Archive for October 17th, 2011

Digital Domain Brings Movie-Scale Stereo Effects to “2 Worlds” for Sony

Venice, CA—October 17, 2011—To create a new stereo 3D spot that would live up to Sony’s tagline for its 3D home entertainment products, “Don’t just watch. Feel,” Grey London and Spy Films tapped the masters of complex visuals at Digital Domain. The studio worked with director Arev Manoukian to create “2 Worlds,” a 60 second spot that features movie-scale visual effects and handles stereo 3D artfully to shatter the barrier between story and audience.


Based on the concept of Manoukian’s acclaimed short film “Nuit Blanche,” “2 Worlds” takes the lightning-strike feeling of love at first sight and brings it into the 3D realm, following a young man and woman as they’re drawn inevitably together while the physical world shatters around them in deference to the power of the moment. The spot, which broke on national TV October 4, is playing in 3D theatres and Sony in-store 3D displays nationwide.


“The visual effects on this spot are as complex and intricate as any you’ll see in major feature films,” said Ed Ulbrich, EVP of Digital Domain and President of Mothership. “We had to pull out all of the stops to create a piece that highlights stereo 3D artfully, without being gimmicky. It was a challenging project.”


“We treated this spot as an art piece and did a lot of up-front planning to blend CG, live action and stereo,” said Digital Domain Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Morton, who was brought into the process in its early stages to help plan the stereo shoot and overall creation. “Arev’s story was perfect for this medium. It has cityscapes where you can see miles down the road. The office and library are big, expansive rooms with characters in the foreground. There was a lot of opportunity to play with depth. The woman walks through a glass window and it shatters towards the audience — that’s a great moment to showcase in 3D. It’s also slow motion, so you can really see what’s happening.”


To create the piece, Digital Domain worked with Manoukian to pre-visualize every shot. They held a five-day stereo shoot to capture the actors and elements on green screen using a high-speed camera. They also captured most of the smoke, sparks and debris effects practically in stereo – even shooting books out of a cannon to capture reference footage. This was tricky, Morton explained, because with cameras shooting at a high frame rate they tended to drift out of sync and had to be resynced later.


Aside from the actors and some elements and effects, all of the backgrounds in the spot were created digitally – even the complex library and office interiors. Digital Domain artists then faced the challenge of integrating CG and practical stereo elements. “We had hundreds of thousands of practical effects that we had to review individually to get the right performances,” said Morton. “You can’t art direct real smoke.”



The team layered CG smoke around the live action smoke billowing low along the sidewalks, matching it precisely, and added CG sparks to a practical bulb shattering behind the man’s head as he walks through the wall and into the rollicking street. Matching the speed of the CG cars and the position of the CG lighting with the speed of the live-action actors walking in slow motion was supremely difficult. In one of the spot’s most striking shots, the woman walking through shattering glass with her face in closeup, Digital Domain even hand-animated thousands of pieces of glass to enable Manoukian to art direct each one individually.


“When you add the stereo to the mix things get a whole lot more complicated,” said Morton. The traditional ‘cheats’ to integrate practical effects go out the window. You can’t rotate or mix and match elements. Everything has to be horizontally aligned. We used every tool and technique we possibly could to get the execution right.”



About Digital Domain
Digital production company Digital Domain was founded in 1993. The company has created visuals for more than 80 movies, including Titanic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and TRON: Legacy and hundreds of commercials. Its artists have earned multiple Academy Awards®. Digital Domain recently completed visual effects for Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Real Steel and is in production on Jack the Giant Killer, 47 Ronin and a full slate of commercials. Digital Domain is headquartered in Venice, California with studios in Vancouver, San Francisco and Florida. www.digitaldomain.com

CREDITS


Directed by: Arev Manoukian

Production Company: Spy Films
Arev Manoukian Director
Carlo Trulli Executive Producer
Marcus Trulli Producer

Animation & Visual Effects by: DIGITAL DOMAIN
Ed Ulbrich President, Commercial Division; Executive Vice President
Tanya Cohen Executive Producer
Jim Riche Executive Producer
Richard Morton Visual Effects Supervisor
Melanie La Rue Senior Producer
Michael Shores Senior Producer
David Liu CG Supervisor
William Lemmon Coordinator
Niles Heckman Previs Artist
Derek Crosby Technical Director
Adrian Dimond Technical Director
Michael Lori Data Integration
Hilery Johnson Copeland Roto Artist
Kanae Morton Roto Artist
Ryan Apuy Digital Artist
Lee Carlton Digital Artist
Daisuke Nagae Digital Artist
Anthony Ramirez Digital Artist
Gideon Vandegrift Digital Artist
Samir Lyons Animator
Dan Patterson Animator
Jason Mortimer Lead FX artist
John Cooper FX artist
Eric Ebling FX artist
Ken Jones FX artist
Rafael F. Colón Lead Nuke Compositor
Arthur Argote Nuke Compositor
Sven Dreesbach Nuke Compositor
Niles Heckman Nuke Compositor
Aruna Inversin Nuke Compositor
Lenz Kol Nuke Compositor
Christopher DeCristo Flame Artist
Jeff Heusser Flame Artist

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Shakira and Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych Inaugurate Kiev’s New Olympic National Sports Complex With HARMAN Professional Audio System

Kiev-based Komora provided supplemental sound services for the Olympic Stadium grand opening, with JBL VT4889 line array positioned to cover side seating areas

NORTHRIDGE, California – On October 8, more than 60,000 participants celebrated the grand opening of Kiev’s Olympic National Sports Complex with a performance by Colombian pop star Shakira and an inauguration speech by Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych. Also known as Olympic Stadium, the reconstructed Soviet-era stadium will be the site of the Euro 2012 soccer championship final, as well as 2012 UEFA European Football Championship events leading up to the final.

