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Winter Shooting

CamCol_PortabraceCBA-NX5_kThe winter chill is in the air and snow is on the pumpkin. For me, that means one thing: It’s time to prep my camera to shoot outdoors in snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold, wicked winds. For more than a decade I’ve been a stringer for the Weather Channel, particularly during the wintry months. My peak season is late fall/early winter  because that’s when the notorious “lake effect” snowfalls happen as frigid subarctic weather blows across comparatively warm Lake Erie. This causes condensation which results in snow that can be so wet and heavy, it can make life difficult for you and your camera.

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Desert Sounds

AudioColumnRecording audio while on location when you can’t really control the environment is hard enough –– with all the occasional breezes, traffic, pedestrians and other various noises that come with the territory –– but working in bad weather can wreak havoc for filmmakers and their crew, as an environment that just won’t cooperate can make a difficult shoot more stressful.

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Pacific Coast Shooting

OnLocationWashingtonPR_WoltjerTom2007_GigHarborThe Pacific Coast Region, which features some of the country’s most attractive coastlines, offers an unparalleled level of diverse scenery. Whether it’s the volcanoes of Hawaii, Washington’s Cascade Range, Oregon’s rivers, the deserts of California or the glaciers of Alaska, a filmmaker can find just about any look needed to bring a script to life.

Despite this region’s long history with production, big changes are underway. While Alaska has swung open its doors to production, California has just introduced a brand-new incentive program; the Hawaiian Islands are seeing an impressive increase in production as is Washington, a state with everything at its fingertips; and Oregon is increasingly becoming the focus of film and TV. It’s not hard to see why 2011 will be a year to remember along the Pacific.

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Casting: East Coast vs. West

There’s been an enduring East Coast versus West Coast rivalry going on in production as far as casting is concerned –– and both sides have something to brag about. After 20 years of filming and giving legions of actors their first job in New York, “Law & Order” series Creator/Executive Producer Dick Wolf decided to bring a new version of the franchise to the distinctive West Coast with “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (also known as “LOLA”). And while the original series featured wonderful New York characters, the L.A. show can boast casting characters that are equally as colorful.

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D.I. for Independents

Gone are the days when the Digital Intermediate (D.I.) was a process reserved for Hollywood blockbusters. While Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London and many other major cities offer high-end D.I. facilities with top talent and gear, the independent filmmaker now has more options than ever to finish his or her film with a D.I. that won’t break the bank.

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Panavision Enters the 3D Arena

Panavision, designer, manufacture and rental of camera systems, is in the 3D business.  Three major features recently completed production using cameras, lenses and 3D rigs provided by Panavision. Those features include, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, shot by Michael Barrett, The Darkest Hour, photographed by Scott Kevan, and Bait, shot by Ross Emery.  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, lensed by Dariusz Wolski, ASC, was shot using camera and lens packages provided by Panavision, paired with rigs provided by Pace on the 1st unit and Element Technica rigs for the 2nd unit in London. Panavision’s current inventory of 3D camera rigs includes the Quasar, Pulsar and Neutron, manufactured by Element Technica.

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Litepanels Illuminate Japan Water Consciousness Documentary for Morgan

Don_Morgan_Using_LitepanelsEmmy-winning Cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, ASC chose Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, as the lighting source for his documentary on the power of healing and discovering the power within. The project, shot during an international HADO convention in Japan, centers around Dr. Masaru Emoto, his teaching of HADO, and his incredible research with water crystals that demonstrate water consciousness. Because Morgan and producer Lindsay Noel Kemp would be moving quickly, he knew his equipment had to be fast and flexible. Morgan needed to be able to shoot within 10 minutes for interviews, so he used the Sony EX1 camera and Litepanels’ 1x1s and MicroPro.

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Technicolor Provides Full 3D Services for Warner Home Video Blu-ray™ 3D Titles

Technicolor announced that it has provided compression, authoring and 3D subtitling services for Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray™ 3D titles, including Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Clash of the Titans, The Polar Express, IMAX®: Deep Sea 3D, IMAX® Under the Sea 3D and IMAX®: Space Station 3D.

Warner Bros.’ major retail offering remains the most Blu-ray 3D discs to be released by any studio this year, with the entire slate of 3D titles having arrived in stores on November 16, 2010, National Blu-ray 3D Day.

“We continue to lead the way in Blu-ray 3D services and remain focused on quality and efficiency,” Said Chuck Parker, president of Technicolor’s Digital Content Delivery division. “We continue to further reduce our production times for Blu-ray 3D by more than 50%, and we are even closer to matching the production times of a typical 2D Blu-ray Disc.”

Technicolor provides full turn-key Blu-ray 3D services utilizing its first-to-market, high-quality MVC compression tool, 3D authoring and programming with BD-JIVE and its advanced depth analysis tool for 3D subtitles and graphics.  All tools were developed in house leveraging Technicolor’s Research and Innovation resources. Technicolor’s 3D design services have also provided cutting edge on-screen 3D graphics for broadcast and Blu-ray Disc titles.

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Eastbound and Up

OnLocation_Canada_Quebec_04mtl-nuitEastern Canada isn’t the center of the universe, yet its production hub seems to provide everything universally necessary to re-create almost any location in the world. Toronto is currently doubling for various international sites for the CW action-thriller series “Nikita,” while the city’s less glamorous locations were used as a nondescript Eastern American city for the new MTV series “Skins.” And Montreal was chosen for On the Road, the upcoming film version of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel based on his road trips across America, while Halifax, Nova Scotia has become the familiar small town outside of Boston where Actor Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone mystery movies take place.

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New Workflows in Hi-Def and Hi-Res

PostCol_LocalHeroAlexaEvent-5The business and technology of postproduction are constantly evolving. Every time a new video standard is created, a new distribution platform emerges, or a manufacturer creates new technology or a piece of gear, post houses have to respond. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the advent of numerous high-definition and higher-resolution cameras.

Today’s post house not only needs the right tape decks to play back and record the output of these cameras, but it also needs a path to move the footage between offline editing, graphics, visual effects, color correction, finishing and output. In fact, many post houses now differentiate themselves for the special attention they give while creating efficient, speedy and cost-effective pipelines.

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