Monday, May 29, 2017

Toolbox

  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017
Blackmagic Design announces new ATEM Television Studio HD
Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced ATEM Television Studio HD, a broadcast quality live production switcher designed for both broadcast and professional AV users. ATEM Television Studio HD features 8 inputs, multi view, aux, and program outputs, analog audio inputs, built in talkback, two flash based media players, incredible creative transitions, a DVE for effects and more.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD is available now for $995 from Blackmagic Design Resellers worldwide.
 
The new ATEM Television Studio HD replaces the original and extremely popular ATEM Television Studio. It features four 3G-SDI and four HDMI inputs so customers can connect a total of up to 8 different sources such as professional SDI broadcast cameras, consumer HDMI cameras, computers and even video game consoles. ATEM Television Studio HD is compatible with all SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. There are two channels of analog audio in, RS-422, Ethernet and a built in IEC power supply, along with program and auxiliary outputs. Customers also get both SDI and HDMI multi view outputs so they can monitor all sources, preview and program outputs, along with labels, audio meters and more, all on a single big screen television or broadcast monitor.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD is perfect for everything from professional broadcast studio shows and broadcast sports, to customers working on video blogs, gaming videos, internet talk shows, weddings, concerts, seminars and more. It also features resynchronization on every input so switching is completely glitch free. That means customers can even use it as a front end controller for AV systems and cleanly switch between sources with the press of a button.
 
Featuring an extremely portable design, ATEM Television Studio HD is the world’s smallest all in one broadcast switcher. It’s only ⅔ of a rack space wide and is packed with high end broadcast features that make it possible to create an entire live switched program, complete with effects and transitions, right from the front panel. The front panel features 8 large buttons for switching between sources, along with corresponding audio buttons, down stream keyer, fade to black, media player and cut buttons. There’s also a built in LCD screen, spin knob and additional buttons for menus and to adjust settings like transition and effect parameters. Customers simply press the button for the source that they want to see next in the program, then hit the cut or auto button to switch sources, add effects, or even key in graphics.
 
For complete creative control, ATEM Television Studio HD also includes a free software control panel for Mac and Windows. The software control panel features an intuitive interface with different pages for switching, managing media, mixing audio, and remote controlling and color correcting cameras. The Switcher page is modeled after a physical hardware control panel making it fast and easy for customers to switch between sources, adjust transitions, add upstream and downstream keyers, and more. The Media page lets customers drag and drop up to 20 RGBA graphics into the media pool and automatically upload them to the switcher’s flash memory so they can be recalled and used in realtime during a live program. The software control also features a 20 channel audio mixer that can used to adjust and balance levels from all inputs, including the analog audio inputs. The audio mixer displays meters, has sliders for adjusting levels, and controls for turning channels on or off, using the audio follows video feature and more.
 
The ATEM Television Studio HD software control also has a complete camera control section for remotely controlling cameras over the SDI program return feed. Blackmagic Studio, Micro and URSA Mini cameras are all compatible with the SDI control protocol. These cameras also feature built in DaVinci Resolve primary color correct that can be remote controlled, making it possible to balanced camera color and create unique looks, all from the switcher. In addition, customers can adjust focus and iris on compatible lenses, change camera settings, and even remote control PTZ heads.
 
The most exciting thing about the free software control panel is that multiple users can be connected at the same time. That means customers can have one person switching the program while another mixes the audio, and another uploads or changes graphics, while another person remotely color balances and controls the cameras.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD gives customers true broadcast quality transitions, effects and graphics. Using transitions such as mixes, wipes and dips are done by simply pressing a button on the front panel. There 18 included transitions give customers massive creative options because they can customize things such as border, border color and width, position, direction and more. In addition, there’s a built in 2D DVE for adding digital video effects that can position, resize and scale live video, all in realtime. That means customers can create professional picture-in-picture effects, use DVE powered transitions like squeeze and swoosh between sources, or create graphic wipe transitions with their own graphics.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD has a built in media pool that can store 20 graphics that can be used with the two built in media players. The media pool uses flash memory, so images are saved even after the power is turned off. That means customers can create completely custom graphics to use in their own programs. In addition, there is an upstream keyer with full chroma keying for green screen shots so customers can add weather maps, graphics, or even virtual sets. The upstream keyer works with chroma, patterns, shapes and linear keys.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD also features 2 downstream keyers for adding graphics, logos and bugs to video. Customers can even install a HyperDeck Studio Mini in the rack right next to ATEM Television Studio HD and use it as a source for ProRes 4:4:4:4 motion graphics files with alpha channels. That means customers can get fill and key graphics composited over live video, or they can use motion graphics with alpha as transitions between sources, all in real time.
 
ATEM Television Studio HD also includes a built in talkback converter for SDI cameras. The talkback information is sent back to the camera via the SDI program return feed on the rarely used SDI audio channels 15 and 16. When working live with a reporter in the field, there can be a slight delay that causes them to hear themselves as an echo in their headset. ATEM Television Studio HD includes a new mix minus feature that sends back all the program audio except their own voice, so they don’t hear a distracting echo of themselves while reporting.
 
