phone: 386-774-8881 fax: 386-774-8908 www.markeemag.com e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 366 East Graves Avenue, Suite D Orange City, FL 32763 Publisher Associate Publisher Editor-In-Chief
CONTENTS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009
FEATURES 9 Audio Equipment By Christine Bunish
12 Lighting Equipment by Christine Bunish
15 Camera Equipment by Christine Bunish
20 Sound Studios by Mark R. Smith and Christine Bunish
DEPARTMENTS 6 7 8 29 30
Broadcast TV Making A Scene Biz Tips Classified Inside View online extras Across America World Business
Road Trip by Mark R. Smith
SPECIAL SECTIONS 18 High Definition Portfolio 19 Lighting Portfolio
ON THE COVER Q-Ball from Camera Corps consists of a full dual-mode color camera, pan and tilt system, 10:1 zoom optics and infrared night vision capability. It weighs less than 3 pounds and is weatherproof.
Jon t. Hutchinson
Christine Bunish Michael Fickes Mark r. smith
lynne Bass 386-774-8881
Advertising Sales Director
Gayle rosier 386-774-4628
Classified/ On-line Sales
lynne Bass 386-774-8923
Markee (ISSN 1073-8924) is published bi-monthly by HJK Publications, Inc, 366 E Graves Ave, Ste D, Orange City, FL 32763. Subscription rates: USA $34 one year, single copy $5 (back issues $7); Canada and Mexico $60 per year; all other international $100 per year. All subscriptions must be paid in US currency. Markee is a registered trademark of HJK Publications, Inc. Entire contents copyrighted 2009. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.
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HJK PUBLICATIONS, INC. President Vice President Vice President
John Hutchinson Janet Karcher Jon t. Hutchinson
I Jon T. Hutchinson Editor-in-Chief
I’ve been at this job for 10 years; well, a couple weeks shy of 10 years, but that’s close enough to call it ten years. And I’ve enjoyed my job for all ten years. Sure, there’ve been up times and down times, but Markee was my passion for all those years. I looked forward to coming into the office every day; it was never drudgery, it was never dull. Every issue of Markee brought challenges that made the job exciting. This is my last issue. My last issue and the last issue of Markee. After 24 years of publishing the industry’s best trade journal, Markee’s doors have closed. It’s been a great run! I hope all our readers have enjoyed each issue as much as we have enjoyed publishing each issue. Our writers, designers, sales reps and everyone involved in the production of Markee are the best in the business; they were all totally dedicated to bringing you, our readers, the best product imaginable. Over the years there have been ups and downs, peaks and valleys in the economic climate. We weathered those. The current downturn, however, does not appear to be near an end. We’ve heard stories, almost on a daily basis, from film and video industry individuals and companies about how difficult it is today to remain profitable. Advertising budgets in large corporations have been slashed, which means agencies are expected to do more with less. That translates to production companies cutting their fees to get work. And as the dominoes continue to fall, post houses, editors, music and sound companies and effects houses have had to cut their prices. Negotiating for the best (or lowest) price is the norm. Print publishing does not enjoy the opportunity to negotiate the best price. The US Postal Service does not negotiate on their rates to mail tens of thousands of magazines every month. Paper manufacturers do not negotiate the price of paper. While it’s possible to find cheaper printers, the quality of the final product most often suffers. Publishers, though, are expected to negotiate ad rates with customers. That’s a tough position to be put in because printing and mailing magazines is not inexpensive. Without a paid subscription base, most publications can only print as many pages as were paid for through advertising. And as the price of postage, paper and overhead continue to rise the page count in magazines continues to decrease.
The last hurrah Markee has been very fortunate to have had a core of advertisers. Quite a number of companies supported us over the years on a regular basis. Panasonic and Canon, Niche Video Products, Crew Connection and Payreel, CTG in Atlanta, CCI in Florida, Omnimusic, Killer Tracks, Megatrax, Firstcom, American Music Company, Assignment Desk, Locke Bryan Productions, South Coast Film and Video, Camera Copters, Dempsey Film Group, Willy’s Widgets, Production Outfitters, Glidecam, Premier Studio Equipment, Sony Creative Software, PC&E, Barbizon, Bron Kobold, Producers Choice Lighting, HB Group, Crawford, Midtown Video, Virginia Film Office, and so many others supported Markee through their continuous advertising for years. I am truly grateful for their support, and Markee is thankful to have maintained this loyal customer base. More was needed however. There are some manufacturers, international companies, that placed ads in all other trade journals every month except Markee. These companies never hesitated to request that their new product announcements be included in the pages of Markee or on our web sites, for free. These companies never hesitated to request that we interview their product managers for inclusion in our editorial, for free. Our editorial has never been for sale, we have never told anyone we would run their press or include them in our editorial if they would buy an ad. We ran these companies’ press releases, used their photos on our covers, and interviewed them for our features, for free. Their support certainly would have been nice; certainly would have helped with the cost of printing; but they never had any money in their budgets for Markee. Interesting. While this is the last print edition of Markee, the Markee web site will remain active as will the Markee’s ProGear e-zine, and the Markee Film & Video Resource Guide web sites. All of the special features, Galleries, Stock Footage Guide, Music & Sound Guide, Portfolios, and more will remain accessible. This issue will also be posted. The Resource Guide will remain searchable as will the ProGear site for products. Thank you all for reading Markee. It’s been fun, it’s been real. I’ve enjoyed all the interaction with our readers over the years. I will miss bringing this publication to you. n
by Michael Fickes
Shooting Greek The goal of shooting the ABC Family series Greek is to enhance the fun and joy of youth.
art of the Disney-ABC Television Group, the ABC Family network has brought its Greek series back for another semester about college kids being college kids. Ten new episodes slated to air through November will bring the show’s total run to more than 50 episodes. The goal of the show, according to Jules Labarthe, the director of photography, is to create a world with “some amount” of wish fulfillment. “We try to enhance the fun and the joy of youth – where that is appropriate,” Labarthe says. Labarthe goes on to say that shooting Greek is an activity that is filled with discoveries about youth that help to keep him young. “By discovery, I mean the evolution of a scene from what you see when you first read it to what you see when it is blocked out and to still another idea when you light it,” he says. “In addition, we’re all collaborating as we move through the process and the director, the gaffer, the actor and everyone else may make a contribution that makes the scene better.” Even so, the hour-long show has a sevenday shooting schedule, without a second unit. By comparison, hour-long network dramas take eight days to shoot, with the 8th day devoted to second unit work.“We try to shoot 7 or 8 pages a day,” Labarthe says. “It’s a fast clip, but it is a series and we’re familiar with the sets.” Not including LaBarthe, the crew includes two camera operators, two assistant camera operators, grip and electric. Depending on the plans for the day, LaBarthe will have eight or 10 people working scenes. LaBarthe keeps two cameras at work most of the time, although some moving shots use just one camera – too avoid the problem of one camera shooting another camera. Unlike many shows that have moved to high-definition, Greek shoots remain loyal to film. LaBarthe shoots Super 16 film with Arriflex 416 cameras and Cooke S4 lenses, principally prime lenses.“We try to stay on the long side with longer lenses instead of wider lenses,” LaBarthe says. “I think it gives more of a feeling of our wish fulfillment idea.” Camera executions aim for beautiful shots that cast the camera as an actor within
the scene. “The camera is choreographed by the way a scene is blocked,” LaBarthe says. “The choreography hides the camera from the audience, while making it into an active participant in the scene. For example, we use Techno cranes in each episode to reach into scenes. Unlike most cranes that go up and down and sideways, Techno cranes also telescope and enable elaborate moves. We also use dollies constantly to enable actors to complete entire scenes rather than cutting to move the cameras around.” The lighting package aims for a wish fulfillment mood with standard MoleRichardson lights including Fresnels and beam projectors. Specialty lighting products that contribute to the dreamy mood include Jem Balls, a fabricated paper lantern made of fabrics, and Kelvin TILEs, which provide a mix of six LEDs that deliver a high-quality, broadspectrum white light.
Enhancing The Romance Of Youth LaBarthe points to a scene from the show’s third episode, called The Rusty Nail, as emblematic of the shows treatment of the romance of youth. The scene takes place at a party and moves to a hotel room. College kids in the era of Animal House (1978) held toga parties. Today’s generation as portrayed on Greek hold military theme parties, and the men come in full dress military uniforms. In a scene at the party, two of the characters are dancing. LaBarthe enclosed the characters inside a column of light reminiscent of romantic 1940’s cinema lighting. “We centered a 6K space light above the actors and overexposed the film by four stops,” he says. The actor
wore a white military dress jacket, and the light bounced off of him and onto the girl. We used a dolly to move the camera in a circle around the dancers. “The effect was a bloom of light around the dancers that also created silhouettes of the extras dancing around them on the floor.” The romance of the moment gets to the kids, and they head off to a hotel. At the door of the hotel room, the couple remains bathed in soft 1940s cinema lighting. “The feelings ultimately deteriorate as they begin to think about what they are doing,” LaBarthe says. As the girl steps away from the entrance into the room, she steps out of the romantic lighting into the harsher lighting of the present day. As both face the reality of what they are doing, the aura of romance disappears. And parents viewing the scene all across the country breathe a dramatic sigh of relief. n Editor’s Note: In early August, Broadcast TV reported that the Los Angeles-based production company Lead Balloon was marketing its online episodic Coma, Period to distributors. It didn’t take long. On August 13, Lead Balloon inked an exclusive distribution deal with online network Strike.TV. Congratulations.
