Next Stop the Oscars

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Tue, 01/15/2013 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

Almost a year after Cinedigm Entertainment Group and distributor New Video jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to director Kirby Dick’s powerful The Invisible War the movie will be front and center as a finalist for Best Feature Length Documentary when the 2013 Academy Award winners are named. Focusing on the emotional stories of rape victims the film is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military its long-hidden history and what can be done to bring about much-needed change. As much as the filmmakers would love to win that award they believe that the movie’s real mission to reduce the number of rapes committed in our military. And the clearly don’t intend to stop no matter what happens on Oscar night. We're thrilled and gratified by this honor ” said Dick. “However to truly honor our service members we need to stop the epidemic of rape in the military. What's different about this film in comparison to my other films is that rape in the military is still a burning issue and one that we can profoundly impact by changing policies within the military.” The Invisible War is a film by Dick and Amy Ziering; written and directed by Dick; produced by Ziering and Tanner King Barklow; executive producers: Regina Kulik Scully Jennifer Siebel Newsom Geralyn White Dreyfous Abigail Disney Maria Cuomo Cole Sarah Johnson Redlich Women Donors Network Teddy Leifer Sally Jo Fifer and Nicole Boxer-Keegan. The Invisible War paints a startling picture: today a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19 300 service members sexually assaulted in 2010 alone. Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims the film is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military its long-hidden history and what can be done to bring about much-needed change. At the core of the film are often heart-rending interviews with the rape survivors themselves—people like Kori Cioca who was beaten and raped by her supervisor in the U.S. Coast Guard; Ariana Klay a former Marine who served in Iraq before being raped by a senior officer and his friend then threatened with death; and Trina McDonald who was drugged and raped repeatedly by military policemen on her remote Naval station in Adak Alaska. And it isn’t just women; according to one study's estimate one percent of men in the military – nearly 20 000 men – were reportedly sexually assaulted in 2009. Both a rallying cry for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who've been assaulted and a hopeful road map for change The Invisible War is one of those rare films so moving that it has already helped change military policy.  After screening the film in August Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta changed the way accusations of military assault are handled by the U.S. military taking decision-making away from unit commanders and assigning it to higher-ranking officers. The film was the winner of last year’s Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Audience Award. Last March Cinedigm New Video jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to the film. The Invisible War marked the first acquisition under the then recently announced partnership between Cinedigm and New Video to acquire and distribute independent films theatrically in North America and across on-demand and digital platforms and DVD/Blu-ray. At the time Chris McGurk chairman and CEO of Cinedigm said “We are honored that our first New Video/Cinedigm acquisition is The Invisible War. The film is incredibly powerful and deserves – in fact demands – to be seen by as many people as possible. We very much look forward to working with Kirby Amy and their team to share this important film with audiences across the nation.” “Kirby is a fearless and intrepid filmmaker and The Invisible War is sure to ignite a national firestorm ” Susan Margolin co-president of New Video said in March.  “We are thrilled to launch our partnership with Cinedigm by bringing this astonishing story to audiences across the country.” In September the team launched a social action campaign with a premier of the movie on Facebook called Million Eyes on the Issue. It was a first-of-its-kind social media premiere of a major documentary. The director engaged in a Q&A following the screening.  Following that the movie was available on-demand exclusively to fans on Facebook through September 23. McGurk said the Facebook effort was ideal for this film. “The Invisible War has been a game changer in so many ways ” he said. “This marriage of a groundbreaking film with the largest social media gathering place on the planet creates an enormous opportunity to inform and encourage action among viewers.”   The film made its iTunes debut on September 25 for sale or rent in HD  and debuted on VOD and DVD on October 23. Throughout its run the film has generated an outpouring of support and civic engagement on the issue of military assault. Regarding the Oscar nomination McGurk said “We are extremely proud that The Invisible War has been acknowledged by the Academy with this nomination.  Not only did the filmmakers led by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering create a powerful evocative and haunting film their documentary is helping to bring systemic changes in the way our military treats both the victims and perpetrators of the terrible crime of sexual assault.  However despite the significant progress that has been made since the film’s release the transformation in our military’s policy and culture regarding this issue is far from complete.  We hope this nomination will bring even more focus on Kirby and Amy’s objective of ensuring sexual assault will never again be an occupational hazard for our military service members. Every day Dick said “Fifty more men and women will be sexually assaulted in the military according to the Department of Defense estimates.  We hope the attention this nomination brings will send a message to the Department of Defense to protect our women and men in uniform. ,3788
CinemaxX and Sony Finalize VPF Deal,2013-01-16, Germany's most famous cinema chain CinemaxX has officially signed up to a virtual print fee deal with Sony Digital Cinema which includes all 34 of its venues in Germany and Denmark. To date 127 CinemaxX screens have been equipped with Sony’s 4K digital projection systems and the rest are scheduled to be implemented mid-2013.
 Christian Gisy CinemaxX’s CEO said “As we approach the final round of cinema digitization we are very pleased to complete a VPF deal with Sony Digital Cinema. Our decision to install Sony 4K projectors with 3D capability was absolutely right. As the only major German cinema chain that relies on Sony 4K Projectors we were able to present the blockbuster release The Hobbit in high frame rate with just a simple software upgrade allowing the great duel lens 3D technology of Sony to achieve the best possible 3D image. The resulting immersive images complimented the Hobbit’s HFR presentation perfectly.  In keeping with our promise of ‘more than cinema’ our customers enjoy the ultimate cinema experience thanks to Sony Digital Cinema.”
  With Sony’s VPF program the transition to digital is easier and more affordable. Sony helps shoulder the costs for cinemas switching to 4K. Sony Digital Cinema works closely with major movie studios and distributors to subsidize the cost of exhibitors’ technology transition. Sony’s VPF program dramatically cuts capital investment and eases the cash flow as the audience enjoys the spectacular benefits of 4K projection from day one.