President Yanukovych was joined by many political dignitaries and sports celebrities for the inauguration, along with nearly 2,000 dancers, actors and acrobats who performed in an elaborate theatrical presentation highlighting the nation’s culture and history. Featured performers included Ukrainian artists Ani Lorak, Taisia Povaliy and Gaitana, and the ceremony was capped by a concert by Shakira and a spectacular fireworks display.

Sound reinforcement for the event included HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC® line array system powered by Crown amplifiers along with Soundcraft Vi4™ digital live sound consoles. The equipment, supplied by Kiev-based rental sound provider Komora, was used in coordination with other equipment brought in by Fotis Sound from Poland, and a front of house console and stage monitor system from Clair Global, Shakira’s worldwide tour sound provider.

“Our team regularly supplies a Crown-powered JBL VERTEC line array system for large-scale concerts and special events like these, where the promoter needs additional sound reinforcement resources,” said Mykola Ostapchuk, head of Komora’s rental sound department and engineering lead for the 5-person technical team that helped support the event.

“JBL VERTEC line arrays are ideally suited for this type of application where sound needs to be precisely directed, yet cover a large area,” noted Ostapchuk. “We used 24 VT4889 fullsize line array elements set up in four ground-stacked outfill locations to cover the side seating areas of the stadium, and 16 VT4888 midsize line array elements stacked in four arrays to provide clear, powerful sound for the VIP seating areas,” noted Ostapchuk. The VT4889 line arrays were powered by Crown I-Tech Series I-T8000, I-T6000 and I-T4000 amplifiers.

JBL SRX712M 12-inch stage monitors were set up at the podium where president Yanukovych gave his address. JBL VRX Series VRX915M 15-inch stage monitors were used for the performances by Ukrainian singers Ani Lorak, Taisia Povaliy and Gaitana, with SRX725 loudspeakers used as side fills. The pair of Soundcraft Vi4 consoles was used at the front of house position, with one Vi4 used to mix the event’s production audio, and the other for music program mixing.

“Remarkable operational convenience and reliability of Soundcraft Vi digital consoles greatly facilitated our work in preparing and holding this event. The ability to use fiber optic connection for data transmission over long distances make these consoles simply indispensable for events of this scale. The distance we had between the stage and FOH position was more than 450 meters around the perimeter of the stadium, ” said Ostapchuk.

“Events like these require a tremendous amount of pre-planning and coordination during the show, especially when so many different people, companies and artists are involved! We were confident the VERTEC line arrays would do the job. They are ideal for large-scale, open-stadium events like these because of their high intelligibility, focused coverage pattern and ability to be deployed in a variety of configurations to suit the specific requirements of the venue,” Ostapchuk concluded.

Photo Caption: Kiev-based Komora provided supplemental sound services for the Olympic Stadium grand opening, with JBL VT4889 line array positioned to cover side seating areas.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 12,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.8 billion for the twelve months ending June 30, 2011.

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It’s Transistor Studios With an ‘S’ For a Reason


After exploring advertising’s possibilities for its last productive decade, the industry misfits of Brooklyn-based Transistor Studios are opening an office Down Under and diving back into their deep-design roots.

“Opening an office in Australia is a very logical step for us,” explained executive creative director and partner James Price. “Our success as a business is built upon doing things on our own terms, and a big part of that is being in places that excite and inspire us. It’s why we moved our studio to Brooklyn, and now it’s why we are expanding to Melbourne.”

This confident self belief and the desire to go where they can be at their most productive should stand the company in good stead as it focuses on a new region’s opportunities. Transistor started out in California with a Los Angeles studio, before settling in New York. But by opening an office in Melbourne later this year, manned by the Australian-born Price, Transistor has smartly placed itself in an opportunity crossfire that will continue to prove more popular as the industry evolves.

“We’ve done more work from the other side of the Pacific in the last couple of years, as that’s certainly a market that is expanding quite a bit,” said Price. But it’s about more than just being in a new market, “While it’s exciting to think about new clients and relationships in that territory, what I’m equally excited about is being able to offer our client base in North America and Europe a truly global perspective. Working with, and in, other cultures is so invigorating for the culture of a creative business. It’s exhilarating to think about the influence of this international outlook on a boutique design firm like us, and how that influences our output.”

“We’ve always prided ourselves on having a global accent to our work, which has translated really well to our clients in the UK and Europe, so I think we’ll be embraced in Australia, and beyond,” added co-founder, executive producer and partner Damon Meena. “Once we left the West Coast to focus on our New York office, James and I knew at some point we would return to having two offices. We are Transistor Studios with an ‘s’, after all.”

