Tag Archives: production

Quick Chat: Bonfire Labs’ Mary Mathaisell

Over the course of nearly 30 years, San Francisco’s Bonfire Labs has embraced change. Over the years, the company evolved from an editorial and post house to a design and creative content studio that leverages the best aspects of the agency and production company models without adhering to either one.

This hybrid model has worked well for product launches for Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Logitech and many others.

The latest change is in the company’s ownership, with the last of the original founders stepping down and a new management partnership taking over — led by executive producer Mary Mathaisell, managing director Jim Bartel and head of strategy and creative Chris Weldon.

We spoke with Mathaisell to get a better sense of Bonfire Labs’ past, present and future.

Can you give us some history of Bonfire Labs? When did you join the company? How/why did you first get into producing?
I’ve been with Bonfire Labs for seven years. I started here as head of production. After being at several large digital agencies working on campaigns and content for brands like Target, Gap, LG and PayPal, I wanted to build something more sustainable than just another campaign and was thrilled that Bonfire was interested in growing into a full-service creative company with integrated production.

Prior to working at AKQA and Publicis, I worked in VFX and production as well as design for products and interfaces, but my primary focus and love has always been commercial production.

The studio has evolved from a traditional post studio to creative strategy and content company. What were the factors that drove those changes?
Bonfire Labs has always been smart about staying small and strategic about the kind of work and clients to focus on. We have been able to change based on both the kind of work we want to be doing and what the market needs. With a giant need for content, especially video content, we have decided to staff and service clients as experts across all the phases of creative development and production and finishing. Instead of going to an agency and a production company and post houses, our clients can work directly with us on everything from concept to finishing.

Silicon Valley is clearly a big client base for you. What are they generally coming to you for? Are the content needs in high tech different from other business sectors?
Our clients usually have a new product, feature or brand that they want the world to know about. We work on product launches, brand awareness campaigns, product education, event content and social content. Most of our work is for technology companies, but every company these days has a technology component. I would say that speed to market is one key differentiator for our clients. We are often building stories as we are in production, so we get a lot done with our clients through creative collaboration and by not following the traditional rules of an agency or a production company.

Any specific trends that you’re seeing recently from your clients? New areas that Bonfire is looking to explore, either new markets for your talents or technology you’re looking to explore further?
Rapid brand prototyping is a new service we are offering to much excitement. Because we have experience across so many technology brands and work closely with our clients, we can develop a language and brand voice faster than most traditional agencies. Technology brands are evolving so quickly that we often start working on content creation before a brand has defined itself or transitioned to its next phase. Rapid brand prototyping allows brands to test content and grow the brand simultaneously.

Blade Shadow

Can you talk about some projects that you have done recently that challenged you and the team?
We rolled out a launch film for a new start-up client called Blade Shadow. We are working with Salesforce to develop trailblazer stories and anthem films for its .org branch, which focuses on NGOs, education and philanthropy.

The company is undergoing a transition with some of the original partners. Can you talk about that a bit as well?
The original founders have passed the torch to the group of people who have been managing and producing the work over the past five to 15 years. We have six new owners, three managing partners and three associate partners. Jim Bartel is the managing director; Chris Weldon is the head of strategy and creative, and I’m the executive producer in charge of content development and production. The three of us make up the management team.

The three of us make up the management team. Sheila Smith (head of production) Robbie Proctor (head of editorial) and Phil Spitler (creative technology lead) are associate partners as they contribute to and lead so much of our work and process and have been part of the company for over 10 years each.

 

Big Block adds live-action director Rylee Jean Ebsen

LA’s Big Block, part design studio, part production studio and part post house, has added live-action commercial director Rylee Jean Ebsen. As an early Snapchat employee and its most recent director of creative media, Ebsen brings experience producing alternative content to Big Block, including AR, VR, AI, 360-video, vertical video and live-streaming across social and broadcast.

Ebsen ran Snapchat’s in-house creative agency for seven years, hiring and leading a team of 15 while reporting directly to CEO Evan Spiegel. Ebsen debuted Snap’s first vertical original content series on the Discover Platform, co-directed Snap’s very first broadcast TV spot and earned an official patent for her work creating Snapchat’s AR Geofilters. Ebsen was the lead creative artist behind the debuts of the Jeff Koons augmented reality project, Snappables, World Lenses, Custom Stories and Spectacles.

Rylee Ebsen on set.

“What drew me to Big Block is that they weren’t just another production company making commercials, they’re a go-to partner for brands and agencies to turn to for innovative ideas, unique activations and incredible artistic interpretations,” she says.

Big Block’s involvement with “Free the Bid” was another draw for Ebsen, as she’s an active member and passionate about encouraging other female creatives. She’s also an executive member of Women in Film and has spoken at USC’s “Own It” women’s leadership summit and “It’s Our Turn,” Brentwood School’s Young Women’s Conference.

At only 28 years old, she has already spent over 1,200 hours directing on set with equipment ranging from vertical rigs to high-end Alexa cameras. Ebsen has storytelling in her blood, growing up as the granddaughter of actor Buddy Ebsen and advertising creative director Stan Freberg, and later graduating from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee

By Iain Blair

Spike Lee has been on a roll recently. Last time we sat down for a talk, he’d just finished Chi-Raq, an impassioned rap reworking of Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” which was set against a backdrop of Chicago gang violence. Since then, he’s directed various TV, documentary and video projects. And now his latest film BlacKkKlansman has been nominated for a host of Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing,  Best Original Score and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Adam Driver).

Set in the early 1970s, the unlikely-but-true story details the exploits of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. The film also stars Topher Grace as David Duke.

Behind the scenes, Lee reteamed with co-writer Kevin Willmott, longtime editor Barry Alexander Brown and composer Terence Blanchard, along with up-and-coming DP Chayse Irvin. I spoke with the always-entertaining Lee, who first burst onto the scene back in 1986 with She’s Gotta Have It, about making the film, his workflow and the Oscars.

Is it true Jordan Peele turned you onto this story?
Yeah, he called me out of the blue and gave me possibly the greatest six-word pitch in film history — “Black man infiltrates Ku Klux Klan.” I couldn’t resist it, not with that pitch.

Didn’t you think, “Wait, this is all too unbelievable, too Hollywood?”
Well, my first question was, “Is this actually true? Or is it a Dave Chappelle skit?” Jordan assured me it’s a true story and that Ron wrote a book about it. He sent me a script, and that’s where we began, but Kevin Willmott and I then totally rewrote it so we could include all the stuff like Charlottesville at the end.

Iain Blair and Spike Lee

Did you immediately decide to juxtapose the story’s period racial hatred with all the ripped-from-the-headlines news footage?
Pretty much, as the Charlottesville rally happened August 11, 2017 and we didn’t start shooting this until mid-September, so we could include all that. And then there was the terrible synagogue massacre, and all the pipe bombs. Hate crimes are really skyrocketing under this president.

Fair to say, it’s not just a film about America, though, but about what’s happening everywhere — the rise of neo-Nazism, racism, xenophobia and so on in Europe and other places?
I’m so glad you said that, as I’ve had to correct several people who want to just focus on America, as if this is just happening here. No, no, no! Look at the recent presidential elections in Brazil. This guy — oh my God! This is a global phenomenon, and the common denominator is fear. You fire up your base with fear tactics, and pinpoint your enemy — the bogeyman, the scapegoat — and today that is immigrants.

What were the main challenges in pulling it all together?
Any time you do a film, it’s so hard and challenging. I’ve been doing this for decades now, and it ain’t getting any easier. You have to tell the story the best way you can, given the time and money you have, and it has to be a team effort. I had a great team with me, and any time you do a period piece you have added challenges to get it looking right.

You assembled a great cast. What did John David Washington and Adam Driver bring to the main roles?
They brought the weight, the hammer! They had to do their thing and bring their characters head-to-head, so it’s like a great heavyweight fight, with neither one backing down. It’s like Inside Man with Denzel and Clive Owen.

It’s the first time you’ve worked with the Canadian DP Chayse Irvin, who mainly shot shorts before this. Can you talk about how you collaborated with him?
He’s young and innovative, and he shot a lot of Beyonce’s Lemonade long-form video. What we wanted to do was shoot on film, not digital. I talked about all the ‘70s films I grew up with, like French Connection and Dog Day Afternoon. So that was the look I was after. It had to match the period, but not be too nostalgic. While we wanted to make a period film, I also wanted it to feel and look contemporary, and really connect that era with the world we live in now. He really nailed it. Then my great editor, Barry Alexander Brown, came up with all the split-screen stuff, which is also very ‘70s and really captured that era.

How tough was the shoot?
Every shoot’s tough. It’s part of the job. But I love shooting, and we used a mix of practical locations and sets in Brooklyn and other places that doubled for Colorado Springs.

Where did you post?
Same as always, in Brooklyn, at my 40 Acres and a Mule office.

Do you like the post process?
I love it, because post is when you finally sit down and actually make your film. It’s a lot more relaxing than the shoot — and a lot of it is just me and the editor and the Avid. You’re shaping and molding it and finding your way, cutting and adding stuff, flopping scenes, and it never really follows the shooting script. It becomes its own thing in post.

Talk about editing with Barry Alexander Brown, the Brit who’s cut so many of your films. What were the big editing challenges?
The big one was finding the right balance between the humor and the very serious subject matter. They’re two very different tones, and then the humor comes from the premise, which is absurd in itself. It’s organic to the characters and the situations.

Talk about the importance of sound and music, and Terence Blanchard’s spare score that blends funk with classical.
He’s done a lot of my films, and has never been nominated for an Oscar — and he should have been. He’s a truly great composer, trumpeter and bandleader, and a big part of what I do in post. I try to give him some pointers that aren’t restrictive, and then let him do his thing. I always put as much as emphasis on sound and music as I do on the acting, editing and cinematography. It’s hugely important, and once we have the score, we have a film.

I had a great sound team. Phil Stockton, who began with me back on School Daze, was the sound designer. David Boulton, Mike Russo and Howard London did the ADR mix, and my longtime mixer Tommy Fleischman was on it. We did it all at C5 in New York. We spent a long time on the mix, building it all up.

Where did you do the DI and how important is it to you?
At Company 3 with colorist Tom Poole, who’s so good. It’s very important but I’m in and out, as I know Tom and the DP are going to get the look I want.

Spike Lee on set.

Did the film turn out the way you hoped?
Here’s the thing. You try to do the best you can, and I can’t predict what the reaction will be. I made the film I wanted to make, and then I put it out in the world. It’s all about timing. This was made at the right time and was made with a lot of urgency. It’s a crazy world and it’s getting crazier by the minute.

How important are industry awards and nomination to you? 
They’re very important in that they bring more attention, more awareness to a film like this. One of the blessings from the strong critical response to this has been a resurgence in looking at my earlier films again, some of which may have been overlooked, like Bamboozled and Summer of Sam.

Do you see progress in Hollywood in terms of diversity and inclusion?
There’s been movement, maybe not as fast as I’d like, but it’s slowly happening, so that’s good.

What’s next?
We just finished the second season of She’s Gotta Have It for Netflix, and I have some movie things cooking. I’m pretty busy.


Industry insider Iain Blair has been interviewing the biggest directors in Hollywood and around the world for years. He is a regular contributor to Variety and has written for such outlets as Reuters, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe.

ASC names film, TV nominees, Top 100 films

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced the nominees for all categories of its 33rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards.

Winners will be named at the awards gala on February 9 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland.

This year’s nominees are:

Theatrical Release
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
• Matthew Libatique, ASC for A Star is Born
• Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC for The Favourite
• Linus Sandgren, ASC, FSF for First Man
• Łukasz Żal, PSC for Cold War

Spotlight Award
• Joshua James Richards for The Rider
• Giorgi Shvelidze for Namme
• Frank van den Eeden, NSC, SBC for Girl

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television
• Gonzalo Amat for The Man in the High Castle, “Jahr Null”
• Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC for The Crown, “Beryl”
• David Klein, ASC for Homeland, “Paean to the People”
• Colin Watkinson, ASC for The Handmaid’s Tale, “The Word”
• Cathal Watters, ISC for Peaky Blinders, “The Company”
• Zoë White, ACS for The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly”

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television
• Nathaniel Goodman, ASC for Timeless, “The King of the Delta Blues”
• Jon Joffin, ASC for Beyond, “Two Zero One”
• Ben Richardson for Yellowstone, “Daybreak”
• David Stockton, ASC for Gotham, “A Dark Knight: Queen Takes Knight”
• Thomas Yatsko, ASC for Damnation, “A Different Species”

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television
• James Friend, BSC for Patrick Melrose, “Bad News”
• Mathias Herndl, AAC for Genius: Picasso, “Chapter 1”
• Florian Hoffmeister, BSC for The Terror, “Go for Broke”
• M. David Mullen, ASC for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (pilot)
• Brendan Steacy, CSC for Alias Grace, “Part 1”

This year’s awards ceremony will not only honor the most artful cinematography of 2018 but will also celebrate the ASC’s 100th anniversary. As part of the centennial celebrations, the Society released their members’ list of the 100 milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography of the 20th century.