  David McIntosh director Sony Europe said “Sony is delighted to partner with CinemaxX to help build on its great reputation in the German market for delivering the best possible cinema experience to its customers. With 4K technology becoming mainstream this investment by CinemaxX will future proof itself and ensure it’s ahead of the industry by installing quality projectors across all of their venues.” ,3790
This Last Lonely Place,2013-01-16,Writer/director Steve Anderson’s thriller This Last Lonely Place  which filmed November-December 2012 in and around Los Angeles has wrapped principal photography. The project was fully financed through Kickstarter. ,3795
American Heart,2013-01-16,Filmworkers provided editorial color grading and other post production services for American Heart the new music video from country music superstar Faith Hill. Adam Little edited the video which includes a dance duet between Hill and 10-year-old sensation T.J. Jones. Working simultaneously with Little colorist Jimmy Cadenas performed color grading applying the final polish to the video’s rich playful all-American look. Directed by Trey Fanjoy the video weaves performance imagery with dance sequences in which Hill and young T.J. Jones perform on a stage in front of a giant American flag made of flashing red white and blue lights. A large projection screen also positioned behind the dancers displays images of American cities people and icons. American Heart is the first single from Faith Hill’s forthcoming album of the same name. Little has edited more than 100 videos directed by Fanjoy for some of the biggest stars in popular music and the results this time are magical. “I love working with the motion of dancers highlighting the best parts ” Little said. “That made the edit fun. I wanted to show the interplay between Faith and the boy; they had a great relationship.” While Little and Fanjoy refined the cut Cadenas Filmworkers’ new Baselight colorist colored scenes in an adjacent grading suite. “Our overall objective was to make it look patriotic and beautiful ” he said adding that he also spent a lot of time drawing out the details in the illuminated flag and projected imagery seen in the background. “The video was shot with an Arri Alexa which meant that the imagery gave me all the latitude I needed ” Cadenas said. “I could bring down the detail when I needed to or let it fly off the charts.” Fanjoy said that editing and grading the video at the same facility offered both practical and artistic advantages. Among other things Cadenas’ grades could be immediately applied to Little’s cuts. “Raw footage from digital cameras has a very flat look ” she said. “Although this allows for great color flexibility in grading the final video showing rough cuts to clients with milky non-color-corrected footage is not optimal. In doing the post-production at Filmworkers we were able to work simultaneously on different parts of the process.  As we were editing with Adam we were color grading the rough cuts with Jimmy.  This way each version was always presented to the artist with stunning color.” ,3797
Colorflow Opens Berkeley Facility,2013-01-16, Colorflow has opened a new facility in Berkeley California. The 7500-square foot facility features three color grading and finishing suites and a DCI-compliant digital intermediates grading theater. Colorflow has recently provided color grading and finishing services for a number of films including Heatstroke a suspense thriller from Bold Films; and A River Changes Course a documentary set to premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Founded in 2009  Colorflow has quickly built a following among production companies and individual filmmakers. It blends a laid-back boutique-style environment with talented colorists and next generation technology. “We needed a larger facility with a more robust infrastructure and a theater environment in order to properly service the type and number of projects we are attracting ” said Alexander Black the company’s managing director. “We have done a careful job in balancing the creative and the technical in the new facility ” said digital intermediate supervisor Alexander MacLean. “Every infrastructure decision was made in service of the creative process for our artists and clients.” The centerpiece of the new facility is its DI grading theater. Originally built as the Jacobs Theatre by Saul Zaentz it includes theater-style seating for 20 a Christie 2K digital cinema projector a 20-foot screen and a latest-generation Autodesk Lustre color grading system. Three HD color and finishing suites feature Assimilate Scratch Autodesk Smoke and DaVinci Resolve. All of the company's resources are linked via a high-speed fiber optic network that allows seamless access to HD 2K and 4K media in any suite.  Its infrastructure is fully file-based and can directly accommodate raw media from all digital cinema cameras including Red Epic and Scarlet Arri Alexa Canon C300/500 and Vision Research Phantom. “Our theater mixes the best of all I've seen over the years at post facilities around the globe ” said lead colorist Kent Pritchett. “I can't imagine a better working environment and I am thrilled to offer this environment to clients.” Colorflow’s creative staff includes lead colorist Kent Pritchett and senior colorists David Lortsher and Gary Coates. In addition to color grading and finishing the company also operates a full-service digital lab providing dailies visual effects pulls standards conversion film restoration digital cinema packages data backup and archiving and tape deliverables. Its past credits include the Academy Award-nominated short The Barber of Birmingham and several PBS documentaries. It also recently provided restoration services for director Carroll Ballard’s 1969 documentary short Rodeo prior to its screening at The 38thTelluride Film Festival. Colorflow’s location at the Saul Zaentz Media Center positions it just a short distance from Skywalker Sound and Lucasfilm and near the heart of the growing Northern California film community. Colorflow executive producer Alex da Silva notes filmmakers welcome the individualized service and the opportunity to finish their films at a site outside Los Angeles or New York. “It’s our talent and attention to service that sets us apart ” he said. “Our clients are not rushed or bumped. There’s none of that kind of behavior here. Rather filmmakers can apply the finishing touches to their work in a relaxed comfortable environment while working with world-class post-production talent and the industry’s best technology.” ,3801
Gloria Palast Upgrades Theatre Sound,2013-01-16,The Gloria Palast movie theatre in Munich is beefing up its digital cinema equipment with a high-end sound system based on the established Dolby Surround 7.1 format. The Gloria Palast which experienced several decades of ups and downs after opening back in 1956 is now being transformed into a premium cinema. Its seating capacity is being cut in half dark leather armchairs are being installed and up on the gallery an exclusive wood-paneled lounge accentuated in deep red is taking shape. The reopening is scheduled for this month. Kinoton supplied all of the components for the sound system. The company's technicians then took care of professionally installing and adjusting all of the audio and event equipment and sizing it to fit the auditorium. In recent years attention has mainly focused on digital cinema projection but now it is increasingly turning to sound quality. While analog film only holds audio data in compressed form digital cinema servers provide discrete virtually lossless tracks for all audio channels. In combination with a leading-edge sound system this ensures superb sound reproduction for a perfect audio experience. Agreeable clear-as-a-bell music maximum speech intelligibility and homogeneous volume levels throughout the auditorium are guaranteed. The new premium sound experience in the Gloria is based on a custom-tailored system involving state-of-the-art loudspeakers crossover and power amplification technology and a special program for designing and planning shows. The highlights are a Dolby CP750 digital sound processor three powerful three-way full-range systems (JBL) an effect speaker system (JBL) a high-wattage subwoofer system (JBL) and a network-controlled and -monitored amplification system (Crown). In addition Kinoton supplied and installed a Kinoton DCA system for automatically controlling all of the cinema equipment including signal distribution to the various event components such as the audio control panel and microphones as well as the voice amplification and feed systems. The Gloria Palast has been operated since 2007 by Kinopolis which also owns the Mathäser Filmpalast in Munich. This makes it possible to very flexibly plan the Gloria's program. The corporate group has been run for over a hundred years by the Theile family now in the fourth generation. ,3804
The Road To Perfecting High Frame Rate,2013-01-16,By James Mathers Opinions are like noses everyone’s got one; now it’s time to stick mine into high frame rate the technique employed by Peter Jackson on The Hobbit which involves shooting and projecting at higher frame rates than 24fps. Let me first say that I’m a big fan of Peter Jackson and I appreciate his fearlessness to break from the pack and try new things but on an aesthetic level...I hated it! If you haven’t yet seen The Hobbit this way the best analogy I can give is the experience of watching behind-the-scenes footage from a coming attractions featurette. They generally play scenes from the movie which look great then cut to the making-of footage shot simultaneously on the same set with the same actors lighting set and production value and yet it suddenly looks terribly cheesy. Granted the behind-the-scenes footage is not from the prime angle and is usually shot with a much lesser quality camera but the sensation was the same. The advance trailers of the movie at normal frame rates looked great and had me excited to see it; but once in the theater viewing 3D HFR at the famous and huge Grauman’s Chinese (1 000+ seating capacity and over 70 foot screen ) I was sorely disappointed. This display was the best commercial I could conceive of for Kodak and should serve as a cautionary tale for pushing the technological limits of digital without enough concern for aesthetics. Only a couple of weeks before I had seen an advance screening of Spielberg’s Lincoln at another storied theater the Bruin in Westwood. [Lincoln] was shot in 2D on 35mm film; it was lustrous and Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography helped to elegantly tell the story. I’ve polled a lot of my friends and family both in and out of the industry and the consensus was near universal; very few liked the overall effect of HFR. A notable exception was my wife Charlene executive director of the Digital Cinema Society; (we don’t always agree on politics either but I respect her opinions.) I also respect the power of higher resolution and believe in the digital tools now available for storytelling but for me this particular technique failed. The CGI sequences did look exceptional but the scenes with actors especially on sets were disturbing. The Hobbit is a fantasy film where the storytelling techniques need to transport the audience to a magical dimension but instead