By Debra Kaufman
Starting out as a tape op in the machine room is a common first step for a career in post production. But the path to better jobs isn’t the same now as it was twenty years ago, and that fact is part of the rationale behind the grassroots organization Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC), which offers community and support to today’s emerging post talent. “I like everyone to keep in mind that the people coming up today have very different experiences,” says BCPC president Kylee Peña. “There is no clear ladder to climb.”
Katie Hinsen and Janis Vogel were the first co-presidents of the officially launched BCPC, a group that originally organized as an informal get-together with other below-the-line post workers. They jokingly dubbed themselves the “blue collar workers,” and, over time, the get-togethers grew increasingly popular among other young people in post production. Hinsen and Vogel formalized the group, as the Blue Collar Post Collective, and achieved status as a 501(c)3 non-profit in April 2016.
Interested in opening another BCPC chapter in Los Angeles, Hinson and Vogel zeroed in on Peña, a workflow supervisor at Bling Digital, who they got to know through social media and her articles in Creative COW. “Katie and Janis wanted to expand into Los Angeles,” recalls Peña. “But they’d only do so if I would agree to start it and run it.” She formed a committee in April 2016, and the Los Angeles group officially launched in June.
Peña, who has done research and given presentations on gender and equality, and lifestyle issues in post production, notes that no other groups focus exclusively on emerging talent in post production. “We see that careers are made for people in the first five years,” she explains. “A lot of the groups that do exist have barriers to entry: they cost money or they meet at times of the day when people are working. A lot of our members in Los Angeles work the swing shift or graveyard shift when these events happen, and they can’t go and network.” In contrast, the Blue Collar Post Collective in Los Angeles holds its events on Saturdays.
The Blue Collar Post Collective has a healthy presence online; its Facebook page has almost 5,000 members, with membership in the hundreds in Los Angeles and New York. Noting that women and people of color face additional barriers to success in post production, Peña says the Los Angeles group is a very diverse group, with near gender parity. BCPC also just had its first meeting in London, with Peña and Vogel in attendance. “We’re currently investigating what it would take to have a full-on group there,” she says. “We definitely encourage people in BCPC to have their own unofficial meet-ups. We’re all volunteers and all work full-time in post.” BCPC is growing judiciously, notes Peña, careful that each chapter shares the values of the core organization.
Being a member of the Blue Collar Post Collective offers numerous benefits, including a very active Facebook page, where members are encouraged to be “respectful, inclusive and supportive.” “One of the biggest benefits is the community you have access to,” says Peña. Monthly meet-ups are very well attended, and Los Angeles also offers a Stitch-and-Bitch meet-up for conversation and crafts. Upcoming events found on the group’s Facebook page include a New York conversation with “O.J.: Made in America” sound mixer Keith Hodne and a Los Angeles talk on “Finding Success in Unscripted TV.” Peña says the Facebook groups’ administrators also post an online discussion topic each week. “We don’t have super-strict rules, but we ask everyone to conduct themselves as if they are in person,” she says. “So our Facebook group is a very pleasant place to be, and a lot is going on.”
Another benefit is a financial aid program providing accessibility for early-stage career members to attend professional events. “This was created when a young man Katie was working with was invited to present a paper at a conference, but couldn’t afford to travel there,” says Peña. “That was a huge, career-changing thing he couldn’t do.” Since then, the BCPC has sponsored several members to several conferences and professional events. Recently, BCPC enabled a member from Indiana to attend EditFest in Los Angeles, where she also sat in with editors and colorists during her time here.
Group members act as a network and support for each other in numerous ways. One member recently relied on the network to apply and get a job as an assistant editor on a feature film, and BCPC vice president of the Los Angeles group Chris Visser, who mentors students at his former Wisconsin university, asked if Salazar could provide a PA job for one of his newly graduated mentees. “She was able to come to Los Angeles with a job, a community of people her age, and mentors,” says Peña. “At every single meet-up, I meet people who just moved here, and coming to the BCPC meet-up is the first thing they do.”
The post production communities in New York and Los Angeles have already supported the Blue Collar Post Collective in several ways, by providing tickets to events and special deals on gear. Peña encourages more of these kinds of donations, as well as money to help the group keep supplying financial aid (80 percent of the revenue goes to the scholarship program). But she stresses that the most useful action that post production companies and facilities can offer is jobs, that helps BCPC in their mission of supporting emerging talent. “Young people coming up have a lot of expertise,” says Peña. “There’s a lot to learn from them, so grant them opportunities to show that and make the industry more inclusive.”
Source: HPA Newline
Posted in: Industry NewsNewsNewsletter
Much like the royal subjects of his new film Victoria & Abdul and his 2006 offering, The Queen (which won him his second Oscar nomination), British director Stephen Frears has long been considered a national treasure. Of course, the truth is that he’s an international treasure.
The director, now 76 years old, has had a long and prolific career that spans some five decades and that has embraced a wide variety of styles, themes and genres. He cut his teeth at the BBC, where he honed his abilities to work with tight budgets and schedules. He made his name in TV drama, working almost exclusively for the small screen in the first 15 years of his career.
In the mid-1980s, Frears turned to the cinema, shooting The Hit, which starred Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. The following year he made My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4, which crossed over to big screen audiences and altered the course of his career.
Since then, he’s made big Hollywood studio pictures, such as the Oscar-nominated Florence Foster Jenkins, The Grifters and Dangerous Liaisons, as well as Mary Reilly and Hero. But he’s probably as well-known for smaller, grittier vehicles, such as the Oscar-nominated Philomena, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Cheri, Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity, Prick Up Your Ears and Snapper, films that provided a rich palette for Frears to explore stories with a strong social and political conscience.
His latest film, Victoria & Abdul, is a drama (spiced with a good dash of comedy) about the unlikely but real-life relationship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and her Muslim Indian servant Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal).
Read the full interview at postPerspective
Posted in: NewsNewsletterProduction & Post
(Los Angeles, CA) – The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has announced nominees in the creative categories for the 2017 HPA Awards. Considered the standard-bearer for excellence and innovation in an industry embracing an expanding array of groundbreaking technologies and creativity, the HPA Awards honor creative achievement and artistic excellence. Receiving a record breaking number of entrants this year, the HPA Awards creative categories recognize the outstanding work done by individuals and teams who bring compelling content to a global audience.
Launched in 2006, the HPA Awards recognize outstanding achievement in editing, sound, visual effects and color grading for work in television, commercials, and feature films. The winners of the 12th Annual HPA Awards will be announced at a gala ceremony on 16 November 2017 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA.
The 2017 HPA Award nominees are:
Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film
“The Birth of a Nation”
Steven J. Scott // Technicolor – Hollywood
“Ghost in the Shell”
Michael Hatzer // Technicolor – Hollywood
Natasha Leonnet // EFILM
Steven J. Scott // Technicolor – Hollywood
“Beauty and the Beast”
Stefan Sonnenfeld // Company 3
Michael Hatzer // Technicolor – Hollywood
Outstanding Color Grading – Television
“The Last Tycoon – Burying the Boy Genius”
Timothy Vincent // Technicolor – Hollywood
“Game of Thrones – Dragonstone”
Joe Finley // Chainsaw
“Genius – Einstein: Chapter 1”
Pankaj Bajpai // Encore Hollywood
“The Crown – Smoke and Mirrors”
Asa Shoul // Molinare
“The Man in the High Castle – Detonation”
Roy Vasich // Technicolor
Outstanding Color Grading – Commercial
Land O’ Lakes – “The Farmer”
Billy Gabor // Company 3
Pennzoil – “JOYRIDE Tundra”
Dave Hussey // Company 3
Jose Cuervo – “Last Days”
Tom Poole // Company 3
Nedbank – “The Tale of a Note”
Sofie Borup // Company 3
Squarespace – “John’s Journey”
Tom Poole // Company 3
Outstanding Editing – Feature Film
Lee Smith, ACE
“The Ivory Game”
Alexandre de Franceschi
Outstanding Editing – Television
“Game of Thrones – Stormborn”
Tim Porter, ACE
“Stranger Things – Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will Byers”
“Game of Thrones – The Queen’s Justice”
“Narcos – Al Fin Cayo!”