With Price holding down the fort in Australia, Meena will manage a North American operation recently blessed with the in-house promotion of two of Transistors most talented. Aaron Baumle, who has been with Transistor for 9 years, was named creative director earlier this year. Baumle’s background as a visual display artist, combined with his bachelor of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago allows him to solve problems from a very practical, hands on perspective. He shares this sense of pragmatism with recently promoted associate creative director Jamie Rockaway. Rockaway, who started at the company in 2005, recently oversaw the BBC’s dazzling “Get Into Books” and “Medieval Minds” commercials, which seamlessly merged Transistor’s gift for versatile animation, head-trip design and pop-culture sensibility.

“These guys have been creative directing their own projects but haven’t really had as much notoriety as they deserve,” explained Meena. “So now is the time for it.”

It’s not just the notoriety that excites Baumle about his new role: “Jamie, James and I have a history of collaborating together to make sure a project reaches its potential. It feels intuitive for us to work alongside each other in a capacity that allows us to take advantage of our unique skills.” And it’s an approach that will offer Transistor’s global client base the best creative fit for each individual project. “In the last 2 years we’ve been to South Africa, Shanghai, London, Los Angeles, Singapore and Amsterdam, as some iteration of the three of us,” adds Baumle. “As creative leads we are inspired by each other and the places we work in. The evolution of the Melbourne studio just offers us even greater opportunities to collaborate.”

According to both Meena and Price, now is also the time for Transistor to capitalize on its true passion –design based storytelling. Once Transistor made the jump from Los Angeles to New York, perpetually growing its business opportunities and client roster was mandatory for survival. And it pulled through on that score, landing quite a bit of interactive business and development, visual effects and live-action work, and more. But the core of its mission, partially obscured by its own justifiable ambition, has always been to extract knowledge and value from graphic design and illustrative art’s centuries-old traditions, while reinventing them for a future too easily distracted by media overstimulation. And a decade after its birth, Transistor is ready to pursue that mission with full faith in its fruition.

“Damon and I made the decision that art and design are really where our hearts are at,” said Price. “Those are the projects we’re most excited about and that we’re the best at doing, although we possess the skill sets to do many different things. The core creators of the studio have varied histories, but we all share a strong affinity for not just the history of graphic design, but art and culture. We like to draw that into our work, and pay homage to art and design movements that literally shaped the way we see the world. I think that’s what makes us interesting. We’ll put those references out there and then try to reinvent contexts in a way to make them feel new.”

Since making that internal push and resetting its operational narrative over the last year, Transistor Studios has seen a considerable shift in the projects coming its way, as well as the manner in which clients and colleagues perceive it. And as a result, it’s making even more of the type of work that it is proud to make. That includes a Victorian-flavored commercial for Kraken Rum featuring the fantastically animated mythic beast of the same name, Sprint spots starring anthropomorphized CGI iconography like Facebook and Twitter logos frolicking in the snow and clubbing in the desert, and even a dizzying Hewlett-Packard reel that manages to mash computer-aided design and cinematic live-action into light-speed animation that tickles your cerebral cortex.

The HP project is a perfect example of the company’s evolution as a design force. Extending its design eye across the spectrums of live-action has always been a natural extension of Transistor’s focus. Price explains, “So much production is now about providing a consistent vision. The live-action projects we create we proudly shelter from pre-production through to post. Design for us is about controlling the details all the way through to handing off the finished product.”

It’s not just hybrid projects that combine live-action with motion graphics that are garnering the company respect. The recent Sonos campaign through 72andSunny highlights not only the versatility of Price, Baumle and Rockaway as creative leads, but also the breadth of Transistor’s live-action capabilities. Some of the work is pure live-action storytelling without a graphic in sight, while other spots combine the company’s strength in live-action, animation, design and editorial.

“That project is a perfect example of our strengths,” says Meena. “It’s the ultimate design compliment to have someone trust you with such diverse stories told in such a variety of mediums. It’s more than artistic continuity that made the project such a success. Our soup-to-nuts mentality extends beyond creative vision. We were able to stretch the production further because we took it on holistically. It’s the future of production, both creatively and financially, and we are excited to be offering that to our clients, wherever they are in the world.”

Once Transistor’s expansion into Australia is complete, its next decade of existence promises to be even more productive than its last, despite its unorthodoxy. Even though it has fit quite nicely into an evolving industry, it has still managed to keep its outsider spirit alive in a sea of conformity. “We are firm believers that observing and understanding from the outside allows you to project back something that is new and unexpected,” explains Price. “This has become Transistor’s badge of honor of sorts: It thrives on existing apart from the moment, while taking advantage of the moment’s opportunities.”

“I hate to use the term, but we’re a bunch of talented misfits that wouldn’t fit into the culture of other design companies, so Transistor became a great outlet for us,” explained Meena. “James and I are from different sides of the planet, but we’ve got the same mindset. It’s always been about design for us.”

“The new studio will encompass all the trademarks that make us unique” concluded Price. “We’ll still draw from our love of the history of art and design to create the most visual work we can. It’s the infusion of new cultures and ideas that we’ll be exchanging between Brooklyn and Melbourne that just adds a new dimension to it. What someone in Melbourne sees on their lunch break can inspire an idea for a project being created for UK clients in our New York studios. To be able to offer that perspective to our staff, and to our clients, is the most exciting thing to happen to us so far.”