of drawing me into the story the hyper-realistic look only served as a distraction constantly pulling me back from the suspension of disbelief. The 24fps standard was developed as an economy the slowest rate achievable for persistence of vision without looking too jittery. A 180 degree shutter or 1/48 of a second exposure on a film camera left the shutter open half the time allowing film to advance through the camera and the operator to view the image off a spinning mirror while the gate was closed. After more than 80 years we’ve all become accustomed to the look but it is not without its issues. We cinematographers must always be mindful of our panning speeds to avoid strobing as focal lengths increase and while motion blur (the soft focus or streaking that occurs when an object moves across the frame during the exposure of each frame ) can be considered a motion artifact I think it is also a storytelling tool. It is part of the language and literature of narrative cinema subliminally telling the audience to just go with it or in other words suspend their disbelief. In the case of The Hobbit we are asked to accept a lot including fire-breathing dragons a kingdom of fierce fighting dwarves and a magical wizard to name just a few. On the other hand shutter angles can be selectively reduced to great dramatic effect to heighten the action in a sequence by creating a choppy uncomfortable effect such as in a fight scene or the famous beach-landing scene in Saving Private Ryan. Using high frame rates effectively reduces the exposure interval the same as if the shutter angle had been reduced and serves to reduce motion blur. In the case of The Hobbit it seems this reduction in motion blur and an increase in resolution was a large part of the justification for employing HFR. In Peter Jackson’s words: “One of the biggest advantages is the fact that your eye is seeing twice the number of images each second giving the movie a wonderful immersive quality. It makes the 3D experience much more gentle and hugely reduces eyestrain. Much of what makes 3D viewing uncomfortable for some people is the fact that each eye is processing a lot of strobing blur and flicker. This all but disappears in HFR 3D.” I don’t question the use of 3D which was a major embellishment for The Hobbit only the value of HFR. Since I don’t have such problems with most 3D for me this was just TMDI (Too Much Digital Information.) By comparison Life of Pi shot at the 24fps standard made excellent use of 3D and I didn’t experience any problem with their stereography. It takes enormous filmmaker clout and a fair amount of chutzpah to experiment on this scale reportedly a $250 million budget. The movie was highly anticipated and although income per screen has been good it has been somewhat aided by higher premium ticket prices for Imax and 3D but the slow uptake of 3D TV will diminish this benefit in ancillary distribution markets. And after two weeks the number of tickets sales has dropped nearly 60 percent twice the rate of any Lord of the Rings film. It should also be noted that no Lord of the Rings installment ever exceeded the $100 million budget mark 40 percent of what The Hobbit cost. I suppose we should all cut Jackson a fair amount of slack; after all this technique should be considered a work in progress. A version was first pioneered and championed by our own Douglas Trumbull with his Showscan endeavors back in the late 1970s. While Peter Jackson shot 3D with two Red Epics and is projecting at 48fps (twice the industry standard) Trumbull was using 65mm film at 60 frames per second (2.5 times normal acquisition and exhibition speeds). After more than 30 years Trumbull is still working to perfect these techniques but now he has a heavyweight collaborator. Another great industry innovator James Cameron has announced plans to join in with his next Avatar 3D feature to use a digital version of Showscan to maintain the 3D effect during scenes involving high-speed motion (like explosions). They are attempting to perfect the technique by dynamically changing frame rates on objects people shots and sequences as needed. This kind of selective use of these enhanced resolution techniques may be the key to success. As mentioned earlier The Hobbit HFR looked great on the CGI action sequences but I think it needed to be used more sparingly elsewhere such as on actor close-ups. So cheers to Peter Jackson for his brave efforts to push motion picture technology forward which will surely benefit our art and science in the long run. For me it’s just not there yet but when it is it will be nice to see Doug Trumbull's contribution to a heightened theatrical experience finally see its day and we will have influential filmmakers like Jackson and James Cameron to thank for it. James Mathers is a cinematographer and co-founder and president of the Digital Cinema Society. This article is an excerpt from the Digital Cinema Society eNewsletter dated December 28 2012 and is reprinted here with permission. ,3806
Mixing on the Run,2013-01-16, Production sound mixer Scott Harber understands the challenges of all kinds of film production. “I started out doing ENG and doc shoots evolved into fast moving feature docs like Borat Bruno and Religious and then into film and television like Gangster Squad Castle Wilfred VEEP The League and Shark Tank ” he says. “Progressing from documentaries to cart-based projects has allowed me to work from a more flexible less formal place. To me being flexible means being able to adapt quickly to what the director needs. This requires cases that allow gear to be carried and organized in a well-designed system. These days many shoots are impulsive and can turn on a dime and Petrol Bags helps me accommodate the director's vision.” His most recent choices are the Deca Lightweight Audio Bag the Portable Digital Recorder Pouch and the Deca Sound Man Rain Poncho. 

“I like the Deca Lightweight Audio Bag because it keeps my recorder and wires tight to my body which lessens the effects of weight and keeps my footprint as small as possible. My Lectrosonics 411s and SRs fit snugly in the elastic tie downs and there’s a synch-down strap that makes the wireless solid and small. I can then quickly lose what I’m not using which keeps my bag light so I’m not slowed down. Even with several wires in play I can manage to make the rig compact enough to allow booming to be a viable option. I used to try to do this via Velcro but had to fight constant snags and the hassle of disassembling a block of velcroed receivers. This bag has solved that problem. Petrol Bags are simply the best designed carriers out there.”

 Harber spent a few days on Wilfred recently shooting in the sand on a wide gloomy beach. “The crew had to fit on a Gator and had some very long dolly runs on a Griptrix so I needed to keep my sound package compact ” he explains. “Being able to have all my gear condensed in one bag kept me nimble not a burden ahead of the game and best of all out of the sand.”
 A few days later production was shooting in and out of boats and on a saltwater marina. “The Lightweight Audio Bag and Deca Sound Man Rain Poncho saved me. I was completely self-contained recording and mixing gear at my fingertips while I kept the gear dry from the overspray of salt water ” he explains. “Going small allowed me to focus on the mixing side of work rather than spending my time on logistics and other concerns.”

 Harber recalls more than a few challenges when he was heading up the crew on the upcoming Gangster Squad. “We did a number of insert car rigs where my setup had to be able to fit into the passenger side of the tow rig. I ran a multi-cable from the detachable elastic ring on my sound bag in the picture car to the cab of the tow rig where I like to mix. I had a 788T a Comtek BST75 and a walkie for cues. From there I was able to make better qualitative judgments on what was being recorded rather than being outside listening to the dialog over the wind and the generator. Petrol’s system really facilitates my style of work and the way I like to arrange my gear to suit what we are shooting.”

 For Harber Petrol Bags have become a lifesaver. He’s much in demand with a wide variety of assignments. Each brings a different challenge which requires a different set up. Being able to pack up and move into the action quickly without worrying about protecting his sensitive equipment is a must. “Not a problem ” he says. “Not only are the bags versatile they’re strong and have all those little extras that make doing my job a lot easier.” ,3808
Conversation with Nagesh Kukunoor,2013-01-16,By Lynne Gardiner Digital Cinema Report India Correspondent With 12 films under his belt and the 13th in post-production Hyderabad-born Nagesh Kukunoor is a familiar face in Bollywood circles yet his work is strictly not of the typical formulaic Bollywood genre. Watch a Kukunoor film and you won’t see any glitzy singing and dancing routines. What you will experience is a strong carefully crafted storyline and if the director has his way you will also be taken on a rich emotional journey. Known for creating cinematic gems from modest to mid-range budgets Kukunoor proves that there is a market for good filmmaking without spending mega bucks. One of his early works Hyderabad Blues (1998) cost a little over US$30 000 was made in less than three weeks and ran for an astonishing six months in major towns across India. His other films include Rockford (1999) Iqbal (2005) Dor (2006) 8x10 Tasveer (2009) Aashayein (2010) and Mod (2011). Kukunoor’s new film Lakshmi has just gone into post. Based on true events it tells the story of a child prostitute. Kukunoor has a Master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He now lives in Mumbai. In this interview he talks about his art as a director the frustrations of storytelling in the Bollywood-crazed Indian film industry and his first impressions of shooting digital. Digital Cinema Report: You are a film director but you also act produce and write scripts.  