Tag Archives: HPA

HPA Engineering Excellence winners: BMD, Canon, Cinnafilm, IBM Aspera & Telestream

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee has announced the winners of the 2018 HPA Engineering Excellence Award. Winners were determined at a blue ribbon judging session held at IMAX on June 16. The awards will be given out on November 15 at the 13th annual HPA Awards gala at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The Engineering Excellence Award was created to spotlight and reward companies and individuals providing services to the professional media content industry for their outstanding technical and creative ingenuity in media, content production, finishing, distribution and archiving. The HPA Awards launched in 2005 to recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry.

Joachim Zell, chair of the HPA Awards Engineering Committee says, “Once again, the Engineering Excellence judging sessions brought us outstanding presentations from a variety of companies at work in different parts of the media and entertainment ecosystem. The presenters are representative of the amazing work that great companies and brilliant individuals are bringing to the marketplace. The judges had a strong field of excellent technologies to evaluate, and the results were extremely close. Based on the effort, talent and time from the presenters and the enthusiasm of the judges, it is clear that the HPA Engineering Excellence award is meaningful to our industry, and I want to personally thank our presenters and our intrepid judges. Congratulations to the winners and to the entrants for truly impressive work.”

The winners of the 2018 HPA Award for Engineering Excellence are:

Blackmagic Design – DaVinci Resolve 15
DaVinci Resolve 15, released at NAB this year, offers a major step forward for the post production workflow, a significant shift in technically and creatively matched toolsets as well as overall efficiency. The platform, designed to provide a full suite of post tools, from ingest to delivery, directly integrated in a single ecosystem, includes significant improvements in quality, functionality and time to delivery. Exchange formats, translation and conform can be eliminated, and last-minute change efficiently managed for feature film, episodic TV and short form productions.

“We’re honored to be selected by the Hollywood Professional Association for one of this year’s Engineering Excellence Awards,” says BMD US president Dan May. “Blackmagic Design’s focus has always been to help provide the most innovative tools to the entertainment industry, and being recognized by the HPA for our newest advancements in DaVinci Resolve 15 helps us feel that we are on the right path. We want to thank the judging committee as well as HPA as a whole for its dedication to all advancements in technical and creative ingenuity. Congratulations also go out to all the winners this year. We are in amazing company.”

Canon – Visual and Technical Monitoring of HDR Images
Canon has seen the need for not only visually seeing HDR images on set, in editorial and in finishing but also for engineering tools to know exact values of the HDR images and their pixels; compare SDR and HDR images; compare different HDR deliverable systems; out-of-gamut warnings; and connection to various manufacturers camera metadata.

This complete system from Canon ensures that HDR and SDR image creation is easily and accurately accomplished.

“Canon is thrilled to be among those recognized by the Hollywood Professional Association with an Engineering Excellence Award. The built-in HDR toolkit that now comes standard in our 4K reference displays is a leap forward in creating and monitoring HDR content,” says Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon USA.

Cinnafilm – PixelStrings
PixelStrings is a cloud-based video conversion service focusing on ultimate playback quality for media. Leveraging the award-winning framerate conversion, retiming, artifact/noise/telecine correction and transcode technologies from Cinnafilm, this PaaS enables the mass creation of best-possible video versions while leveraging infinite, GPU-enabled cloud compute power. The platform is a growing hub of other best-of-breed media technologies and is a simple pay-as-you-use toolset available 24/7 though a browser. PixelStings enables the freedom of a predictable OpEx process.

“Winning the HPA Engineering Award is such an amazing honor for us,” says CEO Lance Maurer. “The Cinnafilm team has created something truly special with PixelStrings — when respected peers recognize the impact an endeavor like this represents to our industry, it is really quite special.”

IBM Aspera & Telestream – Telestream Vantage With Lightspeed Live Capture Powered by Aspera
IBM Aspera and Telestream have developed a game-changing solution for high-speed capture and production of live, broadcast-quality video from remote locations for faster production turnaround. The API integration of Aspera’s FASPStream streaming technology with Telestream Vantage and Lightspeed Live enables open-file workflows so production teams can work on live video feeds from remote locations in real time, with dramatically lower costs compared to satellite delivery, fiber or on-location production and more flexible deployment options.

“Winning the HPA Engineering Excellence award is a fantastic recognition of the remarkable contributions from many individuals at both Telestream and Aspera,” says Telestream CEO Scott Puopolo. “The original concept was literally drawn on the back of a napkin at NAB 2017 by Telestream’s Dave Norman and Aspera’s Mike Flathers. One year later, it’s the backbone of Fox Sports’ FIFA World Cup post production workflow. It’s a tremendous achievement for both companies.”

Honorable Mention:
Samsung — Samsung Onyx
The Samsung Onyx Cinema LED technology with DCI certification has come to market for both cinema and post uses with two models: a 2K resolution five-meter screen and a 4K resolution 10.3-meter screen. LED technology delivers visual quality, technical performance and reliability beyond that of traditional projector-based operations. This system also features surround sound from Harman/JBL. While operating nominally with traditional 14 fT-L SDR imagery, the screen is adopting support for HDR systems such as EClairColor and PQ with operating points at least to 300 cd/m2 and black performance including “off” and 0.005 cd/m2.

In addition to the honors for excellence in engineering, the HPA Awards will recognize excellence in 12 craft categories including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects.

The recipients of the Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation and other special awards will be announced in the coming weeks.

HPA opens call for entries for Engineering Excellence Award

The HPA (Hollywood Professional Association) has opened its call for entries for the Engineering Excellence Award, which will be presented at the 2018 HPA Awards. Now in its 13th year, the HPA Engineering Excellence Award spotlights companies and individuals who draw upon technical and creative ingenuity to develop breakthrough technologies.

Submissions for this year’s Engineering Excellence category will close on May 25, 2018.

2017 award winners with presenters Barbara Lange (left) and Joachim Zell (right).

Joachim Zell, who chairs the committee for this award, said, “Artistic vision is what drives the technical and engineering processes that bring that vision to life. Ultimately, our work is fundamentally about helping filmmakers realize their vision. The companies and individuals supporting creative storytellers face constant pressure to evolve and expand the creative palette. Their contribution to the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. The Engineering Excellence Award is a highly competitive honor, and the past winners have changed the course of entertainment technology. We encourage the submission of your significant technological achievements.”

Entrants for this peer-judged award may include products or processes, and must represent a significant step forward for its industry beneficiaries. Past winners have included Aspera, Canon, Colorfront, Dolby, The Foundry/Sony Pictures Imageworks, Macom, Nvidia, Panasonic, Quantel, and Red Digital Cinema.

Winners will be announced in advance and celebrated during the HPA Awards show on November 15, 2018 at the Skirball Cultural Center in LA.

Larry Chernoff to get 2017 HPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Post production industry veteran Larry Chernoff has been named the 2017 recipient of the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award by the HPA (Hollywood Professional Association). Chernoff will receive the award during the HPA Awards gala on November 16 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The mission of the award is to give recognition to individuals who have, with great service, dedicated their careers to the betterment of the industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given at the discretion of the HPA Board and Awards Committee and it is not required to be bestowed every year.

As the recipient of the Los Angeles Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1997, Chernoff is recognized as a successful entrepreneur, helping to found and lead several successful post production companies that, in turn, have launched hundreds of post production careers. He has built companies and impacted the industry by fostering innovation and by nurturing talented young people to develop their craft, believing that they are the key to a company’s, and the industry’s, future.

Chernoff grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and attended New York’s School of Visual Arts. Between high school and college, at the age of 18, he landed a job as a “can carrier” at a commercial production house. Once there, he learned to sync dailies. When an editor called in sick, he was asked to fill in, thus beginning his editing career. In 1974, Chernoff moved to Los Angeles and joined Filmcore, a recently formed commercial editing company. Within two years he became partner, going on to play a lead role in the founding of post houses Encore and Riot. He served as president of 4MC, later Ascent Media Creative Services, overseeing operations in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Chernoff joined MTI Film as a board member in 2003 and was elevated to CEO in 2005. Under his direction, the company has become a leading independent provider of post finishing and restoration services. Its software division has been the source of products, including DRS Nova, a tool for digital restoration, and Cortex, a family of solutions for dailies processing and workflow management.

In acknowledging the honor, Chernoff said, “I am, of course, honored to be recognized by my peers. I follow an illustrious list of previous honorees who, like me, have dedicated their professional lives to the advancement of post production and its standing in the industry. I share this award with many people who have consistently partnered with me to create outstanding contributions to the work and industry we love.”

In addition to The Lifetime Achievement Award, other special awards, including Engineering Excellence, The Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation, and honors in 12 creative categories (editing, visual effects, sound and color grading) will be given out at the gala.

HPA Tech Retreat takes on realities of virtual reality

By Tom Coughlin

The HPA Tech Retreat, run by the Hollywood Professional Association in association with SMPTE, began with an insightful one-day VR seminar— Integrating Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality into Entertainment Applications. Lucas Wilson from SuperSphere kicked off the sessions and helped with much of the organization of the seminar.