Visit Transistor Studios

About Transistor Studios
Brooklyn, NY and Melbourne, Australia -based Transistor Studios is a highly regarded multiplatform production company that enjoys an international roster of creative personnel. Their expertise in motion design, animation, and live-action blends as they create award-winning design for broadcast, commercial, and interactive clients from all over the world. The company has been responsible for recent spots for Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Sprint, BBC and Kraken Rum. Transistor Studios has also received recognition from the Cannes Lions, AIGA, New York Festival, One Show, and the BDA Awards.

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MPC Helps Mercedes-Benz Blow the Doors Off the Competition


MPC’s knack for making the impossible look easy is on full display once again, this time in a pair of Mercedes-Benz spots via Merkley + Partners and Smuggler Director Adam Berg. The MPC team put together an impressive array of motion control, CG and other effects for the new campaign.

Unchained features a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG four-door set in a nighttime desert, clusters of chains strung from the car’s rear doors to nearby boulders. As the vehicle accelerates from a stop, the chains clang behind before drawing tight and yanking the rear doors off in a violent, slow-motion explosion of glass and steel. When the C63 spins to a halt, it has been transformed into a sleek two-door – the 2012 C-Coupe.

Unchained was shot on film and digitally using the Phantom camera, which required extensive 2D work to marry the formats. “We basically needed to make the clean Phantom footage look more optical and atmospheric like the film,” stated MPC VFX supervisor/lead Flame artist Jake Montgomery. “We partly achieved this by adding smoke, dust, light effects and film grain.”

However the most difficult task was compositing the 2012 car and 3D elements onto a fast moving, non-repeatable 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63. “We were unable to break the doors off the brand new car, therefore needed to plan careful blend points for the action to take place. In doing the CG, it was a fine balance between giving the chains some interesting dynamics and making them look right physically,” continued Montgomery. “The real chains were less interesting in the references, as it was impossible for them to move and whip as much due to their weight. We wanted to make ours look as interesting as possible without breaking the realms of believability.”

In Passing Through, a Mercedes-Benz C250 power slides toward the camera in super slow motion. The camera passes through the passenger window and pans across the car’s redesigned dashboard in one seamless shot before exiting the driver’s side window to capture the Mercedes-Benz continuing its slide around a city street corner.

MPC started the project by creating a 3D previz animation sequence before shooting, defining the timing, framing, and camera movement with the director and the agency. The studio shot the :30 sequence in three parts – the approaching car, the camera passing through the interior, and the shot of the car drifting away – at 1,000 frames per second using a Phantom camera, then recombined the footage in postproduction.

While the first and third segments required close coordination with the stunt man, it is in the interior pass-through that MPC’s magic shines. “We shot this segment using an impressive camera movement called ‘motion control,’ which is a mechanical arm controlled by a computer that lets us create any camera movement and reproduce it as many times as we want in different locations and conditions,” MPC MD Andrew Bell adds.

“The art department recreated a portion of the Mercedes-Benz’s interior – the front seats, dashboard, steering wheel – against a green screen, leaving off the roof and doors. In this way, we were able to shoot multiple plates and simulate the same stunt-driving position as the camera passed from one side to the other. We rotoscoped, reassembled and reanimated these different passes in 2D in Flame in order to maintain the camera movement at the driver’s vision.”

Once the three distinct segments were ready, MPC re-timewarped, restabilized and recombined each plate in 2D in Flame to recreate one smooth and fluid movement. “In order to complete the outdoor-indoor-outdoor transition, we had to recreate the car and the background in 3D using HRDI pictures we grabbed on the shoot and from the cad 3D model from the car that Mercedes-Benz gave us. We match-moved each shot and composited them all in Flame. The greatest challenge was to recreate significant deformation of the focal length and fixed hudge parallax issues in 2D for each transition into a long, crazy 180-degree camera movement,” Bell concluded. MPC finished by recreating and adding smoke, dust, flying leaves and other elements.

Both spots began airing during the US Open of Tennis.

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Credits
Client: Mercedes-Benz
Spot Title(s): Passing Through, :30 (Mercedes-Benz 2012 C-Class 250); Unchained, :30 (Mercedes-Benz 2012 C-Class Coupe)
Air Date: September 2011

Agency: Merkley + Partners
ECD: Andy Hirsch
Head of Production: Gary Grossman
ACD: Kirk Mosel
GCD/Copywriter: Chris Landi
GCD/AD: Sakib Afridi
Senior Producer: Alex Kobak

Prod Co: Smuggler
Director: Adam Berg
DP: Max Malkin
Producer: Cory Berg

Editorial Co: Smuggler
Editor: Paul Hardcastle

Post Production Co.: MPC
MD: Andrew Bell
Producer: Chris Harlowe
VFX Supervisor/Lead CG: Dan Marsh
VFX Supervisor/Lead Flame: Benoit Mannequin (Passing Through)
VFX Supervisor/Lead Flame: Jake Montgomery (Unchained)
CG Lighting & Textures: Fred Durand (Passing Through)
CG Artist: Jessie Amadio (Passing Through)
CG Artist(s): Ian Wilson, John Cherniak (Unchained)
Nuke Artist(s): Lisa Ryan, Katerina Arroyo (Passing Through)
Nuke Artist(s): Elliott Brennan, Katerina Arroyo (Unchained)
Flame Artist: Jake Montgomery (Passing Through)
Smoke Artist(s): Ben Davidson, Mark Holden (Unchained)

Telecine: Mark Gethin
About MPC
MPC is an award winning VFX and Digital studio servicing the advertising, motion picture and television industries. From its London, New York, Santa Monica, Vancouver, and Bangalore offices, MPC’s dynamic and diverse team delivers industry-defining VFX, animation, motion graphics, color grading, production, projection mapping, social and mobile application development, online advertising, data management, software R&D and pipeline development.