What compels you above all to be a director? Nagesh Kukunoor: Yes I have a finger in every pie you could say. As a director I have total control from scratch to finish of filmmaking and I enjoy every aspect of it. Only as a director can I have my say at every stage. Film directing is simply another way of story-telling. There are many ways to tell a story but unlike let’s say with a storybook you are working with more than a single element. For example I can spend weeks on sound design which in itself comprises hundreds of separate elements. Each has a purpose that allows me to create a very specific detail or evoke a particular emotion. Every choice I make is important for example which instrument to use the timing of it the way it is played - everything. By directing I can be involved in all of these decisions and guide the operators the editor the sound designer into creating the vision I have in my mind. I enjoy writing and generating the right material for my films and I love acting too but directing is my first passion. DCR: Being a director is an art but of what specifically? NK: Directing a film is first and foremost the art of organizing and communicating. I say this because although directing is a combination of skills some like scriptwriting and editing while these are both critical they can be handed over to trusted colleagues. I can’t hand over physical direction as the way I want things to be exists as organized thoughts in my head. I need to communicate these thoughts to everyone involved in making my films. This is direction. In this way I would say that organizing and communicating covers around 90% of direction. DCR: In that case does this mean that to be a film director you have to have natural leadership qualities? NK: Certainly there are all types of directors from those who sit on set saying very little to those like me who are bouncing around the scene interminably. Thinking about it right from when I was doing my first film I can see in myself an ability to communicate very clearly so in that respect you could say I have leadership qualities. I am sure however that this ability does not exist in my life outside work - but it comes right out on set. DCR: Given that you are so involved in all aspects of filmmaking just how far do you get involved in technical decisions? NK: I am ridiculously hands-on as a director but at the same time I am very trusting of the people I work with – they are the experts after all and I have absolute confidence in their skills. DCR: How would you categorize or describe the types of films you make? NK: I don’t make traditional Bollywood and I don’t make art films either. For me the story is the most important reason for making a film. I don’t like to be categorized as an art film director as in the past the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) funded films belonging to a big art house movement but they were not bound by commercial success. I am aware that my films have to be successful for the investors who have put money into them. So let me simply say that I am a filmmaker who tells stories. DCR: When a film is so personal how do you manage to step back and see the whole picture? NK: For me working so closely with every part of making my films it is difficult to see the big picture. It’s all about the little bits the tiny minutiae. It’s impossible to step back as there are no fresh eyes with which to see the big picture. Filmmakers are unable to be objective – they just aren’t. What works for me is something I do at the end of every principal shoot. I leave it all behind for a month and visit the US. In this way I get away from being close to the material. Then I come back and begin the next stage. DCR: You put a lot of emphasis on storytelling. What attracts you to a storyline? NK: It’s an indefinable thing. You know I really don’t have a good answer for what attracts me to a story but one commonality that runs through all my films so far is a real emotional hook. I guess if I can sense an emotional hook to a story then it interests me. DCR: How do you choose the actors for your films? NK: Very simply I conduct an extensive audition process. The whole system in India is geared up so that everyone wants to play the lead. I find it very frustrating. An actor becomes well known and they only want to be the hero. The system is changing but very slowly. I predominantly look for exciting new talent – of which there is plenty in India. They come without complications. DCR: How hard is it to fund movies when for you the story is the essential element rather than the actors? NK: It is very difficult. The first question everyone asks is “Who is the hero?”. Nobody is interested in the script – it’s all about the star and that means the male hero. The story is irrelevant. So funding is very difficult. DCR: Do you have a favorite set of equipment for making your films or do you like to experiment? What about digital technology? NK: Generally I am happy to experiment so long as any new process or piece of equipment allows me to capture my vision on film. I experimented recently with digital. On my current movie Lakshmi I shot digitally for the first time and was very happy with it. It refutes the theory of the project triangle which basically states that out of the three attributes fast good and cheap you can only ever achieve two at any one time. Shooting digitally kind of breaks that rule. I found I was able to just roll the camera. Because I don’t make films with huge budgets I would always be aware of wasting footage but with digital I have much more freedom. Shooting Lakshmi I didn’t have to stop filming to give direction or to make a small change to something. This meant there was no ‘breaking of the moment’ during a shot. Also I would notice something off the action and pan off to capture it then return back to the action – things like that just trying out ideas. It’s a very flexible way of working. DCR: Multiplexes are springing up so much in India especially in towns. How important to you are the single screens now? Do they still have a role? NK: The single screens are extremely important. Everyone predicted their demise when the multiplexes started to appear but the single screens are still here and I hope they are here to stay. A big portion of the Indian population just wants to see films – it’s the only source of entertainment for some people - but most can’t afford to go to a multiplex. In rural areas they either buy a cheap pirated DVD or go to a single screen. DCR: Many cinemas in India still use outdated equipment and relatively few have DCP. How do you feel about audiences watching your films in low quality? NK: t’s heartbreaking. To see my film screened badly with the volume turned up way too high and the picture too dim it just breaks my heart. So much effort goes into sound design and lighting and everything. Every detail is pored over so to have my films screened badly is very hard. DCR: What is the best way to become a director in India? NK: Well I spent one week at a TV and film workshop in Maine. I don’t think you can train to be a good director – it’s really all hands-on experience. I think that one of the really important attributes needed to become a good director is pure instinct for what works and what doesn’t. DCR: What is the most satisfying part of being a director? Is winning awards important to you? NK: Honestly awards are not important to me. The most satisfying part of directing is seeing large audiences turning up to watch my films. DCR: Finally have you ever considered shooting a film outside India? NK: So far I have only shot parts of films outside India for example Bollywood Calling (2003) had scenes shot in the US and 8 X 10 had shots from Canada. Next year I am planning to shoot an entire film in the US. ,3811
Cinedom in Cologne Installs 4K Projection,2013-01-16,The Cinedom in Cologne installed two 4K dual projection systems to enable the presentation of 3D movies on screens 22 and 19 meters wide. The installation was timed with the release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie. The Kinoton DCS Digital Cinema syetms includes two dual projection systems each consisting of two DCP 30 LX II 4K projectors. Kinoton also equipped two other auditoriums of the Cinedom with DCP 30 LX II 4K and DCP 30 LX II 2K projectors. Consequently the theatre now boasts 4K format systems (4 096 x 2 160 pixels) in three auditoriums. All of the DCP projectors feature 3D systems from Dolby. The projectors are based on projection technology provided by Barco. 1.38-inch 4K or 1.2-inch 2K DLP Cinema series II technology from Texas Instruments ensures highly precise color reproduction and fantastic contrast. The DCP projectors are already equipped with an internal media block. This feature guarantees excellent reproduction of 4K material while supporting 2K Higher Frame Rates to additionally enhance the picture quality with 3D content and rapid movements. Two high-end sound systems also installed by Kinoton are based on the established Dolby Surround 7.1 technology for appropriately exquisite audio enjoyment to match. The Cinedom in Cologne is Germany’s fifth-largest multiplex cinema with a total of 14 auditoriums. ,3819
Finding a Safe Haven,2013-01-31,In a recent article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine writer Ty Burr reported what every exhibitor knows all too well: by a wide margin January is the worst box office month of the year. According to Burr “Grosses of films released in January have averaged $387 million over the past decade; compare that with annual average grosses for June releases ($1.1 billion) and December ($1.2 billion) over the same period. Even February — frozen depressive pass-the-Xanax February — averages $615 million a 60-percent leap over January.” Burr offered an interesting synopsis of how this came to pass but what is of greater concern to exhibitors everywhere is to how to fill their empty theatres each and every day January included. Increasingly thanks to digital cinema technology the answer is with alternative content and there is evidence to suggest that January is becoming a profitable safe haven for exhibitors. Burr started his article by posing this rhetorical question: “Which came first: January or unbearably bad movies? Consider these unmemorable releases from the past decade: Tooth Fairy Freedom Writers Kangaroo Jack My Bloody Valentine 3D You Got Served Snow Dogs Are We There Yet? Do they evoke anything in you beyond a migraine and memories of ten dollars misspent? No because they are January releases — and January is Hollywood’s very own leper colony a hot zone of cinematic contagion.” The numbers support his case. For anyone wondering which January holds the record for the worst box office numbers Burr supplied the answer. Crediting the web site Vulture he said “The worst January ever was January 1989 a month that included fittingly a terrible movie called The January Man.” This January was no different and included Movie 43 about which Gabe Toro in his review in The Playlist said “Despite the title this… thing…is barely a movie.” Despite ongoing efforts by the National Association of Theatre Owners to convince Hollywood to release their top movies throughout the entire year January remains a very cold box office month. As Burr’s article noted there have been recent exceptions to the January rule. In 2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop earned $146 million even though few people would make the claim that it’s a good movie. Arguably a better film and also released in January 2009 Taken with Liam Neeson earned $145 million but these movies are not typical of the month. It wasn’t always this way. In the Golden Era of studio movies Burr wrote “Silent-era Charlie Chaplin hits like The Kid (1921) and The Circus (1928) the Garbo/John Gilbert melodrama Flesh and the Devil (1927) and Josef von Sternberg’s Last Command (1928) all came out during the first month of the year. The 1940s saw such gold-plated January classics as Preston Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels (1942) Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and John Huston’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). In 1940 alone John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath Howard Hawks’s His Girl Friday and Ernst Lubitsch’s Shop Around the Corner joined forces for what deserves to be enshrined as the greatest January of all time.” The breakdown occurred in the 1950s after the government forced the studios to divest themselves of their theatres and Hollywood began to shift release patterns to the summer months and major holidays. As Burr said “Of the films on the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 list — a useful if occasionally insane ranking voted by the Web site’s registered members — only two post-1948 movies appear to have been released in January. They are Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and — the grand exception to the January Movies Will Never Amount to Anything rule — The Silence of the Lambs which opened in New York on January 30 1991 and went on to sweep the Academy Awards.” Until the advent of digital cinema technology about the only thing an exhibitor could do in January was hope for the best. Today there are other options to help fill those empty seats and generate some much-needed winter revenues. National CineMedia has been a pioneer in alternative content and through its Fathom Events division has developed a sophisticated network of hundreds of theatres that can take part in nationwide events built around a diverse and growing catalog of alternative content. In an email reply to my questions about her company’s overall experience with alternative content events specifically in January Shelly Maxwell executive vice president of NCM Fathom Events provided the following response: “January is traditionally a great month for Fathom events.  