The seminar addressed virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR, a subset of AR where the real world and the digital world interact, like Pokeman Go). As in traditional planar video, 360-degree video still requires a director to tell a story and direct the eye to see what is meant to be seen. Successful VR requires understanding how people look at things, how they perceive reality, and using that understanding to help tell a story. Some things that may help with this are reinforcement of the viewer’s gaze with color and sound that may vary with the viewer — e.g. these may be different for the “good guy” and the “bad guy.”

VR workflows are quite different from traditional ones, with many elements changing with multiple-camera content. For instance, it is much more difficult to keep a camera crew out of the image, and providing proper illumination for all the cameras can be a challenge. The image below from Jaunt shows their 360-degree workflow, including the use of their cloud-based computational image service to stitch the images from the multiple cameras.
Snapchat is the biggest MR application, said Wilson. Snapchat’s Snapchat-stories could be the basis of future post tools.

Because stand-alone headsets (head-mounted displays, or HMDs) are expensive, most users of VR rely on smart phone-based displays. There are also some places that allow one or more people to experience VR, such as the IMAX center in Los Angeles. Activities such as VR viewing will be one of the big drivers for higher-resolution mobile device displays.

Tools that allow artists and directors to get fast feedback on their shots are still in development. But progress is being made, and today over 50 percent of VR is used for video viewing rather than games. Participants in a VR/AR market session, moderated by the Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina and including Marcie Jastrow, David Moretti, Catherine Day and Phil Lelyveld, seemed to agree that the biggest immediate opportunity is probably with AR.

Koji Gardiner from Jaunt gave a great talk on their approach to VR. He discussed the various ways that 360-degree video can be captured and the processing required to create finished stitched video. For an array of cameras with some separation between the cameras (no common axis point for the imaging cameras), there will be area that needs to be stitched together between camera images using common reference points between the different camera images as well as blind spots near to the cameras where they are not capturing images.

If there is a single axis for all of the cameras then there are effectively no blind spots and no stitching possible as shown in the image below. Covering all the space to get a 360-degree video requires additional cameras located on that axis to cover all the space.

The Fraunhofer Institute, in Germany, has been showing a 360-degree video camera with an effective single axis for several cameras for several years, as shown below. They do this using mirrors to reflect images to the individual cameras.

As the number of cameras is increased, the mathematical work to stitch the 360-degree images together is reduced.

Stitching
There are two approaches commonly used in VR stitching of multiple camera videos. The easiest to implement is a geometric approach that uses known geometries and distances to objects. It requires limited computational resources but results in unavoidable ghosting artifacts at seams from the separate images.

The Optical Flow approach synthesizes every pixel by computing correspondences between neighboring cameras. This approach eliminates the ghosting artifacts at the seams but has its own more subtle artifacts and requires significantly more processing capability. The Optical Flow approach requires computational capabilities far beyond those normally available to content creators. This has led to a growing market to upload multi-camera video streams to cloud services that process the stitching to create finished 360-degree videos.

Files from the Jaunt One camera system are first downloaded and organized on a laptop computer and then uploaded to Jaunt’s cloud server to be processed and create the stitching to make a 360 video. Omni-directionally captured audio can also be uploaded and mixed ambisonically, resulting in advanced directionality in the audio tied to the VR video experience.

Google and Facebook also have cloud-based resources for computational photography used for this sort of image stitching.

The Jaunt One 360-degree camera has a 1-inch 20MP rolling shutter sensor with frame rates up to 60fps with 3200 ISO max, 29dB SNR at ISO800. It has a 10 stops per camera module, with 130-degree diagonal FOV, 4/2.9 optics and with up to 16K resolution (8K per eye). Jaunt One at 60fps provides 200GB/minute uncompressed. This can fill a 1TB SSD in five minutes. They are forced to use compression to be able to use currently affordable storage devices. This compression creates 11GB per minute, which can fill a 1TB SSD in 90 minutes.

The actual stitched image, laid out flat, looks like a distorted projection. But when viewed in a stereoscopic viewer it appears to look like a natural image of the world around the viewer, giving an immersive experience. At one point in time the viewer does not see all of the image but only the image in a restricted space that they are looking directly at as shown in the red box in the figure below.

The full 360-degree image can be pretty high resolution, but unless the resolution is high enough, the resolution inside the scene being viewed at any point in time will be much less that the resolution of the overall scene, unless special steps are taken.

The image below shows that for a 4k 360-degree video the resolution in the field of view (FOV) may be only 1K, much less resolution and quite perceptible to the human eye.