Matthew V. Colonna, Trevor Baker
“Westworld – The Original”
Stephen Semel, ACE, Marc Jozefowicz
“Game of Thrones – Dragonstone”
Outstanding Editing – Commercial
Nespresso – “Comin’ Home”
Chris Franklin // Big Sky Edit
Bonafont – “Choices”
Doobie White // Therapy Studios
Optum – “Heroes”
Chris Franklin // Big Sky Edit
SEAT – “Moments”
Doobie White // Therapy Studios
Outstanding Sound – Feature Film
“Fate of the Furious”
Peter Brown, Mark Stoeckinger, Paul Aulicino, Steve Robinson, Bobbi Banks // Formosa Group
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Addison Teague, Dave Acord, Chris Boyes, Lora Hirschberg // Skywalker Sound
Alan Murray, Bub Asman, John Reitz, Tom Ozanich // Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services
“John Wick: Chapter 2”
Mark Stoeckinger, Alan Rankin, Andy Koyama, Martyn Zub, Gabe Serano // Formosa Group
Shannon Mills, Tom Johnson, Juan Peralta, Dan Laurie // Skywalker Sound
Outstanding Sound – Television
“Underground – Soldier”
Larry Goeb, Mark Linden, Tara Paul // Sony Pictures Post
“Stranger Things – Chapter 8: The Upside Down”
Craig Henigham // FOX
Joe Barnett, Adam Jenkins, Jordan Wilby, Tiffany Griffith // Technicolor – Hollywood
“Game of Thrones – The Spoils of War”
Tim Kimmel, MPSE, Paula Fairfield, Mathew Waters, CAS, Onnalee Blank, CAS, Bradley C. Katona, Paul Bercovitch // Formosa Group
“The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble”
Pete Horner // Skywalker Sound
Dimitri Tisseyre // Envelope Music + Sound
Dennis Hamlin // Hamlin Sound
“American Gods – The Bone Orchard”
Bradley North, Joseph DeAngelis, Kenneth Kobett, David Werntz, Tiffany S. Griffith // Technicolor
Outstanding Sound – Commercial
Honda – “Up”
Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson, Jack Hallett // Factory
Sian Rogers // SIREN
Virgin Media – “This Is Fibre”
Anthony Moore // Factory
Kia – “Hero’s Journey”
Nathan Dubin // Margarita Mix Santa Monica
SEAT – “Moments”
Doobie White // Therapy Studios
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – “We’re the Superhumans”
Anthony Moore // Factory
Outstanding Visual Effects – Feature Film
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”
Gary Brozenich, Sheldon Stopsack, Patrick Ledda, Richard Clegg, Richard Little // MPC
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
Dan Lemmon, Anders Langlands, Luke Millar, Erik Winquist, Daniel Barrett // Weta Digital
“Beauty and the Beast”
Kyle McCulloch, Glen Pratt, Richard Hoover, Dale Newton, Neil Weatherley // Framestore
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Guy Williams, Kevin Andrew Smith, Charles Tait, Daniel Macarin, David Clayton // Weta Digital
“Ghost in the Shell”
Guillaume Rocheron, Axel Bonami, Arundi Asregadoo, Pier Lefebvre, Ruslan Borysov // MPC
Outstanding Visual Effects – Television
“Black Sails – XXIX”
Yafei Wu, Nicklas Andersson, David Wahlberg // Important Looking Pirates
Martin Lippman // Rodeo
“The Crown – Windsor”
Ben Turner, Tom Debenham, Oliver Cubbage, Lionel Heath, Charlie Bennett // One of Us
“Taboo – Episode One”
Henry Badgett, Nic Birmingham, Simon Rowe, Alexander Kirichenko, Finlay Duncan // BlueBolt VFX
“Ripper Street – Occurrence Reports”
Ed Bruce, Nicholas Murphy, Denny Cahill, Piotr Swigut, Mark Pinheiro // Screen Scene
“Westworld – The Bicameral Mind”
Jay Worth // Deep Water FX
Bobo Skipper, Gustav Ahren, Jens Tenland // Important Looking Pirates
Paul Ghezzo // COSA VFX
Outstanding Visual Effects – Commercial
Walmart – “Lost & Found”
Morgan MacCuish, Michael Ralla, Aron Hjartarson, Todd Herman // Framestore
Honda – “Keep the Peace”
Laurent Ledru, Georgia Tribuiani, Justin Booth-Clibborn, Ellen Turner // Psyop
Nespresso – “Comin’ Home”
Martin Lazaro, Murray Butler, Nick Fraser, Callum McKevney // Framestore
Kia – “Hero’s Journey”
Robert Sethi, Chris Knight, Tom Graham, Jason Bergman // The Mill
Walmart – “The Gift”
Mike Warner, Kurt Lawson, Charles Trippe, Robby Geis // ZERO VFX
Recipients of several special awards have been previously announced by the HPA. Larry Chernoff has been named recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Winners of the coveted Engineering Excellence Award include Colorfront Engine by Colorfront, Dolby Vision Post Production Tools by Dolby, Mistika VR by SGO, and the WEAPON 8K Vista Vision by RED Digital Cinema. These special awards will be bestowed at the HPA Awards gala.
The HPA Awards gala ceremony is expected to be a sold-out affair and early ticket purchase is encouraged. Tickets for the HPA Awards are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.hpaawards.net. For all inquiries and sponsorship information, call the HPA at +1 (818) 273-7482 or email at email@example.com. More information about the HPA Awards and the Hollywood Professional Association can be found at www.hpaonline.com. Title Sponsor Blackmagic Design; Foundation Members AVID, Company 3, Deluxe, Dolby, EFilm, and Encore; Platinum Sponsors IMAX and Sohonet; Engineering Excellence Sponsor HGST; Bronze Sponsor Sony Post Production Facilities; and Supporting Sponsor Fuse FX are among the sponsors of the 2017 HPA Awards.
About the HPA® Awards
The HPA Awards were created to foster awareness and recognize the achievements of the individuals and companies that have contributed to groundbreaking technologies and creative excellence within the professional media content industry, and build involvement in the Hollywood Professional Assciation. The HPA is a partner of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®). Information about the HPA Awards is available at www.hpaonline.com. The HPA Awards will be presented with generous support from Foundation Members and sponsors.
About the Hollywood Professional Association
Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) serves the professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media and other dynamic media content. Through its partnership with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), the leader in the advancement of the art, science and craft of the image, sound, and metadata ecosystem, the HPA continues to extend its support of the community it represents. Information about the HPA is available at www.hpaonline.com.
Posted in: NewsNewsletter
NEW YORK—The Deuce, the new drama from HBO and Executive Producers David Simon and George Pelecanos, is set in 1970s New York City where prostitution and crime were rampant, and the modern adult entertainment industry was just coming into its own. Bold, brash and visually intoxicating, the series finished natively in High Dynamic Range (HDR) at Technicolor PostWorks New York. Colorist Sam Daley collaborated with Director of Photography Vanja Černjul, ASC, in mastering seven episodes from the show’s debut season, after having similarly teamed with Cinematographer Pepe Avila del Pino on the pilot.
With characters that include porn stars and prostitutes, The Deuce reveals a city that’s a mix of glitz and sleaze. Dive bars and grimy bus depots exist alongside the pulsating, neon-illuminated environs of Times Square. In approaching this world, Černjul says he drew inspiration from such classic films as Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, but took a different approach in recreating the look of the city and the era where they were set.
“I wanted our 1970s New York to look as real as possible,” he explains. “I was intimately familiar with a lot of films that were shot in New York at that time—it was probably the most amazing period in American cinema—but I didn’t want to simulate the period lighting style. I wanted to make it seem as though we were actually in the 1970s, capturing that world with modern technology. I wanted to erase the media filter that we have when we watch those classic films.”
Černjul chose to work with Panasonic’s VariCam 35 for principal photography as its super35mm MOS sensor minimized the need for artificial lighting. “I wanted a shooting style with the greatest mobility,” he says. “We needed to move quickly as we sometimes were shooting two or three locations in a day. The sensor of the VariCam helped with that as it allowed us to work with available light. If we walked into a restaurant that was lit by candlelight, we could shoot it like that.”
