Tuesday, July 25, 2017


  • Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
Turning James Joyce's "Ulysses" into a virtual reality game 
In this Jan. 26, 2017, photo, Joseph Nugent, a Boston College English professor, wears virtual reality goggles at the school's virtual reality lab in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Students are developing a virtual reality game based on James Joyce's "Ulysses" as part of a class at Boston College.

The goal of "Joycestick" is to expose new audiences to the works of one of Ireland's most celebrated authors, as well as to give a glimpse of how virtual reality can be used to enhance literature, said Joseph Nugent, the Boston College English professor who is coordinating the project.

"This is a new way to experience the power of a novel," he said. "We're really at the edge of VR. There's no guidance for this. What we have produced has been purely out of our imagination."

Nugent and his students hope to release a version of the game on June 16 in Dublin during Bloomsday, the city's annual celebration of the author and novel. They've already showcased their progress at an academic conference in Rome last month.

"Joycestick," in many ways, fills in the blanks of the novel, as many of the places key to the story have been lost to time as Dublin has evolved, said Enda Duffy, chairman of the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has tried a prototype of the game.

"The VR version in this way completes the book," she said. "It makes it real. 'Ulysses' is an ideal book to be turned into a VR experience, since Dublin is, you might say, the book's major character."

There have been a number of efforts to bring works of literature into the gaming world over the years, including a computer game of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" that became a viral hit in 2011 as it mimicked the look and feel of a classic, 1980s-era Nintendo game.

But the Boston College project is unique for trying to incorporate virtual reality technology, says D. Fox Harrell, a digital media professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is impressed that the students are taking on such a complex text.

"It requires multiple entry points and modes of interpretation, so it will be fascinating to see how their VR system addresses these aspects of the work," said Harrell, who hasn't tried the game out yet.

Considered the epitome of the 1920s-era modernist literature, "Ulysses" traces a day in the life of an ordinary Dubliner named Leopold Bloom. The title reflects how the novel draws parallels between Bloom's day and "The Odyssey," the ancient Greek epic.

"Joycestick" isn't meant to be a straight re-telling of "Ulysses," which in some versions runs nearly 650 pages long, acknowledged Evan Otero, a Boston College junior majoring in computer science who is helping to develop the game.

Instead, the game lets users explore a handful of key environments described in the book, from a military tower where the novel opens to a cafe in Paris that is significant to the protagonist's past.

It's also not a typical video game in the sense of having tasks to complete, enemies to defeat or points to rack up, said Jan van Merkensteijn, a junior studying philosophy and medical humanities who is also involved in the project. For now, users can simply explore the virtual environments at their leisure. Touching certain objects triggers readings from the novel.

The project represents an extension of what academics call the "digital humanities," a field that merges traditional liberal arts classes with emerging technology. Nugent has had previous classes develop a smartphone application that provides walking tours of Dublin, highlighting important landmarks in Ulysses and Joyce's life.

But the native of Mullingar, Ireland, is quick to shift credit for the current project's ambition to his group of 22 students, who are studying a range of disciplines, from English to computer science, philosophy, business and biology, and have also been recruited from nearby Northeastern University and the Berklee College of Music.

"These are ambitious kids," Nugent said. "They want to prove they've done something on the cutting edge. They have the skills. They're doing the work. All I'm trying to do is direct these things."

  • Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
Program takes shape for SMPTE's Entertainment Technology in the Connected Age Conference
Pat Griffis, SMPTE EVP and ECTA program chair.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), the organization whose standards work has supported a century of technological advances in entertainment technology, today announced program details for the Entertainment Technology in the Connected Age (ETCA) conference, May 8-9 at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View, Calif. Entitled “Redefining the Entertainment Experience,” this year’s conference will explore emerging technologies’ impact on current and future delivery of compelling connected entertainment experiences.

“Now in its fifth year, SMPTE is pleased to be hosting this year’s ETCA on the Microsoft campus in the heart of Silicon Valley, where engineers, executives, creatives, and researchers will gain a unique perspective on the technologies that are arguably redefining entertainment as we know it, while engaging with the leaders who are making it happen,” said Patrick Griffis, SMPTE executive vice president, and ETCA program chair. “This year’s program is extremely strong, and we look forward to a thought-provoking two days.”