MaKING A SCENE
by Michael Fickes
Extreme Makeover For Smokey Bear
s of this writing, an investigation has not yet drawn conclusions about how the lethal and destructive August and September wildfires in California started. According to the U.S. Forest Service, though, human carelessness causes nine out of 10 wildfires. Worse yet, there are more wildfires than ever today. Forest Service statistics say that fires burned an average 2.9 million acres in the U.S. every year between 1985 and 1995. Since then, the average has shot up to 6 million acres per year.
Where is Smokey when you need him? Smokey, who turned 65 this year, is still around. He recently made a PSA called Bonfire on behalf of the Ad Council, the Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. In the spot Smokey confronts a camper getting ready to hit the trail without properly extinguishing his campfire. But this is a different Smokey. This Smokey has had an extreme makeover. No longer a two-dimensional cartoon character, Smokey has become a realistic three-dimensional animation. Smokey is still the friendliest bear you’ll ever meet, and he still walks around on two feet. Visual effects company Ntropic, Los Angeles and San Francisco, handled Smokey’s makeover, while working on Bonfire with Chicago- and New York-based agency Draftfcb and Director Jason Zada of the Santa Monica- and New York-based production house Tool of North America. Ntropic’s assignment was to redesign Smokey by adding three-dimensional computer graphics realism – on a tough four-week production cycle for the spot. Led by Creative Director Andrew Sinagra, Ntropic used Maya to develop a more detailed treatment of Smokey’s head and snout, a buff body that moves in more realistic ways and lifelike hair. “Our job was to refine Smokey’s animation without losing the original,” Sinagra says. “For example, the eyes of the previous treatment had a lot more white, which is a human feature. There is very little if any white in an animal’s eyes. The cornea’s are larger and fill up more space. We fixed that by browning out the white. “Smokey’s previous snout was sharper. We made it more round, which looks more like a bear’s snout.” Next, Ntropic added a full muscle system and, of all things, fat jiggle. The muscle system covers the three-dimensional wire mesh rigging that imitates bone structure and skeleton. Muscles attach to the bones of the skeleton, and when Smokey
Smokey gets an extreme makeover courtesy of Ntropic. moves, his muscles flex and relax, and the skin moves over the muscle. “Over the muscle we added ‘jiggle deforms,’ which simulate the looseness of the skin,” Sinagra says.“When Smokey moves fast, his belly and chest have a little extra wiggle; it adds extra dimension that helps him come to life.” Using a Maya feature designed to grow animated hair, Ntropic defined the characteristics of Smokey’s hair from his snout to his toes. There are short hairs around the snout. The hair on his arms is combed in a certain direction. Hair on one part of his body is longer, while it is straggly in another area. The hair grows out of the skin and responds to muscle movements just like skin. Sinagra and company used Autodesk’s Mental Ray rendering program to bring Smokey to life. “Mental Ray takes some work, but it produces beautiful results,” Sinagra says. “It colors and shades the hair. It has advanced lighting features that handled the lighting on the hair without any specialized advance work.” Mental Ray rendered Smokey in floating point. While 8- and 16bit images have white values capped at a certain value, floating point rendering has an unlimited top end. That becomes important during compositing. Another desktop product from Autodesk called Toxik handled the compositing work. “Toxik runs on the same machines that the 3D artists use,” Sinagra says. “Maya and Toxik are tightly integrated, and the artist can toggle back and forth between the two while compositing.” Thanks to the floating point rendering, Toxik can adjust exposure settings during compositing with virtually no loss of details or color values. “If a section is blown out during rendering, the detail remained in the file, and we could isolate that area and color correct in Toxik,” explains Sinagra. Smokey looks great, if unusual, in the new Bonfire commercial. The 30-second spot opens on a male and female camper breaking camp. The man wants to get moving, but the woman complains that the fire isn’t out. The 20-something man looks at the fire and claims that it is “close enough,” to being out, even though it is still smoking. As he turns back to the woman, he gasps. We see Smokey Bear apparently channeling through the woman. Talking in her voice and making her gestures, Smokey lectures: “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.” In the closing scene, Smokey is once more Smokey. Speaking in a more characteristic deep voice, he points and says: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” n
by Michael Fickes
Cloud Computing For Production Houses A growing Internet product category called cloud computing can help automate routine, but vital, elements of production work.
loud computing? That’s geek-speak for a computing system assembled from hardware and software products that reside on the Internet. By subscribing to a cloud service, you avoid paying the full cost of the sophisticated hardware and software and the upgrades that appear over time. Cloud computing comes in three flavors. First is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where a provider assembles resources such as servers, network equipment, computers and data center capabilities, making them available by subscription. Second comes platform as a service (PaaS), which assembles software applications, located on the Internet, into a platform for carrying out some task. Finally, there is software as a service (SaaS), in which you subscribe to a service offering a software application. SaaS is probably the most developed of these three cloudcomputing markets. An example might be a common application like Microsoft Word. Or, it might be an application designed for a market so small as to make the price prohibitively expensive. But it is affordable when sold as a subscription service. Some of these products are designed for film and video businesses. Take digital asset managers. There are at least three of these products on the SaaS market today. Asset managers help production houses, postproduction houses and visual effects houses automate the management of their projects and their reels. Interdubs calls itself a content management tool that manages clips on the Internet. The clips may include pieces of projects that you want to sew together into an Internet presentation reel. In a larger context, the clips may be a director’s selects put up on a presentation web site to await client approval. Adbeast is another digital asset manager. Anheuser-Busch subscribes to Adbeast to handle a variety of chores for itself and for its media vendors. Agencies and postproduction houses given user privileges can track the status of projects, review and select footage from stock image archives and even manage entire projects. A new entry into the asset management
market is Simian from Los Angeles-based Volta, a custom web application provider. Simian is an online presentation and workflow management tool designed for producing, posting and effecting film and video projects. “You can manage casting, locations, storyboards, clips and other assets related to a production,” says Brian Atton, lead developer and COO at Volta. Think of all the digital materials that require managing during a project. A director asked to develop a treatment and bid on a spot, for instance, must develop storyboards, reference clips to illustrate style and a written treatment. Typically, the director boxes up the presentation and sends it, or carries it, to the client and makes a presentation, hoping that nothing has been lost. With a subscription to Simian, the director can upload all of the presentation materials into the web application and create a web page presentation. If the presentation is in person, the director can put the materials up on a large screen. If it is a telephone conference, the participants can all log into the website and watch the presentation as if it were being delivered in person. The director can also use Simian to manage awarded projects. Location scouts and casting directors can upload materials into location and casting components of Simian. The director can review materials and check off recommendations. The agency and client can log on and review the materials, giving their approvals and leaving comments behind. Later, selects can be uploaded for review by the agency and client. Simian also produces reels. All you do is upload spots to the service, note which comes first, second and third and tell the system to create the reel. Clients can access the reel from a link to the web site. Or you can link the Simian files to a reel button living on your web site. Thinking about software as a service instead of a product alters the business model of software makers and is making a host of new products available to computer users. Keep your eyes open for other SaaS products as well as emerging cloud computing infrastructure and platform services. n
Markee’s In Gear for the Film and Video Professional
Audio 16 channels of embedded audio within a single multi-rate SDI signal. Two of the three OLED screens can monitor 16 channels of audio simultaneously with flexible
options for high-resolution, 180-secment audio metering, while the third screen may display video or data. Contact Wohler, 510-870-0810, www.wohler.com.
788T-SSD Rycote has begun production of a large range of foam microphone windshields, which are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed for use with microphones of all types including small- and large-diaphragm mics, hand-held reporter’s models, and shotgun microphones. Made of durable acoustic foam with is resistant to damage from moisture and sunlight, the new windshields offer up to 20dB of pop and wind attenuation depending on conditions. They are available in a variety of colors and in a choice of standard or velour finish. Contact Rycote, +44 (0) 1453 759338, www.rycote.com.
Apollo Console By Calrec Calrec’s new Apollo digital audio console provides more than twice as much processing power as the company’s Alpha platform. It relies on the Bluefin2 processing system. At 48kHz, Bluefin2 gives Apollo up to 1020 channel processing paths, 128 program busses, 96 IFB/track outputs, and 48 auxiliaries.At 96kHz, Apollo affords 510 channel processing paths, 64 program busses, 48 IFB/track outputs, and 24 auxiliaries. Apollo features include a second dynamics section in each channel, more than 70 minutes of assignable delay, and three independent APFL systems for multiple operator use. Contact Calrec, +44 (0) 1422 841310, www.calrec.com.
InVision Video Shockmount By Rycote The InVision Video shockmount/suspension is a lightweight noise-reducing clamp, designed for camcorder microphones between 19 and 25mm in diameter and up to 300mm in length, is suspended in two low-noise W-shaped Lye webs
fixed to a mounting bar. The bar may then be connected to a camcorder via two further optional adaptor accessories. Using either the InVision Video Hot Shoe Adaptor or the InVision Video Quarter-inch Adaptor, the microphone is free to rotate 360 degrees around the camera mounting point. Contact Rycote, +44 (0) 1453 759338, www.rycote.com.
