Sunday, February 19, 2017

Toolbox

  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017
Schneider-Kreuznach introduces Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt lenses
The Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt lens
BAD KREUZNACH, Germany -- 

To enhance today’s dynamic cinematography, Schneider-Kreuznach introduces Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt lenses. This groundbreaking new version combines similar form-factor and capabilities of the company’s popular Full-Frame Primes with added tilt function up to ±4°. By sustaining the field of view during focus and tilt actions, the new Cine-Tilt design makes possible previously unimaginable images from the freely moving and tilting focus planes. The new lenses offer the potential to utilize out-of-focus areas in the frame, especially when tilt is used with large apertures. A 4° tilt angle at the sensor plane corresponds to an 80° focal plane, which varies according to the focal length and aperture setting selected.

Like Schneider’s standard Xenon FF-Primes, the new version answers today’s practical needs yielding full-frame imagery, beyond 4K, in a lightweight and compact, uniform dimension package. The color-matched lenses feature minimized breathing and a bokeh reminiscent of classic Hollywood. Designed and built in Germany, the new design provides sophisticated mechanics for smooth and accurate tilt action. The lens’ tilt is controlled via a high precision ring with 120° rotation that is as intuitive to operate as pulling focus. Due to the common 0.8 module gear, the Cine-Tilt is usable with standard follow-focus systems.

Cine-Tilt lenses offer the multifold benefits of standard Xenon FF-Primes plus tilt functionality, so there’s is no need to swap out lenses during a shot. With the tilt set at 0° the Cine-Tilt lenses provide identical images as the standard FF-Primes. The consistent set comprises focal lengths of 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm – all at T2.1.

Cine-Tilt FF-Primes will be available this spring individually or as a set, in Sony E-Mount. 

  • Monday, Jan. 30, 2017
PRL Lighting rolls out new product line
PRL Lighting's LUSTRA 50
LOS ANGELES -- 

PRL Lighting, provider of premium LED lighting for professional and avid amateur photographers and videographers, has unveiled its new product line. Founded by industry vets Rudy Pohlert and Pat Ralston, PRL is rolling out the LUSTRA 50™ high performance LED panel fixture. The LUSTRA 50 provides high-intensity output for continuous, full-spectrum lighting in a variety of situations.
 
The LUSTRA 50 combines LED surface mount technology (SMTs) and engineered TIR optics with an integrated dimmer and a simple, ergonomic design to deliver optimal intensity and full dispersion of light across the color spectrum.
 
Continuous light allows photographers to make real-time adjustments to lighting setups, eliminating the guesswork involved when using strobes and flash. Portraits, wedding, food, beverage, product stills, and corporate imagery all benefit from the “what you see is what you get” technique of continuous lighting.
 
“Our primary objective for launching PRL Lighting is to enable photographers and videographers to capture superior images,” noted Pohlert. “Full dispersion of light across the spectrum, high output, ergonomics­­­­­––every choice we have made has been in service of the creative vision. The LUSTRA 50 fills the need for a high-quality, reliable source for dimmable, flicker-free continuous lighting.”
 
The LUSTRA 50 offers a full 100% dimming range, powered by an internal microprocessor, guaranteeing a completely flicker-free performance at any frame rate or shutter angle. Each fixture is paired with a dedicated 12V power supply and incorporates circuitry for portable power via a Sony NPF L-series 7.2V DV battery.
 
Optional PRL Accessories include the LUSTRA 50 SofBox™, which expands the photographer’s tool kit by offering a wrap-around look with a single fixture when used as the key light source, and by creating separation or providing fill and edge lighting when used as a secondary source. The LUSTRA 50 FilterSet™, consisting of three distinct filters, may be used to improve the color rendition and quality of images.
 
“The LUSTRA 50 augmented with a SofBox or FilterSet is the perfect complement for photographers shooting static in-studio or on location, capturing video, or shooting news on the go,” added Ralston. “We are excited to bring this first product to market and look forward to advancing lighting technology for artists across many disciplines.”

