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Hunting Hot Tuna in the Wild with Old and New Cameras

Cinematographer Rick Rosenthal has been filming sea wildlife for several decades and has contributed unique underwater footage to many BBC megaseries, such as “The Blue Planet,” “Planet Earth” and “Life.” The DP has also shot three one-hour specials on great whales and recently directed “Nature: Superfish” for PBS and key international broadcasters. The winner of three cinematography Emmy Awards, Rosenthal is a marine biologist by trade and has been diving for 50 years while his pioneering film work in the open ocean has been seen by millions.

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The Diverse and Cinematic Midwest Region

From its varied locations and talented crews to the irrepressible enthusiasm and hospitality of its local communities, the Midwest Region is a joy for visiting film and television productions. After a year beset with challenges, the states of Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois are springing back into action. P3 Update gets the low-down on how this region is currently handling 2012.

INDIANA

Indiana’s incredible accessibility has been the state’s biggest selling point for filmmakers around the world. With a host of game parks, pristine lakes, sand dunes and cornfields, Indiana offers productions a variety of locale options and the ability to shoot in one of its picturesque cities with a farm setting just a half-hour away. Combine that with sincere Hoosier hospitality and the thrill and excitement of the Indy 500’s car-race extravaganza, and you have the makings for an enjoyable filming experience for everyone.

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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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