CL-2 Remote Fader By Sound Devices The CL-2 Remote Fader from Sound Devices is a remote control and fader accessory for the 788T that can be used on a surface or strapped directly to a microphone boom pole. Connecting to the 788T’s C.Link port, the CL-2
offers a single, 30mm fader whiche can be programmed to control any input on the 788T. There are also two, two-position switches on the remote control unit that can be programmed to operate several critical functions on the 788T including remote record activation. Contact Sound Devices, 800-5050625, www.sounddevices.com.
AMP1-E16-3G Monitor By Wohler With dual selectable SD/HD/3G inputs, Wohler’s 1RU 16-channel 3G audio/video monitor, the AMP1-E16-3G features Dolby E and is Dolby Digital Plus ready. It provides monitoring for up to
By Sound Devices Based on the 788T, the 788T-SSD digital recorder includes a factory-supplied 256GB solid-state hard drive. The solid-state drive gives the 788TSSD the ability to record over 60 hours of uncom-
pressed, 24-bit, eight-track audio. It has faster read and write speeds than the 160GB hard drive in the standard 788T. It is equipped with eight microphone inputs and 12 tracks of recording. Contact Sound Devices, 800-505-0625, www.sounddevices.com.
Artemis Console By Calrec Artemis, a small audio console from Calrec, relies on Bluefin2 for processing and Hydra2 for routing. Running at 48kHz, Bluefin2 gives Artemis up to 640 channel processing paths, 128 program busses, 64 IFB/track outputs, and 32 auxiliaries. Artemis features also include a second compressor/limiter in each channel, more than 70 minutes of assignable delay, and three independent APFL systems for multiple operator use. The soft control surface combines OLED displays, touch screens, and light-emitting knobs to provide the user with instant visual feedback and the flexibility to reconfigure the desk on the fly. Central to the Artemis console is a dedicated integrated router so that its I/O functions can be performed by the Hydra2 networking system. Contact Calrec, +44 (0) 1422 841310, www.calrec.com. n
Audio Innovations from Lectrosonics
n the wireless microphone arena, miniature transmitters have been very well received in the last few years, says Bruce Jones, vice president of marketing at Lectrosonics, Inc. With that in mind, the company has made several recent product introductions for the film and television markets. The SM series of super-miniature digital hybrid wireless UHF belt pack transmitters started shipping in late July. The SMQV model is the first to feature a variable, selectable power output (50, 100, 250mW) that allows the user to choose the maximum highpower output or switch down to extend battery life. “In the past, you had to buy two different transmitters: one for high-power output and one for long battery life,” Jones explains. “Variable power is pretty new to all segments of the audio industry. It’s important for film and TV to have both functions available on the fly.” Following the trend for smaller, lighter gear is Lectrosonics’ Octopack receiver dock and antenna coupling system which offers up to eight wireless audio channels in a compact, portable configuration ideal for a production bag, cart or vehicle. “It packages four receivers in a tiny box powered by common
By Christine Bunish
video-camera batteries,” Jones reports. “Users get up to eight channels of audio in a system a fraction of the size of other multicouplers.” Shipping in mid-October, Octopack is expected to score with feature film and reality TV production. Also new from Lectrosonics is the D4 multi-channel digital wireless audio link which began to ship mid-September. Applications for the D4 system include video and film productions using a wireless hop from an audio bag system or cart back to a camera, audio relay systems for installed sound, and delayed loudspeaker systems. “It gives you a pure digital system for location recording for documentaries, news, reality TV and features,” says Jones. “It’s the first system with extremely low latency: under one millisecond of delay.” Continuing development of digital RF systems “is bound to be in our future,” he forecasts. “Some traditional frequencies of wireless mics are no longer within a shrinking spectrum. So there’s pressure to find new frequency bands, new technologies for radio links. The D4 is a direct response to this. We’ll see more and more digital radio systems on different frequency bands, using different modulation and encoding technologies.” n
Markee’s In Gear for the Film and Video Professional
Lighting and Bi-Focus (5600K with variable focus) models. Litepanels SeaSun fixture housings are constructed of aluminum and plexiglass, and are rated watertight to a depth of 100 feet. Contact Litepanels, 818-752-7009, www.litepanels.com.
Kedo Multicolor Spotlight Reporter 8LEDim
By Gekko Gekko’s new kedo is a focusable singlebattery system. The EledZ measures 5.5”W x 4”H x 1.5”D, weighs 4 ounces, consumes 4.5 watts, includes a dimmer allowing light output from 0 to 100%, and produces a soft 5600K light. The ULHM-LED is an LED head module designed for use with the Anton/Bauer UltraLight. It weighs 10.5 ounces, and consumes 9 watts of power. It is dimmable from 0 to 100% with very little color temperature change. Contact Anton/Bauer, 203-929-1100, www.antonbauer.com.
The new Reporter 8LEDim on-camera lighting fixture can be dimmed continuously from 100 to 30 percent. It features an input voltage ranging from 6-24V. At 8W of power consumption, the light can provide 250 lumens of light. The light features a removable 45-degree rotatable 4-leaf barn door, and a PowerBase connection that makes it easy to change the fixture’s optic sets. The light is available as a daylight or tungsten version, and comes with a double-jointed bracket for positioning. Contact Sachtler, 845-268-0100, www.sachtler.us.
Kelvin TILE LED By Gekko The kelvin TILE is an LED-based system employing a combination of red, green, blue, cyan, amber and white LED elements in a 16x15 matrix to generate full spectrum white light. The color temperature of kelvin TILE remains consistent throughout the full range of intensity variation. It delivers up to 419 Lux at 5500K or 273 Lux at 3000K. Beam angle is 108 degrees at 50 per cent intensity. It can be supplied with an omni mount, single or double yoke mount, removable barn doors and kelvin PAINTBOX control software. The kelvin TILE can be controlled locally, via DMX or using the kelvin PAINTBOX. Contact Gekko, 818-252-2600, www.gekkotechnology.com.
EledZ and ULHM-LED Lights By Anton/Bauer Anton/Bauer has developed the EledZ and ULHM-LED LED lights to complement the UltraLight Series and ElipZ
Kleer Color Light By Gekko Gekko Technology’s kleer color is an adjustable, focusable single source multi-color light. It uses a single array high-power LED that can be tuned under software control to produce millions of different color temperatures. In addition to primary and intermediate colors, kleer color can precisely emulate a high quality tungsten reference source. It can be switched to produce 2900K, 3200K, 4300K, 5600K and 6500K as well as a wide range of color gels. Contact Gekko, 818-252-2600, www.gekkotechnology.com.
SeaSun Underwater Housing By Litepanels SeaSun underwater lighting fixtures are available using both Litepanels 1x1 and MicroPro fixture designs. SeaSun 1x1s are available in a Litepanels’ Standard (5600K or 3200K in flood or spot), BiColor (infinitely variable from 5600K to 3200K),
source LED-based spot lamp. Kedo is capable of generating millions of individual colors as well as a range of high-accuracy broad spectrum whites. Output is optimized at 3200K and 5600K with no color shift through the dimming range. Output and color temperature can be controlled either from the intuitive interface on the rear of the lamp or via DMX. Contact Gekko, 818-252-2600, www.gekkotechnology.com.
LED Ringlight for Q-Ball By Camera Corps The new Q-Lite option for the Q-Ball camera is a multi element LED ring which generates a powerful but nonglare soft light. Q-Lite can be mounted on any existing Q-Ball. Contact Camera Corps, +44 (0) 1932 592 299, www.cameracorps.co.uk.
KF32 Lamps By Kino Flo Kino Flo has introduced the first hi-lumen, hicolor rendering KF32 compact for its True Match line of professional cool lights. The new tungsten
range or medium zone distances. The lamp draws about .3 amps. The fixture includes onboard electronics, on/off controls, removable focusing louver and a 180 degree center mount system. It measures 13” x 3” x 2.5” and weighs 1.6 pounds. It
displays a soft even field of light of 35 Foot Candles at two feet; 17 FC at three feet; and 10 FC at four feet. The electronics are dead quiet and the ballast is flicker free. Contact Kino Flo, 818767-6528, www.kinoflo.com.
TRIO By Lowel Lowel-Light’s new TRIO ia a three lamp, lightweight fluorescent fixture. It uses high CRI (color rendering index) daylight or tungsten color, compact 55W fluorescent lamps. TRIO’s lamps are individually switched for variable output control and its ballast auto-sets for 120-240V. Other features include quick release dual purpose barn door/intensifiers for trimming beam angle; increasing light output; and easty to install egg crate to further trim light spill. TRIO uses a rear mounted quick release locking plate and tilt bracket that mounts the fixture to stand or boom. Contact Lowel, 800-6452522, www.lowel.com. n
balanced KF32’s color (CRI 95) is formulated by Kino Flo to match the spectral sensitivity curves of HD and digital film imaging equipment. The KF32 compact lamp works side-by-side with traditional tungsten sources without corrective filtration, and draws one-tenth the power per lumen compared with hot lights. Contact Kino Flo, 818-767-6528, www.kinoflo.com.
