, from After Effects plug-ins to GoPros and their accessories. But sometimes I forget the basics like a simple tripod, camera bag and a light.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a product reviewer, like me, who enjoys shooting and getting great images, you will always need the basics. So here are my Top 3 prosumer filmmaker necessities:

1. The Adorama 3Pod V2AH Tripod

One thing that is a necessity for any filmmaker looking to get a stable shot is a tripod. If you are going cheap you can get the basic tripod without a fluid head for probably $100 to $125, but if you really want to be able to pan and tilt fluidly, you will need to find a tripod that Continue reading

Behind the Title: Executive Creative Director Vincenzo LoRusso

NAME: Vincenzo LoRusso

COMPANY: New York- and Santa Monica-based Elias Arts (@eliasarts)

We are a full-service music and sound production company and music library that specializes in advertising.

Executive Creative Director

Interfacing with clients and our creative team to find the best solution for their particular project.

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Tim Hoogenakker at Atmos Project Studio

Bringing Dolby Atmos to the home via Blu-ray

Formosa’s Tim Hoogenakker walks us through his re-mastering process

By Mel Lambert

There is no denying that Dolby Atmos immersive soundtracks have added an extra allure for cinema audiences — as evidenced by the enhanced success of action movies at the box office — but, until very recently, it was an experience reserved for your local multiplex. All of that is to change with the availability of Atmos-capable receivers from a number of leading vendors, including Denon, Marantz, Onya, Yamaha and Pioneer, and an offering of new Blu-ray discs with Atmos soundtracks. While the consumer format involves fewer playback speakers than the theatrical format, Home Atmos can convey an added sense of reality for home viewers. And most current-generation Blu-ray players will support Dolby Atmos content via HDMI outputs to Continue reading