Organized by Steven Fierberg, ASC, (The Affair, Good Girls Revolt, Entourage) and voted on by ASC members, it showcases the best of cinematography as selected by professional cinematographers.

The list represents a range of styles, eras and visual artistry, but most importantly, it commemorates films that are inspirational or influential to ASC members and have exhibited enduring influence to generations of filmmakers.

The Top 10 are:

1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962), shot by Freddie Young, BSC (Dir. David Lean)
2. Blade Runner (1982), shot by Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Dir. Ridley Scott)
3. Apocalypse Now (1979), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
4. Citizen Kane (1941), shot by Gregg Toland, ASC (Dir. Orson Welles)
5. The Godfather (1972), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
6. Raging Bull (1980), shot by Michael Chapman, ASC (Dir. Martin Scorsese)
7. The Conformist (1970), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)
8. Days of Heaven (1978), shot by Néstor Almendros, ASC (Dir. Terrence Malick)
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC with additional photography by John Alcott, BSC (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)
10. The French Connection (1971), shot by Owen Roizman, ASC (Dir. William Friedkin)

 Main Image: Roma

Review: OConnor camera assistant bag

By Brady Betzel

After years and years of gear acquisition, I often forget to secure proper bags and protection for my equipment. From Pelican cases to the cheapest camera bags, a truly high-quality bag will extend the life of your equipment.

In this review I am going to go over a super-heavy-duty assistant camera bag by OConnor, which is a part of the Vitec Group. While the Vitec Group provides many different products — from LED lighting to robotic camera systems — OConnor is typically known for their professional fluid heads and tripods. This camera bag is made to not only fit their products, but also other gear, such as pan bars and ARRI plates. The OConnor AC bag is a no-nonsense camera and accessory bag with velcro enforced-repositionable inserts that will accommodate most cameras and accessories you have.

As soon as I opened the box and touched the AC bag I could tell it was high quality. The bag exterior is waterproof and easily wipeable. But, more importantly, there is an internal water- and dust-proof liner that allows the lid to be hinged while the equipment is close at hand while the liner is fully zipped. This internal waterproofing is resistant up to a 1.2M/4ft. column of water. Once I got past the quality of materials, my second inspection focused on the zippers. If I have a camera bag with bad zippers or snaps, it usually is given away or tossed, but the AC bag has strong and easy gliding zippers.

On the lid and inside of the front pockets are extremely tough and see-through mesh pockets for everything from batteries to memory cards. On the front is a business card/label holder. Around the outside are multiple pockets with fixing points for Carabiner hooks. In addition, there are d-rings for the included leather strap if you want to carry this bag over your shoulder instead of using the handles. The bag comes with five dividers to be velcroed on the inside, including two right angle dividers.The dividers are made to securely tie down all OConnor heads and accessories. Finally, the AC bag comes with a separate pouch to use on set for quick use.

Summing Up
In the end, the OConnor AC bag is a well made and roomy bag that will protect your camera gear and accessories from dust as well as water for $375. The inside measures in at 18x12x10.5 inches while the outside measures in at 22×14.5×10.5 inches and has been designed to fit inside of a Pelicase 1620. You can check out the OConnor AC bag on their website and find a dealer in your area.


Brady Betzel is an Emmy-nominated online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff.

Nancy Hacohen joins Tool as managing director, live action

Tool of North America has hired executive producer Nancy Hacohen as managing director of live action. In this position, Hacohen will oversee all aspects of Tool’s live action work and represent the company’s directorial talent. She will also work alongside Dustin Callif, managing partner of innovation, to manage Tool’s day-to-day operations, which range from live action to experiential, VR and AI.

Hacohen joins Tool from Moxie Pictures, where she served as executive producer for the past year. Prior to Moxie, she executive produced for Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment, Hungry Man and House of Usher on campaigns for Apple, Google, Mercedes and Nike.

Hacohen also previously worked with Tool, having served as EP on several projects for the company including the Emmy-nominated Fans of Love for the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign and the female-empowerment It Was You campaign for the Grammys.

 

Behind the Title: Steelhead MD Ted Markovic

NAME: Ted Markovic

COMPANY: LA-based Steelhead

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We are a content studio and cross-platform production company. You can walk through our front door with a script and out the back with a piece of content. We produce everything from social to Super Bowl.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Managing Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I am responsible for driving the overall culture and financial health of the organization. That includes building strong client relationships, new business development, operational oversight, marketing, recruiting and retaining talent and managing the profits and losses of all departments.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
We all have a wide range of responsibilities and wear many hats. I occasionally find myself replacing the paper towels in the bathrooms because some days that’s what it takes.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
We are a very productive group that produces great work. I get a sense of accomplishment almost every day.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Replacing the paper towels in the bathrooms.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
I get a lot more done while everyone else is busy eating their lunch or driving home.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Solving the traffic problem in Los Angeles. I see a lot of opportunities there.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I am a third-generation post production executive, and essentially grew up in a film lab in New York. I suspect the profession chose me.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I am currently working on a Volkswagen Tier 2 project where we are shooting six cars over seven days on our stage at Steelhead. We’re incorporating dynamic camera shots of cars on a cyc with kinetic typography, motion graphics and VFX. It’s a great example of how we can do it all under one roof.

We recently worked with Nintendo and Interogate to bring the new Switch games to life in a campaign called Close Call. On set with rams, air mortars, lighting effects and lots of sawed-in-half furniture, we were able create real weight in-camera to layer with our VFX. We augmented the practical effects with HDR light maps, fire and debris simulations, as well as procedurally generated energy beams, 3D models, and 2D compositing to create a synergy between the practical and visual effects that really sells the proximity and sense of danger we were looking to create.

While the coordination of practical and post was no small chore, another interesting challenge we had to overcome was creating the CG weapons to mesh with the live-action plates. We started with low-resolution models directly from the games themselves, converted them and scrubbed in a good layer of detail and refined them to make them photoreal. We also had to conceptualize how some of the more abstract weapons would play with real-world physics.

Another project worth mentioning was a piece we created for Volkswagen called Strange Terrains. The challenge was to create 360-degree timelapse video from day-to-night. Something that’s never been done before. And in order to get this unique footage, we had to build an equally unique rigging system. We partnered with Supply Frame to design and build a custom-milled aluminum head to support four 50.6 megapixel Canon EOS 5DS cameras.

The “holy grail” of timelapse photography is getting the cameras to ramp the exposure over broad light changes. This was especially challenging to capture due to the massive exposure changes in the sky and the harshness of the white salt. After capturing around approximately 2,000 frames per camera — 9TB of working storage — we spent countless hours stitching, compositing, computing and rendering to get a fluid final product.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
About eight years ago, I created a video for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My mother still cries when she watches it.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
The wheel is a pretty essential piece of technology that I’m not sure I could live without. My smartphone is as expected as well as my Sleepwell device for apnea. That device changed my life.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
I can work listening to anything but reggae.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Exercise.

Light Iron opens in Atlanta, targets local film community

In order to support the thriving Georgia production community, post studio Light Iron has opened a new facility in Atlanta. The expansion is the fourth since Panavision acquired Light Iron in 2015, bringing Light Iron’s US locations to six total, including Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Albuquerque and Chicago.

“Light Iron has been supporting Georgia productions for years through our mobile dailies services,” explains CFO Peter Cioni. “Now with a team on the ground, productions can take advantage of our facility-based dailies with talent that brings the finishing perspective into the process.”

Clark Cofer

The company’s Atlanta staff recently provided dailies services to season one of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, season three of Greenleaf and the features Uncle Drew and Superfly.

With a calibrated theater, the Light Iron Atlanta facility has hosted virtual DI sessions from its LA facility for cinematographers working in Atlanta. The theater is also available for projecting camera and lens tests, as well as private screenings for up to 45 guests.

The theater is outfitted with a TVIPS Nevion TBG480, which allows for a full bandwidth 2K signal from either their LA or NY facility for virtual DI sessions. For example, if a cinematographer is working another show in Atlanta, they can still connect with the colorist for the final look of their previous show.

The Light Iron Atlanta dailies team uses Colorfront Express Dailies, which is standard across their facility-based and mobile dailies services worldwide.

Cioni notes that the new location is led by director of business development Clark Cofer, a member of Atlanta’s production and post industry. “Clark brings years of local and state-wide relationships to Light Iron, and we are pleased to have him on our growing team.”

Cofer most recently represented Crawford Media Services, where he drove sales for their renowned content services to companies like Lionsgate, Fox and Marvel. He currently serves as co-president of the Georgia Production Partnership, and is on the board of directors for the DeKalb County Film and Entertainment Advisory Board.

Sci-Tech Award winners named

The 2018 Sci-Tech Awards (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) have been bestowed to 34 individuals and one company representing 10 scientific and technical achievements. Each recipient will be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on February 10 at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

“This year we are happy to honor a very international group of technologists for their innovative and outstanding accomplishments,” says Ray Feeney, Academy Award recipient and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “These individuals have significantly contributed to the ongoing evolution of motion pictures and their efforts continue to empower the creativity of our industry.”

Technical Achievement Award Winners (Academy Certificates)

Honorees: Jason Smith and Jeff White for the original design, and to Rachel Rose and Mike Jutan for the architecture and engineering of the BlockParty procedural rigging system at Industrial Light & Magic.

BlockParty streamlines the rigging process through a comprehensive connection framework, a unique graphical user interface and volumetric rig transfer. This has enabled ILM to build richly detailed and unique creatures while greatly improving artist productivity.

Honorees: Joe Mancewicz, Matt Derksen and Hans Rijpkema for the design, architecture and implementation of the Rhythm & Hues Construction Kit rigging system.

This toolset provides a new approach to character rigging that features topological independence, continuously editable rigs and deformation workflows with shape-preserving surface relaxation, enabling 15 years of improvements to production efficiency and animation quality.

Honorees: Alex Powell for the design and engineering and to Jason Reisig for the interaction design, and to Martin Watt and Alex Wells for the high-performance execution engine of the Premo character animation system at DreamWorks Animation.

Premo enables animators to pose full-resolution characters in representative shot context, significantly increasing their productivity.

Honorees: Rob Jensen for the foundational design and continued development and to Thomas Hahn for the animation toolset and to George ElKoura, Adam Woodbury and Dirk Van Gelder for the high-performance execution engine of the Presto Animation System at Pixar Animation Studios.

Presto allows artists to work interactively in scene context with full-resolution geometric models and sophisticated rig controls, and has significantly increased the productivity of character animators at Pixar.

Scientific and Engineering Award Winners (Academy Plaques)

Honorees: John Coyle, Brad Hurndell, Vikas Sathaye and Shane Buckham for the concept, design, engineering and implementation of the Shotover K1 camera system.

This six-axis stabilized aerial camera mount, with its enhanced ability to frame shots while looking straight down, enables greater creativity while allowing pilots to fly more effectively and safely.

Honorees: Jeff Lait, Mark Tucker, Cristin Barghiel and John Lynch for their contributions to the design and architecture of Side Effects Software’s Houdini visual effects and animation system.

Houdini’s dynamics framework and workflow management tools have helped it become the industry standard for bringing natural phenomena, destruction and other digital effects to the screen.

Honorees: Bill Spitzak and Jonathan Egstad for the visionary design, development and stewardship of Foundry’s Nuke compositing system.

Built for production at Digital Domain, Nuke is used across the motion picture industry, enabling novel and sophisticated workflows at an unprecedented scale.

Honorees: Abigail Brady, Jon Wadelton and Jerry Huxtable for their significant contributions to the architecture and extensibility of Foundry’s Nuke compositing system.

Expanded as a commercial product at The Foundry, Nuke is a comprehensive, versatile and stable system that has established itself as the backbone of compositing and image processing pipelines across the motion picture industry.

Honorees: Leonard Chapman for the overall concept, design and development, to Stanislav Gorbatov for the electronic system design, and to David Gasparian and Souhail Issa for the mechanical design and integration of the Hydrascope telescoping camera crane systems.

With its fully waterproof construction, the Hydrascope has advanced crane technology and versatility by enabling precise long-travel multi-axis camera movement in, out of and through fresh or salt water.

Academy Award of Merit (Oscar statuette)

Honorees: Mark Elendt and Side Effects Software for the creation and development of the Houdini visual effects and animation system.

With more than twenty years of continual innovation, Houdini has delivered the power of procedural methods to visual effects artists, making it the industry standard for bringing natural phenomena, destruction and other digital effects to the screen.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award (Oscar statuette)

Honoree: Jonathan Erland, visual effects technologist

Presented to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.

All images courtesy of A.M.P.A.S.

Storage Roundtable

Production, post, visual effects, VR… you can’t do it without a strong infrastructure. This infrastructure must include storage and products that work hand in hand with it.

This year we spoke to a sampling of those providing storage solutions — of all kinds — for media and entertainment, as well as a storage-agnostic company that helps get your large files from point A to point B safely and quickly.

We gathered questions from real-world users — things that they would ask of these product makers if they were sitting across from them.