In order to provide a better viewing experience in the FOV, either the resolution of the entire view must be better (e.g. the Jaunt One high-resolution version has 8K per eye and thus 16K total displayed resolution) or there must be a way to increase the resolution in the most significant FOV in a video, so at least in that FOV, the resolution leads to a greater feeling of reality.

Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality create new ways of interacting with the world around us and will drive consumer technologies and the need for 360-degree video. New tools and stitching software, much of this cloud-based, will enable these workflows for folks who want to participate in this revolution in content. The role of a director is as important as ever as new methods are needed to tell stories and guide the viewer to engage in this story.

2017 Creative Storage Conference
You can learn more about the growth in VR content in professional video and how this will drive new digital storage demand and technologies to support the high data rates needed for captured content and cloud-based VR services at the 2017 Creative Storage Conference — taking place May 24, 2017 in Culver City.


Thomas M. Coughlin of Coughlin Associates is a storage analyst and consultant. He has over 30 years in the data storage industry and is the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide.

Aspera’s Michelle Munson to receive HPA’s Charles S. Swartz Award

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has named Aspera co-founder and CEO Michelle Munson as the recipient of its 2016 Charles S. Swartz Award. The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry, and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry. The HPA Awards will be handed out on November 17 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Munson is the co-inventor of Aspera’s Emmy award-winning FASP transport technology and is responsible for overseeing the company’s direction in collaboration with co-founder, Serban Simu. Munson was a software engineer in research and start-up companies, including the IBM Almaden Research Center before founding Aspera in 2004. She has dual B.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and in physics from Kansas State University, was a Goldwater Scholar for achievement in science and mathematics, and later was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. She was also the youngest recipient ever of the KSU College of Engineering Alumni Fellow, which was awarded in 2006.

The Charles S. Swartz Award may be awarded to a person, group, or company that has made a significant artistic, technological, business or educational impact across diverse aspects of the media industry. The award was named in honor of the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California from 2002 until 2006, building it into the industry’s premiere test bed for new digital cinema technologies. In addition to a long and successful career as a producer, educator and consultant, Swartz served on the Board of Directors of the HPA. Past recipients of the Charles S. Swartz Award include Ben Burtt, Elizabeth Daley and Ray Dolby.

HPA’s SCRG mixer is back with table-led discussions, no panels

The HPA has re-envisioned its Sales Career Resource Group (SCRG) meetings with a new format and a new location for its networking cocktail mixers.

“We’ve taken a disruptive approach to SCRG, reshaping and rethinking it,” explains HPA president Seth Hallen. “SCRG has always been a place where colleagues met and shared important information, and that will remain. It’s still going to be full of great content and conversations… almost everything else about it is changing!”

“SCRG is coming back, as an afternoon of high-impact information exchanges, at a new venue, ending with networking and drinks,” says Josh Wiggins, chair of SCRG. “But that’s the pragmatics. What’s fundamentally important is that it’s an entirely different kind of gathering, where expert-led tables feature the latest conversation on topics that everyone needs to explore and learn about. By going away from the traditional panel, Q&A and putting attendees in direct contact with table leads, it’s a livelier exchange and one that offers a ton of the latest information.  And, of course, its great to have these conversations and then segue to a drink and further talk.”

The first event for SCRG is currently scheduled for early August at London Hotel in West Hollywood. It will feature table topics that include:
• IMF – For production, post and archive
• IMF – For delivery. How is it working for the buyers of all this great content?
• HDR Remaster – Can you re-master without creative (no director or colorist)?
• HDR Capture – Where’s my reference?
• Cloud & Rendering – How is it coming along?
• VR – Virtual reality in production and post
• VR – Virtual reality for delivery and consumption
• Archive – What needs archiving? How much bigger are these files getting? Serviceability? Archiving VR files?
• Audio – Interoperability for immersive audio
• Moore’s Law and transport of digital files
• Extras and complimentary content – Is it an extra the consumer needs or wants?
• Localization – Supply and demand and special cases, such as day and date needs

Leon Silverman steps down, Seth Hallen named new HPA president

In a crowded conference room in Indian Wells, California, during the HPA Tech Retreat, HPA founding president Leon Silverman literally handed the baton to long-time board member Seth Hallen. The organization has also taken on a new name, the Hollywood Professional Association. More on that later.

Hallen, who joined the HPA board in 2007, is SVP of Global Creative Services at Sony DADC New Media Solutions. Silverman, who helped found the organization, will continue to serve on the board of directors in the newly created role of past president.

