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HPA-awards-postThe Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) trade association recently announced the nominees for craft categories and special winners for its 8th annual HPA Awards. Held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Calif. on November 7, the HPA Awards will honor the excellence and achievements of individuals and companies that do significant and revolutionary work in postproduction. According to a statement released by the HPA, 2013 brought a record number of entries in all craft and special award categories. The 12 craft nominees were chosen from a field of talented and innovative entries in color grading, editing, sound and visual effects for feature films, commercials and television.

rampant smOK, I admit it. I am a plug-in freak. I have the advantage of having a really fast Mac Pro 12-core and a DataBrick NLE (which is twice as fast as the Mac) to render out the plug-ins, but I still really enjoy using the “drag, drop and go” video effects from Rampant Design Tools. The cool thing about Rampant Design Tools is that plug-ins aren’t required, so you can get great-looking VFX on just about any editing computer. The company’s products come in groups, so that you can just buy what you need, and there are samplers available with clips from more than one group.

KeanuAs digital technology has established itself with a new generation of filmmakers, moviemaking has gotten both easier and more complicated. Will new digital formats reduce old-fashioned film production as a footnote for cinema students? That and many other issues are explored in the documentary Side by Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema. Airing on August 30 on PBS as part of its PBS Arts slate of programs, the doc is directed by Chris Kenneally and hosted by its co-producer Keanu Reeves, who investigates the history and process of both digital and photochemical filmmaking. And, even if you aren’t a filmmaker, the special is fascinating to watch. 

DigtialDomainDigital Domain, the pioneering VFX house co-founded by James Cameron, Scott Ross and the late Stan Winston, is re-emerging with a new owner after bankruptcy, according to reports by Variety. Last year, the U.S. branch of China’s Galloping Horse media company purchased 70 percent of Digital Domain’s visual effects business while the India-based Reliance MediaWorks bought the remaining percentage. Galloping Horse U.S., whose main asset was its stake in Digital Domain, was recently acquired by the publicly traded Hong Kong company Sun Innovation for $50.5 million. With its acquisition of Digital Domain 3.0, Sun Innovation intends to expand its reach, playing a significant role in the growing international film markets and developing new digital media experiences for consumers in entertainment, advertising, cultural and media environments worldwide. 

bad-robotWhen J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company got a green light for the second season of the NBC sci-fi series “Revolution,” two things were clear: the series would shoot in Austin, Texas and the production would use a single source for its camera gear. Since Radiant Images was already one of the suppliers for the series’ first season, Bad Robot turned to the Los Angeles-based rental house to provide all the cameras, gear and support, which includes the new award-winning, palm-sized Novo action camera. “Revolution” tells the story of a group of revolutionaries who confront an authoritarian regime 15 years after an event known as the Blackout, an instantaneous shutdown of all electrical devices across the globe. The science-fiction drama is also about family, both the family you’re born into and the family you choose. 

spectra-sound-forge-BoxesSony Creative Software recently released new upgrades for two of its popular software applications: Sound Forge Pro 11 for Windows and SpectraLayers Pro 2 for Windows and Mac. The new editions introduce more efficient recording and processing workflows as well as new signal and effects processing plug-ins for crafting broadcast-ready audio masters. The upgrades also feature a faster processing engine and an array of new tools, methodologies and user interface improvements. While Sound Forge Pro 11 and SpectraLayers Pro 2 are standalone applications, both are now configured to work seamlessly with each other, providing a comprehensive editing environment that combines deep waveform and spectrum editing capabilities.

Axia Audio has released an update for its Axia IP-Audio Driver for Windows. According to a company statement, the new version is a no-charge upgrade for licensed users that introduces improvements such as distinct profile and Autorun setting support for multiple Windows users; performance enhancements for users running WDM-mode audio drivers; and stability fixes to eliminate startup errors when loading instances with large I/O tables. 

Buffalo SMNew York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that a new postproduction, visual effects and animation company will be established at the landmark Tri-Main Center in Buffalo. According to a statement by the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development, the facility is expected to create 150 new visual effects and other post jobs within five years, and will pave the way for a new postproduction and visual effects industry in Western New York. 

Eric-SteelbergLike an actor searching for promising scripts and roles to play, Cinematographer Eric Steelberg, ASC, looks for movie projects that motivate and inspire him to push creative boundaries. As a movie lover, he describes his camera as playing a role in the drama, either by getting actively involved in the storytelling and aggressively following the action or taking an unobtrusive, observational perspective.

Chimera smTwo leading lighting companies for the global imaging industry have joined forces to provide a comprehensive line of professional gear. The Chimera Company, the manufacturer of professional lighting-control lightbanks, speed rings and modifiers, and Hensel-Visit GmbH & Co KG, the manufacturer of professional photographic flash and lighting equipment, will unite their operations under the name Chimera Imaging Solutions LLC. The new company will act as the exclusive distributor of the Hensel product line in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico.