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Digital Technology Brings New Editing Possibilities

After nearly 20 years of cutting news footage for the Los Angeles independent station KCAL-TV, News Editor Tom Novak has pretty much seen it all, including the changes of the station’s ownership from Disney to Young Broadcasting to current owner CBS (which has maintained the station’s independent status). As one of five editors working on the multiple evening news broadcasts, Novak notes that two of the biggest changes involve the way raw footage is captured and the increasingly rapid turnaround time made possible by digital technology.

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U.S. Virgin Islands: A Filmmaker’s Paradise

The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) has a long history serving as a film and television location hotspot. However, after experiencing a dip in production, there’s a movement by the USVI Department of Tourism, industry crafts people and local service providers to bring production levels up to what was seen in the ’90s, making the USVI, once again, a preferred filming destination. “The industry needs to come back to the USVI,” says Steve Bornn, development manager at the USVI Film Office. “We’re still here. We still have the same crews that they’re use to. Our experience is just deeper. A luxury we offer besides our convenience [is that] our [crews] work the entire Caribbean. We’re a good hub. Producers should start here because we offer a lot of knowledge.”

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Landing on Utah: A Film Destination That’s Out of This World

When Actor Taylor Kitsch agreed to be transported to Mars in this month’s epic sci-fi John Carter, there was no doubt that the production needed to be set in Utah. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the action/adventure/fantasy film explores the lush landscapes of a Martian civilization — and Utah’s stunning vistas suited the visionary production to a tee. Since the 1920s, Utah’s varied scenery has offered a wide range of options for filmmakers, serving more than 700 feature films and TV shows as well as an impressive lineup of commercials. And 2012 marks the second consecutive year in which a Utah film received an Academy Award Best Picture nomination, first with 127 Hours and now The Tree of Life, which shot in the Great Salt Lake, Bonneville Salt Flats and Goblin Valley State Park.

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3D Brings Scorsese Back to the Origins of Moviemaking

“Happy endings only happen in the movies,” says the melancholy shopkeeper Georges (Ben Kingsley) in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film Hugo. This visually stunning 3D adventure honors Georges Méliès, the pioneer filmmaker behind the 1902 fantasy film A Trip to the Moon. Nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards, Hugo won big by taking home Oscar gold in five categories: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

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Innovative Camera Support

Some of the new smaller cameras available this year are wonderful, as they have large chips, balanced inputs and a wide variety of lenses. But the fact that they are small in size makes them difficult to hold, leaving little room to mount the necessary accessories. Additionally, these cameras don’t have servo zooms — so trying to zoom in/out or focus is usually a shaky process.

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On Location in Western Canada

As one of the most popular filming destinations worldwide, Western Canada is known for its experienced crews, state-of-the-art production facilities and spectacular scenic locations. Thanks to generous tax incentives, its industry continues to stand in solid stead with Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories increasing their cinematic exposure throughout the years. P3 Update takes a closer look at what’s been happening in Western Canada in 2011–12.

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Post Audio

Even though Hollywood has been doing multichannel audio mixing for over 70 years, the sound technicians and artists behind today’s mixes take nothing for granted. To get a feel for today’s audio postproduction tools and techniques, I visited two of the hottest boutique post houses in town. SonicPool and 5 Guys Named Moe offer state-of-the-art equipment and software and a full range of postproduction services, and both have corporate cultures that focus on strong customer service. The co-founders of these boutique houses both feel that the size of their companies enables them to offer more personal service. “Being a small company helps us be more efficient,” says SonicPool Co-Founder Patrick Bird. “We try to operate as if we’re a production’s post department rather than an outside facility.”

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Scouting the Natural Beauty of the Southeast Atlantic Region

With its bustling cities, foliage-filled landscapes and scintillating mountain vistas, the Southeast Atlantic Region utterly spoils directors and producers by offering irresistible climes and a wealth of location choices. And when these breathtaking views merge with the region’s financial incentives and increasingly sophisticated production infrastructure, this slice of the American film industry should never be lightly dismissed. Take a closer look at how 2012 is unfolding for the flourishing states of Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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Shooting Live Sports in 3D to 5D

pro_liveeventproduction_photo1_openingphotoAfter nearly two years of seeing sports televised live in 3D in the U.S., it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s only been five years since the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, which was the very first live 3D sports event. It was also the first sports event that was multi-cast in 2D as well as 3D. “We fed the left-eye signal to an auditorium in the Mandalay Bay Hotel where it was shown to a small audience via twin 4K projectors,” recalls Steve Hellmuth, the NBA broadcast operations and technology EVP who spearheaded this and other early NBA 3D efforts. “The quality of the uncompressed 3D signal was amazing.” NBA has long been broadcasting events in 3D, and ESPN 3D featured 17 live NBA games during the 2010–11 season. ESPN 3D now beams a diverse menu of 3D sports, ranging from boxing and basketball to the Winter X Games, into thousands of homes via DIRECTV.

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Staging a Production

pro_studios_universal_-virtual-stage-1-opening-demo_12-2-10_a-1Entertainment tax incentives have had a major impact on film production, and producers are now seeking studios internationally to accommodate their production needs and make filming more efficient. These studios and stages around the world can only thrive by being competitive to serve the industry with services and facilities that will continue to entice filmmakers.
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