  • Friday, Jan. 27, 2017
Kodak celebrates 29 Oscar nominations for 9 movies captured on film
"Loving" director Jeff Nichols
ROCHESTER, NY -- 

Steve Bellamy, president of Kodak Motion Picture and Entertainment, is celebrating a total of 29 Academy Award nominations for movies shot on Kodak film.  “La La Land,” “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Jackie,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Loving,” “Silence,” “Suicide Squad” and “Hail Caesar!” were all captured on KODAK 35mm and 16mm Motion Picture Film stock.
 
On the heels of movies captured on film winning nine of the 14 motion picture awards at the Golden Globes and taking 34 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations, the 29 Academy Award nominations reflect a resurgence of motion picture artists understanding just how valuable film is as a tool for storytelling. The big winner was “La La Land” with 11 BAFTA and 14 Academy Award nominations. 
 
Having already garnered two Golden Globes nominations, “Loving” director Jeff Nichols said: “There was no way I was going to make ‘Loving’ unless we were going to shoot it on 35mm film. It was a love story that needed an emotive medium like celluloid.  The story just would not have worked on a 2K or a 4K video camera.”
 
Even for smaller-budget and short movies, film matters. Currently playing at the Sundance Film Festival is the film work of the next generation of great directors – “Beach Rats,” director Eliza Hittman; “Frantz,” director François Ozon; “Golden Exits,” director Alex Ross Perry; “Person to Person,” director Dustin Guy Defa; and “Call Me by Your Name,” director Luca Guadagnino. Academy Award-nominated directors shooting on film - Jeff Nichols and Damien Chazelle - started their careers in Park City, Utah. Film also dominated at Cannes Film Festival this year with the top five awards going to movies shot on film. And at the 2016 Hollyshorts Film Festival, of the near 4000 submissions, only two movies were shot on film. These two, however, took three of the top awards.
 
“Movies captured on film are winning nominations and awards at a disproportionately high rate,” said Bellamy.  “The best artists are choosing film, but it goes beyond their choices.  You don’t just see film, you feel it.  There is an emotive dynamic with film that makes heartfelt moments more heartfelt, joyful moments more joyful, sad moments sadder.  Film benefits from the world’s greatest motion picture artists using it, but the world’s greatest motion picture artists also make better movies because they use film.
 
Similar to the previous two years, film fared very well in 2016 with blockbusters like “Jason Bourne,” “Jack Reacher,” “Justice League,” “Suicide Squad,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and “Hail Caesar!” – all of which were captured on film. 
 
Below is a complete list of Academy Award© Nominees for movies captured on Kodak film stock:
 
BEST PICTURE:    
“Fences”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
 
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”
 
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
 
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”
 
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
 
CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Linus Sandgren, “La La Land”
Rodrigo Prieto, “Silence”
 
COSTUME DESIGN:
Madeline Fontaine, “Jackie”
Mary Zophres, “La La Land”
 
DIRECTING:
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
 
FILM EDITING:
Tom Cross, “La La Land”
 
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson, “Suicide Squad”
 
MUSIC:
Mica Levi, “Jackie”
Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
 
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG):
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul. “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
 
PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh, “Hail, Caesar!”
David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds – Wasco, “La La Land”
 
SOUND EDITING:
Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred latrou Morgan, “La La Land”
 
SOUND MIXING:
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Marrow, “La La Land”
 
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):
August Wilson, “Fences”
Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, “Hidden Figures”
 
WRITING (ORIGNAL SCREENPLAY):
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

  • Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017
Tom Fletcher named director of sales for FUJIFILM’s Optical Devices Division
Tom Fletcher
WAYNE, NJ -- 

The Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM has appointed Tom Fletcher as director of sales. In his new role, Fletcher will oversee sales and promotion of broadcast and cinema lenses in North America. Working under the guidance of division VP Gordon Tubbs, Fletcher will lead the sales efforts of six regional managers in North America. 

Fletcher brings a wealth of varied cinema and video industry expertise to his new position. Best known as the VP of sales & marketing of Fletcher Camera & Lenses and for his popular camera and lens comparison charts, Fletcher has extensive background in both cinematography and broadcast production technology and their use in real-world applications.