With a trio of integrated divisions, MPC utilizes a unified approach that drives the use of existing or newly created assets across the whole range of today’s media landscape. MPC Creative handles client projects directly with top-notch directing, CG animation and character design. MPC FX Studio is a dedicated corps of graphic and digital designers who bring clients’ visions to life. MPC Data Lab processes the content and makes it available for editing on demand. MPC is a Technicolor Company.

moving-picture.com

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‘Resortists’ Invited to Discover Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Via Nationwide Campaign with RPA


Santa Monica, Calif., Oct. 17, 2011 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino has launched a nationwide branding campaign that seeks to claim its territory as the true resort on the Las Vegas Strip. While many Las Vegas properties include the word resort in their moniker, not all deliver a resort-like experience or atmosphere. Mandalay Bay, with its extensive range of day-to-night experiences, exceptional customer service and superior setting, strikingly sets itself apart from competitors.

RPA, Mandalay Bay’s agency of record, is behind the rebranding effort, which will feature print, digital and several California-based location takeover activations to remind potential visitors that “You’re not a tourist, you’re a ‘resortist,’” a word created especially for the campaign.

“Mandalay Bay embodies the essence of a true resort, blending upscale amenities in a playful, casual atmosphere,” said Patrick Miller, vice president of marketing for Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “This campaign captures our position as a destination resort set within the energy and excitement of Las Vegas-the kind of experience our ‘resortist’ guests seek out and appreciate.”

The campaign targets savvier Las Vegas visitors who value the expansiveness that Mandalay Bay offers over the swarming crowds on The Strip. The resort features more than the 120 lush acres available for exploring and playing with a one-of-a-kind vibe that blends a premium experience with a hassle-free and casual environment. Mandalay Bay is the perfect resort for guests who want to stay in an upscale property without the upscale attitude.

Noted fashion and commercial photographer Dewey Nicks shot the evocative images at the heart of the campaign. The images beautifully capture the ‘resortist’ spirit while also highlighting the property’s wide range of activities. Each shot is postcard-perfect, displaying stylish-yet-casual vignettes of guests enjoying the property, bringing to life Mandalay Bay’s exceptional experiences.

An elegant campaign logo lockup, featuring the iconic real-gold-plated hotel nestled in tropical trees and set against a stark black backdrop, garnishes the photos and assumes the central position in many other ad executions.

Mandalay Bay will spread its ‘resortist’ message through strategic ad placement in top travel, entertainment, hotel and wedding magazines and websites. The campaign, which will focus on the western U.S. cities that generate the most Las Vegas tourism, will feature a pair of wrapped trolley cars in San Diego, terminal domination projects in San Diego and Orange County’s John Wayne airports and environmental advertising at select Southern California malls.

“‘Resortist’ may be the hardest-working word in tourism,” noted RPA VP/CD Scott McDonald. “In one single word, it’s able to characterize our guest and define what Mandalay Bay represents in the city with the most hotel rooms on Earth.”

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Credits
Client: Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Launch Date: September 2011

Agency: RPA
ECD: Joe Baratelli
CD: Scott McDonald
ACD/AD: Q Gourki
ACD/Copy: Andrea Drever
Senior Art Directors: Christian Musson, Bang Pham
Jr. Art Director: Quinn Fu
Sr. Art Buyer: Deb Grisham
Photographer: Dewey Nicks
About RPA
RPA, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., is a leading independent advertising agency. RPA builds momentum for brands by offering its clients truly integrated campaigns that resonate throughout its disciplines, which include traditional advertising, interactive, and direct and event marketing. RPA’s client list includes American Honda, both the Honda and Acura brands, California Department of Public Health, La-Z-Boy, Farmers Insurance Group and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. For more information, visit http://www.rpa.com.

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Blind Takes Sloth to Costa Rica


NEW YORK, NY (October 17, 2011) – Costa Rica is home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity, two oceans, friendly locals, and… talking sloths? Yes, at least one talking sloth, a character production company Blind brings to life in three new videos that promote Costa Rica’s Million Dollar Gift of Happiness campaign.

Created in partnership with Atlanta-based advertising agency 22squared, the trio of Gift of Happiness spots features the laidback spokesanimal hanging in front of iconic Costa Rican scenes – rainforests, mountains, and stunning local architecture – and delivering happy-go-lucky encomiums to his native land in a relaxed, surfer dude-style voice.

“We won the pitch on one of our initial animation tests, which used sound bites of a laidback Owen Wilson,” noted Tom Koh, creative director, Blind. “Our focus was to create an iconic figure embodying the character profile 22squared had developed, and our specially developed 2D and 3D approach brought us the style and production efficiency we were looking for.”
After 22squared drafted scripts for the three videos and created a profile of the sloth’s character, Blind conducted an extensive character design of the sloth, focusing on maximizing the body and facial performance. Once the sloth’s look was agreed upon, Blind went to work with Cinema4D, After Effects and Photoshop using stock footage and photography to bring to life a unique 2D and 3D animation style. They used lip-syncing freeware applications Papagayo and LipSync to convert audio into corresponding phoneme images in After Effects.