Our events give fans of all types of entertainment the opportunity and motivation to get back out after the holidays and experience programs they are connected with and passionate about. In fact this January was a great example as we’re presenting nine events with a wide variety of entertainment offerings from the Met Live in HD for Opera enthusiasts (five events)  a Nicholas Sparks Safe Haven national fan discussion with the author a behind-the-scenes look at the 24-hour musical in One Night Stand for those who love Broadway to The Best of RiffTrax full of laughs and always a fan favorite over two nights this month. For example audiences who made New Year’s resolutions to add more culture to their life certainly had several opportunities to do exactly that last month as Fathom presented two Live Met Live in HD performances Les Troyens on January 5 and Maria Stuarda on January 19 and three encores Un Ballo in Maschera on January 9; Aida on January 16 and Les Troyens on January 23.” The Safe Haven experience in particular demonstrates the potential for alternative content especially in slower box office months. Another NCM Fathom Events executive told me “It was broadcast to 531 theaters and tickets cost $12.50. The event featured clips of the movie which will be released on February 14 but consisted mostly of interviews with Nicholas Sparks Josh Duhamel Julianne Hough and the producers.” While NCM Fathom doesn’t release specific event or revenue numbers it is clear that alternative content is a growing business. The nine events held this January is more than double what was done in both 2011 and 2012 when there were four and triple 2010’s three events. “This January is certainly a record breaker ” the executive said. ,3821
Alamo Cinema Expands,2013-01-31,Triple Tap Venture owner and operator of the Houston area Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theaters is expanding its franchise with a new seven-screen location at the Vintage Park Shopping Village in Northwest Houston.  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Vintage Park will be exclusively equipped with all Sony 4K projection equipment including the newest 4K system the SRX-R515P on five of its seven screens. “We believe in the Sony 4K technology and are excited to be one of the first in North America to deploy Sony’s latest version projection system ” said Neil Michaelsen CEO of Triple Tap Ventures. “Our focus is to provide an experience with diverse programming and to deliver the best presentation for our audience. Additional 4K content is becoming available through 4K restorations of classic films as well as first-run features. By selecting the newest technology we will have the flexibility to play the latest releases in the highest possible quality be it 4K High Frame Rate or 2K.” Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is well known for curating diverse film programming hosting Alamo-only interactive movie events and showcasing first-run Hollywood feature films. The new Vintage Park location will also feature enhancements like stadium seating to complete the total in-theater experience. Sony's approach to digital cinema is a perfect match for the Alamo brand and the future vision of our theaters said Tim Reed chief development officer of Alamo Drafthouse. As we continue to expand our operations having a partner like Sony is a tremendous benefit that will help us to achieve our ultimate goal: continually improving the guest experience that we deliver to our customers when they visit an Alamo theater. “What is great about this new model projector is the scalability for a smaller auditorium giving our customers another product option based on the needs of their theater ” said Christopher Simpson national account manager for Sony’s Digital Cinema Solutions group. “We are excited to be a part of this project.” ,3822
War of the Worlds,2013-01-31,More2Screen will distribute the film of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – Alive On Stage! The New Generation to digital cinemas worldwide in April. ,3823
Oblique Goes On The Road,2013-01-31,With racial segregation the Cold War McCarthyism and the growth of suburban culture it was a time of powerful social constraints crying out for change. Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road published in 1957 follows a small group of mavericks on their travels across America as they search for meaning and independence in a culture of control and conformity. Oblique FX completed all of the visual effects for On The Road Walter Salles’s adaptation of the novel. The facility delivered 110 shots in all including matte painting and historical clean-ups to help bring to life 1950s America. “It’s a thrill for us to have worked on a filmic adaptation of this book ” said Émilie Dussault executive producer at Oblique FX. “Many of us remember reading that novel. It’s a masterpiece of modern literature and wonderfully captures a feeling of freedom and youth.” Making this world believable for a contemporary audience meant Oblique FX started with the director’s palette of rich earthy tones. The production was shot with hand-held cameras on 2-perf 35 mm stock giving the picture a feeling of spontaneous authenticity. At the same time camera jitter added to the complexity of the clean-up and compositing work. “We had to address distortion and destabilization issues on many shots to match the look of the film ” said Alexandre Lafortune VFX supervisor at Oblique FX. “To accomplish this we analyzed the color and the grain extremely carefully so that our digital work accurately mimicked the original celluloid.” “Our work included clean-up of shots to erase contemporary buildings and modify signs to keep the audience in that period ” continued Lafortune. “For one scene we had to transform the streets of Montreal where part of the movie was shot into New York. This required extensive matte painting with lots of Photoshop and rotoscoping.” Highway center lines were corrected to reflect the paint color used in 1957 which was white rather than the yellow commonly used today. “The road is a character in the film ” explained Lafortune “constantly changing through summer and winter seen through a windshield covered in rain and in bright sunshine.” “Even when something looked simple to alter the way the camera moves or the wet windshield obscuring our view made it quite challenging ” said Lafortune. “We needed time to make it seamless and you can’t cheat on details like these. We had to make the movie accurate to the time and place. That was our biggest challenge.” In other scenes as the protagonists drive past hayfields modern industrial hay bales were transformed into stacks of the traditional square hay bales that were used at the time. Lafortune worked closely with the film’s VFX supervisor Louis Morin a frequent collaborator with the team at Oblique FX including on projects such as Brokeback Mountain  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  The Fountain and Little Manhattan. Oblique FX was also part of the group of Montreal facilities that worked with him on Source Code. That film earned Morin a nomination for a VES Award in 2012. “We really enjoy working on independent productions like On the Road ” said Benoît Brière president of Oblique FX. “The focus on the artistic element is inspiring. Projects like these are perfect for a boutique facility like ours.” Produced by MK2 and American Zoetrope  On The Road stars Sam Riley Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart. Directed by Walter Salles  On The Road was released in theatres on January 18. ,3824
Keeping The Hobbit on Track,2013-01-31,It took a world first behind the scenes workflow in order for The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey to become the first large scale wide release feature film to be exhibited in 48 frames per second. Park Road Post general manager Cameron Harland says it took two and a half years of research development testing and refinement to create the unique workflow. “From on-set services grading and exhibiting HFR digital dailies through to the DI online stereoscopic work and final color grading it was a massive undertaking ” he says. Utilizing SGO’s Mistika platform as the hub of its large DI infrastructure Park Road in partnership with SGO co-developed tools across the entire pipeline. SGO worked in parallel with the Park Road team in Wellington from pre-production through to final delivery of the film developing the tools and inbuilt-HFR feature set needed to meet the extremely high demands of this complicated production. Dave Hollingsworth Park Road’s head of picture and supervising digital colorist for The Hobbit says when Park Road discovered the Mistika they knew they had found their solution. “When the decision was made to film and post The Hobbit in 48fps 3D there wasn’t any one product on the market capable of delivering what was needed. SGO had by far the best stereo toolset available and equally importantly they had a passionate and highly skilled development team that demonstrated an absolute commitment to developing everything else we needed to deliver this film.” Park Road’s head of technology Phil Oatley says “We wanted to create a complete pipeline based on one platform from dailies work and dailies screenings right through to final online stereo and color grading. The Mistika provided a platform that was flexible and robust gave us even greater speed than what is normally required for your average 2D 24fps project and was so good that the filmmakers never noticed that we were dealing with four times the data of a normal feature.” Hollingsworth says “What I am most proud of is that whilst this was potentially the most complex post ever carried out on a feature film the technology never got in the way of what the filmmaker wanted. It is safe to say that we could not have done it without SGO.” Warner Bros. executive vice-president of feature post production Marc Solomon says “SGO has shown that it is a cutting edge forward thinking company with expansive digital tools and experienced professionals. Their contribution to the post of The Hobbit helped us to provide a spectacular looking film.”