“Our industry is rapidly changing with the introduction of 4K broadcasting and the continued growth of digital cinematography,” said Tubbs. “As we continue to expand our Cine-Style line and enjoy a dynamic transition from HD to 4K and HDR, we believe Tom’s a perfect fit for the FUJIFILM team. His expertise in ENG is also deep. While at Fletcher Chicago, Tom and his staff worked with local and network news operations as well as freelance crews across the country. He really knows what our entire range of customers are looking for in optics. I’m confident his experience and drive will help us meet and exceed our goals.”

While at Fletcher Chicago, Fletcher spearheaded the creation of its Emmy Award-winning sports division, (currently Fletcher Group), which provides specialty cameras to NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLB broadcasters throughout North America. 

Fletcher has been an active consultant with the Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM since May of last year when he began organizing the marketing and development efforts of FUJINON Day events across the country.

Among his industry accolades, Fletcher is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, received a special Recognition of Service from IATSE (International Cinematographers Guild) Local 600 for educating members on digital cinematography technology, and was a founding member of the Digital Cinema Society.  

Fletcher sits on the boards of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP/Midwest) and Production Equipment Rental Group (PERG) and is an active member of both ASC’s Awards Committee and the Lens Technology sub-committee. In the past, he was on the boards of: Midwest Independent Film Festival, Michigan Film First, the International Electronic Cinema Festival and served as president of ITVA-Chicago

“This position highlights all the sales and marketing work I’ve been doing as a consultant and what I did with Fletcher Camera for the broadcast and cine customers,” said Fletcher. “I feel like this is a perfect fit, and I’m thrilled to be a part of a team so committed to quality optics and to serving its customers. I’ll get to see and work with all the folks I’ve grown to know so well over the years while meeting new producers, DP’s and production managers.”

Fletcher will work from his Lake Forest, Illinois office. 

  • Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017
Some 45 Sundance films and series deploy innovations from Blackmagic Design
A scene from "Golden Exits."
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that more than 45 films and series at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival used its digital film cameras, DaVinci Resolve Studio grading, editing and finishing solution, Fusion Studio visual effects (VFX) and motion graphics software, Video Assist monitor and recorder, and other products throughout production and post production.
 
Some of the festival’s most anticipated films and series were shot and completed using Blackmagic Design products, including “Carpinteros (Woodpeckers)” which was shot with an URSA Mini 4.6K, “Colossal” that used Fusion Studio for its VFX, and many films such as “A Ghost Story,” “The Big Sick,” “The Discovery,” ”The Hero” and “Rebel in the Rye” that were graded using DaVinci Resolve Studio.
 
Some of the Sundance Films That Used Blackmagic Design Cameras and Gear:

  • “Beatriz at Dinner” shot by DP Wyatt Garfield with a workflow supported by an UltraStudio for playback, HDLinks for monitoring, and a Smart VideoHub for routing, and with selective use of DaVinci Resolve Studio by VFX Supervisor George Loucas of BakedFX;
  • “Brigsby Bear” shot by DP Christian Sprenger using a Video Assist and Mini Converters Analog to SDI;
  • “Carpinteros (Woodpeckers)” shot by DP Hernán Herrera with an URSA Mini 4.6K digital film camera;
  • “Casting JonBenet” shot by DP Michael Latham with a Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, using an UltraStudio Mini Monitor for display output;
  • “Colossal” VFX done with Fusion Studio by Compositing Supervisor Eric Doiron of Intelligent Creatures;
  • “A Ghost Story” post team used a Pocket Cinema Camera for several VFX shots;
  • “The Little Hours” Editor Ryan Brown used an UltraStudio Mini Monitor for Thunderbolt-based playback; and
  • “Oklahoma City” Director Barak Goodman and team used a post production workflow supported by UltraStudio 4K, UltraStudio Mini Monitor, Teranex 2D Processor and Blackmagic UltraScope PCIe card.