Lowel Blender By Lowel Lowel-Light’s Blender is designed for run and gun lighting needs. Two rotary controls on the back of the 4” x 3” x 3” unit allow the user to mix twin arrays of high CRI LEDs in daylight and tungsten color to match the rest of the lighting. It can be powered by standard video camera batteries, or its own compact AC supply. It comes with a selection of front diffusers for softening and diffusing the blended output. Contact Lowel, 800-6452522, www.lowel.com.
Desk-Lite 121 By Kino Flo The Desk-Lite 121 joins Kino Flo’s family of HD studio soft lights. It boasts a 12” high-color-rendering T5 lamp and parabolic reflector for close
Litepanels’ Lighting Technology resh off a 2009 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award, the first in Academy history awarded for lighting technology, Litepan-els, Inc. is responsible for introducing the many benefits of LED fixtures to the film and video industry. Portable, silent, cool to the touch, ballast-free, energy efficient and infinitely dimmable by turning a knob, Litepanels’ LEDs are found everywhere from the International Space Station and the White House Press Briefing Room to the sets of Two and a Half Men, Weeds, Big Bang
Theory, and Desperate Housewives. Litepanels continues to expand its inventory, creating “tools that offer options,” says Director of Product Development Pat Grosswendt. At NAB 2009 it became the first to offer a 1x1 Bi-Color fixture which enables users to “quickly dial up any color from cool white daylight to warm white tungsten,” he explains. Also making its debut at NAB was the 1x1 Bi-Focus, a variable spot and flood designed for maximum flexibility. “A single lighting unit that accommodates different lighting conditions is invaluable,” Grosswendt notes. To meet user needs for lighting that “almost disappears” into the surface on which it’s mounted, Litepanels created the new 1x1 Low-Profile which projects just three inches from ceilings or walls. The 1x1 SuperSpot now focuses a 5600ºK beam to a 15ºK beam in a smaller area than before with a longer light throw providing customers with “a new ability to paint with light,” says Grosswendt. Litepanels has also teamed with Hydro Flex, Inc. to develop the next generation of underwater lighting offering battery-powered classic 1x1 and MicroPro units in custom aluminum and Plexiglas housings. Litepanels’ LEDs have become so widespread for
By Christine Bunish film and video that Grosswendt ventures to guess that most TV program production taps the company’s fixtures. “We’re that much of a standard now,” he reports. “Some forwardthinking directors of remote operations, like at Turner Broadcasting, have recognized the opportunity Litepanels offers. FOX is making the transition in the announce booth with some of its sports programming. FOX used Litepanels to interview President Obama during the All Star Game.” Reality and episodic shows and features also favor the Miniplus “wherever you need a little extra light,” he adds. Grosswendt points out that “all the products we develop complement our product line. Your kit can expand with more options; you don’t have to discard or replace your existing Litepanels units. “We’ll have new products to show at NAB 2010,” he promises. “We’re aware of what users are asking for and what people expect of us.” n
Markee’s In Gear for the Film and Video Professional
Cameras and Lenses dimensions, and the focus and aperture ring are always positioned identically. The lenses are equipped with a new aperture featuring 14 rounded shutter blades. Contact Zeiss, +49 7364 20 9042, www.zeiss.com/photo.
DV Series Lenses XA50X9.5B ESM HD Telephoto Lens Designed to work with ENG style 2/3-inch HD cameras, Fujinon’s new 45-pound XA50X9.5B ESM HD telephoto lens features an integral camera supporter that requires no additional camera lens support. It features 50 times magnification and a 9.5 to 475mm focal length. A remote control 2X extender is standard. The maximum relative aperture is 1.7 from 9.5 to 311mm and 2.6 at 475mm. The minimum object distance is 9.8 feet from the front of the lens. Built-in moisture absorbing technology reduces fogging. Contact Fujinon, 973-633-5600, www.fujinon.com.
5/i Prime Lenses By Cooke Optics The new Cooke 5/i prime lenses are designed for all PL mount professional film and electronic cameras. A key feature of the 5/i primes is a revolutionary, dimmable, illuminated focus ring, with two separately toggled scales that allow the focus puller to read the scales in low light conditions.
Q-Ball By Camera Corps With a diameter of about 4.5 inches, the Q-Ball consists of a full dual-mode color camera, pan and tilt system, 10:1 zoom optics and infrared night vision capability, all under full remote control. Designed for exterior or interior use, pan and tilt can be operated at any speed from 4 seconds per cycle to 20 minutes per rotation through an unlimited number of turns with no visible stepping. The camera interface delivers up to four channels of audio embedded into the SDI feed. The camera is based on Camera Corps’ HD MiniZoom which incorporates a 1/3-inch 2-megapixel 16:9 CMOS sensor delivering 1080i/720p HD or 625/525 SD, both at 50 or 59.94Hz and in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. Housed in a fully weatherproof sphere machined from solid aluminum, the Q-Ball weighs less than 3 pounds including mounting shaft and can be operated at any angle. Contact Camera Corps, +44 (0) 1932 592 299, www.cameracorps.co.uk.
The aperture stops range from T1.4 to T22. Lenses available are 18, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, and 135mm. Contact Cooke, +44 (0) 116 264 0700, www.cookeoptics.com.
Compact Primes By Zeiss The new Compact Primes from Carl Zeiss are available in seven different focal lengths between 18 and 35mm and are compatible with all standard digital and analog movie cameras equipped with a PL mount. With the standard focal lengths, the Compact Prime lenses have the same
By Fujinon Fujinon’s new DV Series of four lenses was developed for half-inch cameras. The DV3.4x3.8SA-1 has a focal length range of 3.8 to 13mm, an aperture range of F1.4 to T360, and a 97 degree horizontal angle of view at 3.8mm. It is a manual iris version. It is available as an auto iris lens in model DV3.4x3.8SA-SA1. The DV10x8SA-1 lens offers a flexible focal length range of 8 to 80mm and a manual iris. The DV10x8SA-SA1 model is an auto iris lens. All four lenses are C-mount lenses that can be used on both C and CS mount cameras. Contact Fujinon, 973-633-5600, www.fujinoncctv.com.
SI-3D By Silicon Imaging The SI-3D shoots uncompressed raw imagery from two synchronized cameras and encodes directly to a single stereo CineFormRAW QuickTime file, along with 3D LUT color and convergence metadata. The stereo file can be instantly played back and edited in full 3D on an Apple Final Cut timeline, without the need for proxy conversions. The SI-3D system uses two remote SI-2K Mini cameras with a P+S interchange lens mount connected to a single processing system via gigabit Ethernet where they are synchronized and controlled through the SiliconDVR touch screen interface. On set, each camera can be viewed individually or in stereo mixed modes using modern 3D LCD and DLP displays. Contact Silicon Imaging, 518-374-3358, www.si-2k.com.
GP-US932A HD Remote Head System By Panasonic New features on the GP-US932A HD Remote Head Camera system include 1080p resolution, smaller camera head size, 6dB sensitivity improvement, HDMI output and optional 10- and 20-meter cables. The system also features Digital Signal Processing with 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit inner processing. Additional features include 12-axis matrix control with independent color control and a dynamic range that expands
contrast in dark areas while maintaining detail in the bright areas of the picture. Contact Panasonic, 888-880-8474, www.panasonic.com.
flickering PAL or NTSC video assist, an HD-SDI output is available. Contact P+S Technik, +49 89 4509 8230, www.pstechnik.de.
HDK-77EC Camera System
Optimo Rouge 16-42mm
By Ikegami The HDC-77EC supports native 1080i/59.94Hz and 720p/59.94Hz dual format with CMOS sensors and adopts TA-79HD HDTriax Adaptor to utilize existing triax infrastructure. By using optional up/down converters HDTV and SDTV formats are supported simultaneously in both digital and analog form with a wide range of built-in interfaces. With 2/3-inch specified CMOS sensors native 720/60p and 1080/60i operation is available. Each pixel of the CMOS sensor has it's own amplifier. Contact Ikegami, 201-368-9171, www.ikegami.com.
By Thales Angenieux The Optimo Rouge 16-42mm large format digital zoom lens features a wide angle position of 16mm (75.4 degrees), an aperture of T2.8, calibrated focus marks and no ramping or breathing. In addition, the 4.2-pound PL mount lens features a mechanical design for precise zoom and focus. Contact Thales Angenieux, 973-812-3858, www.angenieux.com.