Quantum’s Keith Lissak
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
We offer a complete storage ecosystem based around our StorNext shared storage and data management solution,including Xcellis high-performance primary storage, Lattus object storage and Scalar archive and cloud. Our customers include broadcasters, production companies, post facilities, animation/VFX studios, NCAA and professional sports teams, ad agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Xcellis features continuous scalability and can be sized to precisely fit current requirements and scaled to meet future demands simply by adding storage arrays. Capacity and performance can grow independently, and no additional accelerators or controllers are needed to reach petabyte scale.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
We don’t have exact numbers, but a growing number of our customers are using cloud storage. Our FlexTier cloud-access solution can be used with both public (AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud) and private (StorageGrid, CleverSafe, Scality) storage.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
We offer a range of StorNext 4K Reference Architecture configurations for handling the demanding workflows, including 4K, 8K and VR. Our customers can choose systems with small or large form-factor HDDs, up to an all-flash SSD system with the ability to handle 66 simultaneous 4K streams.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
StorNext systems are OS-agnostic and can work with all Mac, Windows and Linux clients with no discernible difference.

Zerowait’s Rob Robinson
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
Zerowait’s SimplStor storage product line provides storage administrators scalable, flexible and reliable on-site storage needed for their growing storage requirements and workloads. SimplStor’s platform can be configured to work in Linux or Windows environments and we have several customers with multiple petabytes in their data centers. SimplStor systems have been used in VFX production for many years and we also provide solutions for video creation and many other large data environments.

Additionally, Zerowait specializes in NetApp service, support and upgrades, and we have provided many companies in the media and VFX businesses with off-lease transferrable licensed NetApp storage solutions. Zerowait provides storage hardware, engineering and support for customers that need reliable and big storage. Our engineers support customers with private cloud storage and customers that offer public cloud storage on our storage platforms. We do not provide any public cloud services to our customers.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Our customers typically need on-site storage for processing speed and security. We have developed many techniques and monitoring solutions that we have incorporated into our service and hardware platforms. Our SimplStor and NetApp customers need storage infrastructures that scale into the multiple petabytes, and often require GigE, 10GigE or a NetApp FC connectivity solution. For customers that can’t handle the bandwidth constraints of the public Internet to process their workloads, Zerowait has the engineering experience to help our customers get the most of their on-premises storage.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based products (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Many of our customers use public cloud solutions for their non-proprietary data storage while using our SimplStor and NetApp hardware and support services for their proprietary, business-critical, high-speed and regulatory storage solutions where data security is required.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
SimplStor’s density and scalability make it perfect for use in HD and higher resolution environments. Our SimplStor platform is flexible and we can accommodate customers with special requests based on their unique workloads.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
Zerowait’s NetApp and SimplStor platforms are compatible with both Linux (NFS) and Windows (CIFS) environments. OS X is supported in some applications. Every customer has a unique infrastructure and set of applications they are running. Customers will see differences in performance, but our flexibility allows us to customize a solution to maximize the throughput to meet workflow requirements.

Signiant’s Mike Nash
What kind of storage works with your solution, and who is the main user or users of that storage?
Signiant’s Media Shuttle file transfer solution is storage agnostic, and for nearly 200,000 media pros worldwide it is the primary vehicle for sending and sharing large files. Even though Media Shuttle doesn’t provide storage, and many users think of their data as “in Media Shuttle.” In reality, their files are located in whatever storage their IT department has designated. This might be the company’s own on-premises storage, or it could be their AWS or Microsoft Azure cloud storage tenancy. Our users employ a Media Shuttle portal to send and share files; they don’t have to think about where the files are stored.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their use or the bandwidth of their networks (or both)?
Media Shuttle is delivered as a cloud-native SaaS solution, so it can be up and running immediately for new customers, and it can scale up and down as demand changes. The servers that power the software are managed by our DevOps team and monitored 24×7 — and the infrastructure is auto-scaling and instantly available. Signiant does not charge for bandwidth, so customers can use our solutions with any size pipe at no additional cost. And while Media Shuttle can scale up to support the needs of the largest media companies, the SaaS delivery model also makes it accessible to even the smallest production and post facilities.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with cloud storage (i.e. AWS or Microsoft Azure)?
Cloud adoption within the M&E industry remains uneven, so it’s no surprise that we see a mixed picture when we look at the storage choices our customers make. Since we first introduced the cloud storage option, there has been a constant month-over-month growth in the number of customers deploying portals with cloud storage. It’s not yet in parity with on-prem storage, but the growth trends are clear.

On-premises content storage is very far from going away. We see many Media Shuttle customers taking a hybrid approach, with some portals using cloud storage and others using on-prem storage. It’s also interesting to note that when customers do choose cloud storage, we increasingly see them use both AWS and Azure.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
We can move any size of file. As media files continue to get bigger, the value of our solutions continues to rise. Legacy solutions such as FTP, which lack any file acceleration, will grind things to a halt if 4K, 8K, VR and other huge files need to be moved between locations. And consumer-oriented sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive become non-starters with these types of files.

What platforms do your system connect to (e.g. Mac OS X, Windows, Linux), and what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
Media Shuttle is designed to work with a wide range of platforms. Users simply log in to portals using any web browser. In the background, a native application installed on the user’s personal computer provides the acceleration functionality. This App works with Windows or Mac OSX systems.

On the IT side of things, no installed software is required for portals deployed with cloud storage. To connect Media Shuttle to on-premises storage, the IT team will run Signiant software on a computer in the customer’s network. This server-side software is available for Linux and Windows.

NetApp’s Jason Danielson
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
NetApp has a wide portfolio of storage and data management products and services. We have four fundamentally different storage platforms — block, file, object and converged infrastructure. We use these platforms and our data fabric software to create a myriad of storage solutions that incorporate flash, disk and cloud storage.

1. NetApp E-Series block storage platform is used by leading shared file systems to create robust and high-bandwidth shared production storage systems. Boutique post houses, broadcast news operations and corporate video departments use these solutions for their production tier.
2. NetApp FAS network-attached file storage runs NetApp OnTap. This platform supports many thousands of applications for tens of thousands of customers in virtualized, private cloud and hybrid cloud environments. In media, this platform is designed for extreme random-access performance. It is used for rendering, transcoding, analytics, software development and the Internet-of-things pipelines.
3. NetApp StorageGrid Webscale object store manages content and data for back-up and active archive (or content repository) use cases. It scales to dozens of petabytes, billions of objects and currently 16 sites. Studios and national broadcast networks use this system and are currently moving content from tape robots and archive silos to a more accessible object tier.
4. NetApp SolidFire converged and hyper-converged platforms are used by cloud providers and enterprises running large private clouds for quality-of-service across hundreds to thousands of applications. Global media enterprises appreciate the ease of scaling, simplicity of QOS quota setting and overall maintenance for largest scale deployments.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
The four platforms mentioned above scale up and scale out to support well beyond the largest media operations in the world. So our challenge is not scalability for large environments but appropriate sizing for individual environments. We are careful to design storage and data management solutions that are appropriate to media operations’ individual needs.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Seven years ago, NetApp set out on a major initiative to build the data fabric. We are well on the path now with products designed specifically for hybrid cloud (a combination of private cloud and public cloud) workloads. While the uptake in media and entertainment is slower than in other industries, we now have hundreds of customers that use our storage in hybrid cloud workloads, from backup to burst compute.

We help customers wanting to stay cloud-agnostic by using AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud Platform flexibly and as the project and pricing demands. AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM, Telsra and ASE along with another hundred or so cloud storage providers include NetApp storage and data management products in their service offerings.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
For higher bandwidth, or bitrate, video production we’ll generally architect a solution with our E-Series storage under either Quantum StorNext or PixitMedia PixStor. Since 2012, when the NetApp E5400 enabled the mainstream adoption of 4K workflows, the E-Series platform has seen three generations of upgrades and the controllers are now more than 4x faster. The chassis has remained the same through these upgrades so some customers have chosen to put the latest controllers into these chassis to improve bandwidth or to utilize faster network interconnect like 16 gigabit fibrechannel. Many post houses continue to use fibrechannel to the workstation for these higher bandwidth video formats while others have chosen to move to Ethernet (40 and 100 Gigabit). As flash (SSDs) continue to drop in price it is starting to be used for video production in all flash arrays or in hybrid configurations. We recently showed our new E570 all flash array supporting NVM Express over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) technology providing 21GB/s of bandwidth and 1 million IOPs with less than 100µs of latency. This technology is initially targeted at super-computing use cases and we will see if it is adopted over the next couple of years for UHD production workloads.

What platforms do your system connect to (Mac OSx, Windows, Linux, etc.), and what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
NetApp maintains a compatibility matrix table that delineates our support of hundreds of client operating systems and networking devices. Specifically, we support Mac OS X, Windows and various Linux distributions. Bandwidth expectations differ between these three operating systems and Ethernet and Fibre Channel connectivity options, but rather than make a blanket statement about these, we prefer to talk with customers about their specific needs and legacy equipment considerations.

G-Technology’s Greg Crosby
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
Western Digital’s G-Technology products provide high-performing and reliable storage solutions for end-to-end creative workflows, from capture and ingest to transfer and shuttle, all the way to editing and final production.

The G-Technology brand supports a wide range of users for both field and in-studio work, with solutions that span a number of portable handheld drives — which are often times used to backup content on-the-go — all the way to in-studio drives that offer capacities up to 144TB. We recognize that each creative has their own unique workflow and some embrace the use of cloud-based products. We are proud to be companions to those cloud services as a central location to store raw content or a conduit to feed cloud features and capabilities.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Our line ranges from small portable and rugged drives to large, multi-bay RAID and NAS solutions, for all aspects of the media and entertainment industry. Integrating the latest interface technology such as USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, our storage solutions will take advantage of the ability to quickly transfer files.

We make it easy to take a ton of storage into the field. The G-Speed Shuttle XL drive is available in capacities up to 96TB, and an optional Pelican case, with handle, is available, making it easy to transport in the field and mitigating any concerns about running out of storage. We recently launched the G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series. This drive is built to withstand a three meter (nine foot) drop, and is able to endure accidental bumps or drops, given that it is a solid-state drive.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Many of our customers are using cloud-based solutions to complement their creative workflows. We find that most of our customers use our solutions as the primary storage or to easily transfer and shuttle their content since the cloud is not an efficient way to move large amounts of data. We see the cloud capabilities as a great way to share project files and low-resolution content, or collaborate with others on projects as well as distribute share a variety of deliverables.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
Today’s camera technology enables not only capture at higher resolutions but also higher frame rates with more dynamic imagery. We have solutions that can easily support multi-stream 4K, 8K and VR workflows or multi-layer photo and visual effects projects. G-Technology is well positioned to support these creative workflows as we integrate the latest technologies into our storage solutions. From small portable and rugged SSD drives to high-capacity and fast multi-drive RAID solutions with the latest Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C interface technology we are ready tackle a variety of creative endeavors.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.), and what differences might users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
Our complete portfolio of external storage solutions work for Mac and PC users alike. With native support for Apple Time Machine, these solutions are formatted for Mac OS out of the box, but can be easily reformatted for Windows users. G-Technology also has a number of strategic partners with technology vendors, including Apple, Atomos, Red Camera, Adobe and Intel.

Panasas’ David Sallak
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
Panasas ActiveStor is an enterprise-class easy-to-deploy parallel scale-out NAS (network-attached storage) that combines Flash and SATA storage with a clustered file system accessed via a high-availability client protocol driver with support for standard protocols.

The ActiveStor storage cluster consists of the ActiveStor Director (ASD-100) control engine, the ActiveStor Hybrid (ASH-100) storage enclosure, the PanFS parallel file system, and the DirectFlow parallel data access protocol for Linux and Mac OS.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
ActiveStor is engineered to scale easily. There are no specific architectural limits for how widely the ActiveStor system can scale out, and adding more workloads and more users is accomplished without system downtime. The latest release of ActiveStor can grow either storage or bandwidth needs in an environment that lets metadata responsiveness, data performance and data capacity scale independently.

For example, we quote capacity and performance numbers for a Panasas storage environment containing 200 ActiveStor Hybrid 100 storage node enclosures with 5 ActiveStor Director 100 units for filesystem metadata management. This configuration would result in a single 57PB namespace delivering 360GB/s of aggregate bandwidth with an excess of 2.6M IOPs.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Panasas customers deploy workflows and workloads in ways that are well-suited to consistent on-site performance or availability requirements, while experimenting with remote infrastructure components such as storage and compute provided by cloud vendors. The majority of Panasas customers continue to explore the right ways to leverage cloud-based products in a cost-managed way that avoids surprises.

This means that workflow requirements for file-based storage continue to take precedence when processing real-time video assets, while customers also expect that storage vendors will support the ability to use Panasas in cloud environments where the benefits of a parallel clustered data architecture can exploit the agility of underlying cloud infrastructure without impacting expectations for availability and consistency of performance.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
Panasas ActiveStor is engineered to deliver superior application responsiveness via our DirectFlow parallel protocol for applications working in compressed UHD, 4K and higher-resolution media formats. Compared to traditional file-based protocols such as NFS and SMB, DirectFlow provides better granular I/O feedback to applications, resulting in client application performance that aligns well with the compressed UHD, 4K and other extreme-resolution formats.