Some of the Sundance Films and Series That Used DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Resolve Studio:

  • “500 Years” by Colorist Ken Sirulnick of Glue Editing & Design;
  • “Beach Rats” by Colorist Nat Jencks;
  • “Before I Fall” by Colorist Alex Bickel of Color Collective at Technicolor PostWorks;
  • “The Big Sick” by Colorist Alex Bickel of Color Collective at Technicolor PostWorks;
  • “Carpinteros (Woodpeckers)” by Colorist Hernán Herrera;
  • “Dayveon” by Colorist Mike Howell of Color Collective;
  • “The Discovery” by Colorist Alex Bickel of Color Collective at Technicolor PostWorks;
  • “Family Life” by Colorist Daniel Dávila of Kine Imágenes;
  • “Free and Easy” by Colorist Wentao Li of Homeboy Digital Film Laboratory;
  • “Gente-fied” by Colorist Gonzalo Digenio;
  • “A Ghost Story” by Colorist Joe Malina;
  • “Golden Exits” by Colorist Jason Crump of Metropolis Post;
  • “The Hero” by Colorist Mike Howell of Color Collective;
  • “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore” by Colorist Andrew Francis of Sixteen19;
  • “ICARUS” by Colorist Luke Cahill of Different by Design;
  • “The Incredible Jessica James” by Colorist Mike Howell of Color Collective;
  • “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” by Colorist Luke Cahill of Different by Design;
  • “Killing Ground” by Colorist Billy Wychgel;
  • “L.A. Times” by Colorist Aaron Peak of Wildfire Finishing, with online editing in DaVinci Resolve Studio done by Wildfire Finishing and by Editor John-Michael Powell, who also used an Intensity Extreme used for offline playback;
  • “Landline” by Colorist Joe Gawler of Harbor Picture Company;
  • “Legion of Brothers” by Colorist Brian Hutchings of Different by Design;
  • “Look and See: A Portrait of Wendall Barry” by Colorist Daniel Stuyck;
  • “Manifesto” by Colorist and Post Production Supervisor Jan Schöningh;
  • “The Mars Generation,” by Colorist Robert Crosby at Neptune Post, and Director Michael Barnett also used DaVinci Resolve Studio and numerous Teranex processors to transcode and convert more than 600 archival clips from more than 70 archival sources from around the globe;
  • “Motherland” by Colorist Daniel Stuyck;
  • “Mudbound” by Colorist Joe Gawler of Harbor Picture Company;
  • “My Happy Family” by Colorist Philip Whitfield of WeFadeToGrey;
  • “The New Radical” by Colorist Nat Jencks;
  • “NOBODY SPEAK: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Trials of a Free Press” by Luke Cahill of Different by Design;
  • “Novitiate” by Colorist Andrew Francis of Sixteen19;
  • “Oklahoma City” by Colorist Chris Connolly;
  • “Pineapple” by Colorist Robert Louis Garza;
  • “Rebel in the Rye” by Colorist Steven Bodner of Light Iron;
  • “RED DOG: True Blue” by Colorist Dee McClelland at Soundfirm;
  • “Rise” by Colorist Ryan Ruskay of VICE Canada;
  • “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World” by Colorist Francis Hanneman of Studio Hanneman, and Colorist Tony Manolikakis of Rev13 Films;
  • “Shit Kids” by Colorist Brennan Barsell of Cinelicious, and Editor Salvador Pérez García for online editing;
  • “Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language)” by Colorist Phaedra Robledo of Cinema Maquina;
  • “TAKE EVERY WAVE: The Life of Laird Hamilton” by Colorist Kevin Cannon of Different by Design;
  • “Tokyo Idols” by Colorist Francis Hanneman of Studio Hanneman;
  • “Unrest” by Colorist Andrew Balis of Different by Design;
  • “Where is Kyra?” by Colorist Joe Gawler of Harbor Picture Company;
  • “Whose Streets?” by Colorists Adam Inglis and Tif Luckenbill of Post Factory; and
  • “World Without End (No Reported Incidents)” by Colorist Jason Crump of Metropolis Post
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017
Diversity in tech: Lots of attention, little progress 
In this Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, photo, Aniyia Williams, founder and CEO of Tinsel, poses at the offices of Galvanize in San Francisco. Williams says she has made sure to hire women as well as underrepresented minorities. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The tech industry has brought us self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, disappearing photos and 3-D printers. But when it comes to racial and gender diversity, its companies are no trailblazers.