16Digital SR Mag By P+S Technik P+S Technik and Lux Media Plan have designed a digital film magazine for the popular Arri 16SR camera. The camera works as usual, except thereâ€™s no film stock in the magazine. Instead there is a digital device allowing the operator to shoot and digitally capture on set. P+S Technik is building the housing for the new 16Digital SR Mag while LMP is contributing its expertise in electronic components. The 16Digital SR Mag can be adapted without major modifications of the camera and all changes are non destructive and completely reversible. All camera functions remain unchanged and the power supply for the 16Digital SR Mag comes from the camera itself. Instead of a
Weisscam HS-2 By P+S Technik The Weisscam HS-2 is the latest, uncompressed digital high-speed stand-alone camera and has a full format Super35 CMOS Sensor with a global shutter. The PL lens mount accepts 35mm lenses, but by using the interchangeable mount system (IMS) f r o m P+S
Technik nearly all lenses can be mounted (PL mount, Nikon F mount, Panavision mount, etc.). The camera can shoot up to 1500fps in 2K, 2000fps in 1080p and up to 4000fps in 720p. It can stream either RAW or HD format data or both via HD-SDI. The optional DM-2 DigiMag recorder can be docked on board the camera and record either 10bit HD or 12-bit raw data. Depending on the format, the DM-2 DigiMag can record over 1.5 hours of HD material. It can also record other camera signals like ARRIFLEX D20/21, Sony F35, Grass Valley Viper, Phantom HD and Standard HDTV (like Sony F900). Contact P+S Technik, +49 89 4509 8230, www.pstechnik.de.
19 x 7.3 AIF Lenses By Thales Angenieux Designed with an improved focal range to get closer to the action in the field, the 19 x 7.3 AIF General Purpose ENG/EFP lenses are available in HD and an economically priced HD-E version, as well as an SD version. Focal range is 7.3mm to 139mm. The lens weighs 4 pounds with a 2X extender, and 3.7 pounds in the HD-E version. The 19 x 7.3 AIF Series lenses offer digital features including memorized focus and zoom positions, an anti-backlash system, auto cruise zoom function, digital laws for focus and zoom, serial communication, optional built-in focus and an options 16-bit output optical encoder. Contact Thales Angenieux, 973-812-3858, www.angenieux.com. n
Panasonic Pushes Camera Technology ctober marks a busy round of Panasonic product introductions sure to generate interest in the video production community. Chief among them is the debut of Panasonic’s AJ-HPM200 rugged, solid-state P2 HD mobile recorder/player, the successor to the HPM110 popular with broadcasters and production and staging companies. The third generation of the P2 Mobile platform, it adds new functionality and supports DVCPRO HD and AVC-Intra standards as well as the optional AVCHD format which gives users more choices for content management, backup recording and distribution. AVCHD records to SD cards “which lowers the cost of media; a 32-gig card records 12 hours,” notes Robert Harris, vice president of marketing and product development for Panasonic’s Broadcast & TV Systems Co. SD cards with AVCHD content can be played back on Blu-ray disk players, select plasma displays and video game consoles for maximum flexibility in the field. In October Panasonic will also start shipping its AG-HMR10 AVCCAM compact recorder. “If you need a very affordable deck that records 1080 or 720 video, you can use the HMR10 as your primary HD deck,” Harris reports. “You can edit content, burn it onto a disk, play the SD card back on a Blu-ray player and make copies for distribution. Its great advantage is direct compatibility with inexpensive consumer HD players.” The deck can also control the optional AG-HCK10 multi-purpose camera head which boasts three ¼-inch native HD resolution 3MOS imagers. Cables connecting the camera to the recorder enable it
By Christine Bunish
to be run at distances up to 65 feet for convenient sports POV shooting, law enforcement and military applications and underwater use in a waterproof housing. Shipping since the end of August, the AG-HMC40 AVCCAM camcorder has many professional features, including high-resolution 10.6 megapixel still photo capture. “A lot of people are buying Digital SLRs that also shoot video. The HMC40 takes the videographer’s point of view and captures true 1080 or 720 video and also shoots stills,” says Harris. Panasonic’s new studio system for P2 HD and DVCPRO HD camcorders is also available in October. It offers high-quality digital signal transmission at up to 328 feet, full remote camera control and a range of professional features and comprises a digital base station, camera adapter, extension control unit and viewfinder interface box. “A lot of customers have been asking for a way to use their P2 and DVCPRO HD camcorders affordably, as studio cameras,” Harris points out. “Now, what they’ve been waiting for is here.” n
HB Group, Inc.
Connecticut based HB Group, Inc has been providing professional video, audio, and audio-visual equipment and services for over two over decades. HB Group’ s services include broadcast and professional video, live and on-demand streaming solutions, large presentation video displays, native High Definition projection, lighting, and large venue sound reinforcement. The equipment is backed by a staff of highly trained service professionals, which affords HB’ s clients to make a single call to obtain everything needed for a complete production. New to HB Group’ s equipment inventory for 2009 includes the Sony HXC-100 HD Triax Camera system, the Panasonic AJ-HPX300, Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM camcorder, the Sony HVR-S270 HDV camcorder, the Panasonic AV-HS400A multi-standard production switcher, the latest Panasonic High Definition LCD monitors and displays, the Teranex VC-100 dual-channel multi-standard format converter, and the AJA-FS1 multi-standard format converter. “ HD is here to stay. HD has become a big part of the television industry, and HB Group continues to invest in new HD equipment and technology. We are here to provide quality equipment and support for our clients,” notes Mitul Patel, director of engineering. In addition to the wide variety of High Definition equipment and services provided, HB Group also spe-
cializes in live event webcasting. HB Group utilizes a variety of encoding systems ranging from a single briefcase-sized encoder to a fully redundant, enterprise class streaming fly pack. A typical live event can include a single video window or a more advanced player window incorporating synchronized Power Point slides and moderated Q&A, just to name a few features. Live events can also be made available for on-demand viewing. Between HB Group’ s robust inventory of video, audio and encoding equipment, HB Group has all the tools necessary to produce a professional, flawless live event. “ In challenging economic times, these technologies are being embraced as solutions for corporations looking for new and creative ways to conduct their business, without breaking their tightening budgets,” explains HB Group Account Executive Evan Bernstein. “ Webcasting applications can offer companies more affordable means of conducting meetings, mass marketing, and exposure to the public. Along with webcasting comes the utilization of some of the latest video production equipment. Both webcasting and video production are rising together under the same tide of necessity.” General Electric Company, United Technologies Corporation, Pepsi Cola Company, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc., and Pfizer, Inc. are just a few notable corporations that call upon HB Group for the latest production solutions. n
Barbizon Lighting Company
The Barbizon Lighting Company has been helping production specialists with their lighting and grip needs for over 60 years, a time span that has witnessed many changes in the industry. Today, Barbizon is helping customers upgrade to the latest in high color-rendering LED and other energy-efficient lighting systems. Its eleven US offices, and offices in London and Sydney, carry all the major LED lighting manufacturers – Litepanels, Philips’s Color Kinetics, Zylight, Lowel, Dedolight, ARRI and more – plus a host of innovative fixtures designed for energy-efficient applications. “Our teams know the ins and outs, the benefits and drawbacks of all the LED fixtures out there,” says Barbizon Marketing Manager Tobin Neis. “As a large distributor we deliver many different options, as the choices are continually being introduced to the market. LED manufacturers are also diligently working to improve their fixtures’ color rendering and overall light output. Fixtures in sizes from camera-top to large Brute panels are now available. It’s our goal to find the right gear that suits our customers’ particular application and never suggest a solution that’s not right for them.” In addition to a growing inventory of LEDs, Barbizon offers an array of other energy-efficient sources, including popular camera-top lights. “Frezzolini has a new camera-mounted 15W HMI baby sungun,” reports Neis, “and it’s just amazing the light you can get out of it.” Rosco’s high-output LitePad, a slimprofile light that creates a soft, even source, is also gaining a following in video production where it’s being used as soft fill or as an uplight illuminating objects placed atop it. LUXIM Corporation’s LIFI® (Light Fidelity) solid-state plasma lamp system delivers “beautiful light” when installed in fixtures, Neis adds. “LIFI technology offers great lamp life and its color rendering is wonderful. LIFI sources are now being incorporated into fixtures for studio broadcast applications by companies like SeaChanger with their Nemo fixture.” Barbizon’s knowledgeable sales associates guide customers through the maze of broadcast and entertainment lighting options and can arrange demonstrations for many popular fixtures “so you don’t end up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse,” says Neis.
Lights are not the only equipment that Barbizon can provide: They are dealers for most major grip and cameramount companies. Whether customers need the latest Matthews grip gear or a new Cartoni or Manfrotto tripod Barbizon can help. They stock all the latest cases
from Pelican, Storm, Kata and Porta Brace to protect customers’ investments, too. The company also sells a full line of lamps from GE, Philips, Osram and Ushio; gel from Rosco, Lee, Gam and Apollo; gaffer, camera and spike tape; and most every production expendable needed. n
Sound Studios Mixing it up
By Christine Bunish and Mark R. Smith Sound studios coast to coast merge creative and technical workflows to deliver solutions for clients in TV commercial and program production. Storm Stories make big sounds t New York City’s Sounds Big Productions clients and post houses mainly from the television programming sector sub-contract CEO Andrew Kay for mixes, including most of the first season of Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, features like SyFy Channel’s 2012: Startling New Secrets, and various shows for MSG Networks, like The Diamond at the Rock, a history of the famed Rockettes dance troupe and the rise of Rockefeller Center. On the latter project Kay, the re-recording mixer, helped the team net an Emmy Award. He works in Sounds Big’s 5.1 surround suite on a Digidesign Pro Tools HD 3 system with Waves Platinum TDM Plug-ins and Surround Tools; he has also mixed and screened in 13 other suites across New York City.