“It is a distinct honor to continue the important work that Leon has undertaken for this organization, and I am clearly dedicated to making the next phase of HPA a great one,” said Hallen. “Enabling our industry to evolve by fueling our community with ideas, opportunity and recognition remains our goal. I look forward to working with our incredibly talented and dedicated board and continuing our collaboration with our colleagues at SMPTE, and the staff, volunteers and community that are the heart and soul of HPA, as we build upon the work of the past 14 years and look toward the future.”

The HPA, which is now part of SMPTE, also announced newly elected board members, including Craig German, SVP Studio Post at NBCUniversal Media; Jenni McCormick, executive director of American Cinema Editors (ACE); and Chuck Parker, CEO of Sohonet. Newly elected board member Bill Roberts, CFO of Panavision, will assume treasurer responsibilities as Phil Squyres steps down from the post he has held since HPA’s founding. Squyres will remain on the board.

Wendy Aylsworth, past president of SMPTE, was named SMPTE representative. Barbara Lange serves as executive director of SMPTE and HPA. The new Board members join Mark Chiolis, Carolyn Giardina, Vincent Maza, Kathleen Milnes, Loren Nielsen and VP Jerry Pierce on the HPA board.

In commenting on the new HPA name, executive director Lange noted, “The nature of the work and responsibilities that our community is engaged in has changed, and will continue to change. After carefully exploring how to address this growth, it became clear that Professional more accurately and inclusively identifies the creative talent, content holders and global infrastructure of services, as well as emerging processes and platforms. As an organization, we are dedicated to seeing beyond the horizon to the wider future, and bringing a wide array of individuals and companies into the organization. Our new name and identity makes that statement.”

A chat with post production veteran Leon Silverman

This industry mainstay will be receiving the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award this month.

By Randi Altman

Leon Silverman is an industry icon. He’s GM of the Digital Studio at Walt Disney Studios and president of the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA), the organization that is presenting him with its Lifetime Achievement Award on November 12.

I’ve known Leon for a very long time, meeting him for the first time when he was a senior executive of LaserPacific. He was then, and still remains, a genuinely good guy who has done a lot to help create a feeling of community within an industry filled with competitive businesses. He has also been a big supporter of me personally, for which I will always be grateful.

Anyway, not long before the late October SMPTE Conference in Hollywood, Leon was kind enough to talk to me about the Lifetime Achievement Award, the SMPTE and HPA growing partnership and the industry in general.

Leon will be accepting the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award on November 12.

Leon will be accepting the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award on November 12.

When I asked him how it felt to be chosen for this honor, he was humble, saying, “It’s flattering, embarrassing, and it means a lot to me. It reminds me of those who have helped, mentored me and taught me in my life and career — those who helped me along the path. What it’s really about is how the industry has made transitions, and how the recognition of me is really the recognition of a lot of people who contributed to transformative change in our industry.”

Leon’s passion for the media and entertainment business started early — he says ever since he could remember. In school he was the projectionist and worked at the high school radio station. He was also known to hop the train into downtown Chicago and stare into the window at the WLS radio station and watch them broadcast. He thought it was “the most interesting thing in the world.” So imagine how he felt after taking a tour of CBS Television with his friend’s dad. He was hooked.

Next was a degree in telecommunications and a ticket to Hollywood. “I moved from Chicago to LA with $1,000 in my pocket, thinking I was rich, to work at Compact Video, although they didn’t know it.”

Yup, he moved across country for the possibility of getting a job at Compact Video. Leon had seen the company’s brochure, with pictures of “cool” production vehicles and a helicopter and a Lear jet, all adorned with the Compact logo. “I really wanted to work there, so I wrote a letter to founder Robert Seidenglanz. That led to an interview with Newt Bellis, but there was not a job available at that time, so I ended up getting a number of temporary and weird jobs while I was waiting for Compact Video.

After four months of knocking on Compact’s door, he was allowed in… working in their shipping and receiving department, and doing whatever was asked of him. It was there he stayed until, one day, an ad for a sales trainee at Compact Video appeared in the trades.

“That was my job,” he says, explaining that he knocked on the door of the VP of marketing & sales office until he gave him a chance. Within four and a half years, Leon was head of marketing and sales at Compact. His dream was coming true. It was during that time he met mentors who played a big role in his life, such as Emory Cohen and Steve Schifrin.

Listen up kids: determination and a dream really can play a role in your dream job.

The award for Best in Show at the recent SMPTE HPA Film Festival. Leon Silverman congratulates the winners along with Bob Seidel, SMPTE.

The award for Best in Show at the recent SMPTE HPA Film Festival. Leon Silverman congratulates the winners along with Bob Seidel, president of SMPTE.