For uncompressed data, Panasas ActiveStor is designed to support large-scale rendering of these data formats via distributed compute grids such as render farms. The parallel DirectFlow protocol results in better utilization of CPU resources in render nodes when processing frame-based UHD, 4K and higher-resolution formats, resulting in less wall clock time to produce these formats.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
Panasas ActiveStor supports macOS and Linux with our higher-performance DirectFlow parallel client software. We support all client platforms via NFS or SMB as well.

Users would notice that when connecting to Panasas ActiveStor via DirectFlow, the I/O experience is as if users were working with local media files on internal drives, compared to working with shared storage where normal protocol access may result in the slight delay associated with open network protocols.

Facilis’ Jim McKenna
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
We have always focused on shared storage for the facility. It’s high-speed attached storage and good for anyone who’s cutting HD or 4K. Our workflow and management features really make us different than basic network storage. We have attachment to the cloud through software that uses all the latest APIs.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Most of our large customers have been with us for several years, and many started pretty small. Our method of scalability is flexible in that you can decide to simply add expansion drives, add another server, or add a head unit that aggregates multiple servers. Each method increases bandwidth as well as capacity.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Many customers use cloud, either through a corporate gateway or directly uploaded from the server. Many cloud service providers have ways of accessing the file locations from the facility desktops, so they can treat it like another hard drive. Alternatively, we can schedule, index and manage the uploads and downloads through our software.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
Facilis is known for our speed. We still support Fibre Channel when everyone else, it seems, has moved completely to Ethernet, because it provides better speeds for intense 4K and beyond workflows. We can handle UHD playback on 10Gb Ethernet, and up to 4K full frame DPX 60p through Fibre Channel on a single server enclosure.

What platforms do your systems connect to (e.g. Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
We have a custom multi-platform shared file system, not NAS (network attached storage). Even though NAS may be compatible with multiple platforms by using multiple sharing methods, permissions and optimization across platforms is not easily manageable. With Facilis, the same volume, shared one way with one set of permissions, looks and acts native to every OS and even shows up as a local hard disk on the desktop. You can’t get any more cross-platform compatible than that.

SwiftStack’s Mario Blandini
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
We offer hybrid cloud storage for media. SwiftStack is 100% software and runs on-premises atop the server hardware you already buy using local capacity and/or capacity in public cloud buckets. Data is stored in cloud-native format, so no need for gateways, which do not scale. Our technology is used by broadcasters for active archive and OTT distribution, digital animators for distributed transcoding and mobile gaming/eSports for massive concurrency among others.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
The SwiftStack software architecture separates access, storage and management, where each function can be run together or on separate hardware. Unlike storage hardware with the mix of bandwidth and capacity being fixed to the ports and drives within, SwiftStack makes it easy to scale the access tier for bandwidth independently from capacity in the storage tier by simply adding server nodes on the fly. On the storage side, capacity in public cloud buckets scales and is managed in the same single namespace.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Objectively, use of capacity in public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform is still “early days” for many users. Customers in media however are on the leading edge of adoption, not only for hybrid cloud extending their on-premises environment to a public cloud, but also using a second source strategy across two public clouds. Two years ago it was less than 10%, today it is approaching 40%, and by 2020 it looks like the 80/20 rule will likely apply. Users actually do not care much how their data is stored, as long as their user experience is as good or better than it was before, and public clouds are great at delivering content to users.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
Arguably, larger assets produced by a growing number of cameras and computers have driven the need to store those assets differently than in the past. A petabyte is the new terabyte in media storage. Banks have many IT admins, where media shops have few. SwiftStack has the same consumption experience as public cloud, which is very different than on-premises solutions of the past. Licensing is based on the amount of data managed, not the total capacity deployed, so you pay-as-you-grow. If you save four replicas or use erasure coding for 1.5X overhead, the price is the same.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
The great thing about cloud storage, whether it is on-premises or residing with your favorite IaaS providers like AWS and Google, the interface is HTTP. In other words, every smartphone, tablet, Chromebook and computer has an identical user experience. For classic applications on systems that do not support AWS S3 as an interface, users see the storage as a mount point or folder in their application — either NFS or SMB. The best part, it is a single namespace where data can come in file, get transformed via object, and get read either way, so the user experience does not need to change even though the data is stored in the most modern way.

Dell EMC’s Tom Burns
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
At Dell EMC, we created two storage platforms for the media and entertainment industry: the Isilon scale-out NAS All-Flash, hybrid and archive platform to consolidate and simplify file-based workflows and the Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), a scalable enterprise-grade private cloud solution that provides extremely high levels of storage efficiency, resiliency and simplicity designed for both traditional and next-generation workloads.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
In the media industry, change is inevitable. That’s why every Isilon system is built to rapidly and simply adapt by allowing the storage system to scale performance and capacity together, or independently, as more space or processing power is required. This allows you to scale your storage easily as your business needs dictate.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Over the past five years, Dell EMC media and entertainment customers have added more than 1.5 exabytes of Isilon and ECS data storage to simplify and accelerate their workflows.

Isilon’s cloud tiering software, CloudPools, provides policy-based automated tiering that lets you seamlessly integrate with cloud solutions as an additional storage tier for the Isilon cluster at your data center. This allows you to address rapid data growth and optimize data center storage resources by using the cloud as a highly economical storage tier with massive storage capacity.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
As technologies that enhance the viewing experience continue to emerge, including higher frame rates and resolutions, uncompressed 4K, UHD, high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG), underlying storage infrastructures must effectively scale to keep up with expanding performance requirements.

Dell EMC recently launched the sixth generation of the Isilon platform, including our all-flash (F800), which brings the simplicity and scalability of NAS to uncompressed 4K workflows — something that up until now required expensive silos of storage or complex and inefficient push-pull workflows.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc)? And what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
With Dell EMC Isilon, you can streamline your storage infrastructure by consolidating file-based workflows and media assets, eliminating silos of storage. Isilon scale-out NAS includes integrated support for a wide range of industry-standard protocols allowing the major operating systems to connect using the most suitable protocol, for optimum performance and feature support, including Internet Protocols IPv4, and IPv6, NFS, SMB, HTTP, FTP, OpenStack Swift-based Object access for your cloud initiatives and native Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

The ECS software-defined cloud storage platform provides the ability to store, access, and manipulate unstructured data and is compatible with existing Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift APIs, EMC CAS and EMC Atmos APIs.

EditShare’s Lee Griffin
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
Our storage platforms are tailored for collaborative media workflows and post production. It combines the advanced EFS (that’s EditShare File System, in short) distributed file system with intelligent load balancing. It’s a scalable, fault-tolerant architecture that offers cost-effective connectivity. Within our shared storage platforms, we have a unique take on current cloud workflows, with current security and reliability of cloud-based technology prohibiting full migration to cloud storage for production, EditShare AirFlow uses EFS on-premise storage to provide secure access to media from anywhere in the world with a basic Internet connection. Our main users are creative post houses, broadcasters and large corporate companies.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Recently, we upgraded all our platforms to EFS and introduced two new single-node platforms, the EFS 200 and 300. These single-node platforms allow users to grow their storage whilst keeping a single namespace which eliminates management of multiple storage volumes. It enables them to better plan for the future, when their facility requires more storage and bandwidth, they can simply add another node.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
No production is in one location, so the ability to move media securely and back up is still a high priority to our clients. From our Flow media asset management and via our automation module, we offer clients the option to backup their valuable content to places like Amazon S3 servers.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than HD resolutions?
We have many clients working with UHD content who are supplying programming content to broadcasters, film distributors and online subscription media providers. Our solutions are designed to work effortlessly with high data rate content, enabling the bandwidth to expand with the addition of more EFS nodes to the intelligent storage pool. So, our system is ready and working now for 4K content and is future proof for even higher data rates in the future.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
EditShare supplies native client EFS drivers to all three platforms, allowing clients to pick and choose which platform they want to work on. If it is an Autodesk Flame for VFX, a Resolve for grading or our own Lightworks for editing on Linux, we don’t mind. In fact, EFS offers a considerable bandwidth improvement when using our EFS drivers over existing AFP and SMB protocol. Improved bandwidth and speed to all three platforms makes for happy clients!

And there are no differences when clients connect. We work with all three platforms the same way, offering a unified workflow to all creative machines, whether on Mac, Windows or PC.

Scale Logic’s Bob Herzan
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
Scale Logic has developed an ecosystem (Genesis Platform) that includes servers, networking, metadata controllers, single and dual-controller RAID products and purpose-built appliances.

We have three different file systems that allow us to use the storage mentioned above to build SAN, NAS, scale-out NAS, object storage and gateways for private and public cloud. We use a combination of disk, tape and Flash technology to build our tiers of storage that allows us to manage media content efficiently with the ability to scale seamlessly as our customers’ requirements change over time.

We work with customers that range from small to enterprise and everything in between. We have a global customer base that includes broadcasters, post production, VFX, corporate, sports and house of worship.

In addition to the Genesis Platform we have also certified three other tier 1 storage vendors to work under our HyperMDC SAN and scale-out NAS metadata controller (HPE, HDS and NetApp). These partnerships complete our ability to consult with any type of customer looking to deploy a media-centric workflow.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
Great questions and it’s actually built into the name and culture of our company. When we bring a solution to market it has to scale seamlessly and it needs to be logical when taking the customer’s environment into consideration. We focus on being able to start small but scale any system into a high-availability solution with limited to no downtime. Our solutions can scale independently if clients are looking to add capacity, performance or redundancy.

For example, a customer looking to move to 4K uncompressed workflows could add a Genesis Unlimited as a new workspace focused on the 4K workflow, keeping all existing infrastructure in place alongside it, avoiding major adjustments to their facility’s workflow. As more and more projects move to 4K, the Unlimited can scale capacity, performance and the needed HA requirements with zero downtime.

Customers can then start to migrate their content from their legacy storage over to Unlimited and then repurpose their legacy storage onto the HyperFS file system as second tier storage.Finally, once we have moved the legacy storage onto the new file system we also are more than happy to bring the legacy storage and networking hardware under our global support agreements.

How many of the people buying your solutions are using them with another cloud-based product (i.e. Microsoft Azure)?
Cloud continues to be ramping up for our industry, and we have many customers using cloud solutions for various aspects of their workflow. As it pertains to content creation, manipulation and long-term archive, we have not seen much adoption with our customer base. The economics just do not support the level of performance or capacity our clients demand.

However, private cloud or cloud-like configurations are becoming more mainstream for our larger customers. Working with on-premise storage while having DR (disaster recovery) replication offsite continues to be the best solution at this point for most of our clients.

How does your system handle UHD, 4K and other higher-than-HD resolutions?
Our solutions are built not only for the current resolutions but completely scalable to go beyond them. Many of our HD customers are now putting in UHD and 4K workspaces on the same equipment we installed three years ago. In addition to 4K we have been working with several companies in Asia that have been using our HyperFS file system and Genesis HyperMDC to build 8K workflows for the Olympics.

We have a number of solutions designed to meet our customer’s requirements. Some are done with spinning disk, others with all flash, and then even more that want a hybrid approach to seamlessly combine the technologies.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
All of our solutions are designed to support Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. However, how they support the various operating systems is based on the protocol (block or file) we are designing for the facility. If we are building a SAN that is strictly going to be block level access (8/16/32 Gbps Fibre Channel or 1/10/25/40/100 Gbps iSCSI, we would use our HyperFS file system and universal client drivers across all operating systems. If our clients also are looking for network protocols in addition to the block level clients we can support jSMB and NFS but allow access to block and file folders and files at the same time.

For customers that are not looking for block level access, we would then focus our design work around our Genesis NX or ZX product line. Both of these solutions are based on a NAS operating system and simply present themselves with the appropriate protocol over 1/10/25/40 or 100Gb. Genesis ZX solution is actually a software-defined clustered NAS with enterprise feature sets such as unlimited snapshots, metro clustering, thin provisioning and will scale up over 5 Petabytes.

Sonnet Technologies‘ Greg LaPorte
What kind of storage do you offer, and who is the main user of that storage?
We offer a portable, bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 SSD storage device that fits in your hand. Primary users of this product include video editors and DITs who need a “scratch drive” fast enough to support editing 4K video at 60fps while on location or traveling.

How are you making sure your products are scalable so people can grow either their storage or bandwidth needs (or both)?
The Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is currently available with 1TB capacity. With data transfer of up to 2,600 MB/s supported, most users will not run out of bandwidth when using this device.

What platforms do your systems connect to (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.)? And what differences might end-users notice when connecting on these different platforms?
Computers with Thunderbolt 3 ports running either macOS Sierra or High Sierra, or Windows 10 are supported. The drive may be formatted to suit the user’s needs, with either an OS-specific format such as HFS+, or cross-platform format such as exFAT.