Despite loudly touted efforts to hire more black, Latino and female workers, especially in technical and leadership positions, diversity numbers at the largest tech companies are barely budging.

In 2014, 2 percent of Googlers were black and 3 percent were Hispanic, numbers that haven't changed since. The picture is similar at Facebook and Twitter . Microsoft is slightly more racially diverse (though not when it comes to gender) and Apple even more so, though still not reflective of the U.S. population. Amazon is more racially diverse still, although it counts its large, lower-wage warehouse workforce in its totals.

Women, meanwhile, make up less than a third of the workforce at many companies - even less in engineering and other technical jobs.

Tech companies themselves tend to blame a "pipeline problem," meaning a shortage of woman and minorities with technical qualifications. But a number of academic experts, tech-industry employees and diversity advocates say there's a bigger problem. Silicon Valley, they argue, has failed to challenge its own unstated assumptions of what makes for great tech employees - and that actively hampers diversity.

"The people who are doing the hiring are not changing their thinking around what they view as qualified," says Leslie Miley, engineering director at the message-service startup Slack. Hiring managers, he says, spend too much time worrying that applicants who don't fit techie stereotypes aren't "Google-y enough or Facebook-y enough or Apple-y enough or Twitter-y enough."

Miley, who is African-American, has previously worked as an engineer at Twitter, Apple, Google and Yahoo.

THE INDUSTRY IS TRYING
Companies are spending a lot of time and money on improving diversity. Two years ago, Intel splashily set itself the goal of achieving full representation in its workforce by 2020. Despite committing $300 million to the effort and some early progress , Intel acknowledges there is "a great deal of work to be done."

Similar programs are everywhere throughout the tech industry, from outreach at high schools and historically black colleges to internship and mentoring programs to sponsorships for coding boot camps to bias training and support groups. So far, to little avail.

Why? Interviews with more than 30 tech workers, executives and diversity advocates suggest the blame lies with subtle biases in hiring, unwelcoming work environments and a paucity of diverse role models in top positions.

Aniyia Williams, founder and CEO of the startup Tinsel, says companies should focus on their own culture rather than blaming external factors they can't control, such as limited computer-science education in U.S. schools. It's not enough to release diversity reports and say, "Oh, not a lot has changed, but it's the world, not us that's the problem," she says.

Williams, who is African-American, says she has made sure to hire women as well as underrepresented minorities. Tinsel makes tech jewelry targeted at women.

WHY IT MATTERS
Diversity isn't just about fairness. It's about having designers who reflect the diversity of the people they are designing for. For tech companies hoping to reach millions or billions of users, a lack of diversity could mean their products "will not appeal to a large population," says Lillian Cassel, chairwoman of computer sciences at Villanova University.

Diverse perspectives can also help prevent grievous errors - such as a problem that arose at Google in 2015, when a photo-recognition feature misidentified black faces as gorillas.

Some related tech missteps:

- Snapchat's release of two photo filters that contorted facial features into bucktoothed Asian caricatures or blackface (one later withdrawn after public outcry, the other had "expired" and the company said it won't put it back into circulation);

- Airbnb initially taking no steps to prevent hosts from discriminating against guests whose profile photos showed they were black (corrected after an outcry);

- Twitter taking nearly a decade to tackle the vile harassment of women and minorities on its service.

In a New York Times opinion piece , Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford urges companies working on artificial intelligence to address diversity, warning that otherwise "we will see ingrained forms of bias built into the artificial intelligence of the future."

INTO THE PIPELINE
Some 11 percent of computer science graduates were black and 9 percent were Hispanic in the 2013-14 school year, the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education. Yet only 4 percent of Google's 2015 hires were black, and 3 percent were Hispanic. At Intel, fewer than 5 percent of hires were black and 8 percent were Hispanic. Numbers at other tech companies are comparable.