During pre-production, Černjul worked with Daley on camera tests to establish a preliminary look. For the sake of consistency, they chose an image texture similar to what had been established in the pilot. “For the pilot, Pepe and I created a film-print emulation LUT,” recalls Daley. “It gave the digital photography the feel of a dye-based motion picture print. To complement that, we used Livegrain, which generates a filmic grain pattern based on the unique exposure of each scene.
“For the series, Vanja and I modified the LUT to accommodate the VariCam. We again used Livegrain, but we did so a bit more aggressively. VariCam captures a very clean image and we wanted something a bit grittier.”
The decision to finish in HDR also occurred as the show moved from pilot to series. Although the show will initially air in standard dynamic range, the HDR masters promise an enhanced viewing experience when the technology reaches more households.
Daley notes that, even as the show moved to an HDR workflow, they continued to employ the LUT they developed when they were expecting a conventional HD finish as the lighting and other creative decisions had been based on that look. “We treated the existing LUT like a film print being remastered in HDR,” Daley says. “We embraced the brightness of the new format, but we exercised restraint. The look pops where it needs to, but doesn’t distract from the story.”
“It was a challenge to match the HDR color space to the color space that we had prepped for,” adds Černjul. “We had to redo the process we went through in pre-production. It took some experimentation to get it right.”
Daley says that the extra time and effort proved worthwhile and are evident in the results. “The colors are like characters,” he observes. “We have a lot of dark, grainy, contrasty images, but there is real beauty in the period hues, even when they are slightly askew. They provide a glimmer of optimism in an otherwise bleak world. People who get to see the HDR version are in for a treat. The scenes on 42nd Street, with the marquees, neon and flashing lights… it’s like you’re looking through a window into 1971.”
Černjul was similarly impressed with the quality of the HDR master and with how smoothly the process was managed by Daley and Technicolor PostWorks. “It’s very important to me to have a good rapport with the colorist,” he says. “I worked closely with Sam throughout production and we learned a lot together about the HDR format. I hope we can do it again very soon.”
About Technicolor PostWorks New York
Technicolor PostWorks New York is the East Coast’s most comprehensive digital motion picture and post-production facility, employing an exceptional team of creative artists, engineers and project managers to serve our clients through the film and TV finishing process.
Technicolor PostWorks New York offers one complete source for every post requirement, including in-context digital dailies, film imaging and restoration, collaborative non-linear editorial and HD/UHD broadcast finishing, 4K digital cinema, global content lifecycle support, and comprehensive film and TV sound services on nine mix stages.
For more information, visit http://www.technicolorpwny.com
Posted in: NewsNewsletterPress ReleaseProduction & Post
GARDENA, Calif.—The Joe Lewis Company recently helped Universal Pictures celebrate The Mummy Day in a very big way. The event production company designed, built and installed a seven-ton, 84-foot tall sarcophagus at the Hollywood and Highland Gateway in Los Angeles. The structure was unveiled at the premiere of the studio’s summer blockbuster The Mummy in an event attended by the film’s star, Tom Cruise, director Alex Kurtzman, co-stars Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella and Jake Johnson, and hundreds of movie fans. The sarcophagus was the largest-ever structure erected at the Hollywood site.
Producing large-scale, one-of-a-kind activations and events is The Joe Lewis Company’s stock in trade. The company has provided event production services for virtually every major awards show, motion picture studio, television network and professional sports organization in the United States including the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game, the Special Olympics, the Grammy Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, the CMT Music Awards, the BET Awards, AEG and Madison Square Garden. “We’ve been fortunate to participate in a lot of events that are big, memorable and have never been done before,” says company founder Joe Lewis. “We do exciting stuff really well.”
Already the industry leader in the awards show and sports arenas, JLC is expanding into new realms. The company recently hired Adam Atkins to head a new experiential division focused on consumer facing branded events and strategic experiences. Also joining the company is Mary Pat Kasravi who will lead a team centering on premieres, parties and press events.
For many companies, spending on experiential and branded events now exceeds spending on traditional advertising, notes Lewis. “Adam and Mary Pat bring tons of experience and strong relationships in those markets,” he says. “They will help us grow our presence and work with clients to produce memorable events that are successful and unique.”
Atkins brings more than 15 years of expertise in branded experiences, most recently as Vice President/Group Director at experiential marketing agency Ignition. His many accomplishments include overseeing Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Olympic Torch Relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Kasravi’s background includes 21 years at Entertainment Lighting Services (ELS) where she produced scores of movie and television premieres, including recent events for Game of Thrones and Fifty Shades Darker. Also joining JLC as part of Kasravi’s team are account executive Grace Cornejo and technical director Kevin McKinney.
JLC is unique among event management companies in its ability to deliver integrated creative, production and management services. It operates out of more than 50,000 square feet of production facilities in Gardena, California. Where other event specialists rely on subcontractors, JLC offers a seamless, all-inclusive solution. Its creative team is led by Creative Director Ed Coco and it has a dedicated staff of designers, draftsmen and producers, as well as a full-service graphics print department, scene shop and full rentals division.
The result, says Lewis, is greater efficiency, qualitative and creative consistency, and a buck-stops-here mentality. “We’re a group of very skilled and passionate people; if you don’t love your work, you don’t last with us,” he explains. “We work in all spaces—sports, broadcast, corporate—at a very high level. People rely on us because we know what it takes to get the job done.”
For The Mummy premiere, JLC’s team of designers and fabricators constructed the giant sarcophagus at its Gardena facility in the space of just a few weeks. Three separate independent engineering firms vetted the finished piece for structural integrity. It then took some 18 tractor trailers to haul the components to the Hollywood site and over 300 hours to set it up in place.
Erecting a structure as tall as a three-story building in the middle of a Hollywood on virtually a moment’s notice might seem like a tall order, but it’s business as usual for JLC. “We had a very tight timeline to get it designed, built, approved by the engineers and the city, and erected in place—but we never cut corners,” says company founder Joe Lewis. “For us, the exciting part is that we were able to deliver what we promised. The marketing team at Universal Pictures challenged us, and we exceeded their expectations.”
Mary Pat Kasravi
About The Joe Lewis Company
The Joe Lewis Company is a comprehensive event production, design, build and execution company dedicated to creating unforgettable live event experiences that bring audiences together and brands to life. The company provides full-service production, design, build and execution for face-to-face events in the live, branded, media, sports, social and broadcast industries. Its clients include Oscars, Grammys, the NBA, BET Networks, Billboard Music Awards, Comcast, ESPN, MTV, NBC, CBS, ABC, Turner, TNT, the WB, Universal Pictures, Red Bull and VH1.
Posted in: Industry NewsNewsPress Release
ShareGrid has made the life of cinematographers a whole lot easier. In the company’s earliest days, they collaborated with Duclos Lenses and Old Fast Glass to put together a test of 40 vintage lenses, calling it “The Ultimate Vintage Lens Test.” Their results had just reached the ShareGrid audience when discussions began to take shape for their next massive undertaking.
“Ever since our last test, we knew we wanted to make another one, and we were pretty sure it would be anamorphic glass,” said Brent Barbano, co-founder of Sharegrid.
One hundred thirty 4K videos later, “The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test” is now available to the public. The test was co-produced by ShareGrid and Old Fast Glass along with key team members Barbano (executive producer), Mark LaFleur (director), Kyle Stryker (DP), Nick Ferreiro (post supervisor/editor) and Matthew Duclos (contributor/consultant). The lens test team recruited 29 crew members who worked over the lens tests’ three-day shoot. With utmost dedication and care, they gathered the results of 42 different lenses. Here are a few other stats to blow your mind: there were 518 tests conducted in total broken down over 131 main tests, 131 color chart tests, 131 focus tests, 47 distortion tests and 78 projection tests.
The thirteen brands were reviewed in the test. There were ten prime lens with varying focal lengths including Arri/Zeiss Master Anamorphic (35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Atlas Lens Co. Orion Series Anamorphic (65mm), Cineovision Anamorphic (25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm), Cooke Anamorphic / iSpecial Flare (32mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Elite Anamorphic (24.5mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm) Hawk V-Life Vintage 74 Anamorphic (28mm, 55mm, 80mm, 110mm), Kowa Cine Prominar Anamorhic (32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Lomo Round-Front Anamorphic (35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Panavision Auto-Panata Anamorphic (40mm, 50mm, 75mm) and Todd AO High-Speed Anamorphic (35mm, 55mm, 75mm). There were two zoom lens manufacturers: Angenieux Optimo 44-440mm T4.5 AS-2 Anamorphic Zoom (44mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm) and P+S Technik 35.70mm T3.2 Cinemascope Zoom (35mm, 50mm, 70mm). There was also one anamorphic Adapter manufacturer tested: the Iscorama pre-36 Anamorphic Lens Adapter with Nikon AI (50mm, 85mm, 105mm)
“Anamorphic is a very popular choice for DPs, but I still find that there are many cinematographers that aren’t aware of the choices and how widely different they are from one another,” said LaFleur. “Even more than spherical lenses, these lenses are radically different from set to set, lens to lens within a set and even T stop to T stop.”
In addition to the lens test videos, viewers may also find some education videos on the ShareGrid page. These include a page dedicated to learning the basics of anamorphic: https://learn.sharegrid.com/what-is-anamorphic and a flare chart video: https://learn.sharegrid.com/sharegrid-lens-test-flare-chart
To obtain The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test, please see the links below:
4x Video Comparison Player (200 videos)
Released Tuesday, August 29th, the test is already securing fans in the esteemed cinematography community. Greig Fraser, ASC, Oscar nominee and winner of the 2016 CameraImage Golden Frog and ASC’s Outstanding Cinematography in a Theatrical Release for “Lion” found the test a massive time saver. He felt the test captured “the bigger picture”, allowing him more time to finesse details.
“I’m about to shoot on film. I don’t have the luxury of seeing immediate high res digital results of the different T stops,” said Fraser. “When I do my own more refined tests, I can compare my results to the results (The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test) got shooting digitally.”
Posted in: BusinessNewsNewsletterProduction and PostTools
LOS ANGELES – The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Photo Gallery will re-open with a public debut on September 9 from 4 – 9 pm at the historic ASC clubhouse in Hollywood. The exhibit will feature an entirely new collection of still photographs by nine members of the organization, curated by Paris Chong, manager of Leica Gallery LA. It will remain open to the public, by appointment, during weekdays from 11 am – 4 pm. To attend the opening night or visit the exhibit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ASC Photo Gallery is designed to showcase the artistic achievements of the organization’s members, which consist of 375 award-winning cinematographers from around the globe. The first exhibit opened in March to much success, prompting future editions.
“Still photography is the personal expression of the artist’s voice for many of our members,” notes Lieberman, Chairman of the ASC Photo Gallery Committee. “Images have inspired thousands of cinematographers over the decades, and we hope to encourage others by sharing our works of art so we may continue to fund outreach programs that influence the next generation of filmmakers.”
The ASC members participating in this new show include Antonio Calvache (Queen Sugar, Little Children), Richard Crudo (Justified, American Pie), Fred Elmes (The Night Of, Blue Velvet), Denis Lenoir (Still Alice, Uprising), Charlie Lieberman (My So-Called Life, Heroes), Karl Walter Lindenlaub (Suits, Houdini), Suki Medencevic (Stuck in the Middle, The Pixar Story), Steven Poster (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales), and Robert Primes (Felicity, My Antonia).
Each cinematographer contributed five photos. The 45 images on display are printed, framed and available for purchase. The limited-edition prints are numbered, signed and certified. Unlimited Edition Box Sets will also be available. Proceeds fund the nonprofit organization’s educational initiatives. Purchases will also be offered online via the ASC Store, where some photos from the March exhibit are still available.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call (323) 969-4333.
About the ASC
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art of filmmaking. Since its charter in 1919, the ASC has been committed to educating aspiring filmmakers and others about the art and craft of cinematography. For additional information about the ASC, visit www.theasc.com, or join American Cinematographer on Facebook, Twitter (@AmericanCine) and Instagram (@the_asc).
Posted in: CinematographyNewsNewsletterPress Release
Los Angeles, CA – International Oscar-winning creative studio Framestore is showing its cross-platform capabilities yet again by bringing the powerful Marvel character Hulk to life on both film and commercial platforms. The Film team in London and Integrated Advertising team in Los Angeles collaborated on the latest CG characterization of Hulk for upcoming Marvel Studios releases and Renault’s commercial ‘Renault Kwid.’
“We’ve honed a very tight transition pipeline for film characters into other platforms,’ says Creative Director Ben West. ‘The ability to utilize detailed assets with complex rigs ensures we’re meeting the cinematic standard demanded for Marvel projects.”
Shot in São Paulo by Smuggler Director Jonathan Gurvit, the ‘Renault Kwid’ adventure begins as a man imagines what the Hulk would do as news breaks that a satellite is falling towards Earth. Framestore artists brought Hulk to life with his signature leaps and bounds taking him to the top of the Banco Banespa building before smashing the explosive satellite mid-sky.
Famous for his incredible level of superhuman physical ability, Framestore worked to exaggerate Hulk’s strenuous muscle and facial detail. The teams worked closely together to enhance the amount of detail needed in his muscles, including in the rig, muscular weight in animation, textural displacements of veins, lighting art direction to enhance angles, and shot-specific muscle sculpting to refine even further. Other subtle yet essential details of Hulk include peach fuzz on the body, facial stubble and sweat stems.
“Animating characters requires an intimate level of experience and understanding of performance,’ continues West. ‘Each character has signature qualities but it’s the detail and nuance that brings them to life. Having worked with characters like Hulk over an extended period for film projects, we had a strong foundation to build upon in this regard.”
The details of city destruction further accentuate the Hulk’s weight. Framestore enhanced the cityscape of São Paolo to make sure the central Banespa building was in frame as a constant reminder of the imminent fiery satellite. “These are the projects our artists live and breathe for. We understand the genre and play to its strengths by bringing characters to the screen in a very visceral way,” states West.
The commercial is airing domestically in Brazil across TV and cinema. Framestore collaborated directly with Marvel and their Disney partners in Brazil to create the commercial. Ad agency Neogama concepted the commercial. Other recent Film and Integrated Advertising collaborations by Framestore include ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ film and virtual reality experience, as well as Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 film, commercial campaign and amusement park ride.
Director, Partnerships – Marvel Partnerships Chris Lisciandro
Promotions Project Manager – Marvel Partnerships Greg Gustin
Franchise Promotional Partnerships – Marvel Studios Adam Davis
Production Company Smuggler
Director Jonathan Gurvit
Visual Effects Framestore
Creative Director Ben West
VFX Producer Morgan MacCuish
CG Supervisor Kevin Baker
Shoot Supervisor David Hulin
VFX Supervisor James Healy
Animation Lead Shayne Ryan
Animator Kevin Rooney, Jessie Wang, Xavier Coton, Stew Burris, Evan Harbuck
FX Lead Nate Usiak
FX Michelle Lee, Arrev Chantikian, Viviana Mora
Lighting Lead Yuo Tengara
Lighter Jon Tojek, Isaiah Palmer, Dustin Colson, John Cook
Compositing Lead JD Yepes
Compositor Tim Gutierrez, Josh Guillaume, Alex Unruh, Alejandro Villabon, Kingsley Rothwell
Generalist Soren Barton, Yayu Chen, Mel Wong, Joel Durham, Rob Garcia
Look Dev & Groom Jessica Groom
Rigging Lead Wade Ryer
Cameras & Tracking Sean Dollins, Todd Herman
Concept Art Daniel Demirdjian
VFX Editor Humberto Reynaga
VFX Assistant Editor Jake Keller, Alexandra Wysota
VFX Coordinator Jose Alvarado
Colourist Beau Leon
Colour Assistant Jonah Braun, Weiyi Ang
Framestore is an Oscar-winning creative studio that uses innovative talent and technology to create hi-end images for every platform. Framestore partners with clients ranging from Hollywood studios through to advertisers, ad agencies, production companies and video game developers. In addition to being recognised for its globally celebrated visual effects, Framestore has more recently made its name as an innovator in the digital space by focusing on the immersive engagement potential of interactive visual effects.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterProduction & PostVFX
When an evil sect threatens to destroy New York City, it’s up to The Defenders to put aside their personal struggles and come to the metropolis’ rescue – and it was up to the Technicolor team to put a unique stamp on each of these troubled but heroic characters by creating their clear and distinct sound signatures.