Sim Group purchases Vancouver’s The Crossing Studios

Sim Group, a family of companies offering production and post services across TV, feature film and commercials, has strengthened its place in the industry with the acquisition of Vancouver-based The Crossing Studios. This full-service studio and production facility adds approximately 400,000 square feet to Sim’s footprint.

With proximity to downtown Vancouver, the city’s international airport and all local suppliers, The Crossing Studios has been home to many television series, specials and feature films. In addition to providing full-service studio rentals, mill/paint/lockup space and production office space, The Crossing Studios also offer post production services, including Avid suite rentals, dailies, color correction and high-speed connectivity.

The Crossing Studios was founded by Dian Cross-Massey in 2015 and is the second-largest studio facility in the lower mainland, comprised of nine buildings in Vancouver, all are located just 30 minutes from downtown. Cross-Massey has over 25 years of experience in the industry, having worked as a writer, executive producer, visual effects supervisor, director, producer and a production manager. Thanks to this experience, Cross-Massey prides herself on knowing first-hand how to anticipate client needs and contributes to the success of her clients’ projects.

“When I was a producer, I worked with Sim regularly and always felt they had the same approach to fair, honest work as I did, so when the opportunity presented itself to combine resources and support our shared clients with more offerings, the decision to join together felt right,” says Cross-Massey.

The Crossing Studios clients include Viacom, Fox, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal and ABC.

“The decision to add The Crossing Studios to the Sim family was a natural one,” says James Haggarty, CEO, Sim Group. “Through our end-to-end services, we pride ourselves on delivering streamlined solutions that simplify the customer experience. Dian and her team are extremely well respected within the entertainment industry, and together, we’ll not only be able to support the incredible growth in the Vancouver market, but clients will have the option to package everything they need from pre-production through post for better service and efficiencies.”

Chatting up IBC’s Michael Crimp about this year’s show

Every year, many from our industry head to Amsterdam for the International Broadcasting Convention. With IBC’s start date coming fast, what better time for the organization’s CEO, Michael Crimp, to answer questions about the show, which runs from September 15-19.

IBC is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. How will you celebrate?
In addition to producing a commemorative book, and our annual party, IBC is starting a new charitable venture, supporting an Amsterdam group that provides support through sport for disadvantaged and disabled children. If you want to play against former Ajax players in our Saturday night match, bid now to join the IBC All-Stars.

It’s also about keeping the conversation going. We are 50 years on and have a huge amount to talk about — from Ultra HD to 5G connectivity, from IP to cyber security.

How has IBC evolved over the past 10 years?
The simple answer is that IBC has evolved along with the industry, or rather IBC has strived to identify the key trends which will transform the industry and ensure that we are ahead of the curve.

Looking back 10 years, digital cinema was still a work in progress: the total transition we have now seen was just beginning. We had dedicated areas focused on mobile video and digital signage, things that we take for granted today. You can see the equivalents in IBC2017, like the IP Showcase and all the work done on interoperability.

Five years ago we started our Leaders’ Summit, the behind-closed-doors conference for CEOs from the top broadcasters and media organizations, and it has proved hugely successful. This year we are adding two more similar, invitation-only events, this time aimed at CTOs. We have a day focusing on cyber security and another looking at the potential for 5G.

We are also trying a new business matchmaking venue this year, the IBC Startup Forum. Working with Media Honeypot, we are aiming to bring startups and scale-ups together with the media companies that might want to use their talents and the investors who might back the deals.

Will IBC and annual trade shows still be relevant in another 50 years?
Yes, I firmly believe they will. Of course, you will be able to research basic information online — and you can do that now. We have added to the online resources available with our IBC365 year-round online presence. But it is much harder to exchange opinions and experiences that way. Human nature dictates that we learn best from direct contact, from friendly discussions, from chance conversations. You cannot do that online. It is why we regard the opportunity to meet old friends and new peers as one of the key parts of the IBC experience.

What are some of the most important decisions you face in your job on a daily basis?
IBC is an interesting business to head. In some ways, of course, my job as CEO is the same as the head of any other company: making sure the staff are all pulling in the same direction, the customers are happy and the finances are secure. But IBC is unlike any other business because our focus is on spreading and sharing knowledge, and because our shareholders are our customers. IBC is organized by the industry for the industry, and at the top of our organization is the Partnership Board, which contains representatives of the six leading professional and trade bodies in the industry: IABM, IEE, IET, RTS, SCTE and SMPTE.

Can you talk a bit about the conference?
One significant development from that first IBC 50 years ago is the nature of the conference. The founders were insistent that an exhibition needed a technical conference, and in 1967 it was based solely on papers outlining the latest research.

Today, the technical papers program still forms the center piece of the conference. But today our conference is much broader, speaking to the creative and commercial people in our community as well as the engineering and operational.

This year’s conference is subtitled “Truth, Trust and Transformation,” and has five tracks running over five days. Session topics range from the deeply technical, like new codec design, to fake news and alternative facts. Speakers range from Alberto Duenas, the principal video architect at chipmaker ARM to Dan Danker, the product director at Facebook.

How are the attendees and companies participating in IBC changing?
The industry is so much broader than it once was. Consumers used to watch television, because that was all that the technology could achieve. Today, they expect to choose what they want to watch, when and where they want to watch it, and on the device and platform which happen to be convenient at the time.

As the industry expands, so does the IBC community. This year, for example, we have the biggest temporary structure we have ever built for an IBC, to house Hall 14, dedicated to content everywhere.

Given that international travel can be painful, what should those outside the EU consider?
Amsterdam is, in truth, a very easy place for visitors in any part of the world to reach. Its airport is a global hub. The EU maintains an open attitude and a practical approach to visas when required, so there should be no barriers to anyone wanting to visit IBC.

The IBC Innovation Awards are always a draw. Can you comment on the calibre of entries this year?
When we decided to add the IBC Innovation Awards to our program, our aim was to reflect the real nature of the industry. We wanted to reward the real-world projects, where users and technology partners got together to tackle a real challenge and come up with a solution that was much more than the sum of its parts.

Our finalists range from a small French-language service based in Canada to Google Earth; from a new approach to transmitters in the USA to an online service in India; and from Asia’s biggest broadcaster to the Spanish national railway company.

The Awards Ceremony on Sunday night is always one of my highlights. This year there is a special guest presenter: the academic and broadcaster Dr. Helen Czerski. The show lasts about an hour and is free to all IBC visitors.

What are the latest developments in adding capacity at IBC?
There is always talk of the need to move to another venue, and of course as a responsible business we keep this continually under review. But where would we move to? There is nowhere that offers the same combination of exhibition space, conference facilities and catering and networking under one roof. There is nowhere that can provide the range of hotels at all prices that Amsterdam offers, nor its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Talking of hotels, visitors this year may notice a large building site between hall 12 and the station. This will be a large on-site hotel, scheduled to be open in time for IBC in 2019.

And regulars who have resigned themselves to walking around the hoardings covering up the now not-so-new underground station will be pleased to hear that the North-South metro line is due to open in July 2018. Test trains are already running, and visitors to IBC next year will be able to speed from the centre of the city in under 10 minutes.

As you mentioned earlier, the theme for IBC2017 is “Truth, Trust and Transformation.” What is the rationale behind this?
Everyone has noticed that the terms “fake news” and “alternative facts” are ubiquitous these days. Broadcasters have traditionally been the trusted brand for news: is the era of social media and universal Internet access changing that?

It is a critical topic to debate at IBC, because the industry’s response to it is central to its future, commercially, as well as technically. Providing true, accurate and honest access to news (and related genres like sport) is expensive and demanding. How do we address this key issue? Also, one of the challenges of the transition to IP connectivity is the risk that the media industry will become a major target for malware and hackers. As the transport platform becomes more open, the more we need to focus on cyber security and the intrinsic design of safe, secure systems.

OTT and social media delivery is sometimes seen as “disruptive,” but I think that “transformative” is the better word. It brings new challenges for creativity and business, and it is right that IBC looks at them.

Will VR and AR be addressed at this year’s conference?
Yes, in the Future Zone, and no doubt on the show floor. Technologies in this area are tumbling out, but the business and creative case seems to be lagging behind. We know what VR can do, but how can we tell stories with it? How can we monetize it? IBC can bring all the sides of the industry together to dig into all the issues. And not just in debate, but by seeing and experiencing the state of the art.

Cyber security and security breaches are becoming more frequent. How will IBC address these challenges?
Cyber security is such a critical issue that we have devoted a day to it in our new C-Tech Forum. Beyond that, we have an important session on cyber security on Friday in the main conference with experts from around the world and around the industry debating what can and should be done to protect content and operations.

Incidentally, we are also looking at artificial intelligence and machine learning, with conference sessions in both the technology and business transformation strands.

What is the Platform Futures — Sport conference aiming to address?
Platform Futures is one of the strands running through the conference. It looks at how the latest delivery and engagement technologies are opening new opportunities for the presentation of content.

Sport has always been a major driver – perhaps the major driver – of innovation in television and media. For many years now we have had a sport day as part of the conference. This year, we are dedicating the Platform Futures strand to sport on Sunday.

The stream looks at how new technology is pushing boundaries for live sports coverage; the increasing importance of fan engagement; and the phenomenon of “alternative sports formats” like Twenty20 cricket and Rugby 7s, which provide lucrative alternatives to traditional competitions. It will also examine the unprecedented growth of eSports, and the exponential opportunities for broadcasters in a market that is now pushing towards the half-billion-dollar size.

 

Ross Cooper joins Golden’s roster of directors

LA’s Golden, which is made up of live-action directors and a collective of designers and visual effects artists, has added director Ross Cooper to its roster. Formerly known as OneInThree, Cooper’s resume is chock full of commercial and music video work.

Cooper studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London, but his interest in original visual ideas evolved while pursuing a Master’s degree from London’s Royal College of Art. After winning two Silver D&ADs in interaction design and architecture for the live video installation The Last Clock, Cooper began shooting videos for bands like Two Door Cinema Club, Wild Beasts and The Teenagers. He went on to receive a number of nominations as an up-and-coming filmmaker at the Music Video Awards, including Best New Director, Best Art Direction and Best Budget Video.

Cooper stepped into the commercial world with a recreation of his VV Brown video for the song “Leave!” made for French bank BNP Paribas. The spot featured a rotating cardboard box that revealed a different stylized diorama with every spin. Since that time, Cooper has continued to hone his in-camera perspective to visual effects and trompe l’oeil, crafting ads for brands including Ford, O2, Trident and Betway.

Hush adds Eloise Murphy as senior producer

Design agency Hush has expanded its creative production team with the addition of senior producer Eloise Murphy. In her new position at Hush, Murphy will oversee all project phases and develop relationships with new and existing vendors.

During her career, Murphy has worked in the UK and North America for companies such as the BBC, TED and Moment Factory. Her resume is diverse, working on projects that range from content production for Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to experiential production for TED Talks in Rio de Janeiro. Her experience spans digital design, content production and experiential activations for brands including Samsung, Intel and BBC Radio 1.

“Having worked with a variety of brands, artists and companies, I have a solid understanding of how to manage projects optimally within different settings, parameters and environments,” says Murphy. “It has enabled me to be highly adaptable, flexible and develop a strong knack for pre-empting, identifying and resolving issues promptly and successfully. I believe my international experience has made me well-versed in managing complex projects and I’m looking forward to bringing new ideas to the table at Hush.”

Behind the Title: Arnold Worldwide’s Jon Drawbaugh

NAME: Jon Drawbaugh

COMPANY: Arnold Worldwide

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Arnold is a global creative agency that sits within Havas Creative Group and has offices in Boston (HQ), London, Madrid, Milan, New York, Prague, São Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney and Toronto.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
EVP, Director of Integrated Production

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I like to think of the job as sort of production curator. I am the steward of all the wonderful things that we make as an agency — from sites to apps to video content to still imagery to live brand experiences. I produce by supporting creative solutions and executions. We’re in a period of disruption in the agency world, and I find the opportunities exciting. There’s always something new to learn and a “never been done before” to figure out.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I’m lucky that’s it’s a very roll up your sleeves and dig into the work kind of role. Unlike other leadership roles that are administrative or directorial in nature, I’m very hands-on while still being strategic and holistic. I’ll go from managing staffing allocations into content strategy meetings and then be in an edit bay reviewing creative decks and making ballpark estimates. I also spend a fair amount “producing” for the agency.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Collaborating with my team, creative teams, clients and partners.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Number crunching.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Late afternoon. If all my meetings are done for the day, it’s a great time to grab a coffee and reflect on the solutions of the day.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I wish I could be an amazing chef with popular, hip restaurants. In reality, I’d likely be working for a production company producing or directing content.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
To be honest, I stumbled into advertising. I didn’t know anything about it until I moved to New York City. I landed a temp job at Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetter as a receptionist. Advertising seemed so glamorous, what with the producers jetting off to foreign countries and working with famous feature directors. It sounded much more fun than what I had been doing, which was making copies in the basement of a law firm.