Ok, now let’s turn to the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA), which Leon helped found and is now a part of SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture Engineers).

It seems you have always been interested in encouraging a spirit of community within the industry. Can you talk about the genesis of the HPA, and how you’ve seen it grow?
HPA wasn’t a beginning, it was a continuation of a long effort of many people in this community who were in trade associations that focused on post — this goes back to the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. The HPA has its roots in the Southern California chapter of the ITS (International Teleproduction Society), which had a very active board of directors.

One of the great accomplishments was the ITS technology retreat, which HPA inherited (the yearly HPA Tech Retreat takes place in Palm Springs, California). They also got involved in California politics, which resulted in the changing of the tax laws to eliminate the state sales tax on post equipment. This is still in effect to today, as well as the reassessing of how property tax was assessed on post equipment.

When the headquarters of ITS disbanded in the early 2000s, the Southern California chapter felt there was more to do. That was the birth of HPA. There are differences — the ITS was only for those working in the video facility business and the HPA has a broader tent. As a tool manufacturer, you could sponsor the ITS, but you couldn’t sit at the table. The HPA was about a larger community of, not just competitors in the facility business, but collaborators across the entire content creation ecosystem.

Leon Silverman and Barbara Lange.

Leon Silverman and Barbara Lange.

What about your relationship with SMPTE?
As SMPTE and HPA get together, HPA becomes the forum for the discussion of issues that impact the industry, and SMPTE becomes the forum for taking some of those ideas and making them into standards… more importantly broadening our perspective from the local Hollywood base to one that is internationally focused as well.

Barbara Lange (executive director of SMPTE) likes to talk about SMPTE as the 100-year-old startup. So as we start this really new chapter, in which SMPTE celebrates 100 years, and as HPA finds its way within SMPTE. We have a huge opportunity to create a broader view of the content creation ecosystem and how to impact both the discussions and the issues that are really challenging in this digital age — and the real task of how we begin the integration of digital technology in more standardized approaches and, in fact, within industry standards.

There is currently much talk of HDR within the industry. What does the future hold?
The industry has always gravitated towards ways to present our stories in a higher quality and in more compelling ways. Developments like immersive audio and higher brightness projectors that can display contrast greater than film — or colors that we haven’t seen before — allow for a creative pallet that filmmakers are excited about using. Those who create and distribute content are excited about bringing a superior consumer experience to people who enjoy our content.

HDR and immersive audio are new content creation tools that we will really learn the impact of as the creative community puts their own hands and creative minds around how this technology could be deployed in service of a story. Personally, I’m very excited in the things that I’ve seen in films like Tomorrowland and Inside Out. Seeing Inside Out in Dolby Cinema’s EDR was a revelation. I think the industry will work together, as it always has, to understand the impact of how we increasingly create higher-quality products and how best to ensure that this quality flows into our archives.

The HPA Awards, happening in early November in LA, turn 10 years old this year. Congratulations.
The HPA, and the generation that I represent, helped to create this transition from a world of filmed cinema to this digital world, hopefully creating a future that’s worthy of its past. That’s what we’re really celebrating. Over the last 20 or 30 years, we have moved our industry to a place where it’s not really just about the tools or new distribution entities, it’s about a community that now routinely understands how to work together to take advantage of transformative change and how to take this industry into the future.

Part of what our generation did, part of what we did at Pacific Video and LaserPacific, and the idea behind Emory Cohen’s vision of the Electronic Laboratory, was to show how to take the film model and bring that into the electronic and digital age. We’re now done using the past as a future model, because I don’t think there’s a blueprint for the industry today, and I think that’s very exciting, but over the process of the last 30 years we’ve created an industry that understands how to talk to each other, work together. It’s competitors and colleagues — from all aspects of the industry — working together to create this industry’s future.

—-
Leon Silverman will accept his HPA Lifetime Achievement Award on November 12 during the HPA Awards at the Skirball Cultural Center.

SMPTE and HPA finalize relationship

After almost a year of working closely together, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) have finalized their plans to consolidate. The partnership between SMPTE and HPA gives both organizations the opportunity to extend their reach — from engineering and technical professionals to the creative community.

“This is a monumental occasion for both SMPTE and HPA, two leading professional organizations serving the media and entertainment industry,” said Robert Seidel, president of SMPTE. “The new relationship between SMPTE and HPA presents many exciting possibilities, including fresh occasions for interactions and dialog, broader educational opportunities, and even richer contributions to standards development.”