Bob DeHaven, general manager of Worldwide Communications & Media at Microsoft Azure, will present the first conference keynote, titled “At the Edge: The Future of Entertainment Carriage.” The growth of on-demand programming and mobile applications, the proliferation of the cloud, and the advent of the internet-of-things demands that video content is available closer to the end user to improve both availability and the quality of experience. DeHaven will discuss the multifarious relationships taking shape to embrace these new requirements and will explore the roles network providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), network optimization technologies, and cloud platforms will play in achieving the industry’s evolving needs.

Hanno Basse, chief technical officer at Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, will present “Next-Generation Entertainment: A View From the Fox.” 20th Century Fox distributes content via outlets ranging from cinema to Blu-ray Disc, over-the-top (OTT), and even virtual reality (VR). Basse will share his views on the technical challenges of enabling next-generation entertainment in a connected age and how Fox plans to address them.

The first conference session, “Rethinking Content Creation and Monetization in a Connected Age,” will leap right into a discussion of multiplatform production and monetization using the latest creation, analytics, and search technologies. The session “Is There a JND in It for Me?” will take a second angle, exploring what new content creation, delivery, and display technology innovations will mean for the viewer. Panelists will discuss the parameters required to achieve original artistic intent while maintaining a just noticeable difference (JND) quality level for the consumer viewing experience.

“Video Compression: What’s Beyond HEVC?” likewise will explore emerging techniques and innovations, outlining evolving video coding techniques and their ability to handle new types of source material including high-dynamic-range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG) content, as well as video for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

Moving from content creation and compression into delivery, “Linear Playout: From Cable to the Cloud” will discuss the current distribution landscape, looking at the consumer apps, smart TV apps, and content aggregators/curators that are enabling cord-cutters to watch linear television, as well as the new business models and opportunities shaping services and the consumer experience. The session will explore tools for digital ad insertion, audience measurement, and monetization while considering the future of cloud workflows.

“Would the Internet Crash If Everyone Watched the Super Bowl Online?” will shift the discussion to live streaming, examining the technologies that enable today’s services as well as how technologies such as transparent caching, multicast streaming, peer-assisted delivery, and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) streaming might enable live streaming at a traditional broadcast scale and beyond. “Adaptive Streaming Technology: Entertainment Plumbing for the Web” will focus specifically on innovative technologies and standards that will enable the industry to overcome inconsistencies of the bitrate quality of the internet.

“IP and Thee: What’s New in 2017?” will delve into the upgrade to internet protocol (IP) infrastructure and the impact of next-generation systems such as the ATSC 3.0 digital television broadcast system, the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) suite of internationally accepted open standards for digital television, and fifth-generation mobile networks (5G wireless) on internet-delivered entertainment services. Moving into the cloud, “Weather Forecast: Clouds and Partly Scattered Fog in Your Future” examines how local networking topologies, dubbed “the fog,” are complementing the cloud by enabling content delivery and streaming via less traditional — and often wireless — communication channels such as 5G.

The rise of interactivity, as both a control mechanism and as a means of enhancing the viewing experience, will also be a theme of ETCA. “Giving Voice to Video Discovery” will highlight the ways in which voice is being added to pay television and OTT platforms to simplify searches. Panelists will discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing voice effectively, and the impact this trend will have on viewing behavior. In a session that explores new consumption models, “VR From Fiction to Fact” will examine current experimentation with VR technology, emerging use cases across mobile devices and high-end headsets, and strategies for addressing the technical demands of this immersive format.

Complete conference details, including registration information, are available here.

  • Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017
Gearhouse Broadcast USA to roll out 4K mobile unit at NAB 
Columbus' main control room.