From there I worked in the creative department and dabbled in copy writing. I wanted to get to making TV spots quickly, so I figured taking the producer track would get me there faster. Plus, I was producing theater projects on the side and discovered I could actually get paid for producing if I worked at an ad agency.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I’m new to Arnold, so I don’t have my fingerprints on any projects just yet, but I’m a big fan of the recent work like Jack Daniel’s Global Barrel Hunt and their Our Town film (pictured). I also love the Hershey’s My Dad spot and Reese’s #AllTreesAreBeautiful social campaign.

Prior to Arnold, I’m really proud of the Qualcomm Invisible Museum app and Fabric Content projects I worked on out of DDB SF.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
That’s a tough one. I’m so proud of a lot of the work I’ve made over the years. For example, the massive Acura TLX integrated launch we did at Mullen LA, the documentary film I made with Lucy Walker Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Creed, or the viral hit Nanerpus before there were viral hits.

But I’d say the animated short Smutley for AIDES (the French association tackling HIV and AIDS) I produced at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners is one of my proudest. A chance to use our ad skills for good, and how many times in a career can you say you made a cartoon about a cat having sex with all different kinds of animals to Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.”

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My iPhone, my vintage HiFi, and my camera. Running water and heat are pretty cool, too.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Vine, Houseparty, Tumblr, Periscope, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? 
I love music. All kinds. But generally I don’t have a lot of time at the office to plug in my headphones. When I do, I generally use Spotify or Apple Music to listen to the Indie genre.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I like to listen to LPs on my vintage HiFi with my family. It’s our important family together time. We like to go hunting for vinyl together on weekends. Record Store Day is like a second Christmas for us.

Behind the Title: Volt Studios EP Amanda Tibbits

NAME: Amanda Tibbits

COMPANY: Minneapolis-based Volt Studios

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We are a one-stop production shop for high-end creative content. We provide production, post production and design.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Partner/Executive Producer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Basically, I control the time, money and communication for all projects that come through our doors. I am in charge of figuring out how to bring a piece to life within a client’s timeframe and budget.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I like to refer to myself as a mother hen or air traffic controller, depending on the day. I keep all the artists sane and all the projects moving in and out of the facility.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Getting to work with amazing talent in our studio and collaborating with some of the best creative brains on the client/agency side. And free beer.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Being attached to my desk all day (i.e. air traffic control).

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
This is going to sound crazy, but Monday mornings. We all kind of gather, catch up and talk about what is happening that week.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Tap dancer or tambourine player. Those are jobs, right?

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
This job chose me. I answered a classified ad in the paper, which totally makes me sound like a dinosaur. It was a job as a receptionist at a post house. I had no idea what that meant but as soon as I walked in I knew it was where I belonged. That was 20 years ago.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Arby’s TV campaigns are always fun. Every time I get a rough cut and hear the scripts I crack up. The Subaru brand spots we recently finished made me pretty emotional. We just worked on Life cereal’s first TV spot in a decade. I remember “Mikey Likes It.” So, it was cool to see where the brand has evolved to.

jon-stewartWHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
It was pretty fun to be involved in the Arby’s commercial that was a farewell to Jon Stewart. The combination of Ving Rhames singing the Golden Girls theme song and Jon Stewart’s one-liners… we couldn’t go wrong.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
iPhone, Bluetooth in my car and a record player.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I’m big into Instagram. All my friends want me to Snapchat but I can’t handle one more social media outlet.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
I do… Otis Redding, Johnny Cash or The Beastie Boys, depending on my mood.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
See the comment about free beer. No really, I try to get out and enjoy the Minnesota lakes. I also take every minute of my allotted vacation time. No rolling over days over for
this girl.

Flanders Scientific offering two transport cases for OLEDs

Have OLED monitor, will travel? If that’s the case, Flanders Scientific, which offers broadcast monitors and other solutions for production to post, has two options for you.

The first is a new compact custom hardshell transport case for all FSI 24.5-inch OLED monitors. It features a lift-out monitor caddy, with a compartment for a hood, cablesHARD SHELL INSIDE and other accessories. The fully waterproof latching Hardshell Transport Case ($695) is 29 pounds and 32 by 21 by 13-inches big. Inside, custom foam, designed specifically for 24.5-inch FSI OLED monitors — including the AM250, CM250 and DM250 — allows users to put a monitor into the case with FSI’s MM100 VESA to LightStand mount still attached. It’s not designed for use with a desktop stand attached.

The second option is FSI’s TC27 Rolling Trolley Case ($495), which is a lighter and more compact carrying case that has the additional benefit of being able to accommodate a monitor with desktop stand, yoke mount or VESA to LightStand Mount still attached. The TC27 zippered case is made of thermoformed plastic wrapped in cordura and ballistic nylon, which can also be checked as baggage when flying.

The TC27 trolley can easily accommodate most flat panel monitors ranging in size from 23 to 27 inches, including any generation of Apple’s 27-inch iMac computers. It can also be used on many monitors with a yoke mount or VESA to LightStand mount attached. Weighing in at 23.2 pounds, it includes a built-in retractable handle, interior foam padding and oversized wide-base wheels.

Both products can be found at www.shopfsi.com.

@LArge opens NYC location within Napoleon Group

Santa Monica’s @LArge Productions + Post has opened an office in New York City located within The Napoleon Group, one of @LArge’s strategic partners in post. The location offers a permanent East Coast presence and expanded services through Napoleon, including storyboards and previsualization.

@LArge works in two ways. They have the more traditional model of agency/production and post board-flow where they put together a team best suited for a project. They also have an in-house “at agency” model whereby they serve as the production arm for some agencies and are involved from start to finish. The Napoleon Group offers a wide range of post services and talent including animators, editors, designers, illustrators, and character artists.

Why a New York office? @LArge Productions + Post managing director Tracy Mays says, “Our services are offered globally, but we always knew that we wanted to have two US offices — LA and New York. The organic relationship with The Napoleon Group provided the right time/right place opportunity for us to realize this vision.”

“Having just entered into a collaboration with @LArge to launch our live-action division, Napoleon@LArge, we’re thrilled to be able to partner with their team to provide a base of operations for them here in New York,” says Napoleon COO Spiro Kafarakis.

Why fast file transfers are critical to video production, post


By Katie Staveley

Accelerated file transfer software is not new. It’s been around for many years and has been used by the world’s largest media brands. For those teams of content producers, it has been a critical piece of their workflow architecture, but it wasn’t until recently that this kind of software has become more accessible to every size company, not just the largest. And just in time.

It goes without saying that the process of producing and delivering content is ever-evolving. New problems and, as a result, new solutions arise all the time. However, a few challenges in particular seem to define the modern media landscape, including support for a globally distributed team, continuous demand for high-resolution content and managing the cost of production.

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These challenges can be thought of from many different angles, and likewise resolved in different ways. One aspect that is often overlooked is how organizations are moving their precious video content around as part of the pre-production, post and distribution phases of the workflow. The impact of distributed teams, higher resolution content and increasing costs are driving organizations of all sizes to rethink how they are moving content. Solutions that were once “good enough” to get the job done — like FTP or shipping physical media — are rapidly being replaced with purpose-built file transfer tools.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Distributed teams require a new approach
Bringing final content to market very rarely happens under one roof or in one location anymore. More and more teams of media professionals are working around the globe. Obviously, production teams work remotely when they are filming on location. And now, with the help of technology, media organizations can build distributed teams and get access to the talent they need regardless of where they’re located, giving them a competitive advantage. In order to make this work well, organizations need to consider implementing a fast file transfer solution that is not only accessible globally, but moves large files fast, especially when bandwidth speeds are less than optimal.

2. File sizes are growing
The demand for higher resolution content is driving innovation of production technology like cameras, audio equipment and software. While HD and even Ultra HD (UHD) content is becoming more mainstream, media professionals have to think about how their entire toolset is helping them meet those demands. High-resolution content means exponentially larger files sizes. Moving large files around within the prepro and post workflows, or distributing final content to clients, can be especially difficult when you don’t have the right tools in place. If your team is delivering HD or UHD content today, or plans to in the future, implementing a fast file transfer solution that will help you send content of any size without disrupting your business is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s business critical.

3. You can’t afford delays
When it comes to getting your files where they need to be, hope is not a strategy. The reality is that production will often finish up later than you hoped. Deadlines are hard and you still need to get your content out the door. Any number of factors can cause you to miss deadlines, but transferring content files shouldn’t be your biggest delay. You can’t afford slow transfer times, or even worse, interruptions that force you start the transfer all over again. Implementing a solution that gives you reliable, fast file transfer and predictability around when your files will arrive is a strategy. Not only will it enable your employees and partners to focus on producing the content, it will help you to create a positive experience for your customers whether they are reviewing pre-release content, or receiving the final cut.

4. Customer experience matters
Any time your customers are interacting with your brand they are forming an opinion of you. In today’s highly-competitive world, it’s imperative that you delight your customers with the content you’re producing and their experience working with you. Your file transfer solution is part of building that positive experience. The solution needs to be reliable and fast and not leave your customers disappointed because the file didn’t arrive when they expected; or make them feel frustrated because it was too painful to use. They should be able to focus on your content, not on how you’re delivering it to them — your solution should just work. It’s a necessary part of today’s media business to have a cost-efficient, low-maintenance way to send and share content that ensures a delightful customer experience.

5. Your business is growing
Moving digital video content has been part of the media business for over a decade, and there have been solutions that have worked well enough for many organizations. But when considering the rapid growth in file sizes, increased distribution of teams and the importance of customer experience, you’ll find that those solutions are not built to scale as your business grows. Planning for the future means finding a solution that has flexibility of deployment, is easy to manage and maintain, and the cost of expansion is proportional to your size. Growth is hard, but managing your file transfer tools doesn’t have to be.

Managing cost and keeping profit margins healthy is as imperative as always. Fortunately the days where every technology purchase requires significant capital investment are waning. The good news is that the availability of cloud-hosted solutions and other advancements have given rise to powerful solutions that are accessible to every size company. As a result, media professionals have affordable access to the technology they need to stay competitive without breaking the bank, which includes fast file transfer software. Investing today in the right solution will make a big impact on your business now and into the future.

Katie Staveley is VP of marketing at Signiant.

Director Lesley Chilcott joins Splendid & Co. roster

LA-based production house Splendid & Co. has added director Lesley Chilcott to its roster. An award-winning filmmaker, documentarian and producer, Chilcott began her career in the commercial world before diving into the documentary arena as a producer of films such as the Academy Award-winning An Inconvenient Truth; the Barack Obama biographic film A Mother’s Promise shown at the 2008 Democratic National Convention; It Might Get Loud, about legendary guitarists The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White; and Waiting for Superman, for which she received an award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Documentary from the PGA.

Her current documentary, CodeGirl, was released last month. The film tracks the story of 5,000 girls from 60 nations as they competed in an entrepreneurship and coding competition organized by Technovation. Prior to its release in theaters, Chilcott uploaded the film for free on YouTube in conjunction with Google’s Made with Code initiative. In addition to being shown at 64 Google offices worldwide, teen girls from around the globe hosted viewing parties.

Chilcott’s commercial focus establishes her aptitude for the lifestyle realm, directing spots for brands such as Motorola, AT&T, Corona, M&Ms and Cover Girl. Having wrapped CodeGirl, her move to Splendid marks a focused interest in commercials.

“With so many great production companies in the mix, Splendid stood out to me as a highly inventive company that not only supports their talent but is ingenious in the way that they source truly interesting and different work,” says Chilcott. “This is very appealing to me.”

“Lesley brings such unique skill to our roster with her experience as a documentary filmmaker and commercial director,” says Erin Tauscher, Splendid partner and executive producer. “Her ability to elicit incredible performances from real people as well as trained actors really stood out to me when I watched her body of work for the first time.”

Behind the Title: Technical Manager Sam Johnson

NAME: Sam Johnson (@samschannel)

COMPANY: London-based VCCP (@VCCP)/VCCP Kin 
@VCCPKin

CAN YOU DESCRIBE VCCP?
VCCP is an advertising agency comprised of multiple partnership companies. VCCP Kin, one of the companies, produces content and television commercials for the partnership.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Technical Manager

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Day-to-day consultation and management of the technical staff within the production and post-production departments, whilst overseeing all the systems. R&D and project work takes up the rest of my time.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think the amount of involvement I have with the production would surprise people. Helping everyone understand what is required from a post perspective really helps with management and expectations when back in post.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
R&D and getting the opportunity to beta test industry software and hardware. R&D is very important to us. As an in-house company, we need to offer a similar experience to that of in-town (Soho and London) studios and cannot afford to fall behind in services offered.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Troubleshooting!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Mornings, because it’s the calmest part of my day!

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Winemaker or sommelier.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I actually wanted to be an online editor or grader, but the first full day I spent in a suite “onlining” I realized it was something I really didn’t like. I decided to go down the engineering route and ended up in technical management as it offered me the freedom to be part of the whole post-production process. I also I like being a decision maker within the business. It satisfies the control freak in me!

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
We are working on a personalized video project for one of our clients, which has proven technically and creatively challenging. That said, I do believe that we’ll be seeing more targeted and personalized videos/content in advertising becoming standardized, so it’s good to be part of its origins.

Finishing_Suite

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
A redesign and implementation of the post-production facilities here at VCCP.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
iPhone. Terminal. Spell check.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
No one person or channel in particular, but both production and post have a great presence on Twitter. A lot of great voices out there!

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Yes — working in an open plan office, I need music just to help me concentrate! At the moment, I’m loving the new albums from Tame Impala and Miguel. If I’m working on a business case, I love a bit of Max Richter.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
A glass (or two!) of red, and cycling on the weekend.

Quick Chat: Fueld Films EP Brady Anderton

Austin-based Fueld Films, a producer of regional spots for a variety of markets in the heartland, recently grew its roster of talent, which, according to executive producer Brady Anderton, is no small accomplishment.

He likens finding a new director to “finding a four-leaf clover…in winter…in Australia. Or somewhere else that you wouldn’t think had a lot of clovers. It takes perseverance and patience,” he says.

For Fueld, finding talent that’s a good fit is not as simple as checking out a reel, although in some cases the relationship does start that way. “The new Fueld Films directing roster is the culmination of years of hard work,” explains Anderton. “Some directors were people we had collaborated with over the years on a freelance basis, others came as recommendations from creatives we trust. Some were the result of watching reels — literally hundreds and hundreds of reels — and then reaching out for a meeting.”

Annie_Gunn_directordoug-chamberlain
Annie Gunn and Doug Chamberlin: two directors who were recently added to Fueld’s roster.

Let’s find out more from Anderton on new hires— Annie Gunn, Nate Balli, Doug Chamberlain, Kevin Kerwin, Nic Iyer and US representation for David Quinn and Jake Kovnat new offices, how they partner with post houses and more.

How do you know you’ve found the right fit for your company?
The key for us, the secret ingredient in our special sauce, is in finding people who represent that rare overlap of talent and a collaborative outlook. We weeded out directors who had amazing reels but weren’t fun to work with, and we similarly passed on friendly directors with a mediocre body of work. Then we were left with a shining few who were talented on set and worth sharing a beer with after we wrapped. Those are the people we signed.

You have also expanded with a new office. Why was now the time, and what will be going on in that office?
Fueld’s vision has always been to position itself as the production company able to aggregate the regional talent in the heartland cities. The only way to do this right is to have roots in those cities. So rather then have two huge offices in LA and NYC, we are focusing on spaces and partnerships in our backyard.

Every year we have added one new office — this year I moved my family to Denver to more fully integrate and understand the needs of this market. Next on the list will be Detroit. Within three years we hope to have coverage over the five main regions we have determined are a good fit for what we have to offer.

Each new city provides new opportunities and a unique set of needs. Once those are determined, we seek out the best local talent to partner with. The result is a whole new recipe customized for that market. This in turn brings new work to the local market from local clients and new clients around the country. This is what gets us excited.

Shiner's Wild Hare Pale Ale: Breeding Habits.

Shiner’s Wild Hare Pale Ale: Breeding Habits.

When a client comes to you, how do you decide which director is best for the best project?
There is always an aspect of the boards that sticks out in terms of a dominant genre, be it comedy, narrative, action, what have you. So we want to line up that overall feel of a director to the creative at hand. But beyond that, part of our success, I think, lies in the fact that we don’t submit someone who has a duplicate spot already on their reel. If an agency wants a spooky vampire spot and John Q. Director has done something really similar, then he will either be bored shooting this new spot as is, or he’ll want to morph it in a way that is more exciting and challenging to him but perhaps no longer true to the agency’s vision.

What we like to do is find a director who has created elements of those new boards — like an outdoor shot that relied heavily on a similar lighting technique, or a dark comedy spot that feels pretty sinister if you watch it without the sound — but never put them together in exactly this way before. That way, we can present the ad agency with a director (or three!) who has the chops to pull off the boards but everyone will be experiencing this particular style of shoot for the first time as a team. It’s more exciting this way, and our directors and clients are happier with the result.

A recent spot for Weber grills.

A recent spot for Weber grills.

What about camera choice? What does that come down to? Project? Personal choice? Budget?
We always want to honor the creative, but with the incredible technological advances in digital cameras over the last five years, we find that we are relying more and more on exquisite lighting and a comprehensive lens package. Those assets seem to be the great equalizers that make a more entry-level camera competitive, and a high-end camera really sing.

That being said, we work a lot with the Red Epic, the Sony F55, the Arri Alexa and the Red Dragon.

Fueld has relationships with post houses. Who are they and how do you choose them?
There are core cities that we seem to shoot in over and over. Our relationships there have grown organically over the years, and many of our post partners have come to us by way of agency recommendations. The people who live in a town know who they like to work with!

Overall, we aim to align ourselves with the most creative, skilled, awesome people we can find. So in Denver, we work a lot with Spillt. In Salt Lake City, and now Portland, Oregon, we have a wonderful relationship with Nocturnal. The people helming BLK MKT in Austin have been our friends and collaborators for years.

As with any relationship, you just know when it feels right. The pieces fit, we complement each other’s ways of working, and it makes a partnership easy on us and beneficial for our clients. Currently we’re seeing more work in cities like Minneapolis, Nashville and Boston, so we are looking to make some solid connections in those cities.

Fueld provided turnkey services for Kellogg's Carpe Kashi.

Fueld provided turnkey services for Kellogg’s Carpe Kashi.

How do those relationships work?
We recognize the immediate desire in the advertising landscape for a “one-stop-shop,” but we want a Fueld Films turnkey experience to reflect the best resources we’re able to bring to the table. What we don’t want to do is answer this turnkey request by hiring a bunch of “everyman” types who are pretty good at a lot of things, but master of none, and bring the post in house. We are killer at production, but we are not set up to be a post house.

When a turnkey project comes our way, Fueld is the single point of contact for that job. That being said, we recognize that Fueld the hub of a many-spoked wheel! We assemble a strong, conceptually relevant production and post team and send a single, cumulative bid to the client. Then when we win the job, all the key players are involved from the onset. There are no surprises because we’ve all crafted the initial plan together.

The process runs smoothly because our Fueld line producer works hand-in-hand with our Fueld post producer in order to create a seamless experience from production through post. After we finish shooting, the post producer is the key liaison between Fueld, the post house, and the client. Depending on the scope of the creative, the post house either takes on the second half of the project doing what they do best, or we’ll work with them to use the staff that makes sense and bring in freelance talent where applicable to create more of a four-wall situation. When collaborating with trusted partners it’s a lot easier to check our egos, push our traditional roles to the side and find an answer that best suits the creative and all of our myriad skills.

At the end of the day, Fueld is ultimately responsible for the final product. There is no passing of the buck. We’ve built a lot of trust and longstanding relationships this way. Any way you look at it, this model benefits the client because they get a single point of contact without giving up their divine right to work with the best the industry has to offer at each stage of the creation process.

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You can follow Fueld on Twitter (@fueldfilms) and Facebook.

Charlotte-based Wondersmith adds senior producer Kimberly Abels

Veteran agency and creative producer Kimberly Abels has joined Charlotte, NC-based Wondersmith, a creative production company that offers animation, visual effects, editing and finishing, as senior producer.

For more than five years, Abels held the position of broadcast producer for Trone Brand Energy, where she has managed productions for the North Carolina Education Lottery and numerous national and regional accounts.

It was during this time she collaborated with, and impressed, Wondersmith founder/executive producer Joe Murray and creative director Thom Blackburn. They all worked together on the NC Lottery and Greenies, as well as a campaign for North State Communications.

Prior to joining Trone, Ables was senior producer for bicoastal production company Thornberg and Forester in New York for two years, and that position followed previous stints as a producer for Eyeball and J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, both also in NYC.

On joining Wondersmith, Abels says, “They have the perfect blend of organization and creativity. They always meet deadlines and budgets while pushing the creativity and upping the production value of work. For me, this is a great fit because it allows me to work in North Carolina while still producing work of the highest quality.”

‘Midnight Rider’ decision is important to post, too

By The Unknown Artist

A year ago, camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and eight other crew members were injured while shooting the film Midnight Rider without a permit or appropriate safety measures… on live train tracks. According to subsequent investigations and reports, the production knowingly bypassed safety standards and legal OSHA requirements in order to save money. On March 10 of this year, director Randall Miller pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. Significant judicial punishment of Miller and executive producer Jay Sedrish set a precedent that I hope will resonate and produce a ripple effect throughout the production and Continue reading

Aerial Robotics, Drone Pavilion new for NAB 2015

This year’s NAB show in Las Vegas, April 11-16, will feature a new a new Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion, presented by Drone Media Group in partnership with NAB Show.

The new exhibit area, located in the South Upper Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will feature dozens of aerial robotics companies, a flying cage, demonstration area with seating and daily sessions.

“Unmanned aerial systems are increasingly being used to cover live events and breaking news,” reports Mannie Frances, Drone Media Group. “Drones were one of the hottest technologies at the 2014 NAB Show.”

Exhibitors currently participating in the Pavilion include DJI, Canon, Amimon, DSLR Pros, XFly Systems, TeraLogics, Go Professional Cases, ArrowData, Sky High Media, ZM Interactive and Unmanned Vehicle University.

The Pavilion will also feature sponsored presentations daily from 9:15am–6:00pm. Topics include laws and regulations surrounding drones, the use of drones for news gathering, drones in space (NASA Project Case Study), capturing aerial video and employing range extenders.

Checking in with DP Timur Civan

By Randi Altman

New York City born and raised, Timur Civan’s path to becoming a director of photography started with his background in fine art, something he studied in school and something that still influences his work… but that path wasn’t exactly planned.

“I fell into cinematography by accident,” he explains. “I had been working on a series of sculptures that had video elements in them. Through a bit of luck, someone noticed what I had been working on. So with zero experience, I wound up DP-ing a commercial for an ad agency as my first film job. The day we finished, I was asked to work on another shoot the following week.”

Things just took off from there and within a month he was a full-time director of photography. As a DP, Civan (@timurcivan) mainly focuses on spot and feature films but welcomes the opportunity to work Continue reading

Arri Rentals beefs up in Atlanta and Miami

Ed Stamm has been tasked with running the new Arri Rental office in Atlanta. Arri Rental provides camera, grip and lighting equipment to the feature film, television, advertising, broadcast and events markets.

Besides promoting the Alexa 65 system, which is only available at Arri Rental, Stamm (pictured, above) will ensure that the company’s extensive inventory of digital, film, anamorphic and spherical camera equipment is available to this production community.

Craig Chartier will fill Ed Stamm’s previous position, taking over Arri Rental Miami as GM. Chartier will focus on strengthening Arri Rental’s strategy and operations, as well as growing the business in Florida and the South American market.

Stamm’s extensive experience spans 35 years in the pro equipment rental business. After his graduation in film production at the Columbia College Chicago, Stamm served as rental manager for Victor Duncan (VDI), a film camera and lighting rental house in Dallas.

In 1986, Stamm pushed ahead with the expansion of VDI and opened a new facility in Atlanta as GM. Following Panavision’s acquisition of VDI in 1997, he later transferred to the Orlando office, and in 2002 was hired by Arri CSC to open a rental subsidiary in Florida. He was promoted to VP in 2012.

Craig Chartier

Chartier brings over 22 years of experience in the motion picture and broadcast TV production industry to his new job. Chartier joined GEAR, a subsidiary of 501 Group in Austin as operations manager in 1992 after graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film. In 1995 he became VP of production services and remained at GEAR until 2011.

Chartier has been an adjunct professor teaching Cinematic Lighting Techniques and Theory at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Recent productions serviced by Arri Rental include Birdman, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Theory of Everything, John Wick, A Most Wanted Man, Expendables 3 and The Fault in Our Stars.

Meet the Artist: Silver Mountain Productions’ Walter Silverberg Jr.

NAME: Walter Silverberg, Jr.

COMPANY: Plano, Texas-based Silver Mountain Productions (@SMPCompany)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We are a full-service video production company. We are highly experienced in live production with single and multi-camera production and producing broadcast-style packages. We post most of what we shoot in-house. We work in Final Cut 7 for editing and After Effects for finishing.  In AE we do color correction, graphics, keying, effects, compositing, animation and text. Occasionally we use Cinema 4D for 3D work.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
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Tongal: crowdsourcing for creatives and brands

Crowdsourcing is increasingly becoming a strategy that major film studios, artists and companies use to create digital content, broadcast campaigns, film projects and more. Tongal is a crowdsourcer of digital content that offers creatives an opportunity to work on high-profile brand campaigns while earning money in the process. Tongal works with sponsors to define a creative challenge and establish a prize pool.

According to Tongal, its community and platform can deliver anything: TV commercials, social videos, music videos, branded entertainment — even product innovations.

Tongal has worked with Oscar-winning Spitfire Pictures, Sundance, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and others, awarding more than 50,000 members of the Tongal community (known as Tongalers). To become a community member, you can sign up on Tongal’s site for free. The Tongal community is made up of more than 50,000 people around the world: you have teenagers, mothers, grandparents, along with aspiring filmmakers, who have made in excess of $400,000 during the past year, they report.