This year, while sub-contracting at Postworks, he became one of the re-recording mixers for The Weather Channel’s popular Storm Stories series. “The key to all TV work is knowing in the pre-pro stage what you’re going to need for the mix,” he says. So early communication with the postproduction supervisor is essential. For Storm Stories Kay imports the final locked-to-picture Avid OMF from the offline edit into Pro Tools and preps the mix by separating out host Jim Cantore’s voice-over, all the dialogue, location storm sounds, synthetic sound effects, and music tracks, setting them into place in the Pro Tools template built for the show. “Episodes can have a dense texture,” Kay explains. “You have to make sure Jim’s voice and the interviews are always heard while also building the drama of the story
using music and effects to enrich the texture during intense moments. When you do this well everything comes together quite nicely.” Kay works unsupervised for the one-day mix, finessing and adjusting VO and music, de-breathing and de-essing the narration if needed. He does a stereo mix first keeping it at levels he knows “will transfer well to 5.1.” After about five hours he screens the mix with the producer and postproduction supervisor, makes revisions based on their notes, then prints 15 mono splits plus the 6-channel 5.1 surround mix splits for delivery. Kay hands off the 4-channel master and 4-channel sub-master split files to the online Avid editor who performs the final color correction and creates the HDCAM master and sub-master tapes for final delivery. He also prepares a 7-channel split for DA88 and a 5.1 surround mix split which
Larson Studios – Re-Recording Mixer Fred Tator mixing the Showtime series Weeds
is then delivered to The Weather Channel for archiving and encoding.
Larson Studios is high on Weeds LA’s Larson Studios has worked on the last four seasons of Showtime’s hit series Weeds taking each episode from spotting to layback in about a week’s time. “Weeds is a show where dialogue reigns and sound effects tend to be light,” notes Supervising Sound Editor John Kincade. “Dialogue is always exposed, especially this season with a lot of interiors. There’s no place to hide; everything needs to be clean and smoothed out.” Production Mixer Sean Rush records to a digital recorder with boom and lav mics. The dialogue in shots from Esteban’s mansion is particularly “naked,” notes ReRecording Mixer Fred Tator. “Every time you point the mic a different way you get a different ambient tone. Probably the hardest job any of us have is weaving everything together smoothly with backgrounds to create a seamless reality.” Many exteriors are shot in Manhattan Beach and pose their own challenges. Larson Dialogue Editor Andrew Caporasso often builds lines from alternate takes and angles to keep dialogue audible. Sound effects and background ambiances are later mixed in to maintain the evocative sound of crashing waves and screeching seagulls. Eight to 12 tracks of group walla are recorded by ADR Mixer Andrew Morgado, including the sound of Mexican street vendors and police for cross-border plots. Tator and Sound Effects Mixer Chris Philp, who won an Emmy last month for mixing Weeds, utilize Digidesign Icon consoles in dual Pro Tools sessions. Philp is tasked with mixing 48 or more tracks of backgrounds, Foley (footsteps, door closes, clinking dishes) and hard sound effects (a punch in the nose, a gunshot) prepared by Sound Effects Editor John Peccatiello. Tator is charged with mixing music, dialogue, ADR and group walla. He imports the score and source music from Music Editors Maarten Hofmeijer and Michael Brake into his Pro Tools session. It takes approximately 12 hours to mix each 28-minute show. About six hours into the session Tator plays back the mix for Producer Lisa Vinnecour and takes care of any fixes and touchups. By early evening he plays back again for another producer and writer, something most shows don’t allow for. Tator mixes in 5.1 referencing the stereo mix with a pair of nearfield speakers. Weeds airs in 5.1 where available and in stereo and Dolby Pro Logic elsewhere. Larson’s Steve Coker creates a separate foreign mix with enhanced backgrounds and effects. Like an increasing number of shows, Weeds asks for a simultaneous domestic mix and foreign M&E to meet the needs of concurrent English
and foreign-language broadcasts. Both are done overnight and laid back to HDSR. “It’s sad when we mix the last episode of the season,” Tator reports. “We look forward to coming to work each week to see the latest episode.”
Stimmung facilitates unexpected Heist Things got buggy earlier this year at Santa Monica’s Stimmung when the company was challenged to create the sound design for the team of insects that hijack a Coca-
Cola bottle from a picnic in Heist, the clever live action and animated Super Bowl spot from Wieden+ Kennedy/Portland, Oregon. As Stimmung Executive Producer Kelly Fuller points out, the photoreal CG insects animated by Psyop couldn’t sound cartoony. And the bugs depicted – from ladybugs and grasshoppers to butterflies and bees – tend to make “such small sounds” in real life that a totally authentic approach wasn’t practical either. In fact, an insect wrangler brought a parade of bugs to Stimmung. But only the bees, some in a large screened carrier for continued on next page
Sound Studios mass buzzing sounds and some chilled and calmed for singular fly bys, plus a few grasshoppers were loud enough to be captured by Stimmung’s Neumann KMR82 mic. “We had a nice long schedule that allowed for experimentation,” says Stimmung Sound Designer Gus Koven. “The ultimate luxury is time, and we had that to get everything to sound naturalistic.” Foley Artists John Roesch and Alyson Moore at Warner Bros were tasked with Foleying most of the insect sounds so the bugs would stand out without sounding cartoony or competing with the full orchestral track; Mary Jo Lang was Warner’s Foley mixer. Koven tapped his archive of custom insect sounds recorded back East, and processed Roesch and Moore’s sounds, EQ’ing them and altering their speed and pitch on his Pro Tools HD system. Koven also called up a redwing blackbird clip to start the spot. Composer Robert Miller re-arranged the famous theme from Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf to give each insect a musical signature; the classic children’s composition even suggested Coke’s five-note concluding mnemonic. Miller recorded the spot’s score at FOX with 60 members of the LA Philharmonic and the John Williams Orchestra. Back at Warner’s Roesch and Moore crafted all the moving bottle sounds. The final cap pop, performed by a dexterous animated horned beetle in the spot, was record-
ed at Stimmung using glass Mexican Coke bottles and a Schoepps MS mic array. “The agency was really specific about the cap pop having a certain feel,” says Koven. “It was very performance-based and required lots of experimentation,” adds Assistant Sound Designer Peter Lauridsen recalling the studio’s mass consumption of soda in its quest to perfect the sound. Stimmung’s rough mix was delivered as a Pro Tools session to Loren Silber at Santa Monica’s Lime Studios who did the final 5.1 mix for the broadcast and cinema spots.
In Your Ear lends hand to Hannah Help Me! “The post and production business is changing,” says Carlos Chafin, president of Richmond, Virginia’s In Your Ear (IYE), who observes that “companies that have traditionally filled a certain kind of role have become script-to-screen resources for clients.” He would know, as IYE wrapped production last spring on the 13-episode first season of Hannah Help Me!, a “mom to the rescue-type” reality program starring Richmond’s own Hannah Keeley, a married mother of seven. It airs on public television. Lensed at various locations around Richmond, the crew edited the video and sent the audio mixes to IYE’s Audio Editor and Music Supervisor Michael Congdon,
who then edited the audio and cleaned up location sound primarily acquired through various lavs and one Sennheiser boom mic. A reality series proved a different animal from IYE’s traditional spot client base. “They’re winging it; the sound guy has to move and adapt to producing various scenes quickly,” Congdon notes. “He’s constantly dealing with different conditions in [a host of ] indoor and outdoor locations.” The season finale went even further afield: It was shot in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The crew “did everything from setting up in closets and at the water park to filming on a catamaran [and recording dialogue, too]” at sea, Chafin recalls. The sheer number of people and the changing environments can be a soundman’s nightmare, and it required considerable effort to keep sound quality consistent. “Technically, that meant that Paul Bruski [IYE’s senior engineer] had to do some heavy lifting with his sound reduction and EQ software,” Congdon says. IYE gleaned the musical segues for the series from its extensive music library, for which the team has created more than 900 cuts. Chafin and IYE’s Robbin Thompson, composer of the title tune and a Virginia music icon, spent two weeks selecting tracks for the series, some of which were remixed; all told, Hannah Help Me! included about 40 library tracks. For the final mix, the edit was sent to
IYE’s Pro Tools system via an .AAF file from the Avid MC Version 3. Bruski balanced out the stereo before final post and delivery as 24-bit, 48K .WAV files. Wrapping season one of the series represents the first step of IYE’s new goal to produce reality and possibly documentary content that could be picked up by various networks. “We love the creative control,” says Chafin. “Audio is always the last part of the production path, so being at the head of the class is a markedly different position for us to be in.”