 SGO's director of global sales and operations Geoff Mills says It has been a truly meaningful journey since Park Road first saw Mistika and recognized the potential in the technology and the team at SGO to deliver a workflow and creative solution which stretches the boundaries of film production. CEO of SGO Miguel Angel Doncel says “At SGO we recognize each new Mistika installation as the beginning of an exciting partnership between those that create technology and those that use technology to tell stories. We are extremely proud to work closely with Park Road's exceptionally creative and brilliant technical team who are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible relying on game-changing technology that grows with them. Geoff Mills says Our close relationship with Park Road at all levels has been instrumental in making HFR stereo 3D a reality and has demonstrated that above all it is the people who unlock dreams through passionate determination and ground-breaking development. Miguel Angel Doncel says We have immense gratitude to Park Road for their inspirational support and extensive feedback which helped us to continue to develop Mistika to have even more innovative and cutting-edge features that are required to make extraordinary projects such as The Hobbit trilogy. The results are breathtaking and have made momentous movie history. We look forward to continuing the great relationship we have built with their incredible team for many more years to come.” ,3828
Rising to the Occasion,2013-01-31,Kathryn Bigelow’s gripping telling of the hunt for Osama bin Laden Zero Dark Thirty relates the complicated and far-ranging events of the 10-year effort to track down the al-Qaeda leader with extreme attention to historical accuracy. That is especially evident in the film’s final act which focuses on the 2011 nighttime raid by Navy Seals on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. In order to mirror the real events as closely as possible those scenes were shot at night with infrared lighting used to simulate the view of the Seals who were wearing night vision goggles a decision that created unique production challenges. It was because of such nighttime and low-light scenes that cinematographer Grieg Fraser elected to shoot the film with Arri Alexa cameras and Codex Onboard M recorders. The Alexa’s sensor offered unsurpassed sensitivity to light and the Codex recorder’s ability to capture ArriRaw data provided proven means for maintaining maximum image information. “The Codex recording solution was an obvious choice for me when shooting with Alexa ” says Colin Wilson an executive producer of the film. “The gear is solid and reliable and proven to work well in harsh environments. We shot all over the world under difficult conditions and Codex kept our data is safe.” The Codex recorders’ relative light weight and compact size were also important to the production’s need for flexibility. Due to the remoteness and ruggedness of some of the locations camera crews often worked with the Alexas in hand-held configurations. To make their job easier workflow specialist Digilab Services provided camera assistants with backpacks to which the Codex recorders and other accessories were mounted. Digilab also designed lightweight injection-molded plastic shells to replace the original aluminum shells of the Codex Datapacks ” says Codex product specialist James Eggleton. “Every effort was made to keep weight to an absolute minimum.” Additionally two Codex Digital Lab-3 systems were incorporated into a mobile digital laboratory infrastructure set up and maintained for the production by Digilab. The labs were used to copy picture data to two separate storage systems assign names to clips according to conventions set by editorial produce twice-verified LTO tape copies of data perform visual QC sync sound apply a dailies grade and render Avid DNxHD MXF media. An ACES color pipeline was used for the dailies grade. “Most of the shoot was 4-camera sometimes split into two units ” says Eggleton. “Whenever a splinter unit strayed far afield one of the lab technicians followed with a Codex Lab and Storage-10 packs. That allowed the storage packs to be rotated between the two units with tape archiving QC and file deliverables handled at the main base.” The mobile lab was staffed by three Digilab technicians working in shifts to minimize diskpack turnaround times.” Each day ArriRaw data from the Onboard Datapacks was collated to a Codex Storage-10 Diskpack (10TB RAID-3 protected) and to direct-attached SAS storage. Once the two copies were complete and verified the datapacks were cleared and returned to set. “Datapacks were delivered to the lab in two splits at lunch and at wrap ” Eggleton says. “As a result the morning's material was graded and ready to view by the DP and director on wrap.” Zero Dark Thirty was the first production to use Codex's LTFS tape offloader module. Nearly 24 million ArriRaw images were captured over the course of the shoot (approximately 276 hours) on a shooting average of 4-hours per day. The Codex Digital Labs were used to archive all of the ArriRaw material to LTO-5 tape in LTFS format. “Typically one Codex Digital Lab was dedicated to archiving the previous day's material while the other was used to organize and clone the data from the current shooting day ” Eggleton says. “During the busiest sections of the shoot both labs were either cloning data or archiving to tape 24-hours a day.” System logs from the Codex and Mac machines were sent on a daily basis to Digilab’s  London office so that lab processes (archiving data verification) could be cross-checked with the LTO tapes that were being shipped back to London. All digital assets were tracked throughout the shoot from the London base. ,3831
Hollywood Wax Museum,2013-01-31,When the Hollywood Wax Museum refurbished its on-the-street lobby to attract the attention of passers-by Electrosonic was called upon to design and install a number of HD video displays to capture the interest of strollers on Hollywood Boulevard. The monitor displays show a montage of newly made clips that pay homage to all genres of Hollywood movies ranging from classic westerns and Sci-Fi spectaculars to musical extravaganzas war films and mysteries. All of the displays can show the same images simultaneously or rotate the content. Electrosonic provided a 2x1 grouping of 55-inch Samsung monitors and another configuration of 3x1 55-inch Samsung monitors both in portrait mode to the lobby. Custom enclosures were provided for three Innovox speakers mounted to the exterior. Electrosonic also placed two pairs of 46-inch Samsung monitors in portrait mode on two columns over the cashier's desk in the lobby and created the lobby's back wall from two 3x3 video displays comprised of 46-inch Samsung monitors in landscape mode. The company selected Samsung HD video monitors for their reasonable price point and super-thin mullions which deliver almost seamless imagery. rpVisuals furnished custom monitor brackets for all the monitors and Elliott Metal Fabrication consulted on the custom mounting and seismic-rated installation. Electrosonic project manager Dan Laspa says the job posed the usual challenges for an old Hollywood building including obtaining seismic certification for the monitor mounts. We worked only at night when the museum was closed he adds so we wouldn't impede business in any way. Electrosonic provided an Alcorn McBride Video Binloop player for the monitor displays plus an Alcorn McBride InterActivator interactive video disc controller which Laspa says was perfect for this installation. The system programmed by Electrosonic is easy for museum employees to operate; they can start the content loop in the morning and stop it at night as well as alter the pause time between loops if crowds demand more frequent playback. All of the equipment is housed in a single small rack in a closet behind the main lobby. ,3839
Talking with Sohonet’s David Scammell,2013-01-31, By Nick Dager Sohonet was started in 1995 by a group of London-based post-production facilities as a research project to explore the benefits and opportunities of high-speed connectivity. Since becoming an independent company in 2003 Sohonet has grown its network operations internationally and is renowned for creating the world’s largest independent media network. Last September the company opened a new office in Santa Monica California. I recently conducted an email interview with Sohonet’s president and CEO David Scammell. Digital Cinema Report: Introduce yourself and tell us how long you’ve been at the Sohonet? David Scammell: Throughout my career I’ve been responsible for introducing innovative technology to the film and television industry.  During my tenure at Quantel I was responsible for introducing the first digital effects products and Animation tools such as Harry and Henry.  