Most of these Marvel heroes are well known to Technicolor, as the team handled the sound for individual series revolving around the Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist characters – then made a smooth transition of sounds they had created for them to the new project. But as these solitary figures came together in The Defenders, along with the character of Jessica Jones, it was also important to differentiate their unique situations and motivations as they learned to unite toward a common goal.
How did the Technicolor Sound team achieve this? The stomping ground for each character covers a different area of Manhattan, so as the team mixed for the various New York neighborhoods – for example, Hell’s Kitchen for Daredevil – they were able to creatively use background noises and sounds in the environment as another way to create signatures for each of the heroes.
“There are hand-to-hand combat sequences that involve all of the characters and a challenge was how to articulate the action, not just a wall of sound. So the team would focus on specific moments in the fight, creating a clear, immersive experience for the viewer.”
The Defenders was mixed at Technicolor’s Seward facility in Hollywood, with editorial done at nearby Technicolor at Paramount. The Technicolor sound team returning to the Marvel Universe included Sound Re-Recording Mixers Adam Jenkins and Joe Barnett; Supervising Sound Editor Lauren Stephens; Sound Effects Editor Jordan Wilby; Dialogue Editor Christian Buenaventura; and ADR Mixer Judah Getz.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterProduction & PostSound
On July 14th, 20th Century Fox released War for the Planet of the Apes, the follow up to 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was once again directed by Matt Reeves. The film marks the third in the rebooted franchise (2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was directed by Rupert Wyatt), and centers around the now mature Caesar, who continues to serve as the apes’ leader. While their colony struggles to coexist with humans, they appear to be gaining an upper hand, as the humans face extinction due to a rapidly spreading, deadly virus.
Editor William Hoy also returned to work on the new release, continuing his collaboration with Reeves. Hoy’s vast credits include Dances With Wolves, both Fantastic Four films, 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He is a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and American Cinema Editors.
“In this particular picture, almost the entire production called for visual effects,” Hoy explains. “It was dedicated to the performance and characters, which was a real plus for me. That’s what we wanted most out of it. The character and emotional character of the apes and the humans.”
Hoy, who has cut a number of Fox features, was acquainted with a number of people surrounding the project, and has developed a trust with the director. “On the first film, you have to learn to trust each other, and on this film it was a real pleasure to work with him,” says the editor. “We’ve become really good friends and that’s something that’s valuable that I take away from the picture, too.”
Read the full story at Post Magazine.
Posted in: EditingNewsNewsletter
CULVER CITY, CALIF.— Baby Driver, the critically-acclaimed new film from TriStar Pictures and Writer/Director Edgar Wright, centers on a young getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who suffers from tinnitus, a medical condition that causes him to hear a constant ringing in his ears. He copes with the problem by listening to music at high volume through earbuds. For much of the film, the audience experiences the action from Baby’s perspective. So, they hear the music that he hears (including tracks by Beck, Dave Brubeck and the Beach Boys) while the action around him happens in perfect sync.
The task of creating Baby’s aural landscape presented unique challenges and opportunities for the film’s sound team led by Julian Slater, who acted as Sound Designer, Supervising Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer. Slater and his crew produced hundreds of customized sound effects and carefully choreographed each one to fit perfectly with the action on screen and the groove flowing into Baby’s ears.
“The whole movie is orchestrated to whatever Baby is listening to at the moment,” Slater explains. “Gunfights are in time with the music. Car chases are cut in sync. Police sirens, barking dogs, speeding trains are at tempo. Much of it is pitched and syncopated so that the music and sound design work as one.”
The novel sound concept is introduced in the film’s opening moments. “The first thing you see is the studio logo,” Slater notes. “The sound from it transforms into a tinnitus ringing, which in turn becomes the braking sound of a car. It is in the same key as the first music cue (Bellbottoms by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), so it all flows.”
Soon after comes a tracking shot covering more than 3 minutes. Baby is gamboling along a downtown street listening to Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle. “Edgar shot the scene in time to the music,” recalls Slater. “We added car alarms, jack hammers, traffic.” The audio effect is mirrored by the visuals as song lyrics, written into posters and graffiti, appear on cue.
Slater did the sound work at Goldcrest Films in London and was assisted by, among others , FX Editors Jeremy Price and Martin Cantwell and Dialogue/ADR Supervisor Dan Morgan. They spent months finessing and fine-tuning the sound effects and the mix. The biggest challenge, he says, was to keep it feeling light and fresh. “The tinnitus Baby suffers from increases in volume the more stressed he gets through the movie,” Slater observes. “The tinnitus, itself, changes depending on the environment and the incoming piece of music he is listening to.”
The result is a film soundtrack unlike any other. “The credit goes to Edgar Wright,” Slater says. “He had been developing this idea for years and he constructed the template that we followed. I’m extremely lucky to work with a filmmaker like Edgar who is committed to projects that are both bold and original!”
Baby Driver is in theaters now. #BabyDriver
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group includes film labels Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterPress ReleaseSound
Saddington Baynes are well-known for pushing the boundaries of technical innovation in the creative industry, establishing an R&D arm known as SBLabs to showcase this in-house ability. The purpose of SBLabs is to train artists and perfect technical discipline in preparation for commercial projects. The resulting videos range from celebrating London Pride with CG paint, to replicating Gangnam Style through motion capture:
Love is Love – Created using FLIP Fluid Solver, with viscosity and customised colour mixing. The centerpiece statue was simulated using 3D photo scans, before being rendered with Arnold.
VFX Dancers – Procedurally generated geometry, particle simulations and fur were created with shaders, driven by custom attributes, and then attached to motion capture. The results were rendered with Mantra.
Gangnam Style – A combination of motion capture and cloth simulation, using Flipbook (a player in Houdini that creates a sped up render).
‘InflataSean’ – A human replica generated by processing data from full-body scans. Simulations were then applied to produce an inflation effect. The results were rendered in Mantra/Arnold.
Each video allows the artists at SBLabs to indulge in a bit of hands on training, to develop their skills in a fun way. The projects are also about self-expression – a chance for artists to exercise creativity and imagination, such as teasing their colleague Sean by turning him into a blow up doll.
Although no ground-breaking technology was used, SBLabs gives artists a chance to experiment with existing tools in innovative ways. A full reel combing each experiment can be found here.
About Saddington Baynes
Saddington Baynes is a leading creative production agency that has produced premium imagery for advertising agencies and brand clients for 25 years, working on projects as diverse as automotive, FMCG and pharma.
Saddington Baynes’ mission is to create sensational imagery that moves people and inspires brand devotion, delivering memorable experiences through emotion and engagement. The original pioneers of digital retouching in 1991 – and one of the first post production studios to harness the potential of CGI in-house – Saddington Baynes today creates award-winning visual content for the advertising industry in the UK, USA and across Europe. Innovation is a key part of this, which is why Saddington developed its Engagement Insights® service – an entirely new way to measure the emotional impact of imagery.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterPress ReleaseVFX
Growing up in Munich, Mathias Herndl, AAC, spent his school days absorbing the history of Germany. He was particularly interested in the genius known as Albert Einstein. Now a celebrated cinematographer, Herndl was excited to read the script to “Genius”, National Geographic’s series exploring the life of Einstein. He quickly discovered there was a lot more to the man than what he studied as a youth.
“I saw I knew nothing, especially in his personal life,” said Herndl. “He had great passion. He was curious and inspired by the nature that surrounded him.”
“Genius” provided Herndl the opportunity to shoot everything from beautiful expanses of nature in every season, to tender moments of affection to the brutality of the Third Reich. Herndl’s first matter at hand in prepping to shoot “Genius” was securing his camera of choice that could capture diverse set-ups beautifully: the Arri Alexa. To his surprise, the producers and executives at National Geographic readily agreed, informing him they entrusted his artistic preferences. Through the course of shooting he used the Alexa CS and mini cameras. Noting there were two distinct phases of Einstein’s life that were explored, Herndl used two different lens packages to create mild distinctions. To capture the scenes of Einstein as a young man, Herndl used the Vantage One T1 lenses. Noting the T1s are “simply built and beautiful lenses,” he liked the softer quality and rounding around the edges they created. For Einstein’s later years, Herndl used Arri master lenses for their sharp focus that offers no curving or breathing.
“Both lenses have shallow aperture and a shallow depth of field,” said Herndl. “They helped with the two time lines.”
Shooting style also offered a visual distinction. Covering Einstein’s youthful bohemian, flirtatious and rebellious behaviors, Herndl went with more kinetic, hand-held work. For the segments in the 40s and rise of the Third Reich, Herndl chose a more stationary, sharp, classic shooting style.
The lighting in “Genius” comes primarily through practical sources, Herndl did have an opportunity to be creative in its usage, particularly with dark interiors. Just as Einstein was venturing into unexplored territories with his theories, he wanted viewers to share that enthusiasm and “not be afraid of the dark.” Herndl used light flares and elements of over-exposure to create aspects of texture to a scene.
“Light draws attention. I was interested in breaking and bending the light,” said Herndl.
A sense of color shifts also helped break up the two main phases of Einstein’s life explored in “Genius.” Working with a colorist, Herndl crafted a more tonal, cayenne -based quality to Einstein’s younger years. He focused on keeping yellow in the highlights. For the period of the 40s, the color is more denaturized. Reds and purples had been introduced into symbolize a sense of danger as the Nazi occupation loomed. Herndl also captured wide-open spaces during this period to further push the factor of pressure and dread.
The task of portraying historical fact was always paramount on the set. Working against a “fair but demanding” timeline, Herndl found there was little room for second guessing shots. However, every member of the crew did always invest time in ensuring every aspect of what they were capturing, from picture vehicles to the books that were burned in Nazi fires were 100% accurate. Herndl’s focus in shooting some of the more horrific actions of the Nazi regime was to always keep the needs of the script and the character’s at the forefront.
In addition to learning much more about Einstein, Herndl also had his first experience of shooting with three cameras in “Genius.” Ron Howard, serving as a producer and director of some episodes requested the third be running at all times. Fortunately, Herndl had an experienced crew that he’d worked with previously on another shoot in Prague. He also had his wife/camera operator, Karel Fairaisl, and several A Camera and focus pullers from the US that he’s come to rely on that helped efficiently and expertly ensure smooth set ups. Ultimately, he found great benefits in the three camera set up.
“It added and extra bit of flavor you normally don’t get in a TV series, such as an actor’s hands playing with a pipe on the table,” said Herndl.
Herndl also recently shot ABC’s stunning crime series, “Motive,” starring Tommy Flanagan and Lauren Holly, as well as FOX’s sci-fi mystery series “Wayward Pines,” starring Toby Jones, Hope Davis and Shannyn Sossamon.
Posted in: CinematographyNewsNewsletter
It took more than 70 years for DC Comics’ Wonder Woman to get her own live-action feature film, but director Patty Jenkins and Warner Bros. have finally brought the comic book hero to the big screen, just in time for summer!
Gal Gadot stars in the title role of Wonder Woman, a film that explores the superhero’s origins and follows the story of Diana, princess of the Amazons. When a pilot crashes on her home island of Themyscira and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight ‘a war to end all wars,’ discovering her full powers and true destiny in the process.
“The time is absolutely right to bring Wonder Woman to movie audiences,” says Jenkins. “Fans have been waiting a long time for this, but I believe people outside the fandom are ready for a Wonder Woman movie, too. Superheroes have played a role in many people’s lives; it’s that fantasy of ‘What would it be like if I was that powerful and that great, and I could go on that exciting journey and do heroic things?’”
Joining Jenkins behind the camera were director of photography Matthew Jensen (Chronicle, Fantastic Four, HBO’s Game of Thrones), Oscar-winning editor Martin Walsh (Chicago, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), composer Rupert Gregson-Williams (Hacksaw Ridge, The Legend of Tarzan), re-recording mixer Chris Burdon (see related article that follows) and two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer (Life of Pi, The Golden Compass).
Read the full story at Post Magazine.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterProduction & PostVFX
The Vancouver and Los Angeles facilities delivered 550 VFX shots for the latest Marvel blockbuster, including key CG character sequences with Rocket and Baby Groot, large-scale destruction and spaceship crashes, environment design, and more.
Director James Gunn and VFX supervisor Chris Townsend recently tapped Deluxe’s Method Studios to handle a broad scope of work for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which continues the adventures of Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket as they unravel the mystery of Peter’s true parentage.
Method VFX supervisor Nordin Rahhali explained that the company handled a few shots on the first film, building a relationship with the director and VFX supervisor. “When this film came, we were able to get in very early on as one of the primary vendors and of course had a large part of the film carved out for us,” he says.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.’ All images © 2017 Marvel Studios
Rahhali led a team of over 250 artists that delivered roughly 550 shots for the film, or 40 minutes of work. He noted that the work crossed several disciplines, including “a lot more character work than we’ve done in the past at Method, which was something I personally was very excited to do.”
The work included creating hero characters Rocket and Baby Groot for several key sequences, as well as large-scale destruction and spaceship crashes, full CG animation and environment design, and the movie’s final scene.
Read the full story at AWN.
Posted in: AnimationNewsNewsletter
Members of the “Breaking Bad” family – including characters – found themselves reunited when Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould’s “Better Call Saul” concept was greenlit. Composer Dave Porter and music supervisor Thomas Golubic were thrilled to reteam on the prequel that follows Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) transformation into Bad’s sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman. However, they knew their work was cut out for them.
“Ordinarily shows have a pilot where you can come up with the tone – we had to figure out the tone while the train was already running.”
Noting they’d have to redefine their musical mold forged over the “Breaking Bad” years, Porter and Golubic explored styles highlighting the deeply internal, human struggles examined in “Saul.” To distinguish the story’s smaller, more personal scale, Porter veered from “Bad’s” synth sounds and chose more organic instrumentation including guitar, piano and percussion. Recognizing early on that the characters would constantly evolve from one episode to the next, Porter also avoided utilizing reoccurring themes or motifs. Golubic found that, unlike the source music used in Walter White’s world of chaos and comedy, he could exercise a stylistic curiosity in his selections. Musical diversity that jumps from patriotic songs to salsa rhythms emphasizes the characters’ simmering changes. While the genres are broad and abstract, they are tied to each characters behaviors and personalities, grounding them in their reality.
Throughout season two, Porter and Golubic not emphasized the shifts that will eventually bring key characters to their “Breaking Bad” personas, but also the wildly different rates these characters, such as Jimmy and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), make their transitions. Porter has introduced classic rock guitar, Rhodes piano, vibraphones and stronger percussion, allowing the score to become slightly heavier to mirror Jimmy’s loss of frivolity and carefreeness and Mike’s more rapid decent. Season two found Golubic contributing more world music as well as synth-heavy selections in the sourced music. For example, to emphasize and attempt at success made by Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn), Golubic used a Gypsy King’s song followed by a Bollywood number, symbolizing hopefulness and yearning.
As they have in the past, the two men manage their partnership as composer/music supervisor by sharing their ideas for each section and mutually deciding which selection best moves the story forward. Because Gilligan works edits without temp music, each segment can be approached with a clean slate.
“Vince and Peter can look at the broader picture, Dave experiences the vulnerability of the moment, and I have to look ahead ad rethink,” said Golubic. Added Porter, “It’s a balancing of viewpoints. It is very helpful.”
With producers who want to hear their interpretation before sharing their own, Porter and Golubic play through different interpretations of the scene before selecting which music makes the best dance partner. If their decisions don’t resonate with the creators, they recognize they have ultimately provided a unique perspective that is valuable to the storytelling process.
“Music is the last of the creative choices,” said Porter. “Sometimes we are able to bring something they haven’t thought of yet.”
Posted in: NewsNewsletterSound
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou can’t resist “Universal Monsters”: the creatures that were brought to public attention by Universal Studios from the 20s – 50s. Involvement in the re-imaging of “The Mummy” for the award-winning makeup and hair designer – she has a Saturn, MUAH, IOMA and Gold Derby Award for hair and makeup in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (as well as a BAFTA and Oscar nominations for the same film) was therefor a no-brainer. After an upbeat meeting with the film’s director, noted producer/writer Alex Kurtzman, Yianni-Georgiou recognized the director trusted her input and was open to her suggestions. She excitedly agreed to tackle the film’s hair and makeup designs.