SMPTE and HPA are already collaborating on two upcoming events. HPA Women in Post and SMPTE are presenting the Women in Technology Luncheon. The luncheon will take place in conjunction with the SMPTE 2015 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2015) at the Loews Hollywood Hotel at the Hollywood and Highland Center at noon on Monday, October 26 and will feature a conversation between Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter. Also in conjunction with SMPTE 2015, the organizations are launching the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival on Tuesday, October 27 following the Opening Night Reception for the conference.

“HPA and SMPTE have long been collaborators in enabling the creative and technical communities to address the challenges and opportunities afforded by a rapidly changing media landscape,” said Leon Silverman, HPA board president. “Formal approval of our consolidation plan by the SMPTE Board of Governors and the HPA Board of Directors represents a major milestone in our relationship, and one that signals great things to come for the communities both organizations serve — within Hollywood and around the world.”

Wendy Aylsworth, SMPTE past president and former senior VP of technology at Warner Bros. Technical Operations, will serve as the SMPTE-designated member on the HPA Board of Directors. While this partnership establishes closer ties between SMPTE and HPA on many levels, from executive to administrative, each organization will maintain its unique brand and culture.

 

HPA Award noms and reactions

The Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) has announced the nominees for the 2015 HPA Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in Editing, Sound, Visual Effects and Color Grading for work in television, commercials and feature films. The winners of the 10th Annual HPA Awards will be announced at a ceremony on November 12, 2015, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The 2015 HPA Award nominees are:

Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film

Monsoon
Charles Boileau // Post-Moderne

The Boxtrolls
John Daro // FotoKem

Whiplash
Natasha Leonnet // Modern VideoFilm

Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film

Lady of Csejte
Keith Roush // Roush Media

Steve Scott at last year's awards. Photo: Capture Imaging/Ryan Miller

Steve Scott at last year’s awards. Photo: Capture Imaging/Ryan Miller

Birdman
Steven J. Scott // Technicolor
“I’m incredibly honored and grateful to be nominated for this year’s HPA Award for Outstanding Color Grading -Feature Film,” says Scott. “I remember how dumbfounded I was when I first talked with cinematographer Chivo Lubeski about Birdman, and he told me, ‘The whole movie is basically one long shot.’ Through previous experience with this amazing DP, I knew that we would be asked to carry out many complex tasks on any particular moment along this fluid, hand-held continuum of a movie. How do you even begin to sort that out in the DI? To my knowledge, no DI had ever been done on a movie that was a single long shot. There was no precedent, and no one to ask for advice. We had to create a new way of working. That was the biggest challenge of this project, and working that challenge out to help Chivo and Alejandro realize their original creative vision was the most gratifying, rewarding part of my experience with Birdman.”

Outstanding Color Grading – Television

Olive Kitteridge – Incoming Tide 
Pankaj Bajpai // Encore

Boardwalk Empire – Golden Days for Boys and Girls  
John Crowley // Technicolor PostWorks NY

John Crowley

John Crowley

Golden Days for Boys and Girls was Episode One of Season 5, which was my first encounter of the series,” explains Crowley. “I was a new member of such an outstanding and established team and I knew I had to be on top of my game. It was a great challenge as a colorist to try to carry on the feel and unique looks that were established from the past four seasons, and now to be nominated for my work is such a gratifying feeling.

“I’d like to thank Brad Carpenter, one of the shows producers, for having the confidence in me to make that happen. I’d also like to thank the director of the show, Timothy Van Patten, and the cinematographer of this episode, Jonathan Freeman. It was such a great honor and privilege to be associated with such distinguished members of our industry.”

Sense8 – What’s Going On? 
Tony Dustin // Technicolor

Game of Thrones – Hardhome
Joe Finley // Chainsaw

Masters of Sex – A Parliament of Owls
Matt Lear // Sony Pictures Television

Outstanding Color Grading – Commercial   

Toyota – Harrier 
Siggy Ferstl // Company 3

Lexus – Face Off
Dave Hussey // Company 3

Dodge – Wisdom
Beau Leon // Company 3

Lincoln – Intro
Tom Poole // Company 3

Caterpillar – Lantern Festival
Rob Sciarratta // Company 3

Outstanding Editing – Feature Film 

Selma
Spencer Averick

American Sniper
Joel Cox, ACE; Gary Roach, ACE

Whiplash

Whiplash
Tom Cross, ACE

The Imitation Game
William Goldenberg, ACE

Interstellar
Lee Smith, ACE

Outstanding Editing – Television

Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways – Austin
Scott D. Hanson // Therapy Studios

Vice on HBO – Cold War 2.0
Rich Lowe

Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways – Nashville
Kristin McCasey // Therapy Studios

House of Cards

House of Cards – Chapter 32
Cindy Mollo, ACE // Netflix

Game of Thrones – Hardhome
Tim Porter // Beyond the Wall Productions, Inc.