I was also responsible for the first digital products for the film industry and spent considerable time internationally exploring the development and future opportunities in this arena. This led to my joining Sohonet in 2001 where I have expressed my passion for the opportunities available in international and collaborative working in measurable terms. DCR: You recently opened an office in Santa Monica. How did that evolve and how is it progressing? DS: Sohonet has been established in Los Angeles since 2006. As we continue to add a raft of new services to significantly enhance the value of the Sohonet service we required larger office space on the Westside of Los Angeles to fully support our rapid expansion plans. DCR: In your view what are the key benefits of data management versus other methods such as tape or disc? DS: Tape is expensive to store as it has to take up physical space. It also does not make search and retrieval or collaborative working practices easy. File-based content on the other hand is easily accessible by many players across different geographical locations or time zones. The film and television industries are rapidly adopting file-based workflows instead of tape to meet ever-growing demand for higher definition content such as HD and 3D. Indeed media analysts have predicted that digital media content will increase over nine times in the next five years. There is a now a vast range of affordable new digital cameras as well as innovative data management and storage services out there that will ensure that the future remains digital. DCR: What are the limits to the size of files that your technology can handle? DS: There are no file size limits for Sohonet. Our network is dynamic expandable and can be reconfigured as required – it is versatile for each customer’s needs and not finite. When commercially available products are not up to the job we develop our own technology in-house. Our team of expert engineers have produced robust network monitoring services using our own network monitoring systems. DCR: How much does the size of a file affect the speed with which it can be transferred? DS: In a nutshell double the file size means double the transfer time. DCR: With your technologies what are the limits on how many people can work on the same data simultaneously? DS: Different data is used for different purposes. There are no limits to how many people can work on data at the same time. It is up to the customer and the particular technology systems they have installed to decide whether one or many work on data simultaneously. DCR: How do you ensure that a customer’s content is safe and secure? DS: Security is a vital element of all Sohonet’s products and services. Our security solutions are designed specifically for the needs of the media industry where a high demand for the integrity of potentially sensitive material is a business priority. We consequently offer a range of security solutions to ensure the protection of all our clients’ critical assets including managed firewall services encryption secure file transfer protocols disaster recovery and secure remote access. No one takes the security of clients’ digital assets more seriously than us which is I suspect one of the key reasons why Sohonet has the largest most established private high-performance network for the media industry in the world. DCR: What if any are the downsides of data management? DS: The film and television industries are undoubtedly facing a growing storage challenge as media organizations increasingly convert to digital for its content capture post-production content distribution and content archiving. As digital data grows then flexible scalable low-cost high-performance storage systems are going to play a pivotal role in shaping the way the media industry moves forward. DCR: How do you charge for your services? DS: Sohonet offers a bespoke pricing model so we don't have a fixed price sales sheet. Our prices depend on the bandwidth service a customer wants and their location. For example a client with a low bandwidth requirement in one well connected area will be paying lower that a customer who wants high bandwidth in multiple locations across the globe especially where there is minimal network infrastructure. On top of that Sohonet also offers a range of value-add services such as storage and file-transfer services which are negotiated as and when required. Sohonet is planning further services in the near future so value-adds are going to play an important part of our offering moving forwards. DCR: Where does Sohonet in particular and cloud technology in general go from here? DS: We recently launched our Sohonet Hub a new customer portal that enables our customers to find communicate and share information and digital content with each other quickly and effectively and will be the launch pad for a range of exciting next generation services. It optimizes the benefits of being in an exclusive club – The Sohonet Media Network. The Sohonet Hub will play an important role in the way Sohonet does business and cloud-based offerings such as a highly flexible integrated and super secure storage-on-demand service will be a strong part of the equation moving forwards. ,3844
Will House of Cards Work?
,2013-01-31,By Valentina I. Valentini Digital Cinema Report West Coast Correspondent What is one of the main things that a consumer wants? Control. Or at the very least the illusion of control. TiVo OnDemand – they’re all forms of control for the consumer/viewer. The viewer gets to choose what to watch and when to watch it. And to be in control the consumer must have the freedom of choice. So Netflix – the current mack-daddy of allowing its subscribers to choose what when where and how – is bringing even more to the living room. Netflix’s sophomore attempt at original programming House of Cards will premiere on February 1 and all 13 episodes from the first season will be available that very same day. Voila: choose to watch just the premiere or maybe two or three episodes or watch the entire first season in two days or two weeks. Up to you… There's risk with the linear broadcast model: When you roll out a show over a period of time there's a lot of noise and distraction in the marketplace ” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety last month. “It creates a more casual relationship with the content. I experienced this first-hand last year when a five-episode YouTube web series I produced Super Nanny vs. Stripper Nanny lost it’s traction with viewers after the first two episodes dropping half the views the second week/second episode. Although my web series is just a tad more low profile than House of Cards (or other popular web series like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and The Guild for that matter) the theory still applies: Give a consumer the choice to watch one or all of a series and stop trying to ‘gain a following’ by stringing them along for months at a time and ipsofacto you will gain a following. Even popular web series seem to find it difficult to keep their viewers interested over a long period of time. And when you’re shortening the episodes to five or eight-minutes long it’s that much harder to keep them interested – even if the content is super interesting. Take Warner Bros. Digital’s (in conjunction with Bryan Singer) H+: The first two episodes (episode one coming in at about seven minutes and episode two at three-and-a-half) aired on August 8 and reached just over a million views. The next chunk of two episodes – again both very short – aired a week later and reached only half of those views with consistently falling numbers for the rest of series landing at only 7 724 for the latest episode on January 9. With David Fincher helming the first two episodes and starring Kevin Spacey Robin Wright and Kate Mara House of Cards (based on a BBC mini-series of the same name and centering around current-day political corruption in Washington D.C.) is probably the highest profile original series to release solely on a digital platform. There was moderate success after Netflix’s Lilyhammer a Norwegian-American TV series that aired last February after its debut on Norwegian television. Netflix had the full eight-episode season up online at the same time for its North American service and Sarandos has been reported saying the model turned out to be a success. Half of the people who streamed one episode of Lillyhammer ended up watching two in one sitting Sarandos explained to Variety. Some watched all eight episodes in 24 hours. There is a demand for this. People want to take control of when they watch content. The hope of Netflix and other digital platforms that will likely follow in their footsteps is that House of Cards will play into binge viewing habits that have been surfacing ever since box DVD sets have been sold. In the same way that licensed programs like Mad Men and Breaking Bad have when their entire library became available for streaming on Netflix consumers are telling providers what they want and providers are beginning to answer accordingly. ,3852
Traumpalast Backnang,2013-01-31,The Traumpalast Cinema in Backnang Germany has installed a Dolby Atmos surround sound system. The theatre located in a Swabian town northeast of Stuttgart had only recently reopened with a full set of equipment from Kinoton and is only Germany's second cinema to feature the new sound technology. Kinoton configured the new Dolby Atmos system to suit the auditorium in the Backnang Traumpalast. Additional surround speakers on the ceiling and side walls and subwoofers on the rear walls immerse moviegoers in a world of sound. All of the speakers (a total of 57) are powered by a dynamic amplification system with a total output of about 40 000 watts. Dolby Atmos is backwards compatible and also supports the Dolby Surround 7.1 and 5.1 formats. Until now a state-of-the-art cinema with 7.1 or 5.1 could distribute the sound to seven or five channels plus a subwoofer group for playing music background noises dialog or sound effects. Dolby Atmos goes further: in addition to sending the sound out via channels it can be individually distributed to as many as 64 discrete speaker feeds. What's more sound objects can be defined at any desired coordinates within the auditorium. For example an object could combine a bird's song with the noise of its wings flapping or when a window is smashed include the sound of the falling glass shards. Dolby Atmos has already been used for films including The Life of Pi and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Even the soft sounds in Hobbit become amazingly realistic with Dolby Atmos. Like when a bird flies through the forest or if someone is talking in a hobbit den the sound lets you tell where the -still unseen - speaker is located. The release of a number of other films using Dolby Atmos has been announced for 2013. The Backnang Traumpalast reopened on November 1 2012 after remodeling. The cinema's five auditoriums together seat more than 600 and the customization variety and colors of its interior decoration and furnishing are probably unique in the cinema industry. The Traumpalast is luminous all in blue like the stars on the logos from the façade through the foyer into all of the auditoriums says owner Heinz Lochmann who has now opened his sixth Traumpalast cinema. ,3855