At the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference, Gearhouse Broadcast USA will debut Columbus, billed as being the first mobile unit based in the U.S. to feature a full 4K monitor wall, “one button” hydraulic deployment, and integrated RF (mast included), among other unique attributes. 
The unit is specifically designed, built, integrated and finished to the highest industry standards for 4K/UHD sports and entertainment productions. Columbus employs a virtual management system to control complex signal flow and has a second control room for digital streaming, additional languages, and IMAG. 
The arrival of Columbus reinforces the company’s increased commitment to ongoing expansion in North America. With the addition of this premier production solution, Gearhouse Broadcast USA augments its wide range of existing offerings for broadcasters, studios, networks and production companies throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Caribbean. 
“Columbus was developed with the current and emerging needs of the U.S. market in mind, based on our experience here as well as from what we have learned with advanced mobile units in Australia,” said Gearhouse Broadcast CEO and founder John Newton.
The mobile unit is IP-ready and equipped with 24 Boland 4K monitors in the main control room monitor wall – driven either as quad splits or single input 4K monitors from the main router – giving total flexibility in HD or 4K. It also features 16 Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD cameras with the capability to add an additional six RF cameras or a further four Sony HDC-4300s. Hitachi SK-HD1200 camera systems will be deployed for applications outside of 4K.
Columbus’ master systems control (Lawo VSM) gives operators ultimate control, and maximum flexibility, with Wi-Fi tablets available to control and assign sources and monitoring in the various operational areas, including the monitor wall. This facilitates the initial set-up of the unit for production and allows the operators to very easily make changes during production with just “one touch,” rather than having to re-route video, audio and control features independently.
Additionally, Columbus utilizes a Grass Valley Karrera K-Frame S-series switcher along with four 12-channel EVS ChannelMAX live-production servers. An Imagine Communications Platinum IP3 router is supported by a Lawo VSM control and monitoring platform. Audio is supported via a Lawo mc256 (64 fader) audio mixer and communications are managed using the new RTS Adam matrix intercom. Wireless communication is supported via a Clear-Com Eclipse Delta frame running FreeSpeak II allowing point-to-point 4-wire beltpack usage.

Columbus was built by renowned specialist coachbuilder A Smith of Great Bentley (ASGB Ltd), per the design and under the oversight of Gearhouse’s System Integrations team. Its spacious layout features adjustable monitors in the main control room, as well as over-specified air conditioning that is both efficient and quiet. Operators have the ability to change level and color of the interior lighting scheme as well.
“We loaded Columbus with powerful video and audio multi-format capabilities, so directors, producers, engineers and operators can work with ease and in a comfortable environment,” said Marc Genin, managing director, Gearhouse Broadcast USA. “For high-pressure, live broadcast situations, this truck gives productions the ability to adapt quickly. The mobile unit is automatically deployed and leveled via remote controlled hydraulics with no physical intervention required, and its technologically advanced infrastructure provides every level of service for broadcasters’ needs.”

Three weeks after its arrival and final commissioning in Los Angeles, Columbus was put to the test at a major event in downtown L.A. “That weekend saw one of the biggest storms in 12 years to hit Southern California, bringing heavy rain and high winds,” recalled Genin. “The truck was hammered, but there wasn’t a drop of water anywhere and production continued as normal. It performed beyond expectations, proving our technical expertise and design acumen is a force to be reckoned with, even when up against Mother Nature.”
To see Columbus first hand at NAB, visit Gearhouse Broadcast in the outdoor/mobile media area between central and south halls in the exhibit area (Booth OE836).

  • Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017
High Output hires Pierce to expand focus on A-V systems integration
Chad Pierce
CANTON, Mass. -- 

High Output, Inc., a New England supplier of services and equipment for the entertainment industry, has brought Chad Pierce on board as director of systems integration for audio-visual environments.

Pierce’s primary responsibilities will be to direct the organization’s audio-visual integration team and expand its reach to a broader range of systems clientele. He will use his expertise to maintain High Output’s culture of commitment to its clients, and its focus on new, cutting-edge technology.

The addition of this new role allows High Output to increase the scope of its audio-visual services. High Output president and co-founder John Cini explained, “Chad’s arrival expands our existing capabilities and allows us to offer even more solutions to create best-in-class facilities for our clients.”