“The original ATEM Television Studio has been a huge hit and is extremely popular with our customers,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The exciting thing about new ATEM Television Studio HD is that it has even more inputs and more features than before, but now makes it possible for customers to create an entire HD program right from the front panel! When it comes to creating HD programs from live events, there simply is no faster, simpler or more affordable way to do it.”
 
ATEM Television Studio HD Features

  • 4 x 3G-SDI and 4 x HDMI inputs for a total of 8 inputs, all with auto re‑sync.
  • Supports all video formats from SD to 720p, 1080i and 1080p HD up to 60fps.
  • 1 x built in multi view for 8 sources, as well as preview and program.
  • Built in media pool graphics storage for 20 RGBA stills.
  • Built in DVE with 3D borders and drop shadow.
  • Transitions include cut, mix, dip, SMPTE wipes and more.
  • 1 upstream keyer including chroma keyer plus 2 downstream keyers.
  • 1 auxiliary output with front panel aux switching buttons and LCD screen for viewing.
  • Built in audio mixer live mixes embedded audio from all video inputs and independent audio inputs.
  • Balanced XLR stereo analog audio inputs .
  • Internal sources include black, color bars, two color generators and 2 media player outputs.
  • Ethernet connection for computer connection. Mac and Windows control panel software included.
  • Compatible with all ATEM Broadcast Panel control panels when hardware panel is required.
  • Black Burst and HD-Tri-Sync genlock input for integration into large systems.
  • Compact ⅔ rack unit size is perfect for when in a portable solution is required.
  • Desktop or rack mountable using the optional Teranex Mini Rack Shelf. 
  • Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017
The Foundry celebrates the 89th Academy Award nominees
This image released by Lucasfilm Ltd. shows Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in a scene from, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." (Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
LONDON -- 

Creative software developer The Foundry applauds its customers and partners nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. The Foundry’s visual effects tools are behind numerous Oscar nominated films including La La Land, Arrival and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  
 
According to The Foundry, every single film nominated for the Best Visual Effects Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards was made using its VFX software tools, making this the sixth consecutive year that The Foundry has achieved the feat. Notable winners from previous years that have used The Foundry’s software have included Ex Machina, Interstellar, Gravity and Life of Pi.
                                                  
This year’s VFX nominees lineup, which includes Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, have each used The Foundry’s tools to create award-worthy visual effects. The Foundry’s Nuke, Katana, Mari and Modo are just a few of the tools used to bring these highly acclaimed films to life through the creation of everything from spaceships to dancing wild animals. These films shine a light on the incredible talent of the people working in the visual effects industry today. 
 
Tools owned by The Foundry have been previously recognized by The Academy in the form of multiple Scientific Technical Awards. Its tools Katana, Nuke and Mari--the tools behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s infamous Death Star--have all been recognized by the Academy in previous years. The Foundry’s Sci-Tech award-winning motion estimation technology Furnace, which is fully integrated into Nukex and Nuke Studio, has also received Academy recognition.

Alex Mahon, CEO at The Foundry, said: “Recognition at The Academy Awards is the pinnacle for visual effects studios, and we’re proud to count such amazing organizations amongst our customers who are behind the nominated films. We continue to be inspired by the incredible artistry and technical prowess used to create some of the most incredible film visuals of all time. The Foundry is committed to continually advancing its software so that the visual effects industry can bring even more spectacular stories to life.”

  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017
Tech companies worry about cherished tech visas 
In this Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, file photo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference on Google's collaboration with small scale local businesses in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Next on the immigration chopping block? U.S. tech companies fear the Trump administration will target a visa program they cherish for bringing in programmers and other specialized workers from other countries.

Although these visas, known as H-1B, aren't supposed to displace American workers, critics say safeguards are weak. Critics also say the program mostly benefits consulting firms that let tech companies contract out their jobs to save money. The administration is considering a broad review of such programs, though there weren't many specifics in a draft executive order obtained by The Associated Press.

This comes amid President Donald Trump's temporary ban on nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., including those who are employed by Google and other tech companies but were out of the country when the surprise order was issued Friday.

Here's a look at how the H-1B visa program works and why tech companies are worried.

IS THIS A TECH VISA PROGRAM?
The H-1B program is open to a broad range of occupations, including architects, professors and even fashion models. Companies must affirm that the job requires a specialty skill that cannot be filled by a U.S. worker.

Many of these skills happen to be in tech. According to the Labor Department, the top three H-1B occupations are computer systems analysts, application software developers and computer programmers. The Labor Department says about half of its H-1B certifications are for those three occupations.

BY THE NUMBERS
The U.S. government allows up to 85,000 new H-1B visas each year, and recipients can stay up to six years. Demand is usually higher, so the government holds an annual lottery. Advocates say that's a sign the cap needs to be raised.

WHAT ABOUT AMERICAN JOBS?
Companies must make a good faith effort to hire a U.S. worker before turning to an H-1B worker. They are also required to pay at least the prevailing wage for that occupation.

