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Expecting the Unexpected

Audio Specialist Scott Harber does a lot of work in scripted entertainment for both big and small screens alike, including the TV shows “Rescue 911” and “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming feature 30 Minutes or Less for Columbia Pictures. But his real passion is for the documentary films that have taken him all over the world, such as Bill Maher’s Religulous and the Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentaries Borat and Brüno.

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Harber and his colleagues shot Cohen’s comedic films as documentaries, as Cohen and his director, Larry Charles, had specific story points in mind and felt that the films were in many ways 21st-century versions of the classic TV show “Candid Camera,” in which unsuspecting real people were sucked into absurd situations for laughs. “[Borat and Brüno] were docs,” says Harber. “It was me and two cameramen standing in a room with Sacha and whoever he was with.”

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Rocky Mountain Region

So far, 2010 has been a mixed bag for the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. While states like Utah continue to flourish, the rest have had a quiet time on the production front as they deal with the long-term effects of the recession. P3 Update looks at the recent cuts in some state governments’ film incentive budgets as well as the legislative changes made to help states better compete under the challenging economic circumstances. We’ll also see what film and television projects have made it through to production fruition, giving us an insight into what states can look forward to in the future.

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Southeast Atlantic Region

The Southeast Atlantic region –– comprised of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina –– has so much to offer, from the bustling downtown areas of Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte and the mountains and forests of Georgia to the Everglades, Florida Keys and Outer Banks of the Carolinas. Combine all that scenic and geographical diversity with aggressive tax breaks and an increasingly sophisticated production infrastructure, and it’s a small wonder that the Southeast Atlantic has been so successful in attracting film, commercial and TV production over the past few years.

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A Breathtaking Ride with The Expendables

Spotlight_Expendables_04When you go to see The Expendables, make sure you’re in a movie theater with arm rests and don’t forget to hang on tight! The action-packed film is a breathtaking adventure directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote the script. Also starring Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts and Bruce Willis, the film begins with six mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Stallone) who are on a mission to rescue hostages from a band of Somali pirates. Ross is a fearless warrior whose only emotional attachments are his pickup truck, seaplane and small band of fighting men. The role fits Stallone like a glove.

After the hostages are rescued, the mercenaries celebrate inside their down-and-dirty lair. When Mr. Church (Willis) offers to pay them to overthrow a dictator who rules a tropical island nation, the mercenaries are reluctant to take on what sounds like an impossible mission. But when Ross agrees, the men climb aboard his seaplane and follow their leader into battle. As they arrive on the island they meet Sandra, a freedom fighter Church has chosen to be their guide. Sandra guides the men through military strongholds and other strategic targets, but there’s a dramatic twist when she’s captured by the enemy. Ross and his gang are determined to rescue Sandra and complete their mission –– and that’s when the sparks begin to fly.

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DPs' Digital Diversification

There’s no question that digital technology has dramatically altered the world of the cinematographer, even when it’s still a film-based shoot. Digital technology not only includes actual cameras, it also extends to things like camera controls. This month, P3 Update takes a look at a group of products that take advantage of digital technology either directly or indirectly to make life easier for DPs and camera operators.

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Camera Companions

In recent years, the proliferation of new digital cameras has focused attention on resolution, workflow and image quality. While the RED, Vision Research Phantom, ARRI ALEXA and Canon 7D Mark II cameras all have their fans and uses, the advent of 3D stereoscopic moviemaking has upped the ante as filmmakers struggle to find the perfect cameras for the left/right-eye pair. Camera accessories — everything from lenses to 3D rigs — are the crucial gear components needed to support chosen cameras, and they can make the difference between a problem-plagued production and smooth sailing.

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Precision Posting

When a professional golfer swings a golf club, the club head speed can easily reach over 100 mph. That’s just one of the factors Precision Productions + Post had to take into consideration when it produced a new global ad campaign for TaylorMade and its line of Burner clubs.

 To save time and money, TaylorMade streamlined the production by tapping Precision for both the production and post. Precision Executive Producer Marie Soto notes that, in addition to “significant time and cost savings,” that strategy resulted in “a consistent creative vision.”

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On the Right Track

Last year, when the folks at NASCAR wanted to capture the feel of a racing environment for a special commercial, they turned to Fisher Technical Services, Inc. (FTSI) to get the goods at a track just outside of South Boston, Va.

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Lighting Up a Flavor Explosion

Cinematographer John Zilles has shot many commercials for such companies as Walmart, Toyota and Pizza Hut, and he describes his new $2 million Sprite commercial as “one of the biggest, most interesting and challenging jobs I’ve had to light and shoot in 20 years of doing commercials.”

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Adobe CS5 and NVIDIA FX 4800

Photoshop has been a standard in the industry for years, and Adobe just keeps making it easier to create amazing graphics. It’s wonderful to use Photoshop on my new 24-inch EIZO ColorEdge monitor –– the monitor can be calibrated for different color space so that I can see exactly what my Photoshop output will look like, allowing me to work with confidence. Now there are new tools in Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 that really help to simplify complicated tasks. And with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 card’s acceleration, CS5 is really fast as well.

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