Collaboration reaches Crescendo! While San Francisco-based Crescendo! Studios mixes the occasional film or documentary, the spot market is where the company has made its primary auditory imprint in the post business. Senior Engineer Matt Wood cites a recent commercial project for Esurance, the online insurance provider, as a shining example of the firm’s work. Crescendo! handled recording, editing, sound design and mixing for the spot, Carbon Copy, in tandem with Wild Brain, a visual and animation house with studios in San Francisco, LA and New York and client Esurance. Crescendo’s platform of choice is Pro Tools HD Accel 3. “This spot was slightly different from most of our work because it was really a longer-form commercial” that clocked in at about two-anda-half minutes for the broadcast version and more than three minutes for the Internet cut, Wood explains. Carbon Copy was the only commercial shown during the world television premier of I, Robot on FX. “We started the process by recording the two principle characters in the spot, the animated characters Erin and Eric, as well as the supporting cast in our voice-over booth” working to “a very rough version of the animated picture,” says Wood. “We then cut an edited select of all the lines and gave those, along with the raw voice-over takes, to Wild Brain via our FTP site.” Wild Brain dropped those lines into the picture edit and finished the animation. Then, once the picture was locked, Wild Brain started creating the initial version of the sound design. Wild Brain sent Crescendo! an OMF with all the edited audio as well as a QuickTime file for picture reference. Crescendo! spent another day or two creating additional sound design to enhance the picture, adding gunshots, various monster sounds and a science lab among other ambiences. Wild Brain and Esurance returned to Crescendo! to wrap the stereo mix, which, due to the complicated sound design and length of the spots represented about a full day’s work. At the end of the session, Crescendo! once again delivered files to Wild Brain via FTP, only this time it was a full mix in .AIFF format, as well as the split tracks.
Original music fills another role. It “has to support the emotion of the scene,” says Getty. “That is mostly accomplished by the composer writing the right piece of music. But then the mixer will enhance that by increasing the volume in the appropriate places to support that emotion.” Before completing the final print master he’s given advice like “bringing in the music at a certain point to accent an emotional theme” or doing just the opposite “when they want the actors to carry that scene” or “enhance a certain line in the dialogue with higher volume.” The series does a lot of location recording which presents “opportunities for external noise,” Getty points out. “For instance, locations for this show can often include a beach, which means that we have to spend time EQ’ing the sound of the waves to ensure that it doesn’t drown out the dialogue. We also may have to isolate certain frequencies that may be interfering with the dialogue.” Following the 5.1 mix, the show is laid back to HDSR and delivered to the CW in 5.1 for the HD broadcast and stereo for the standard telecast. n
Stimmung – a bee gets ready to perform for Peter Lauridsen’s mic for its part in the spot Heist
Getty finds new challenges in teen favorite Rob Getty, an independent sound supervisor based in the LA area, recently mixed the CW’s new version of the fan-favorite series Beverly Hills 90210 at Sony Sound in Culver City. “As a supervisor, I meet with the picture editor and the director and discuss how we want the show to sound: realistic or over-the-top, for instance,” he says, “and how the sound will support the story.” The next step is the background sound effects edit featuring hard, or practical, effects and “ambient sounds like air, cities, birds or traffic ‘wash,’” Getty explains. Dialogue is enhanced with ADR as needed with group walla providing background chat and murmurs. One of the challenges for Beverly Hills 90210 is creating the proper sound for scenes with large groups like a high school party. Getty taps “a variety of library sounds from different sources, such as a cocktail party with clinking bottles amongst the chatter; but we mostly use music that is provided by the music composers hired by the show’s producers.” They often select songs “from new bands that are not well known [and] want the exposure on the show,” he explains. Then he uses Pro Tools to edit and mix the ambient sound and music.” SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009
roaD triP Atlanta
REGIONAL PRODUCTION REPORT
Atlanta on the Rebound Yes, 2009 has been a tough year in the industry, and Atlanta has felt apprehensive, as have most other markets. But with the economy apparently bottoming out, a strong economic engine in Turner Networks and a vibrant corporate presence in this Southeastern hub, production and post are poised to rebound and grow. >BY MARK R. SMITH
news & Updates > by Jon T. Hutchinson
Doppler Hosts Black Box ATLANTA, GA – Black Box Productions Show filmed Monica: Still Standing, a TV program starring Atlantabased artist Monica, in Doppler’s Studio E throughout July. The crew also recorded and hosted listening sessions for Monica and the show. Monica was back at Doppler in August to write and track vocals for J Records.
Jam Edit – Executive Producer Molly Baroco
Blue Marble Media spins busy second half
rom its base near downtown, Blue Marble Media focuses on the corporate world, creating projects for locally-based companies like UPS, Georgia Pacific and the marketing operations of AT&T. The company also shoots spots for Irvine Spectrum, a mixed-use retail center in suburban LA; the Athlete’s Foot; and Atlanta-based real estate developer Carter USA. “Sometimes we shoot spots as well as corporate work for the same clients,” notes Cal Miller, vice president of marketing and client services. Blue Marble regularly works with four videographers who favor RED One, Sony EX-1 and Panasonic HVX200 cameras; the company maintains its own Apple Final Cut Pro HD suite. According to Miller, the company is “seeing quite an increase in activity, which I think will pay off by the end of the year. It looks like a better second half of 2009 for everyone,” especially when many clients have money to “use or lose” by year’s end. 24
Of recent note is the launch of a new division, Cooper Maron, that will focus on creating 30minute documentaries in the range of $25,000 to six figures, Miller reports. Blue Marble’s script-toscreen capabilities in a small market are proving to be a key strength.
Inertia Films keeps on the move Inertia Films is a company that one could say isn’t living up to its name. The busy production house shoots on video “almost 100 percent of the time,” says owner Troy Thomas, with clients naming HD their format of choice about half the time. Those clients include NFL Network, for which Inertia does shoots for the Atlanta Falcons. “If it’s just regular news at training camp, we shoot in SD,” says Thomas, although feature segments are lensed in HD. Inertia just finished shooting episodes of Gangland for The History Channel and Dogs 101 and Cats 101 for Animal Planet. The company also works in the corporate arena on projects like a promo for The New Testament Study Center for
Pogo Produces Ace Hardware Campaign ATLANTA, GA – Pogo Pictures’ Steve Colby directed a national TV ad campaign for Ace Hardware via MARS Advertising/Southfield, MI. The spots evoke the pride of home ownership through naturalistic scenes of people fixing up their homes. The spots were shot entirely with handheld cameras to give them a loose, easy sensibility that allows viewers to feel as though they are gazing over a fence at things happening in their neighbor’s backyard. The spots were shot in Los Angeles.
Crawford Posts The 27 Club ATLANTA, GA – Crawford Post’s creative crew for The 27 Club included Senior Editor/HD Specialist Ron Heidt for the HD conform and graphics; Senior Colorist DC Cardinali on HD tape-to-tape color correction; and Sound Designer Steve Warner for audio layback.
for Wachovia Bank; and ING marathons for online viewing. Inertia also shoots for out-oftowners who come to Atlanta for production. The in-house camera of choice is the Panasonic HDX900 and postproduction is done in two Final Cut Pro suites, one of them an HD system. Thomas founded Inertia in Cincinnati in 1993 and moved to Atlanta in 1996. Expansion to Miami may be next since the company already does some shooting there, he reports.
FishEye captures corporate perspective
Inertia Films – DP A. Troy Thomas shooting a television pilot in Alys Beach, Florida
Chattanooga, Tennessee-based ministry AMG; the annual 10K Peachtree Road Race
The corporate world is where the gang at FishEye Media Productions resides crafting content that range from video productions to interactive media to turnkey events. Its clientele is national in scope, with just 20 percent originating in Atlanta. The client roster includes CitiFinancial, Pirelli Tires and Siemens’s Energy & Automation Division. Executive Producer Bob McAllister cites a recent stakeholders’ meeting for J.M. Family, a Toyota importer based in Boca Raton; FishEye provided all audio and visual support for the live event which also featured a smattering of taped content and more. “We did a dedicated Internet Protocol broadcast, which allowed us to produce a high-quality
feed that was almost as good as a satellite broadcast,” says McAllister, “as well as [offering] two-way communication at a fraction of the usual cost.” FishEye shoots with various SD and HD cameras that it owns or rents, and cuts on an Avid Adrenaline, as well as on two in-house and one mobile Final Cut Pro HD systems. Although FishEye, which has been in business since 1996 and employs five fulltimers, “has felt the downturn” in the economy, McAllister also feels things are “bottoming out. We’re seeing more activity and feel that the recovery is coming.”
Nmedia straddles production and post Midtown-based Nmedia is billed as “a full-service post house with some production capabilities,” by Senior Editor Jason West. Most of its workload is in the non-broadcast arena for clients like locally-based Delta Airlines for short announcements about new service roll-outs, corporate meeting videos, and employee training projects for any of several of the airline’s divisions. Other customers include Stiefel Laboratories, a pharmaceutical firm that focuses on the dermatology market, and high-tech firm Verified Identify Pass, manucontinued on next page
ATLANTA facturer of electronic airport security passes. More than half of Nmedia’s work originates in Atlanta, with a cut from the Southeast and additional business from more distant markets like Chicago where the Institute for Truth in Accounting turns to the company for PSAs. Nmedia usually shoots with the Panasonic HDX900 and posts in three Final Cut Pro HD suites. After seven years in business Nmedia has experienced an “unusually slow” period during the downturn, a trend West says he’s heard from others in the local production community. “But we’re optimistic that the turnaround is beginning already,” he adds. “And we took advantage of the slow time by getting our house in order and adding to our menu of services,” which now also includes comprehensive up and down conversion. Nmedia also became an all-Apple house, “so now we can connect between suites seamlessly.”