Major tech companies have a long tradition of hiring applicants from top-tier universities - and those universities also have a problem with diversity, even if they're doing slightly better than the companies. Some minority applicants, meanwhile, earn their computer science chops through community colleges or coding boot camps instead - places often overlooked by recruiters.

The few minorities hired into big tech companies can often feel alienated in overwhelmingly white (and sometimes Asian) environments. Unsurprisingly, they are sometimes reluctant to recommend their employer to friends, classmates and former colleagues, furthering the cycle of underrepresentation, Williams and others say.

WHEN THE CULTURE DOESN'T FIT
Silicon Valley startups like to talk about "culture fit" - in theory, the question of whether a job candidate's attitude and behavior meshes well with a company. In practice, though, it can mean that since a lot of people are white and male, they "hire what they know," says Dave McClure, a prominent angel investor in Silicon Valley.

Larger companies such as Facebook publicly eschew discussions of "fit," although the notion can unwittingly seep into hiring practices. For example, a 2013 study found that words used in engineering and programming job listings could serve to discourage women from applying. Words like "competitive," ''dominant" and "leader," can make a job seem less appealing to women in a field that is already male-dominated.

Some companies, including Facebook, offer training on "unconscious bias" to combat the problem. But they don't make such training mandatory for all employees.

And once hired, people can get lost in the shuffle given the lack of role models and mentors in higher ranks - and thus find it difficult to advance to more senior positions.

At many places, women and minorities face constant questions about their technical knowledge. They can't help wondering if they'd be taken "more seriously" if they were whiter and maler, Williams says.

GOOD BUSINESS?
Nancy Lee, the Google official in charge of diversity efforts, says the gorilla face-recognition incident was a "wake-up call" for the company. "We need to include all voices from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences (when it comes to the) technology we create," she says. "We firmly believe that good ideas don't come out of echo chambers."

Lee says things are getting better, slowly, but that it can be "demoralizing" to those working on diversity issues to be pressured to do things quickly. "We want to solve this for the long haul," she says.

But Miley, the former Twitter and Google engineer, can't understand why diversifying the industry's workforce "seems to be such an intractable problem."

"I wonder if it is coming up against...the deep seated belief that the people in these organizations are special and they want to keep out people who are not special," he says. "In our country, increasingly the people who are not special are the people who are underprivileged."

  • Monday, Jan. 23, 2017
Avid addresses collaboration challenges with innovations unveiled at NAMM
Avid chairman and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) announced several key innovations to the MediaCentral® Platform to address the industry’s most pressing collaborative challenges. Continuing to accelerate the pace of innovation to help music professionals, developments to the Avid Marketplace and partner integrations to the Avid Artist Community, along with a brand new Avid Pro Tools® update, will allow artists, producers and engineers to create, distribute and optimize media with the most comprehensive workflow solutions.

“Competition in the music industry is growing more intense, and artists and media professionals need resources that will elevate their work, gain them greater exposure and promote their name in the global marketplace,” said Avid chairman and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. “The industry is embracing our vision of a collaborative media network, and we’re pleased to introduce further innovations that will continue helping our users to maximize the value of their media.”

Avid Pro Tools 12.7 made its music industry debut at the recently wrapped National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2017 trade show. With powerful new features, Pro Tools 12.7 provides a host of new features and enhancements for qualified versions of Mac OS X and Windows. From powerful new loop-based music creation and collaborative Revision History workflows, to improvements that simplify editing and post production, Pro Tools enables users to create to their full potential—without limits.

Pro Tools and Pro Tools | HD 12.7 software gives the pro-level features and capabilities needed to quickly create and deliver professional-quality music and audio mixes. Apply real-time effects to individual clips (Pro Tools | HD only). Mix smarter with Track Freeze, VCA masters, and extended metering. Get smoother performance and highly responsive recording and playback with the extended Disk Cache. And with the Avid Video Engine, you can play HD video—and edit it with Pro Tools | HD—right in the Pro Tools timeline.

New Avid Marketplace features and partnerships will also provide artists and media professionals with instant “in-the-moment” access to the industry’s most comprehensive plug-in platform by supporting in-app purchases for Avid Pro Tools Users can buy, download, install, authorize and activate plug-ins during active sessions, all within the most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media – without losing a step in the creative process.

The Avid Marketplace is the easiest way to acquire the industry’s best effects and instruments for Pro Tools and with in-app purchasing, users can instantly access and stay current with the cutting-edge plug-ins they need, without interrupting the creation or collaboration process.

In-app access deepens the Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools experience as it enables users to instantly get a plug-in that is being used by their Pro Tools collaboration partner. Avid Alliance Partners are benefitting from unprecedented visibility and access to the fast-growing base of hundreds of thousands of Pro Tools owners and subscribers thanks to flexible, cloud deployment options.

Avid also announced new Avid Alliance Partner integrations for the Avid Artist Community from distinguished talent, publishing and licensing services. New integrated services continue to allow community members to maximize the value and visibility of their work, explore new monetary opportunities, and offer their talents on a global scale.

Launched two years ago, the Avid Artist Community helps artists and media professionals solve their most pressing creative challenges. With new services from Avid Alliance Partners, members of the Avid Artist Community can simplify production, distribution and publishing, and maximize their visibility amongst a preeminent client and user community that continues to shape the collective future of the industry.

Three of the industry’s most innovative music companies are becoming Avid Alliance Partners, giving artists the comprehensive tools and solutions they need to create, collaborate, distribute and monetize their music. The new Avid Alliance Partners are:

SoundBetter
SoundBetter is the world’s leading music production marketplace, helping musicians worldwide connect and hire top music professionals. With SoundBetter integration, Artist Community members can find musicians and engineers to elevate their songs, soundtracks and mixes. And for artists and media professionals looking to offer their services, SoundBetter opens up new career and creative opportunities by providing a new channel for offering their creative skills to others.

TuneCore
TuneCore is the industry’s premier digital music distribution company, featuring one of the largest music catalogues in the world. With TuneCore integration, members of the Artist Community can easily sell their music on iTunes and streaming services like Spotify, Amazon and over 150 digital music partners. Artists can also license their music and collect royalties easily and affordably.

Songtrust
Songtrust enables over 100,000 independent artists, songwriters, and bands at all levels to collect music publishing royalties worldwide while retaining 100% ownership of their copyright. With Songtrust’s integration, members of the Artist Community will be able to collect royalties faster and directly from 100+ countries, covering 20,000+ income sources like digital services (including Spotify and Apple Music), radio, TV, bars, and more.

  • Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
Jaunt unveils Cinematic VR Field Guide at Sundance
PARK CITY, Utah -- 

Jaunt, a developer of hardware, software, tools and applications to enable cinematic VR, announed the availability of The Cinematic VR Field Guide: A Guide to Best Practices for Shooting in 360°. Knowing that filming in VR for the first time can be daunting  for aspiring and established filmmakers alike, as old rules of cinematography may no longer apply, this guide provides creatives with tips, tricks and lessons learned for entering into VR filmmaking. Starting today and throughout the duration of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Jaunt will be hosting a series of panel discussions and workshops where the creative community can learn about the company’s hardware and software offerings and receive a hardcopy of the current field guide.
 
Grant Anderson, executive producer at Jaunt, developed The Cinematic VR Field Guide to help VR creatives focus on melding imaginative stories with the latest advances in virtual reality. Prior to Jaunt, Anderson was executive director and stereoscopic supervisor at Sony Pictures where he collaborated with industry professionals on the creative uses of 3D. Among other roles he’s held, Anderson was also a senior producer at Stan Lee Media, and digital artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is a board member of the Advanced Imaging Society and chairman of its VR committee.
 
The Cinematic VR Field Guide delves into crucial topics ranging from camera hardware and lenses to software, rendering and distribution. A few key subjects discussed include:
 

  • Camera motion – Understand proven practices for shooting high-quality, action-packed experiences without motion sickness-inducing separation between visuals and audio. 
  • Directing the action – How does one direct the action when in VR there is no such thing as behind the camera? Everything in the scene – including the crew, lighting, vehicles, etc. – will be shot. 
  • Lighting and exposure – Lighting is a critical part of any cinematography process but because VR filmmaking requires shooting in a full 360° there are some additional challenges involving contrast, flares, and lighting rigs.