The Labor Department must certify that these conditions have been met. After that, Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services conducts a lottery and the State Department issues visas to the lucky winners.

Venky Ganesan, a managing director at venture capitalist firm Menlo Ventures, says that rather than displace low-wage workers, the program encourages students to stay in the U.S. after getting their degrees in high-tech specialties. He said many of them go on to start companies and hire U.S. workers.

SOUNDS GOOD, BUT .
A 2011 study from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the Labor Department's review is "cursory and limited by law to only looking for missing information and obvious inaccuracies." An Associated Press review of Labor Department data showed that less than 2 percent of applications were denied in fiscal 2016.

Critics say the program has turned into a mechanism for companies to contract out jobs to consulting firms. Indeed, the data show that top companies certified for H-1B visas are large consulting firms. Apple ranked eighth, and no other traditional tech firm made the top 15 in the AP review.

CONSULTING FIRMS TARGETED
Last week, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, whose district includes Silicon Valley, proposed raising the minimum annual salary for certain reporting exemptions to $130,000, from $60,000. The change could require more companies to prove that they indeed tried to hire U.S. workers first and hadn't displaced any Americans.

As news of the proposal circulated in India, shares of many Indian technology companies sank. The stocks of Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services - the fifth, seventh and 10th largest sources of H-1B applications - each fell 2 percent to 4 percent Tuesday on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

As a Democratic bill, it has virtually no chance of passage in the Republican Congress, although the idea could be incorporated into other measures from the GOP.

WHAT ELSE?
The draft order from the White House had few specifics, other than to review existing regulations, find ways to allocate visas more efficiently and ensure that beneficiaries are "the best and the brightest."

This suggests that the Trump isn't looking to kill the program entirely.

The order didn't propose anything specific about allocating visas, though one option is to scrap the lottery in favor of offering visas to the highest-paying jobs. Lofgren's bill would prioritize visas for higher-paying jobs and set aside 20 percent of slots for smaller businesses and startups.

Tech companies have been clamoring for the government to increase the number of annual visas allotted, but there's no indication that's on the agenda. In fact, the number of visas could go down. Although the cap itself is set by law, there's no legal requirement for the administration to issue that many visas.

AP Data Journalist Larry Fenn in Washington contributed to this story.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017
SMPTE unveils details of 2017 NAB Show's Future of Cinema Conference
Richard Welsh, SMPTE education VP and CEO of Sundog Media Toolkit
LAS VEGAS and WHITE PLAINS, NY -- 

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), the organization whose standards work has supported a century of technological advances in entertainment technology, released details about the 2017 NAB Show’s “Future of Cinema Conference: The Intersection of Technology, Art, & Commerce in Cinema,” produced in partnership with SMPTE. Scheduled for April 22-23 during the 2017 NAB Show, the conference will feature two full days of expert presentations delving into how technical innovation, artistic intent, and evolving consumption and business models will interact to shape the future of cinema.

“In the 21st century, cinema is evolving faster than at any time in its history,” said Richard Welsh, SMPTE education vice president and CEO of Sundog Media Toolkit. “With consumers seeking content via many distribution outlets, creators are working vigorously to maintain artistic intent in an ever-changing landscape. The Future of Cinema Conference will explore the burning questions, with thought-provoking sessions and speakers, as we examine the future of movie-making and SMPTE’s next century.”

On day one of the conference, sessions will address topics including the use of the SMPTE Digital Cinema Package (SMPTE-DCP) for distribution in a time of technical and creative innovation; the role of cloud technology in global distribution; the latest in cinema projection and displays, and how the industry is adapting to these advances; real-world implementations of Interoperable Master Format (IMF); the evolution and current status of immersive audio technologies and standards; and threats to content security and how to protect against them.

The second day of the conference will extend the conversation on content creation, as well as consumption and the consumer. It will tackle the impact of light field imaging on content production and feature a panel on high-dynamic-range (HDR). Sessions also will discuss topics such as consumers’ changing relationship to the movies; the significance of artistic intent to the consumer; the advance in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (AR, VR, and MR) experiences; and new styles of narrative and performance as showcased in select Sundance Film Festival entries.

“The diversity of topics and perspectives showcased in this year’s conference sessions is remarkable,” said Cynthia Slavens of Pixar Animation Studio, who serves as program chair for the conference. “From cutting-edge technology and creative techniques to questions about visual arts and the consumer experience, we’ve got it all.”

In addition to Welsh and Slavens, the program committee includes Jaclyn Pytlarz of Dolby Laboratories; Chris Witham of The Walt Disney Studios; SMPTE Executive Vice President Pat Griffis, also of Dolby Laboratories; Nick Mitchell of Technicolor Creative Services; Jennifer Zeidan of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM); filmmaker, speaker, and writer Jennifer Hall Lee; Siegfried Foessel of Fraunhofer IIS; and Rajesh Ramachandran of Qube Cinema.

SMPTE members may use code EP02 to take $100 off the NAB Show nonmember rate for a Conference Flex Pass registration or to get a free Exhibits Pass. The offer expires March 24.

More information about the conference is available here

  • 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."