Distributing War of the Worlds,2013-02-14,Top Drawer Tours has appointed More2Screen to distribute the film of the musical multimedia production  Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – Alive On Stage! The New Generation to digital cinemas worldwide beginning in April. Filmed live on stage in front of a sell-out audience at London's O2 Arena last December Alive! is based on HG Wells' dark Victorian tale of a Martian invasion of England.  Jeff Wayne’s newly re–imagined production with its award–winning score stars internationally acclaimed actor Liam Neeson. As George Herbert the Journalist Neeson interacts with a stellar cast of live performers including Jason Donovan Marti Pellow Wicked’s Kerry Ellis Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson and Jett Black’s Will Stapleton. The show features the hit singles The Eve of The War and Forever Autumn performed live and accompanied by 45 musicians on stage conducted by Jeff Wayne. A multimedia experience the production includes a host of special effects with CGI on a 100-foot–wide animation wall pyrotechnics illusions and leaf drops. Filmed in high definition and 5.1 Surround Sound  Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – Alive on Stage! The New Generation is ideal family entertainment brought to life on the big screen. Christine Costello managing director of More2Screen said “We are delighted to be working with Jeff Wayne and his team to bring this fantastic show to our cinema partners. It’s a great opportunity for both existing fans and a brand–new audience to enjoy this momentous production in glorious high definition and mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound.” Jeff Wayne said of the collaboration with More2Screen “With their extensive experience of distributing alternative content across a wide range of genres More2Screen is ideally placed to take this new version of our arena production to an international audience and to showcase it on the big screen for the very first time.” More2Screen is the leading London–based alternative content distributor with more than 6 years of experience acquiring and distributing world-class opera ballet music concerts theatre and special event films to cinemas across the globe – including 25 live broadcasts and over 100 different recorded productions and 3D live/recorded content. ,3860
Going Attractions,2013-02-14,For most of the past decade April Wright has been actively writing producing and directing independent films. One of her most recent efforts and possibly the one nearest and dearest to her heart is her feature-length documentary Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie. For her as a child growing up in Northern Illinois near the Wisconsin border it was one of the rites of summer to go to the local drive-in on a summer evening. “Going to the drive-in is such a distinct memory for everyone who’s ever done it ” she says. “It’s not just about the movies it’s about having an experience with the people you’re with.” In addition to the movies she saw there and the memories of summer nights that she shared with friends and family she was also a fan of large architectural structures such as the Eiffel Tower and was drawn to the massive drive-in screen towers themselves. That included abandoned drive-ins as well she says adding “I often wondered what they must have looked like in their heyday.” She says that when she first thought about the idea of doing a documentary there were about 1 000 drive-in theatres left in the country. By 2005 the year that she began her first serious work on the movie that number had dropped to 500. She told herself “I better get out on the road before they’re all gone.” So she did and earlier this month she screened a rough cut of her movie at the annual United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association convention. In time Wright went to every single state (except Alaska which has no drive-ins) and she filmed almost 500 locations including several interesting long-abandoned drive-ins. She was determined in her words “to tell the definitive story.” She laughs softly with more than a hint of irony when she says that many of the abandoned drive-in theatres she sought out are now WalMarts. According to the UDITOA as of July 30 2012 there were 368 drive-ins and 611 screens in the United States and Puerto Rico. This is an improvement over the last time the numbers were taken in December 2011 and the totals were 366 theatres and 606 screens. At their convention which was held in Kissimmee Florida February 4-7 a new program was announced to help that growth trend continue. Working with their digital theatre conversion program the Cinema Buying Group Cinedigm and NATO unveiled a new exhibitor deployment agreement Traditional movie theatres across the nation have embraced the many benefits of digital cinema ” said John Fithian president of NATO. “Cinedigm and NATO’s collaborative efforts have played a significant role in that transition and we are thrilled to partner with Cinedigm again to bring drive-ins into the digital age.” The vast majority of drive-in theatres are independent owner operated small businesses (the largest drive-in theatre chain totals eight sites) and most operate seasonally usually around 110 days per year or less. Drive-in screen size and required illumination is on the outer edge of technical capabilities of projection further complicating the conversion task. As a result only about 10 percent of drive-in exhibitors have installed digital projectors for their large outdoor screens. “As someone who grew up going to drive-ins I’m thrilled that we are in the position to usher them into the digital age ” said Alison Choppelas vice president of Cinedigm’s Digital Cinema Group.  “By providing drive-in theatres digital content including studio feature films indie films concerts and cultural events this important piece of Americana will be an even more engaging gathering spot for the communities they serve.” In addition to a new exhibitor deployment agreement Cinedigm/NATO/UDITOA have taken a number of steps to address the outdoor deployment issue including securing exceptions to the Digital Cinema Initiatives specifications applicable to drive-in theatres such as relaxed sound brightness and masking requirements. “We are thankful for the opportunity and excited to work with such forward-thinking companies as NATO and Cinedigm ” said John Vincent Jr. UDITOA's president.  We believe their innovative and generous approach to exhibitor deployment agreements means that the unique movie-going experience outdoor exhibitors offer will continue for generations to come. April Wright’s screening of an 85-minute rough cut of her documentary was a highlight of the event. Not surprisingly Wright says the movie was well received. The drive-in owners who attended the event appreciated her documentary perhaps more than any other single audience ever could because they understand the realities of their business better than anyone. Wright says that half of the attendees she met have either already converted to digital or have made the commitment to do so. Drive-ins especially in the North have always faced the twin challenges of a seasonal business situated on large chunks of real estate that might be more productive put to other uses. These have been joined by a third one. “The convergence to digital is a big challenge ” Wright says. Of the many drive-ins that Wright has seen and recorded she understandably has a few favorites. One is the Admiral Twin in Tulsa Oklahoma. At one time its nine-story tall tower was the tallest wooden structure in the country. The theatre was featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film The Outsiders. Wright filmed the theatre in 2009 and a year later it burned to the ground. “It was just heartbreaking when it burned ” Wright says. “Once the fire was set it was consumed in just twenty minutes.” In a story that’s being repeated in places across the country the people of the community took it upon themselves to raise the funds to rebuild their local drive-in and the Admiral Twin was restored and opened for business again last summer this time with digital cinema technology. Another favorite of Wright’s is the Circle Drive-In in Waco Texas. Part of what drew her to it in the first place is the large mural of a bear that graces the back of the screen. There is also an anomaly about it that appeals to her. Rather than add wings to the original screen to accommodate Cinemascope movies the owners built a second wider screen directly in front of the original. “And yet ” she says “the original is the one that’s still standing.” Wright shot most of the movie herself using a crew only when she interviewed someone on screen. A Panasonic DVX 100B was her main camera. When she interviewed Roger Corman her crew shot in high definition with a Sony EX. Following that she had the movie UpRezzed to HD. “I edited much of it myself predominantly on Final Cut Pro but I also had several other editors help especially in the final pass ” she says. “The online UpRez edit was done at Modern Video Film in Burbank.” She still needs to complete a final color correction and sound mix. Wright is optimistic about the future for drive-ins. For one thing she says and as the UDITOA numbers show both the number of drive-in movie theatres and the number of drive-in screens are actually on the rise. “I believe new people will enter the market as used digital equipment becomes available ” Wright says.