  • Monday, Mar. 13, 2017
"A Few Less Men" graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio at The Post Lounge
A scene from "A Few Less Men"
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that DaVinci Resolve Studio was used by colorist Deidre McClelland, CSI, to grade the hit comedy sequel “A Few Less Men” at full-service post studio The Post Lounge’s new Melbourne facility.
A sequel to 2011’s “A Few Best Men,” the film picks up where the original left off. Four best friends, David, Tom, Graham and Luke, are in the process of celebrating David’s marriage, when Luke topples off a cliff. Though they initially find him alive and well, a giant boulder crushes and kills him shortly afterwards. It’s now up to David, Tom and Graham to bring their deceased friend’s body home to the U.K., but it proves difficult as they find themselves stranded in the middle of Australia’s uninhabited outback. Let the crazy adventures begin.
Though The Post Lounge is Brisbane owned and based, the company purpose-built a DaVinci Resolve Studio grading theater in its new Melbourne facility specifically for this project. “Given that our philosophy is to provide effective, flexible and ultimately budget-friendly services to the film production community, it’s essential to us that we invest only in equipment which is going to be effective and flexible for us - that is, it must work across as many stages of our workflows as possible, be low-cost, portable and extremely accessible to our operators,” said Steve Cooper, owner of The Post Lounge. “Resolve fits our business model perfectly, as we can utilize it for rushes transcoding, editing, online conforms, grading and even potentially creating final file-based deliverables in both our Brisbane and Melbourne facilities.”
As Deidre noted, “It was great to have the team in Brisbane remote into the session overnight to drop in more VFX or adjust the edit when required. DaVinci Resolve Studio is fast becoming the most ubiquitous and easily comprehendible tool for both editors and colorists, so to have a team of editors and an assistant colorist working in the background or overnight from another state in Australia was pretty impressive.”
Assisting with a few VFX shots herself, Deidre explained that with more and more tools becoming available in DaVinci Resole Studio, the line between VFX artist and colorist is blurring. “I quite enjoy proactively solving problems for my clients in the grading suite rather than waiting for another VFX delivery,” she said. “In one scene, there was the usual dilemma of sunny day vs. overcast sky while the actors were trekking through the desert. Using Resolve to help keep the scene cohesive, I layered some blue sky from a previous shot and keyed through the white sky with a graduated shape to bring the sky through from another video layer.”
In addition to finessing the overall look of the film during grading, Deidre was tasked with using color to help enhance different environments and geographies, create juxtaposition between scenes.
“‘Chocolate-box’ was the term we used during the grade. The overall look for the film is warm and colorful, and we wanted it to create a ‘too good to be true’ feeling,” explained Deidre. “Also, it’s the middle of Australia, and the audience needs to feel the heat. There are scenes with hyper-colored lights and the wardrobe is pretty ‘out-there’ in places too, so enhancing that was important. Juxtaposing that is a dark, almost spooky environment when we visit a stranger’s home, but that ominous darkness is quickly contrasted with a bedroom full of quirky colorful costumes.
“We worked really hard to enhance the warmth, but without creating a general wash of one color by strengthening greens and blues to help contrast,” she added. “The feeling of the film is strong saturated color, hot and sweaty, sometimes dark and a little freaky. Color also defined the different geographical locations; we cut to London a few times, so the color palette was desaturated, cool and quite dark, which helps the audience sense the coldness of the environment, as well as see the difference from Australia.”
With grading completed in just 13 days, Deidre relied on several of DaVinci Resolve Studio’s tools to maximize efficiency. She explained, “Once the balance grade was done, I found it very efficient to grab groups of shots and in the ‘post clip’ or ‘pre clip,’ create an overall look for that particular scene. If the client wanted to see the before and after, I could switch the look off and on or create multiple versions. The ‘append node to selected clips’ was also very useful. In one click, a bunch of shots got the same adjustment.”
The film’s director, Mark Lamprell, summed up Deidre’s work on the film. “DP Steve Arnold and I set out with a very specific vision, and Deidre listened, interpreted and delivered time and time again. Whilst performing well within a brief timeframe, she also brought her own ideas and insights, and a number of times during the grading, made improvements that transcended our hopes and expectations. Quietly determined to ‘get it right,’ Deidre seemed to have an endless supply of magic grading tricks up her sleeve,” he concluded.