At their studio, Blind shot the team’s artists acting out the sloth’s performances to provide a reference for the subtle body gestures and nuances throughout his dialogue. After a two- to three-week grind handling front-end character development and CG on the first spot, Blind cranked through the second and third spots in a week and a half each; a one-week edit perfected the comedic timing and tone they had worked toward from the beginning.

“We pride ourselves on finding creative solutions to pretty much any issue, and this project was no exception,” stated Koh. “Of course, it helps to have a great creative partner like 22squared.”

The first two spots debuted online on October 6.

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Credits
Client: The Costa Rica Tourism Board
Campaign: Costa Rica’s Million Dollar Gift of Happiness
Spot Titles: Different Places, Introducing
Air Date: October 2011

Agency: 22squared
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Steinberg
Creative Directors: John Stapleton, Curt Mueller
Copywriters: Curt Mueller, Kevin Botfeld, Molly Crawford
Art Directors: John Stapleton, Stephen Bridges, Dustin Tamilio
Strategists: Brandon Murphy, Andrew Jones, Phil Heuring, Ashley Keetle, Christina Blanchard
Social Strategy: David Rollo, Christopher Tuff, Natalie Espinol
Producers: Robert Berris, Connie Newberry, Jodi Godwin
Editorial: Parker Davidson, Bryan Jameson

Production/Post Company: Blind
Creative Director: Tom Koh
Executive Producer: Dave Kleinman
Producers: Keith Bryant, Jamey Kitchens
Lead Animator: Michael Relth
3D Animators: Wesley Kandel, Chris O’Neill, Markus Madlangbayan, Calvin Prieto
2D Animator: Thomas Home
Designers: Wesley Kandel, Gregg Gunn
Editor: Sean U’Ren
About Blind
Blind, a multi-disciplinary design, motion graphics, animation, visual effects, live-action, editorial, print and broadcast design studio with offices in Santa Monica and NYC, taps into diverse intellectual and creative resources to come up with compelling results. Since 1995, Blind has been pushing beyond the expected, offering clients a new way to see with award-winning design. A few things remain constant amidst this design/production powerhouse’s constant drive to reinvent itself: the abilities to engender surprise and produce projects from conception to reality.

Blind’s creative team has built an uncommon level of respect in the advertising and entertainment communities via cutting-edge campaigns for brands such as Xbox, Showtime, Bright House Networks, DirecTV, OppenheimerFunds, McDonald’s, Scion, and recording artists including Gnarls Barkley, The Raveonettes and Justin Timberlake to name a few. In 2010, Blind took home a Creative Arts Emmy for their work on The Raveonette’s Heart of Stone music video, as well as a Gold London International Award and a 2011 Creative Arts Emmy for the stunning Dr. Martens motion graphics piece, Lilac Wine.

More info: TRUST 646 452 3388 (NY) 310 451 5153 (LA) trustcollective.com

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NYC Creative Editorial Shop Hooligan Unveils New Blog: Hooligan+

NYC creative editorial shop Hooligan has launched Hooligan+ (www.hooliganplus.com) a new blog dedicated to the exploration of art and storytelling from a film editor’s perspective. Hooligan+ will examine editing, the “invisible art,” by sharing creative inspiration and the various art forms that influence the minds behind Hooligan, from film and design, to street art, music and more. The blog also aspires to become a hub for the exchange of ideas and inspiration for the entire spectrum of creatives and artists.

“We’re blessed to work with some of the best in advertising and production, so we’re excited to offer the blogosphere an alternative in-depth perspective on our craft as editors,” remarks Hooligan Senior Editor Barney Miller. “The pedigree of our work and who we are goes beyond simply screening our reel; it stems from the artist culture and creative appetite of our staff across the board — that’s what the ‘+’ is all about, a little something extra about what makes us tick as artists and, hopefully, in the greater scheme, a unique platform to foster an arts dialogue with our creative peers in the industry and beyond.”

About Hooligan
We are an artist-run coalition of award-winning editorial, graphic design and director talent. We launched in 2011, rallying some of the industry’s top editorial boutiques under one roof. Located at NYC’s Union Square, our stomping grounds are in the heart of the creative advertising world. Built around exceptional talent and experience, our manifesto is based on clean, old-fashioned loyalty to our clients. Collaborating with acclaimed directors, agency and network clients, our editors have propelled an array of notable commercial campaigns, music videos and film projects. From Madison Ave. to Park City, we’ve garnered a trophy case full of Addy, AICP, Gold Lion, AICE, Loerie, MTV VMA and Sundance honors, among countless others. As Hooligan, you’d guess we stole it all, but the fact is we earned it by knowing what it takes to make our client’s creative vision work. Call us fanatics, zealots, hell, call us Hooligan because, plain and simple, we fight for you. www.hooligannyc.com

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Robert Juliat Victor and Flo Followspots Join Acey Decy Inventory

Acey Decy Building

Acey Decy Lighting, a sales and rental company in San Fernando, California that has been servicing the feature film and television industries since 1963, has added Robert Juliat 1159 Victor and 1459 Flo 1800W followspots to its rental inventory.