Jam Edit gels with spot cutting The focus at midtown’s Jam Edit is on the national spot market where recent work includes a national Coke spot from Fitzgerald; a national commercial for New Era, the manufacturer of Major League Baseball-approved caps, from MMB/Boston;
Jam Edit – Eddie Kesler, creative editor/owner editing an HD comedy spot for ESPN and Miller Lite
a national Subway sandwich campaign featuring NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, also from MMB/Boston; and a national campaign for Georgia Pacific’s Dixie (as in cups and napkins) division. “We focus on spots because that’s the specialty of our two staff editors, Eddie
Kesler and Jeff Jay,” says Executive Producer Molly Baroco. Jam Edit boasts three cutting rooms, two with Final Cut Pro HD systems and one with an Avid Media Composer. Another key staffer is graphics designer Andrew Pope, who just wrapped a campaign for the Weather Channel’s Storm Stories
series. He finishes his work on Autodesk’s Discreet Flint, half of the time in HD; Baroco says graphics campaigns for networks comprise about half of Pope’s work, with the rest consisting of visual effects and compositing. About three quarters of Jam Edit’s business originates with local agencies, she notes, and they have kept the shop humming this year. “We’ve been as busy this year as we were in 2008, despite the down market.” While the two-year-old company has no plans for expansion just yet, it may add a third editor to fill out its trio of edit suites.
Jump! Then Shout! Atlanta’s Buckhead district is the location of two related companies that work toward similar goals: Jump!, a post house; and Shout!, which opened 15 months ago, as a full-service corporate video production company. Jump! focuses on the spot market, says President Rob Jameson, who cites national projects Nmedia – DP Spencer Adams (L) and Editor Jason West complete Delta’s onboard international arrival video like a script-to-screen, two-spot effort for Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Labor Day race, the Pep Boys 500, from the venue’s viewers between shows and web sites,” and on Dekocasts which entail in-house agency. animating the lower third of the screen for products or promos. Jump! also works with the Turner Networks on integrated proJump! offers two Final Cut Pro suites, one of them HD, plus six mos, such as 10-second vignettes for national advertisers Alamo, After Effects 3D stations and an insert stage that has been used to Wendy’s and Dr. Scholl’s which integrate products into various TV shoot spots for the Weather Channel and various local agencies. programs. The format is attracting advertisers, since pools of spots Shout! just entered the LED sports signage market and Jameson “often get blocked by TiVo,” Jameson explains. “We see that as a says, “We’re looking to grow this revenue stream. We feel that clients growth area for the industry.” are looking for quality production and a fair price, and that is someIn addition, the company is working on integrated web promos thing we can easily provide.” continued on next page and show packaging for the Scripps Networks “that help transport
Wolff Bros Post – Buff Harsh (R) and Terri Molasky (L) in an edit session
Dzignlight Studios rides the wave Another key player in the Atlanta post market is Dzignlight Studios, which creates animation and effects for TV programming and features. The company has specialized in stereoscopic 3D work for the past decade. Dzignlight’s current gigs include creating all of the internal body animations for Dr. G., Medical Examiner on TDC. There are usually about six animations per half hour show, says owner Eric Deren. The company has also created content for big pharma’s Pfizer and Novartis for events focusing on sales and training. Dzignlight also specializes in large-format films. Deren says the market for IMAX, among other large formats, is growing in part “because it’s six times the resolution of HD.” Earlier this year, Dzignlight added more equipment, including a custom-built stereoscopic 3D camera system to complement its four Softimage animation systems. The company often works with Lab 601 to meet its editorial needs and with White Dog Studios for audio mixing. Interestingly, business (only about 15 percent of which is local; most of the rest is from New York or LA) has been great lately. “We’ve been slammed this year and last, but before
Need post? Cry Wolff Bros A bevy of spot and promo work is always on the schedule at Wolff Bros Post in midtown, a company that has been a cog in the local video landscape for 14 years. Recent projects include promos for the season two launch of Toddlers & Tiaras, and for Miss America: Countdown to the Crown and 18 Kids & Counting – all for TLC. But the bulk of Wolff Bros’ work, says General Manager Wayne Overstreet, is locally generated, often for Turner Networks outlets like TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Cartoon Network. Lately, Turner gigs have included Weekend Combos (promos for upcoming TCM shows), Movie Extras (vignettes that spotlight upcoming movies and directors, for TBS) and DVD Spotlights (theatrical releases that are set for DVD release) for TNT. Another client is Gospel Music Channel (GMC) for which Wolff Bros created promos for the original series, Faith & Fame and Front Row Live, plus the Dove Awards. Wolff Bros’ edit suites boast five Avid Adrenalines, four Final Cut Pro HDs and two Autodesk Discreet Smoke 2010s – some of which are networked among its nine edit suites. Soon, all five Avid suites will also include Final Cut Pro HD systems as well; the editors are outfitted with After Effects software as well. Three 5.1 surround Pro Tools HD suites are also on hand. All told, “Business has been good this year,” Overstreet reports. “I’d call it steady. It looks like the market is poised to turn around.” 28
Dzignlight Studios – Eric Deren shooting the short film Stereoscopic Skydiving at the Freefly Skydiving World Record Event at Skydive Chicago
2008 our best year was 1998. It was consistent in between, though we weren’t expanding,” says Deren. “Go figure. But we feel like we’re on a 3D wave that seems to be getting bigger.” n
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VIEW INSIDE Jonathan Hall, director of photography
BY CHRISTINE BuNISH
onathan Hall’s DP credits include Kiss the Dead Goodbye, After, The Campfire Chronicles: Have a Nice Day, Getting Back to Zero, Give ‘em Hell, Malone, Green Street Holligans, Charlie Valentine, Certainty, Ex Men, InAlienable, Divine Intervention, Tina Bobina, American Dragster, Asian Stories, Sense Memory, Enter the Dragonfly, and Doughboys.
Markee: You recently shot the independent feature, Charlie Valentine, in 2-perf 35mm Techniscope, a format that had its heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s. What prompted you to use it? Hall: Charlie Valentine was the first collaboration between [director] Jesse Johnson and myself. This was a low budget project, but we didn’t want it to look like it. Jesse’s a big believer in shooting film, as am I, but trying to convince producers to spend most of the budget to shoot 35mm was a hard sell. 16mm looked to be our only option until I brought the Techniscope idea to the table. After costs were compared it [appeared to be] the same cost as 16mm but with all the qualities of 35mm. The problem was that there were no 2-perf cameras available in the US. I was at a post house when someone in the lab said they’d heard I was looking for a 2-perf camera and had heard Panavision had one. Panavision’s UK office found two 2perf camera bodies, a Platinum and a Gold II, retrofitted in the ‘90s for an Italian western. We got them, took them to Las Vegas on a test shoot and they were fantastic. The image gave us everything we had hoped for and Charlie Valentine became the first 2perf film to shoot in the states in quite some time. Markee: Did you have a learning curve? Hall: The non-forgiving negative size. What you see in the frame is exactly what’s photographed on the negative, no more no less – there’s no ‘wiggle’ room at all. With 2-perf, a hair in the gate is a very big deal. Jesse and I did a lot of prep, but even with that we still had a tight schedule: 18 days of principal photography and two days of pick ups. We used every tool we could and called in 30
every friend and favor to get the best film we could. One of the cool tools we had was a Super Panther 2, “The BMW of dollies.” This unit allowed us to get a crane, jib, and dolly all in one. It helped us keep rental costs down and allowed us to easily keep the camera alive even when moving quickly. Markee: Charlie Valentine is about a gangster (Raymond J. Barry) who tries to reconnect with his son (Michael Weatherly). Did Techniscope lend itself particularly well to that content? Hall: Yes, I believe it did. The film has a lot of deep conversations and tight environments with a lot of detail; a lesser format would have not given us the depth and detail we wanted. Jesse and I had always wanted to shoot the film in a 2.40:1 ratio to give a classic Cinemascope look, and the Techniscope format proved great for it. The wide screen frame allows for the picture to be layered showing the environments each character is surrounded by. We also moved the camera a lot to give the film nice rhythm. Shooting 35mm also allowed us to shoot more quickly and efficiently: We didn’t have to worry about HD monitors, clipped highlights, or ND’ing windows. On a low budget film time is something you never have enough of. Markee: Did you have to use special film stock? Hall: No, the stock is no different. We chose Fuji’s Vivid 160t, for our day scenes to get a very classic, colorful
and high-contrast picture. For interiors we used Fuji’s Eterna 500T, a high-speed stock with great range and sharp detail. Both stocks have a very classic yet natural look, something we were definitely trying to achieve. Markee: You seem to have unleashed a new wave of Techniscope production since Charlie Valentine wrapped. Hall: About the time we finished principal photography Aaton was finally ready with its new Penelope camera body for 2-perf, and ARRI called to tell me they could now modify any of their Arricam or 535 camera movements to handle 2-perf. There’s been a lot of buzz. Cameramen want alternatives to the costs of 35mm and limitations of digital. Techniscope is a great alternative for films looking to shoot 35mm but needing a cost-effective option to bring to producers. Although I’m now shooting my first RED feature, Getting Back to Zero, in Los Angeles and next is a 3D action film in Thailand, I’m looking forward to shooting Techniscope again. n