Variety 411 recently caught up with Yianni-Georgiou to learn about her process in creating hair and makeup for “The Mummy.” She discusses how she achieved a creative vision that blends historical accuracy with a modern, completely unique artistry.
Variety 411: What was your research period like, and what were your inspirations for designs in “The Mummy”?
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou: I researched different Ancient Egyptian dynasties and honored the Egyptian head dresses in the structure of the hair work. I also looked to the catwalks, performance artists and my daughters for inspiration which I feel helped to give Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) a young, fresh edge. The blue and gold dipped fingers were inspired by the gold finger and toe caps that were found in Tutankahmun’s tomb. There was also a chalice found there which speaks of eternal life and power, so I used the Heiroglyphics from the chalice. The tattoo designs are a grouping of Ancient Egyptian symbols which all speak of power, strength and protection. Snaked sideburns are also a symbol of protection of the Pharoahs. I was also inspired by a mummy that I saw in the British Museum who had been laid to rest with a gold plate in her mouth.
Makeup and hair stylist Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou created a layout (left) for the symbols that appeared on Ahmanet’s (Sofia Boutella) face. Each character was individually placed on her skin. Photo credit: Universal Pictures
V411: Can you talk about the process of designing individual icons that cover Ahmanet, as well as the layout that covers her body? For example, did you start with the concept that is seen in the film, or were there a number of designs that led up to what was ultimately used?
EYG: Ahmanet wears a set of tattoos when she’s alive and when she goes over to the dark side, these lift and her human qualities/lifeline drains from her skin. The symbols she wears as The Mummy are an adaptation of Ancient Sumerian text. They,were taken from The Book of the Dead and describe summoning/raising the dead. I had to re-work the language slightly to suit the screen. The design process was really fun and exciting. My first interpretation was that it would burn through her skin in a blood red color and look like raised scarification, but we found that it looked too painful and wasn’t really suitable for the films rating. I then started playing with different colors and skin tones. I felt as soon as she allies herself with Set (the God of death and destruction), she would almost loose her human-like qualities, so I made her skin a stone-like color and made the runes an inky blue/black color, as though her blood turns this shade as soon as she turns to Set. I played with different placement but wanted to keep an Egyptian quality, so I looked to Ancient Egyptian and Greek armor for inspiration for the placement of the text. Even when she is naked in the film, she looks like she’s wearing armor.
V411: How did you go about applying this makeup? Was it a temporary tattoo or did you use another product to acquire the almost hand-drawn quality of each symbol?
EYG : The base make-up on her body was a product that I’d developed for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It is skin-friendly and lasts the duration of a long days’ filming. I then recreated that stoney colour in a grease-based make-up for Sofia’s face. The text was sculpted and made in to pro-bondo moulds, as Alex and I wanted them to be raised, almost as though they had burned through her skin. They were applied in strips. The symbols on her face were silicone pieces which were individually placed & glued on to her skin, one by one. The development of the symbols was a bit trickier as Sofia had very sensitive skin, so I had to find a product that gave us the desired affect whilst also being skin-friendly.
V411: Noting you mentioned a long-lasting, base makeup, it seems that most of what the audience sees is practically, through makeup?
EYG Apart from the first few times you see her once she has risen, every stage of Ahmanet’s transformation was make-up. VFX hollowed out her cheeks and this can be seen until she regains full strength.
V411: What was your collaboration like with the visual effects team? Was it easy to merge the vision you created through makeup with some of the effects that are done with the various characters?
EYG I had a lovely relationship with the VFX team. We worked together very closely to help get the desired affect on some of the characters. Like the undead, for example, who came through my department to get textured, aged skins and would then have their eyes and noses taken out by VFX.
V411: Can you speak about designing a hair style for a character that has been dormant for thousands of years? How did you achieve the look you designed?
EYG: The design process was really fun; I got to play with different periods and could explore some of my favorite looks from the history books. I looked to images of Nefertiti and the sacred geometric forms in the architecture and created cages to recreate those shapes in Ahmanet’s hair when she’s a princess. I also found a beautiful wig in the Met Museum which had amazing gold decorative clasps in it, I then found a modern alternative and incorporated these into her princess hair styles. For her hairstyle as the Mummy, I wanted to keep an Egyptian quality whilst Alex wanted to have her hair down and flowing. So I snuck in a bob undercut, which allowed me to stay true to Ancient Egypt.
V411: This movie has lots of action sequences, including explosions, battle sequences, etc. Were you and your team designing a lot of bruises and wounds on your actors?
EYG All of the bruises, bites and cuts were practical applications. Vail (Jake Johnson) has a series of nicks and cuts and bites along the way, which were practically applied. As his bite gets bigger I transitioned from blood and veins which were painted on to silicone bite wounds which were then painted and reapplied every day.
V411: While a resurrected mummy rightfully steals the spotlight, you and your team had to design makeup and hair styles for all the characters in the film. Where there certain looks and color palettes you were going for? Do you mute the colors applied on the bulk of the cast knowing there will be a character that is so visually compelling – as not to compete with that character?
EYG : What is so cool and fun about this movie is that it flips between time periods. We have Ahmanet’s world in Ancient Egypt, the crusaders world and modern day, which is the world that most of our lead characters inhabit. I always like the characters I create to be somewhat rooted in reality, as I feel it makes them more relatable. Vail’s character is really cool as he is a bit of a rogue and this is reflected in the tattoos I designed for him. His character also has quite a transformation in the film which was really fun to play with and create. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) was also fun to bring to life, as I wanted his look to suggest the old-world Victorian England, so his hair style calls to that. Jenny’s (Annebelle Wallis) look is really natural which is a nice contrast and her look at the end is really ethereal and other worldly which is a play on her story line.
V411: M∙A∙C cosmetics is supporting your work on “The Mummy.” Many folks may not realize they are a go-to for makeup artists in addition to an established consumer brand. What were some of the key items you were using in this film?
EYG: The main M∙A∙C products used included their Pro Longwear Fluidline in black track, face and body foundation, Kohl Power eye pencil in feline and lip pencil in coffee an spice, Chromaline in Hi-Def cyan and black, Prep + Prime Fix Pigments in landscape green and transparent finishing powder and waterproof false lashes in black. Due to the different looks and changing environments I applied a lot of M∙A∙C Prep + Prime Fix + spray to help keep makeup fresh. We faced even more challenges as we shot underwater. These scenes are where M∙A∙C Studio Face and Body Foundation really became a hero product for this film.
V411: How did you source your team for “The Mummy?” Where there individuals with certain expertise that you knew you had to secure for this film?
EYG I always tend to have a core group of people that I bring with me on my films, and on this job I needed to have a well-balanced team that could handle the make-up, sfx and natural as well as the hair side of things which was also demanding on this job.
V411: You’ve alternated between hair and makeup design on many films. Is there a benefit to overseeing both roles, as you did in “The Mummy?”
EYG: I love doing both as I always do see the image or the look for each character as a whole, I think due to my background and training in all aspects that’s my natural trail of thought.
V411: And, speaking of hair and makeup – you’ve worked on such a wide assortment of genres, from historical films to contemporary, from dramas to action to sci-fi and thrillers. What are the qualities you look for when you choose the projects you would like to work on?
EYG: I love a fun, unusual script – and a challenge!
Posted in: NewsNewsletterProduction & Post
Franklin Peterson was a relative newbie to television editing in 2014. He’d surpassed the assistant-to- editor hurdle on indie films including “Safety Not Guaranteed” when he had the good fortune to cut director Sam Esmail’s feature debut, “Comet.” It was Peterson’s work on this film that inspired Esmail to reach out to the editor when he needed an editor to fill in during season one of his hacker-takes-over-the-world drama “Mr. Robot.”
After reading the pilot and seeing a cut, Peterson was hooked. He joined the team with the season already well in progress. Working in LA, he was given guidance and updates about the story threads being shot in NY. While the schedule was far more accelerated than a feature. Peterson found he still had ample time to apply creative editing styles to highlight Elliot Alderson’s (Rami Malek) unusual and often confused world-view.
“I loved getting time to experiment and play,” said Peterson. “Sam is open to outside-the-box ideas.”
