G-Raid Ad

‘The 33′: surrounding the audience in sound via Atmos

Warners and Formosa combine to bring people underground, sonically

By Jennifer Walden

Few films seem so perfectly suited for a playback system that incorporates overhead speakers as Warner Bros.’ The 33. Director Patricia Riggen’s subterranean story, based on the true account of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days, is a natural fit for the Dolby Atmos system.

While some mixers have said that putting sound in the ceiling can actually make the mix feel boxed in because the height of the environment is being defined, that actually worked perfectly for The 33. The miners are trapped under a couple thousand feet of solid rock, Continue reading

G-Raid Ad

The A-List: ‘The Danish Girl’ director Tom Hooper

This relatively low-budget film is generating a ton of Oscar buzz

By Iain Blair

British director Tom Hooper and The King’s Speech — his film about the true-life story of the stuttering King George VI and his Aussie speech therapist — swept the Oscars in 2011, with the film winning him Best Director, along with Best Picture and a Best Actor Oscar for Colin Firth. Now the Oxford-educated Hooper, who got his start shooting commercials and such hit TV shows as Prime Suspect, East Enders, Elizabeth I and John Adams, and whose film credits include Les Misérables and Red Dust, is getting more Oscar buzz for his latest movie The Danish Girl. Continue reading

Review: Video CoPilot’s Element 3D v2.2

Improved UI, shadows, reflections and more

By Brady Betzel

If you’ve read my past reviews, you likely know how much I love Video CoPilot’s Element 3D. I can’t stop talking about it, in my reviews, at work, on social media, or even at home with my four-year-old son, who typically responds with, “Can it make Thomas the Train?” Luckily, I am able to respond, “Yes, as long as daddy has a Thomas 3D model.”

I’ve been using Element 3D, which is currently in v2.2, since v1. I have always found it comfortable and easy to use, especially as someone with a good sense of spatial 3D relationships, as well as a moderate level of After Effects knowledge. Continue reading

Skywalker’s Randy Thom helps keep it authentic for ‘Peanuts’

By Jennifer Walden

Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Lucy… all the classic Peanuts characters hit the big screen earlier this month thanks to the Blue Sky Studios production The Peanuts Movie (20th Century Fox).

For those of you who might have worried that the Peanuts gang would “go Hollywood,” there is no need for concern. These beloved characters look and sound like they did in the Charles M. Schulz TV specials — which started airing in the 1960s — but they have been updated to fit the theatrical expectations of 2015.

While the latest technology has given depth and texture to these 2D characters, director Steve Martino and the Schulz family made sure the film didn’t stray far from Charles Schulz’s original creations. Continue reading

Behind the Title: Volt creative director Tom Jacobsen

NAME: Tom Jacobsen

COMPANY: Minneapolis-based Volt Studios (@volt_studios)

A passionate group of creative people working in a downtown Minneapolis office building with two working fireplaces called “The Lumber Exchange.” We also provide motion graphics, VFX, animation, color correction and creative editorial

Creative Director

Filling everyone with wonderment.

Endless surfing on Chrome (for research of course).


Setting the audio tone of ‘Everest’

Glenn Freemantle sounds off on making this film’s audio authentic

By Jennifer Walden

Immovable, but not insurmountable, Mount Everest has always loomed large in the minds of ambitious adventurers who seek to test their mettle against nature’s most imposing obstacle course, with unpredictable weather.

Reaching the summit takes more than just determination, it requires training, teamwork and a bit of stubborn resolve not to die. Even then, there’s no guarantee that what, or who, goes up will come down. Director Baltasar Kormákur’s film Everest, from Universal Studios, is based on the tragic true story of two separate expeditions who sought to reach the summit on the same day, May 10th 1996, Continue reading

The A-List: ‘Carol’ director Todd Haynes

By Iain Blair

With his affection for period pieces and classic melodrama, along with his interest in gay sexuality, writer/director Todd Haynes — who was Oscar-nominated for his Far From Heaven ’50s drama — was probably the perfect choice to tackle the lesbian romance at the heart of his new film, Carol.

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, “The Price of Salt,” Carol tells the story of two women from very different backgrounds — Therese, a store clerk (Rooney Mara) and Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage — who meet and then find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. Continue reading

Review: Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

A video editor puts this tablet to the test

By Brady Betzel

If you’ve ever used a Wacom Intuos or Cintiq tablet, then you know how efficient they can make your workflow, regardless of your job title. I’m a video editor, and after using a Wacom Intuos 5 I immediately noticed less wrist pain when compared to using a mouse.

Wacom makes very high-quality products that do not disappoint. The Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 is a tablet with the power of a laptop, coupled with the precision of the company’s famous line of pen tablets. Whether you’re an illustrator, a visual effects artist or even an editor, you should check out this tablet. Continue reading

Quick Chat: ‘Mermaids on Mars’ director Jon V. Peters

Athena Studios, a Bay Area production and animation company, has completed work on a short called Mermaids on Mars, which is based on a children’s book and original music by the film’s producer Nancy Guettier. It was directed by Jon V. Peters and features the work of artists whose credits include the stop-motion offerings Coraline, James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well as many other feature length films.

The film is about a young boy who is magically transported to Mars, where he tries to stop an evil Martian from destroying the last of the planet’s mermaids. The entire story was told with stop-motion animation, which was shot on Athena StudiosContinue reading


Behind the Title: Heresy lead editor Justin Fong

NAME: Justin Fong

COMPANY: Venice, California’s Heresy

We are a full-service production company doing everything from prepro to post production, mainly creating work in broadcast commercials and branded content, while dabbling in music videos, television and feature films.


Editing is huge — it’s an invisible art form that makes or breaks the content. Literally, without editing, you just got a blob of footage sitting there. My job is to create the story and vision of the project by bringing out its emotion and concept. Continue reading