  • Thursday, Mar. 9, 2017
The Camera House, Division Camera merge to form The Camera Division

The Camera House and Division Camera are merging to form The Camera Division.  The full service boutique rental house will officially launch on May 1. 

The new facility will have 14 prep stations with well over 100 cameras, including the latest releases from manufacturers such as ARRI, Black Magic, Canon, Panasonic RED and Sony. The Camera Division will boast a full spherical and anamorphic lens inventory, as well as exclusive, custom-developed, vintage style lenses.

Featured will be a factory-level service department, a research and development lab, a full-service machine shop, a private screening room with 4K projector and a fully repeatable lens and camera test room. Also in development is a VR lab.

  • Thursday, Mar. 9, 2017
Telestream to acquire IneoQuest
Dan Castles, CEO of Telestream
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

Telestream®, a provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, announced its agreement to acquire IneoQuest, known for its video quality monitoring and analytics solutions for content distribution across managed and unmanaged networks. Founded in 2001, IneoQuest is headquartered in Mansfield, Massachusetts, with sales operations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. With this acquisition, Telestream will enable its customers to deliver the highest possible video quality to their viewers on any device. The terms of the deal were not disclosed as both companies are privately held.

With video quality a critical part of the viewer experience, IneoQuest’s analytics solutions help hundreds of media companies and service providers around the world deliver the highest possible quality across any network, managed or unmanaged. Recognized as an industry leader and innovator by Deloitte, Red Herring, Inc., Frost & Sullivan, and others, IneoQuest’s patented solutions continue to set the standard for measuring video quality, quality of service, and viewer experience. 

The recent acquisition of quality control (QC) technology specialist Vidcheck extended Telestream’s portfolio of solutions that facilitate the creation of high quality content by its customers. The addition of IneoQuest technologies will enable Telestream to guarantee the quality of content delivered across managed networks or across the Internet. This acquisition will extend the company’s reach from content creation to content distribution and, ultimately, to the audience.

“When it comes to media processing and delivery, the Telestream brand has become synonymous with quality. With the addition of IneoQuest technology to our existing QC capabilities, our customers will have the ability to monitor quality at any point in the delivery pipeline, making diagnosing and correcting a problem easier than ever before. With IneoQuest solutions, customers will also have access to actionable intelligence that will allow them to deploy content more strategically and gain new levels of confidence that their video is of the highest quality,” said Dan Castles, Telestream’s CEO.

IneoQuest’s solutions can tell customers if content was prepared correctly, and if it was delivered properly over managed and unmanaged networks to their viewers. Remote hardware and software agents placed throughout the delivery network, give dynamic feedback on stream quality all the way to consumption point. If a problem with quality arises, having multiple monitoring points quickly isolates the problem area, allowing quick corrective action.

“Whether a broadcaster, a content provider or a carrier, our customers want to understand where their content delivery networks are most effective, and where they are not. IneoQuest technology provides them with intelligence that allows them to assess the viewer experience at delivery and take immediate, appropriate action,” explained Calvin Harrison, IneoQuest’s CEO.

“IneoQuest’s product portfolio lines up very well with our areas of expertise. Not only are we acquiring award winning-technology and products but also a talented team of people with shared values and a similar culture of innovation. We look forward to building on IneoQuest’s business success and further developing their solutions,” concluded Castles.

The deal is subject to customary conditions and is expected to be completed near the end of the first quarter of 2017.  William Blair & Co. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to IneoQuest. DLA Piper LLP serves as legal counsel to Telestream, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is legal counsel to IneoQuest.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017
Crawford Media Services opts for Lattus object storage
Crawford's second-generation managed archive, AMBER, uses Quantum's Lattus object storage.
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- 

Quantum Corp. (NYSE: QTM) announced that Atlanta-based Crawford Media Services is using Lattus® object storage to build a content repository that supports mass migration of its clients’ legacy content to digital formats and provides ongoing media storage and management. Designed to hold an initial 1.2 petabytes of archived assets as well as content ingested during new projects, the system gives Crawford Media a sophisticated storage infrastructure that cost-effectively accommodates ongoing expansion of the company’s services and customer base.

Increasing Data Footprint Challenges Traditional Archive Approach
At Crawford Media, the mass digitization of clients’ content involves the generation of thousands of media files, all at the high bit rates and large file sizes suitable for production. As its business continued to grow, the resilience limitations of its existing archive architecture became ever more obvious.

“When you are dealing with large archives of media files at preservation quality, you start creating a data footprint and a performance demand that outstrip the capabilities of typical IT departments,” said Steve Davis, executive VP and chief technology officer at Crawford Media. “Our challenge was to develop a digital archive that would become more robust as it grew in size, rather than more fragile. We explored solutions that would allow us to keep large data sets cost-effectively in perpetuity without degradation, and to survive the costs of media and technology refreshes over time. After extensive research and testing, it became clear that object storage with erasure code — and specifically, Lattus — was the ideal choice.”

Integrating Quantum Technology to Crystalize AMBER
The integration of Lattus with Crawford’s existing archive approach was the final step in the development of the company’s second-generation managed archive, AMBER. Named after the prized substance that preserves prehistoric specimens even today, AMBER provides a level of immunity to system failure and data corruption not previously achievable. Like its namesake, AMBER is extremely effective for long-term preservation of digital data. Crawford’s second-generation archive offers peace of mind for organizations concerned with long-term security and access for their content.

According to Davis, a key factor in his selection of Lattus was the level of robustness, availability and immunity to failure it provided, which he saw as “impossible to achieve with simple replication.” Lattus’ self-healing and self-migration capabilities preserve the integrity of media files, and it offers seamless, infinite incremental scaling with no downtime.

“One nice thing about the Lattus approach, in particular, is that the growth increments are very manageable and very flexible,” Davis explained. “You don’t have to conform to a certain hard drive form factor or size to expand the system. The system simply uses capacity as you add it, becoming more robust as it gets bigger.”

“The advantages of erasure code for an archive are overwhelming,” Davis continued. “Unparalleled data integrity, immunity to entropy, a smaller data footprint than replication, high immunity to system failure, automatic rebalancing of data, and media refresh as the archive grows. With Lattus, AMBER offers our clients the extremely high levels of data durability and data integrity they need in their digital media archives.”

Along with Lattus, Crawford Media deployed Quantum’s Artico™ archive appliance, which incorporates Quantum’s StorNext® data management to move content to and from Lattus automatically while maintaining full access to the files. In addition, StorNext enables the company to write to tape for its clients.

In short, Quantum’s integrated, multi-tier storage solution enables Crawford Media to capitalize more easily and cost-effectively on new revenue-generation opportunities.

“When storage-as-a-service is your business, you need an underlying infrastructure that enables you to onboard new clients and new data as aggressively as possible,” said Davis. “With Quantum’s strong technology and support, we enjoy confidence in the overall archive and its integrity over the long term. That’s peace of mind we’d never get by assembling components ourselves. The reliability of the system keeps our cost points stable, which in turn gives us the freedom to offer better services at a competitive price.”

  • Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2017
Umedia launches integrated Vancouver studio with Baselight
A scene from "Hello Destroyer," color graded by Umedia's Andrea Chlebak.

International production and post group Umedia has opened a facility in Vancouver, B.C. The space in Canada is the company’s fifth studio, incorporating high-quality visual effects services with finishing services. The Vancouver office has installed a powerful Baselight TWO grading and finishing suite.

The 10,000-square-foot Vancouver studio will house approximately 35 artists and is designed to fully support digital intermediate and editing suites plus production offices, and comprises a 4K screening theatre with an 8m screen, Dolby 3D and Dolby Surround 7.1. The theatre is linked to the Baselight network, which includes a Baselight ASSIST preparation workstation along with the Baselight TWO system.

Umedia has signed Andrea Chlebak as supervising colorist, formerly of Digital Film Central Vancouver. Chlebak has been using Baselight for a decade and is a frequent collaborator of director Neill Blomkamp, having completed creative color for his last two feature films, Elysium and Chappie. Chlebak and Umedia’s finishing team are focused on designing intuitive workflows across the facility, enabling filmmakers to access high quality solutions and services: from development and on-set supervision, through to finishing and delivery.

