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Production

J.J. Abrams on Embracing New Technology

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The NBC sci-fi series “Revolution” films in Wilmington, North Carolina. The show takes place in the not-too-distant future when a family struggles to reunite after the world experiences a mysterious technological apocalypse. The popular doomsday drama was created by Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), who is executive producer along with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, and they’re all known for embracing technology and infusing their productions with lots of CGI and special effects. So how does technology help in their creative process? “The technology I use in my process almost starts and ends with the Internet, because of the unbelievable amount of information that is at your fingertips,” reports Kripke. “I’m definitely dating myself, but I still remember having to bury myself in the library to research a project, and then photocopy all the research that I needed. Now, at any given moment, at any given point of writing a script, I say, ‘You know what? I need to know what this process is. I need to know how this person works.’ And I can immediately search, find it, get the information, and put it right into a script. I think that’s pretty invaluable. I don’t know if I would be as good a writer without that.”

J.J. Abrams has done very high‑concept tech TV shows and movies, such as “Fringe,” “Lost” and the Star Trek film franchise. But could he be just as creative without today’s ground-breaking technology? “Everything that Eric said is so true in terms of research,” says Abrams. “And obviously I love what technology allows in terms of visual effects and in terms of just efficiency, whether it’s getting something quickly, reading something, looking at artwork, composition or anything. [When] I’m doing visual effects for Star Trek, it doesn’t matter where I am. I can look at the latest version of a visual-effects shot and give notes. [And] while that’s all true, what it all comes down to and what matters most of all is the idea, and the writing and the execution of that idea. And for that, I usually write it out in longhand first. There’s something about it, the tactile, tangible nature of writing that just feels like I’m feeling the stuff more than I am…. When there’s a deadline and it’s crazy, of course, the Mac Book Pro is the key. But it’s something that I think ultimately just comes down to ‘what is that idea you’re scribbling with that pencil?’”

 

 

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It Still Pays to Be Smaller, Faster and Cheaper

courtesy-of-christopher-walters_smWith the next big thing always around the corner, camera professionals can rely on having a plethora of gear offerings. The products that stand out can vary from shoot to shoot, but the remaining constant is that equipment needs to be small, fast and cheap enough to compete in today’s competitive market. One “faster” piece of equipment is the Midas Mount SnapFocus. Created by Brandon David Cole, the SnapFocus is a simple, cable-driven follow focus system that combats smaller-budget production restraints. It works on the principle of resistance between two retracting hand grips, which on the prototype are levers from bicycle brakes — and since your hand never needs to leave the handle bars, you’ll maintain a rock-steady center of gravity.

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Nigel Lythgoe Talks Emerging Platforms for “American Idol”

digitalhollywood_nigelIt’s safe to say that Fox TV’s “American Idol” is one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. Created by British Entrepreneur/Manager/Producer Simon Fuller in 2002, “American Idol” was spawned from the British hit show “Pop Idol,” and the success of both shows can be largely attributed to Producer Nigel Lythgoe, who is also the co-creator, producer and judge of Fox TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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Live Production: Getting Down and Dirty

liveproductionAfter working in the business for 35 years, with 15 of those years on TV truck crews, I’ve learned a few things about production. With enough time and crewmembers, almost anyone can make a normal video production if they’ll keep shooting till they get it right. But the same can’t be said for live production, which usually calls for you to get it right in one take. For live production, your crew must be up to the task and ready to work as a team. Video, audio and the means for broadcasting your show have to be solid and workable from beginning to end or you will have no show. You’ll need to get it right, or go home.

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Behind the Locations of The Hangover Part III

hangover_sm_groupThe Warner Bros. sequel The Hangover Part III marks the last film in a trilogy that broke ground with its unique mix of adventure and comedy. Directed by Todd Phillips, the first two Hangover films are now seen as one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. The third film centers on the four leads, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha), who find themselves on yet another outrageous adventure as they try to untangle their way out of some unthinkable circumstances. P3 recently chatted with the film’s Location Manager Gregory Alpert (pictured below), who both took the ride of his life while creating a distinct look for one of the most anticipated comedies of 2013.

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