Peterson and the “Mr. Robot” editing team had a heightened sense of creativity in season two, sparked largely in part by Esmail’s direction of each episode. Able to closely monitor the slightest detail, down to the makes of each characters phone, every scene was richly displaying the world Esmail envisioned. Despite his oversight on set, Peterson and the editing team were encouraged to continue to find the most creative way to tell the story in the edit suite, including the use of jump cuts, long to short takes, and other out-of-the-box means that would lend to exploring the personality of each character.
Unique to the experience of editing “Mr. Robot” was the ability to shuffle scenes around in an episode, sometimes even between episodes. The entire editing team would gather to sit and discuss set ups they were working on that offered mutual feedback for the unique experimentation Esmail encouraged. They also ensured, throughout their unique edits, that the characters retained a humanity, specifically Elliott, who’s unique way of seeing the world often verts against his humanity.
The unique eye tracking that comes with the extreme angles in “Mr. Robot” Peterson recalled using in “Comet”, however he was apprehensive about the extremely dark visuals in season two. Peterson credits DP Tod Campbell for carving out actors features with a handful of light, or finding the proper balance in the backlit shots.
“The art of it all fits, but there were always massive wide shots and plenty of extra coverage to work with,” recalled Peterson.
Sound design enhanced a major storyline reveal in the opener’s double episode. Peterson worked with sound team to underscore Elliott’s movements with rolling door and clinking of metal sounds, creating an off-balance sensation for the viewer while avoiding obvious reveals.
Most important in the unusual editing process was ensuring they responded to the needs and emotions of their characters. In a scene highlighting FBI agent Dominique DiPierro’s (Grace Gummer) loneliness and heartbreak, Peterson felt it was best to let her expressions linger without cutting into the scene.
Posted in: EditingNewsNewsletterProduction & Post
LONDON, UK – With the release of its Statue project, London-based creative studio Saddington Baynes has created a frozen moment of a Muay Thai battle, utilising full-body 3D photo scans created in partnership with body-scanning experts FBFX.
Saddington Baynes is well-known for pushing the boundaries of technical innovation in the creative industry, establishing its R&D arm SBLabs to showcase this in-house ability. For Statue, SBLabs used advanced procedural displacement techniques, complex shaders and dynamic particle simulations to deliver a fierce fighting showcase. The results are already sweeping up accolades across the creative community, including a Platinum in the Creativity International Media & Interactive Design Awards.
James Digby-Jones, Executive Creative Director at Saddington Baynes, comments: “We wanted to create a project to showcase our expertise working with complex simulations and highly detailed 3D talent, while also demonstrating our imaginative storycraft and VFX capabilities. The Statue project quickly picked up a Platinum award and we’ve entered it into others. It’s a great piece that shows off a variety of high level skills, applicable to multiple market sectors.”
Statue – Behind the Scenes from Saddington Baynes
Scanning and capture
To achieve unparalleled detail required meticulous planning. SBLabs blocked out early concepts in Cinema 4D to explore strong poses and the choreography and to direct the camera path.
SBLabs then approached SFX costume and 3D scanning specialists FBFX, who captured key moments of the Muay Thai battle in live action, as one at a time the combatants jumped and punched and kicked, all the while being captured as high resolution point clouds and image maps from multiple cameras. Besides being martial arts enthusiasts, both models were actually part of the Saddington Baynes team – a Production Assistant and a CG artist!
Andrew White, Creative Director at Saddington Baynes, comments: “FBFX helped us build separate scan captures in ZBrush with seamless results. They were a huge asset, delivering exactly what we needed in line with our vision”
Alongside these scanned models, Statue also features complex Houdini simulations. The models land blows on each other, cracking open igneous husks to reveal the searing heat below. SBLabs ran a series of customised fragmentation and tessellation processes on the geometry with look development performed in Mantra.
Andrew White, Creative Director at Saddington Baynes, comments: “We found that by outputting some custom aov passes we could create a hot metal look inside Nuke. By using holdout mattes and base beauty elements, this gave us a great way to time and control the intensity of the heat effect.”
Based out of London, Saddington Baynes has a long history of technical innovation. Besides being the original pioneers of digital retouching in 1991, Saddington Baynes were also one of the first production studios to harness the potential of CGI in-house. More recently, the team developed an Engagement Insights® service – the world-first use of neuroscience techniques to measure emotional impact of imagery. Recent commissions include Honda’s pan-European ‘Real View Test Drive’ campaign.
About Saddington Baynes
Saddington Baynes is a leading creative production agency that has produced premium imagery for advertising agencies and brand clients for 25 years.
Saddington Baynes’ mission is to create sensational imagery that inspires brand devotion, with a focus on emotional reactions and engagement. To achieve this, Saddington Baynes developed its Engagement Insights® service – an entirely new way to measure the emotional impact of imagery, using neuroscience techniques.
Posted in: NewsNewsletterPress ReleaseVFX
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword feels like the logical next step in Guy Ritchie’s career – after all, who better to direct a modern reimagining of King Arthur than British film royalty? Ritchie has spent years moulding rough and rugged England into whip-smart stories of sleazy charm, and Ancient Albion feels like home turf.
Ritchie has driven a bolt of trademark energy through King Arthur’s folklore, the murky grasslands and staunch stone castles fizzling with the director’s verve. This is mythological Britain filtered through modern-day cinematic technique – not to mention some truly exceptional VFX, delivered under the watchful eye of VFX Production Supervisor Gavin Round (sadly not of the round table).
Boasting a decade of experience in visual effects, Round has worked on numerous blockbusters, chalking up visual feasts such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Edge of Tomorrow. He teamed with Ritchie on King Arthur to breathe new life into the classic tale of swords, sovereigns and sorcery, corralling the project’s global VFX teams around a singular vision with support from cineSync.
“I came onto King Arthur in 2014, working with VFX Producer Alex Bicknell and VFX Supervisor Nick Davis, who I’d worked with on Edge of Tomorrow,” he explains. “Thanks to that experience, we had an established, effective workflow in place for meeting with vendors, viewing material, and of course, using cineSync. In other words, we could hit the ground running on King Arthur.”
Vendors of the round table
cineSync was key to making King Arthur’s VFX a reality, given the nine separate vendors involved in the process. Framestore stood as the lead vendor, operating out of both its London and Montreal studios. Contributions also came in from MPC’s Montreal team, Method Studios in LA and Vancouver, Scanline in Vancouver, and many more, totaling nine different studios.
Round was in the thick of the battle on King Arthur from pre to post, helping to establish Ritchie’s new kingdom of myth and magic across all studios involved.
“My duties involved managing vendors, making sure the shots came in on time and that the vendors had everything they need,” recalls Round. “cineSync enabled us to review the material constantly, so we were always aware of the status of any given shot. We could see it in real-time to discuss with the vendors.”
cineSync played a large role in creation of King Arthur’s many mythical creatures, such as a nine-foot CG villain, whose creation was split between VFX vendors Framestore and MPC.
“It was a delicate process, as we had to maintain continuity between the two vendors, who were essentially building different parts of the same being,” explains Round. “We needed to constantly review and check the material back-to-back to ensure everything transitioned correctly, no matter which vendor it came from. This is the exact kind of situation where cineSync is so useful – it saves a lot on travel!”
cineSync was used almost every day in post on King Arthur, particularly towards the end of the project. “We relied on cineSync heavily during the backend of the post schedule, at which point we were ramping up and getting most of our shots through,” says Round. “We used cineSync with all the vendors involved – we knew we could rely on it.”
The sword and the cineSync
cineSync proved to be a powerful tool throughout the filmmaking process – and one that, unlike Excalibur, anyone could wield: the entire King Arthur production team fell in love with the simplicity of cineSync – in particular, VFX Supervisor Nick Davis, who would make sure every VFX shot was reviewed, analyzed, and improved by all vendors.
“He likes to do cineSync sessions because he can pull up a shot, make marks on it, draw on it and tell the artists exactly where he wants a creature to walk,” says Round. “We did it for the big shots and small shots alike – whatever we were working on, cineSync ensured that the sequence ended up looking much better on screen.”
For Round, King Arthur revolved around the power of cineSync, ensuring that every shot was delivered to the ultimate satisfaction of all involved: “cineSync was completely intertwined in our day-to-day workflow. It was a brilliant overall tool and made my life much simpler.”
Or, as the British would put it: Bob’s your uncle!
Posted in: NewsNewsletterVFX