 
“As VR, AR and mixed realities become more prevalent throughout mainstream cinematic entertainment, it is critical to ensure that the production teams behind these projects are equipped with the very latest and greatest guidelines to filmmaking in VR,” said Anderson. “With that in mind, who better than Jaunt to develop and distribute a complete industry set of guidelines?”
 
Jaunt’s industry-leading VR platform continues to be the most sought-after end-to-end solution. Its technology enables creators to focus on making high-quality VR content by automating the transcoding and distribution of projects across all devices to ensure VR experiences are available wherever their audiences are. Jaunt will be regularly updating The Cinematic VR Field Guide as new VR technologies and techniques emerge including an upcoming section on post-production techniques.
 
As an Official Partner of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Jaunt will be operating the The Jaunt VR Lounge at 580 Main Street, Park City, UT 84060. The lounge will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. featuring content demos, VR production workshops, charging stations, after-hours events and more. The lounge will host daily screenings of 20 different VR experiences including exclusive and award-winning VR content from RYOT, Lily Baldwin and Saschka Unseld, and Conservation International.
 
The Jaunt VR App, including all content released to date, is available on iOS, Android, Gear VR, Google Daydream, PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and major desktop browsers.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017
MAXON fortifies 3D animation and VFX workflows for "Doctor Strange"
FRIEDRICHSDORF, Germany -- 

MAXON, a developer of professional 3D modeling, animation, painting and rendering solutions, announce that three design studios--Sarofksy, Chicago, Perception, New York City and SPOV, London--relied on the versatility of its 3D software solution Cinema 4D as a key content creation tool to shape the mind-bending imagery on display throughout the Disney/Marvel Studios blockbuster, Doctor Strange.

Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role and follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.*

Cinema 4D has been a key production tool for the past five years at the design-driven production company Sarofsky. For Doctor Strange, the studio used Cinema 4D’s MoGraph and Xrefs to deliver a fully rendered 2D and stereoscopic main-on-end title (MOE) sequence. The Sarofsky team, headed by lead creative Erin Sarofsky, EP Steven Anderson, producer Sam Clark, CG supervisor John Filipkowski and others, designed a series of animated mandalas (geometric patterns that represent the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically) to look like gemstones and weathered gold that connected to the film’s rich symbolism and themes of repetition and symmetry.

The studio faced a major challenge defining how detailed the mandalas should be. “As lined artwork, the mandalas looked beautiful when very complex,” Filipkowski explained. “But when creating them in 3D, the complexity became very heavy, and at some points almost unmanageable, especially when we attempted to move around the viewport. Using the instancing clones and Xrefs in Cinema 4D allowed us to continue to evolve our scenes, camera work and animation explorations without waiting for the computer to catch up.”

“On a complex MOE title project like Doctor Strange, the Cinema 4D toolset let us focus more on what we are creating instead of exactly how it will be created,” Filipkowski added. “The options afforded by using custom procedural shaders gave the gemstones and gold imagery a photorealistic feel as though they were all textured individually.”

Doctor Strange marks the fifth feature film MOE title project that Sarofsky has worked on for Marvel Studios. The studio previously used Cinema 4D on Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Ant-Man.

  • Monday, Jan. 16, 2017
The Foundry appoints chief product officer, director of engineering 
Jody Madden
LONDON -- 

Creative software developer The Foundry has appointed Jody Madden as chief product officer alongside her existing role as chief customer officer. Phil Parsonage becomes director of engineering in another executive appointment.
 
Madden brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously held the position of COO at The Foundry. She has formerly taken on technology management roles in organizations including Digital Domain and Industrial Light & Magic. As The Foundry’s CPO, she is responsible for managing The Foundry’s full product line and delivering innovative software to the market.
 
Parsonage has been with The Foundry for more than 10 years and has combined strategic, technical and operational skills to run The Foundry’s engineering function. As part of overseeing this area, he is responsible for conceiving and implementing the company’s technical strategy.