Tongal founder James DeJulio started his career as VP of production at Paramount’s Robert Evans Company; he then co-founded his own production company called Half Shell Entertainment. DeJulio and his partners launched Tongal to give creatives more opportunities in the entertainment and marketing/advertising industry.

How it Works
Tongal uses a distributed workforce model, breaking up the creative process into a series of competitions from idea through video execution, enabling talent in 107 countries to contribute in the areas where they are strongest and build on each other’s best work.

Initially, companies approach Tongal about a creative campaign and, once defined, it is given to the Tongal community. In the first phase (idea), anyone can submit a 140-character concept and the best ones are chosen. Then filmmakers select one of the winning ideas and pitch on how they will execute it. Winning pitches are given budget to shoot and edit, then once the final product is finished, the video is sent to the sponsoring brand or artist (Heineken, McDonald’s, KISS) for evaluation. Winning videos are ranked and rewarded accordingly. Finally, companies distribute the winning videos based on their initial objectives: through TV, Internet, mobile, etc., anywhere their audiences reside.

Sometimes, the creative content that Tongal generates takes on a life of its own. For example, the winning video for a Speed Stick Video Project last year was initially intended for Speed Stick’s website, YouTube page and social media. However, the video tested so well that the brand decided to make it a Super Bowl ad.

Projects
Tongal recently partnered with Tuff Gong International and Ben & Jerry’s to create the Bob Marley One Love Music Video Project in celebration of his hits album Legend turning 30. The goal of this project is to create a three- to four-minute music video for Marley’s hit, “One Love” — evaluators will be looking for ideas and videos that convey social connectedness, “we’re all in this together” and making the world a better place. The winning video will be featured on the official Bob Marley website, Bob Marley YouTube and Ben & Jerry’s site. In addition, the winning filmmaker will win $9,000.

According to Tongal, they have provided thousands of independent creatives with the ability to showcase their talents to the world, and make a living from the work. For example, Team Spaceman is a duo from LA who love making films and have earned more than $200,000 working on projects through Tongal. In Texas, a 17-year-old Tongaler earned more than $35,000 by making stop-motion Lego videos from his parents’ garage. You can check out other success stories here.

Tongal is currently challenging its community to shoot video content in 4K. It’s for the “Farm to Table” project via Smuckers. Tongal calls it “the largest single-person payout in Tongal history, offering an $80,000 total.” Check out details on their website: http://tongal.com/project/farmtotable.

Daniel Mirsky joins Twist to rep directing roster

Twist in New York has added Daniel Mirsky to its staff sales team. Mirsky, a full-time staff member, joins existing staff sales team members Rob Neill and Kathryn Lotis to represent Twist’s directorial roster, which includes Rich Michell, Matt Pittroff, Scott Pitts, Chris Stocksmith and Marc André Debruyne, as well as the recent addition Tomato, an integrated creative collective.

Mirsky moved from Texas to pursue acting and writing with the theatre company The New York Neo-Futurists. Now a company ensemble member, he spent years prior working for the Neos as a technical director and artistic collaborator. Similarly, staff member Rob Neill was able to work over this last year from the road, where he simultaneously did a tour of “Peter & The Starcatcher.”

While working as an artist, Mirsky has concurrently worked as a leader in environmental activism and sales, with organizations such as Greenpeace, Green Mountain Energy and successful 3D printing startup, Makerbot.

Mirsky, like the rest of the sales team, will be representing Twist nationwide.

 

Meet Independent Studio Owner Marty Bohunicky

NAME: Marty Bohunicky

COMPANY: Albany, NY’s Working Pictures, @WorkingPictures

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We are a full service video production and post company. We have five full-time employees and use a large number of freelance personnel working in a John Storyk-designed facility.

Our work is primarily TV spots and corporate video. We own the building we are in.

Continue reading

Arri Amira camera shipping in April, new software update for Alexa

Las Vegas —  Arri is at NAB this year with its new documentary-style camera, the Amira. It ships this month and will be available in a range of upgradeable packages. In other Arri news the Alexa is getting a free software update packet, the SUP 10.0.

First let’s dig into Amira news. The camera offers high-quality images and CFast 2.0 workflows with a design optimized for single-operator use and extended shoulder-mounted operation. Amira features in-camera grading with preloaded 3D LUTs, as well as 200fps slow motion. It is suitable for a variety of productions, from reporting and corporate films to TV drama and low-budget films.

The 3D LUTs are designed to help productions get into post more quickly. These 3D LUT-based looks that can be applied on set during the shoot. Alternatively, productions can Continue reading

iOgrapher to partner with postPerspective at NAB 2014

San Marino, California – iOgrapher is partnering with postPerspective to deliver NAB 2014 news, along with vendor and influencer interviews using Apple iPads configured with the iOgrapher mobile media cases.

Throughout the course of NAB 2014, postPerspective will not only be conducting interviews at its booth, but  from the NAB 2014 show floor as well.

Continue reading

Web Series: Having fun with ‘Fritz’s Funporium’

By Luke Harper

What happens on the set of an educational show once the cameras stop rolling? Trust us, it’s not pretty…. but it is pretty hilarious.
 And here’s a life lesson for you: When someone calls you to check whether or not you want to work on a puppet show with adult themes, there’s only one answer: let’s ride!

Fitz’s Funporium is the creation of E.B. Grzesiak, a veteran team writer for countless crime procedurals and, of all things, children’s television and theater. She is also an astrophysicist, which is, well, sorta neat.

Continue reading

SportsPost NY event set for February 26

New York — The Sports Video Group, along with HBO, is hosting the second-annual SportsPost NY event on Wednesday, February 26, at the Michael Fuchs Theater at HBO in New York.  Leading post production execs, producers, editors, graphics professionals, and technology manufacturers will come together to discuss the industry’s latest tools, projects, and design philosophies.

An event highlight is a behind-the-scenes look at HBO Sports’ award-winning reality series 24/7. The team behind the show will share favorite moments and discuss how their production and post workflows help them pull together each episode on time and on budget, delivered with the series’ signature style. The show, which follows two contenders in the lead-up to a major sporting event, took home a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Editing for the fifth year in a row last May.

postPerspective’s own Randi Altman will be moderating a panel on post in the cloud, called “Breaking Down Collaborative Walls: Postproduction in the Cloud .” Collaborating in the cloud has been a boon to broadcasters with workflows distributed across in-house and geographically separated facilities. What can and can’t be done in the cloud, and when is it most useful? What are the economic and creative advantages in shifting workflows to distributed shared networks? How are security and redundancy handled? How  collaborative cloud workflows at smaller facilities compare with those used during events like the Olympics.

Panelists include Alex Grossman, Quantum, VP Media and Entertainment, Mike Jackman, Brevity Ventures, Chief Business Development Officer/EVP of Post Production, FilmNation Entertainment, and  Art Raymond, Levels Beyond, CEO.

Here is a full schedule of  SportsPost’s activities:
1:30-2:15 p.m.: Opening Keynote: Behind the Scenes of HBO’s 24/7
2:15-3:00 p.m.:  Cream of the SportsPost Crop: Winning Ways in Storytelling
3:00-3:30 pm: Case Study: Inside RadicalMedia’s New 50-Seat FCPX Edit Suite
3:30 – 3:45: Networking break
3:45-4:30 p.m.: Breaking Down Collaborative Walls: Postproduction in the Cloud
4:30-5:15 pm: Graphics Tools: Scaling Designs from Sizzling Opens to Dynamic On-Air Graphics
5:15-6:15 pm: Networking Reception

For more on the event, check out http://sportsvideo.org/main/sportspostny-2014.

Student’s Perspective: Production assistant on a Weight Watchers shoot

By Emory Parker

In the film industry, first impressions are everything. So when an opportunity comes my way, I make an effort to show up early, be eager to learn, and be willing to offer my assistance before someone asks for it.

Continue reading

Jens Rumbert joins Codex as director of product strategy

London — Codex has hired Jens Rumberg as its new director of product strategy. Rumberg brings over a decade of experience in motion picture image-science, digital camera and workflow development to Codex, and will focus on developing the company’s current and next-gen product ranges for motion picture and high-end TV production and post.

He comes to Codex (www.codexdigital.com) following a 10-year stint in senior technology — roles at Arri, Germany. He was most recently the technical supervisor of Arri’s popular Alexa XT digital cinema camera, whose pioneering in-camera recording and workflow capabilities were developed in collaboration with Codex.

Rumberg studied solid-state physics at The Technical University, Berlin, and completed a PhD in experimental physics at Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. He then worked in high-precision, optical measurement systems, and executive produced the sci-fi short Invasion Of The Planet Earth, before joining Arri in 2004 as senior software architect on the ArriScan film scanner team.

In 2009, Rumberg headed Arri’s software development team for the Alexa digital cinema camera system, and became overall project leader after the product started shipping in 2010. In this role he was responsible for the on-going development of the Alexa Studio and Alexa Plus camera platforms, which included the introduction of high-quality recording at high frame-rates (HFR), and the implementation of DNxHD and ProRes codecs.

Rumberg went on to become Alexa’s primary contact for strategic technical partnerships, with companies such as Apple and Intel. In 2012 he was technical supervisor for the Alexa XT project. Working closely with Codex to develop and bring the Alexa XT successfully to market, this latest addition to the Alexa family ushered in uncompressed ArriRaw recording at up to 120fps.

“The digital media landscape is constantly evolving, and Codex is constantly looking at new technologies and technology partnerships that further streamline and enhance production and post production processes for feature and TV production,” said Marc Dando, managing director of Codex. “Jens’ addition to the Codex team, who he already knows through successful collaboration, is a perfect fit and gives added momentum to our product strategy as the company moves forwards with these goals in sight.”

Codex recording and workflow technology has been used on hundreds of motion picture productions worldwide. Recent and upcoming releases to rely on Codex products include: Prisoners, The Wolf Of Wall Street, All Is Lost, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, A Winter’s Tale, Gravity, Need For Speed and The Book Thief.

 

Blog: The future of post — one man’s vision

By Lucas Wilson

Content is exploding, yet production and post production is crumbling. Those two statements put together make no sense if you’re stuck thinking about the market in the terms we all grew up with.

The world of tentpoles and episodic television is doing what markets do: maturing, automating, and flowing to the lowest cost centers. That will not change or reverse course. Finance… Steel… Automotive… Fabric/Clothing… this is not a new or unpredictable course Continue reading

Panasonic’s LCD 4K/2K/HD monitor for cinema production available this month

Newark, New Jersey — Panasonic’s new BT-4LH310, a 31-inch 4096×2160 resolution LCD monitor for 4K/2K monitoring in the field, in an edit room or on set, is shipping this month with a suggested list price of $28K.

Other key applications for the 4LH310 include use in a video village for live viewing of 4K cameras and graphic devices, as well as of 4K or HD dailies. The 4LH310 is a good fit for post facilities to accept as well, says Panasonic (www.panasonic.com/broadcast), allowing them to take on more 4K work, including editing, screenings and dailies, since this 4K monitor offers an excellent size-to-price value, in contrast to using a much larger, more expensive 4K projector.

Continue reading

Acne hires Tyler Anderson as senior art director

Los Angeles — Acne, with studios in Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, London and LA, has added senior art director Tyler Andersen to its staff. He brings a range of experience across diverse brands and platforms.

Anderson has spent the past five years freelancing for companies including ABC, Tool, The Cimarron Group, Trailer Park, G‐Net Media, Heavenspot Interactive, Threshold Interactive, The Ant Farm, And Company, Addison Interactive, Petrol Advertising, and David & Goliath Productions.

His many efforts include concept-to-completion work on the comedy-horror feature Butterfinger the 13th for Nestle; reconstruction of the Tron Legacy Franchise Website in 3D; all UX/UI across iOS, Android and responsive Web for Yahoo Fantasy Sport’s Quarterback Challenge; and a central role on Craftsman’s Screw*d reality show and Honda’s Good Reasons campaign. This expansive portfolio has earned scores of recognitions from One Show, Webby, ADDY, SXSW, Art Directors Club and CLIO.

“Regardless of platform, brand or concept, Acne (http://www.acneproduction.com) is committed to meeting any challenge that comes our way,” notes Acne CEO of US operations Jesper Palsson. “Tyler is a deeply experienced talent in the field of interactive production, complementing our creative team with a broad range of invaluable skills and tools.”

 

The iOgrapher for the iPad mini is now shipping

SAN MARINO, CA — The iOgrapher, which turns your iPad, in this case a mini, into a lightweight camera rig is now shipping for $65. It can be ordered from www.iographer.com or www.amazon.com.

The iOgrapher’s  features two handles on each side of the case, making the iPad mini a hand-held “Steadicam-like rig.” You can easily add 37mm lenses to its lens mount area for wide angles, fishey looks, or to capture macro or close-ups. Users can attach lighting and audio gear to its three accessory shoes on the top of the case. Continue reading