“We bought four Victors,” says Carlos Sandoval, vice president of operations at Acey Decy. “Victor’s light output is very even from the center of the spot towards the edges; you get a much more even light across the fill with the optics. And the fact that they have a douser at hand level, where you operate the light for panning and tilting, is definitely perfect for us. The variable focus range is excellent, and its size factor is also a plus.”

Acey Decy acquired a pair of Flo followspots to replace 2K Xenon fixtures. “We chose them for the same reasons as the Victors,” Sandoval reports. “Rigging this light on a scaffold is much easier as the light and power supplies are much lighter and smaller. They do a very good pattern projection, too. We’ll be using the Flos for television shows and events. The fixtures have a slot for dropping in color correction filters, which is great for television – we especially like that feature.”

Both Victor and Flo have high-performance double condenser optical systems, flicker-free electronic ballasts, 100 percent closing iris in a removable cassette, 100 percent closing mechanical dimmer, ‘A’ size gobo holder and silent hot restrike ignitions. Victor boasts a six-way boomerang color changer system with removable filter frames as standard; Flo sports a fan-cooled Push/Pull system as standard. They both offer frost and IR filters on flip levers.

“We’re very pleased with the units,” says Sandoval. “We like their light output, even field, ease of operation and reliability. We expect to use the Victors and Flos for more and more projects.”

About Robert Juliat

Robert Juliat is a three-generation, independent family-run company dedicated to the manufacturing of professional stage lighting products. Robert Juliat lights are used by customers who include Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, New York’s Lincoln Center, LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Bruce Springsteen, Disney Theme Parks, Carnegie Hall, The San Francisco Opera and Ballet, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Comedie Francaise, The Sydney Opera House, plus theatres, schools and public venues around the world.

R&D, production and the company headquarters are based in the village of Fresnoy-en-Thelle, 50 km north of Paris. Robert Juliat USA is located in Wallingford, Connecticut. For more information visit www.robertjuliatamerica.com.

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Elias Arts’ Kramer Gets a Boost


Elias Arts music supervisor and music-industry veteran Jason Kramer has been promoted to a new time slot at Los Angeles public radio station KCRW, moving to Saturday evenings from 10 to midnight PT on 89.9 FM and KCRW.com.

 

In his weekly show, Kramer will continue his tradition of introducing new artists alongside a string of established musicians.

 

“I like all styles of music and KCRW gives me the freedom to play whatever I want, which is something I treasure. The creative element is not just selecting individual songs but putting together an entire show. My goal is that when people are listening, they don’t want to get out of the car.”

 

Even as Kramer has maintained his post at the radio station, he has played key roles in more than 170 commercials with Elias Arts, including work for Pepsi, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and Kia.

 

“Jason has completely elevated our music-supervision department at Elias,” stated Elias Arts LA EP/GM Ann Haugen. “A big reason we brought Jason to Elias Arts to be our music supervisor is because of his amazing taste in music and his ability to detect those bands that will be influential down the road.”

 

That Kramer can simultaneously juggle such responsibilities comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever run across him. He has been heavily involved in virtually every aspect of music for decades, from working with bands like Sublime and their label Skunk Records, to music supervision, commercial production, management (LA Guns), publishing, creative consulting and music photography (David Lynch Foundation). He has experience with many mediums, from Internet radio and network television to more experimental new media. He has worked as a consultant on several film and television productions, as well as commercial spots. In the non-musical world, he spent a decade as a medic in the 80s and 90s.

 

His greatest love, however, is radio, which he has worked in since joining KLOS as a call-screener in 1992. He later shifted to FOX Sports Music before landing at KCRW in 1997. “Ever since I was a young guy listening to KIQQ’s Sunday night lineup of Loveline, Dr. Ruth and Seventh Day with Joe Benson, I’ve been enamored with radio stations and radio shows,” noted Kramer. “I still think that radio is very special – there’s something very romantic about it. Now that I’ve been in the business for so long, I have come to believe that radio offers the best opportunities for emerging artists.”

Visit Elias Arts

About Elias Arts
Elias Arts is devoted to music composition, strategy and production. The company has employed the emotional strength of music and sound to launch, grow and reposition the most recognized brands and companies worldwide. Elias Arts has worked with well over half of the Fortune 1000 companies, and has also helped turn numerous startups into everyday brand names. Among the clients Elias Arts has worked with are AOL, Mastercard, Sony, Columbia Pictures, Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Ebay, Honda, Intel, Visa, Yahoo, Universal Studios, Microsoft, McDonalds, ESPN and General Motors, to name just a few.

 

With offices in Santa Monica and New York City, global resources and a renowned roster of gifted composers, producers, and marketers, the mission of Elias Arts is to constantly strive for creative excellence and distinction through the art of music and sound design. The company is the recipient of over 700 major industry awards from around the world.

More info: TRUST 646 452 3388 (NY) 310 451 5153 (LA) trustcollective.com

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IMAX Licenses Exclusive Right to Kodak’s Next-Generation Laser Projection Technology

Groundbreaking technology will enable IMAX(r) film-based screens over 80 feet and dome theatres to deliver the highest-quality digital content available for the first time ever

NEW YORK – IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) announced today a relationship that will broaden the application of digital cinema technologies in theatres and enhance the consumer’s movie-going experience.