“We believe that Baselight best supports the quality and type of collaborative experience we want to offer our clients,” Chlebak said. “It has a responsive grading toolset, an elegant and integrated control surface, and shot-by-shot color space monitoring.”

“Baselight’s non-destructive grading and finishing capability empowers us to work smoothly with our clients, as well as with each other,” she added. “The result is that we will be able to deliver consistently creative, cutting edge product.”

Recently Chlebak completed the final color grading on the feature film Hello Destroyer, which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.  Hello Destroyer’s director Kevan Funk and cinematographer Benjamin Loeb spent two weeks finalizing the grade in Umedia’s new state-of-art theatre. “The film includes a lot of close-ups and low light, so grading it in a cinematic environment was essential,” said Funk. “Umedia gave us access to the best resources and facilities, so we could immerse ourselves in the film and make confident decisions on the final look of each scene.”

Another of the drivers for the Vancouver center is to allow remote working with other Umedia facilities and their international clients. The Baselight Linked Grade (BLG) workflow from FilmLight, in which all grading and finishing decisions are non-destructive and a complete decision tree is contained in a compact metadata file, is the ideal platform for global collaborative working.

The Vancouver studio is led by Peter Muyzers, CEO, previously COO of Image Engine where he helped launched the company’s film division. Muyzers, together with head of finishing David Hollingsworth, previously head of picture at Park Road Post Production, believe in keeping the grading process simple and creative. The flexibility of Baselight in terms of project set up, conform speed, and rendering/mastering options along with comprehensive color pipelines, all helps to streamline collaborative conversations and workflow design. Specifically in Vancouver, the offering for full-fledged Baselight-centric workflows is a unique advantage.

Muyzers concluded: “With long-standing relationships of many of our key team members, we find FilmLight a very supportive partner--they take a personal approach with their customers, and are eager to take on problem solving or facilitate unique workflow challenges.”

  • Saturday, Mar. 4, 2017
Nick Dance Shoots "The Replacement" with Cooke lenses
Nick Dance, BSC, shoots "The Replacement"

Cooke Optics, manufacturer of precision lenses for film and television, announced that The Replacement, the new three part drama that started on BBC 1 on February 28, 2017, was shot with Cooke S4/i lenses by Nick Dance BSC.
Written and directed by Joe Ahearne and starring Morven Christie and Vicky McLure, the unsettling drama follows the story of a woman who falls pregnant just as she lands a big contract at work. Her maternity replacement, Paula, seems ideal at first – enthusiastic, competent and personable – but as Paula shadows Ellen through the last few months of her pregnancy, Ellen begins to worry that Paula has another agenda. 
Dance, who also recently shot the BBC’s Poldark with Cooke glass and ARRI ALEXA cameras, said that Cooke S4/i’s are his "go to" lenses. “The S4/i’s tend to be my first choice, as this range generally covers most requirements,” he said. “I find the Cookes more forgiving than other lenses, especially when shooting digital; the focus roll off is closer to the look when shooting on film. Although the story needed to feel real and naturalistic, we still wanted the female protagonists to look as good as possible but keeping it believable, and these lenses do this.”
Shooting in Glasgow meant that the weather and lighting conditions could change in an instant but, Dance said, a combination of Cooke lenses, ALEXA cameras and the colorist, Sonny Sheridan, made it work. 
“The lenses greatly contributed to this as the contrast holds through all lighting conditions,” Dance said. “We did embrace lens flare, especially in the story when paranoia sets in, and the lenses handle this well - the image remains solid and doesn't blow but has a beautiful subtle flare and bokeh.”
The main set, the architects’ offices, also posed a major lighting challenge as it features almost 360 degree plate glass windows and walls. “As the window was massive, it was not possible to ND, and also we would be shooting throughout the day, so it would be tricky and time consuming to remove ND when the light starts to drop or the weather changes,” added Dance.  “I didn't want to over-light the interior, and using big lamps would cause more reflection issues, so less was definitely more in this instance!  We soon discovered what worked and what didn't, and the lenses helped me greatly with holding contrast with all these challenges. I have to say it was all worth it as the natural reflections gave us extra depth and texture that otherwise we wouldn't have had with flat solid walls.”