Outstanding Editing – Commercial

Adidas – Takers
Steve Gandolfi // Cut+Run

Fiat – Alive
Kristin McCasey // Therapy Studio

Skullcandy – Push Play
Doobie White // Therapy Studios

GNP Seguros – World Cup
Doobie White // Therapy Studios

Google – Young Together
Miky Wolf // Big Sky Edit

Outstanding Sound – Feature Film

Interstellar
Richard King, Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten // Warner Bros. Post Production Services

Mad Max: Fury Road
Mark Mangini, Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff // Warner Bros. Post Production Services

American Sniper
Alan Murray, Tom Ozanich, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff // Warner Bros. Post Production Services

Birdman
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Martin Hernandez, Aaron Glascock // NBCUniversal StudioPost

Unbroken
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro // NBCUniversal StudioPost

Outstanding Sound – Television

Halt and Catch Fire – SETI
Sue Cahill, Keith Rogers, Scott Weber, Jane Boegel, Mark Cleary, Kevin McCullough // NBCUniversal StudioPost

Black Sails – XVIII
Benjamin Cook, Stefan Hendrix, Jeffrey Pitts, Sue Cahill, Onnalee Blank, Matthew Waters // Starz

Game of Thrones – Hardhome
Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Bradley Katona, Paul Bercovitch, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters // Formosa Group

Banshee – You Can’t Hide from the Dead
Bradley North, Joseph DeAngelis, Ken Kobett, Tiffany Griffith, David Werntz // Technicolor

Homeland – Redux
Nello Torri, Alan Decker // NBCUniversal StudioPost
Craig Dellinger // Sony Sound Services

Outstanding Sound – Commercial

Medicontour – Bi-Flex 1.8
Phil Bolland // Factory

The Syria Campaign – In Reverse
Jon Clarke // Factory

Honda – The Other Side
Tom Joyce, Anthony Moore // Factory

Volvo –The Swell
Aaron Reynolds // Wave Studios

Prada – The Battlefield
Miky Wolf // Big Sky Edit

Outstanding Visual Effects – Feature Film

Jurassic World
Tim Alexander, Glen McIntosh, Tony Plett, Kevin Martel, Martyn Culpitt // Industrial Light & Magic

Tomorrowland
Craig Hammack, Eddie Pasquarello, Francois Lambert, Maia Kayser, Barry Williams // Industrial Light & Magic

Into the Woods
Matt Johnson, Christian Irles, Daniel Tarmy, Nicolas Chevallier, Benoit Dubuc // MPC

Birdman

Birdman
Ara Khanikian, Sebastien Moreau, Sebastien Francoeur, Patrick David, Laurent Spillemaecker // Rodeo FX

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White, Matt Aitken // Weta Digital
Outstanding Visual Effects – Television

Game of Thrones – The Dance of Dragons
Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Derek Spears, Eric Carney, Jabbar Raisani // Fire and Blood Productions

Outstanding Visual Effects – Television

Ripper Street – Whitechapel Terminus
Ed Bruce, Nicolas Murphy, John O’Connell, Joseph Courtis, Ronan Gantly // Screen Scene

Marvel’s Agent Carter – Now Is Not The End
Sheena Duggal, Richard Bluff, Jay Mehta, Chad Taylor, Cody Gramstad // Industrial Light & Magic

Black Sails – XVIII
Erik Henry // Starz
Ken Jones // Digital Domain
Nic Spier // Shade FX
Christina Spring, Bjorn Ahlstedt // Crazy Horse Effects

The Flash – Grodd Lives
Armen V. Kevorkian, Andranik Taranyan, Stefan Bredereck, Jason Shulman, Gevork Babityan // Encore VFX

Outstanding Visual Effects – Commercial

Shell – Shapeshifter
Russell Dodgson, Robert Herrington, Ahmed Gharraph, Rafael Camacho // Framestore UK

Pepsi – Halftime Touches Down
Chris Eckhardt, Michael Ralla // Framestore

General Electric – Invention Donkey
Seth Gollub, Theo Jones, Russell Miller, Raul Ortego // Framestore NY

Game Of War – Decisions
Benjamin Walsh, Brian Burke, Ian Holland, Brandon Nelson // Method Studios

Game Of War – Time
Benjamin Walsh, Brian Burke, Ian Holland, Chris Perkowitz // Method Studios