The companies announced that IMAX has licensed from Kodak certain exclusive rights in the digital cinema field to a portfolio of more than 50 patent families covering fundamental laser projection technology. IMAX also licensed from Kodak certain exclusive rights in the digital cinema field to a broader range of Kodak patents covering complementary technologies useful for laser projection products. While the agreement is royalty bearing to Kodak, the specific terms of the deal were not announced.

IMAX’s licensing of Kodak’s revolutionary laser projection technology and patents will enable IMAX, for the first time ever, to deliver the highest-quality digital content available to IMAX(r) film-based screens larger than 80 feet and to dome theatres. This technology also will allow IMAX to distribute content with greater efficiency to the company’s global theatre network.

“This Kodak intellectual property is truly cutting edge, and will be used by IMAX’s esteemed Technology Group to enhance the cinematic experience for consumers, enable the application of digital technology in our larger and institutional theatres, and make being in business with IMAX even easier and more profitable,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “It is a testament to Kodak’s strong heritage in film and tradition of excellence that we believe this deal further differentiates IMAX in terms of innovation and technological advancement in large-screen cinematic experiences.”

IMAX expects to introduce the new laser-projection technology by the second half of 2013 and that it will provide the company’s largest screen and dome customers – which have previously only had access to analog film – with a full array of digital content, which often includes Hollywood’s biggest IMAX DMR(r) titles.

Kodak engineers will work closely with IMAX engineers over the next 18 months to assist with the implementation of the technology into the IMAX product family.

“We are delighted to be licensing our technology to a company as innovative as IMAX,” said Kim Snyder, President, Entertainment Imaging, and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “Because this technology produces the deepest blacks, and the brightest 3D of any system demonstrated to date, it will truly make the movies more exciting for consumers, and that creates a strong value proposition for the studios and exhibitors as well. That’s the ultimate measure of this relationship. We look forward to working with the IMAX team to make this vision a reality.”

Today’s announcement follows IMAX’s September 2010 equity investment in Laser Light Engines (LLE), an initiative centered around developing technology to illuminate existing digital screens to IMAX standards. The Kodak technology is expected to extend these efforts and allow the illumination of IMAX 80-to-100-foot screens and domes with a brightness and clarity not currently attainable in these formats. The solution will also consume less power, last longer and have a wider color gamut when compared with existing technology.

“This license, combined with LLE and IMAX’s own intellectual property, puts us at the forefront of laser-based projection and will provide moviegoers, exhibitors and filmmakers around the world the level of quality for which the IMAX(r) brand is known,” said Gelfond.

About Kodak Entertainment Imaging
For over a hundred years, Kodak has been providing tools for the creative community to tell their stories in motion, and is focused on bringing the best in imaging capabilities to its customers. The world’s most celebrated movies, popular TV shows, cutting-edge music videos, effective commercials, and revealing documentaries are photographed on Kodak film. For information on Kodak’s film, digital and hybrid motion imaging products, services and technology solutions, visit www.kodak.com/go/motion, or follow Kodak on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KodakMotionPictureFilm), Twitter (@Kodak_ShootFilm) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/KodakShootFilm).

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX Corporation is one of the world’s leading entertainment and technology companies, specializing in the creation and delivery of premium, awe-inspiring entertainment experiences. With a growing suite of cutting-edge motion picture and sound technologies, and a globally recognized entertainment brand, IMAX is singularly situated at the convergence of the entertainment industry, innovation and the digital media world. The industry’s top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and as such, the IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. The Company’s new digital projection and sound systems – combined with a growing blockbuster film slate – are fueling the rapid expansion of the IMAX network in established markets such as North America, Western Europe, and Japan, as well as emerging markets such as China and Russia. IMAX theaters deliver the world’s best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX(r), IMAX 3D(r), and IMAX DMR(r) (Digital Re-Mastering) technologies. IMAX DMR enables virtually any motion picture to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(r). IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. As of June 30, 2011, there were 560 IMAX theatres (417 commercial multiplex, 25 commercial destination and 118 institutional) operating in 46 countries. IMAX(r), IMAX(r) 3D, IMAX DMR(r), Experience It In IMAX(r), An IMAX 3D Experience(r) and The IMAX Experience(r) are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

This press release contains forward looking statements that are based on IMAX management’s assumptions and existing information and involve certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. Important factors that could affect these statements include, but are not limited to, general economic, market or business conditions, including the length and severity of the current economic downturn, the opportunities that may be presented to and pursued by IMAX, competitive actions by other companies, the performance of IMAX DMR films, conditions in the in-home and out-of home entertainment industries, the signing of theatre system agreements, changes in law or regulations, conditions, changes and developments in the commercial exhibition industry, the failure to convert theatre system backlog into revenue, new business initiatives, investments and operations in foreign jurisdictions and any future international expansion, foreign currency fluctuations and IMAX’s prior restatements and the related litigation. These factors and other risks and uncertainties are discussed in IMAX’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Lisa Muldowney / Chris Purse
760.212.4130 / 818.303.8088
lisa@ignite.bz / chris@ignite.bz

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Stay up to date on the latest technology news. Select press representatives post company news several times a day. Check back often to get the latest news on product releases, mergers and acquisitions, and product applications. To be included in this virtual press conference, please contact The Wire.

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