Archive for November, 2011

The Sing Off Takes to the Stage with a Live Finale and 100 Sennheiser Wireless Microphones as The Pentatonix Rise to the Top

Pentatonix, seen here singing into Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless transmitters with MD 5235 capsules, took top honors in season 3’s The Sing Off.

Old Lyme, Conn. – November 30, 2011 – On Monday night, NBC presented the “Live Finale: Top 3 Finalists” of its hit show The Sing Off featuring not only the final three group contestants, but over 100 Sennheiser microphones on stage. The Pentatonix were elected champions of season 3, and music mixer Randy Faustino was on hand to ensure the audio quality was outstanding until the very end.

Faustino, a multiple Emmy award-winning music mixer and CEO/President of Creative Sound Solutions, has been responsible for mixing not only The Sing Off, but other top national prime time programs including The Voice, American Idol and others. Whether he is faced with a live broadcast or an in-studio production, Faustino depends on Sennheiser transmitters and capsules to achieve a great sound. For “Live Finale: Top 3 Finalists” he used over 100 Sennheiser SKM 5200-II transmitters, each coupled with Sennheiser MD 5235 capsules.

Faustino prefers the MD 5235 capsules because of its clear sound and versatility: “It seems to work for everybody, and I never seem to have a hard time getting a great sound,” he says. “Sometimes I have people eating the microphone, other times I have performers more than a foot off the mic — it has to perform equally well in both scenarios.”

Since each performance is a ‘once in a lifetime’ career opportunity for the contenders, Faustino needs to ensure that the mix is the best it can be for whichever group approaches the mic. He says that the Sennheiser MD 5235 mic capsule helps facilitate this: “The technology has to be plug and play,” he says. “I get that one shot at putting a live mix together, and then you have to move on. I have very little EQ on those mics, and they sound fantastic across a range of vocal types — that is the beautiful part of these MD 5235 capsules.”

“You have to have a good, clear sounding capsule so you can pick out the voices and have them defined in the track,” observes Thom Salisbury, Western Regional Sales Manager for Sennheiser. “On a program like The Sing Off, you not only have a variety of frequencies coming into the vocal track, but also tonal and volume differences. The MD 5235 is very sensitive and has a very smooth frequency response — I believe this is why it is our most popular capsule for television and touring.”

Predictable and reliable RF performance
In the case of a live programming scenario such as “Live Finale: Top 3 Finalists” where audio is being broadcast to millions of television viewers, the audio quality needs to be synchronous with solid and reliable RF performance. In the middle of Los Angeles — one of the most difficult RF environments in the world — the challenge can be daunting, especially considering the massive lighting rig and number of microphones operating on the stage at the same time.

Dave Bellamy of Las Vegas-based Soundtronics Wireless was in charge of ensuring that the RF for Monday evening’s performance — and indeed the entire preceding season — was flawless. “In a show like this, ‘pretty good’ isn’t going to get you there,” Bellamy observes. “This is a very demanding and exacting business, and in an extremely overcrowded RF environment, Sennheiser gives me predictable reliability.” Bellamy used Soundtronics’ Phoenix system antenna system in combination with dozens of Sennheiser EM 3732-II wireless receivers to ensure that the audio was free of any RF interference.

How does mixer Randy Faustino manage to stay cool in such a technically challenging and intense production environment? “I have to stay two steps ahead of everything, but I feel secure in the fact that Sennheiser always works. We’ve never had a failure and have always had great product support from Thom Salisbury if we ever need anything.”

NuContext Creative and Wendy Williams Team Up to Produce National PSA Spot Promoting Awareness of “World Aids Day”

Hollywood, CA, Dec. 1, 2011 — Popular talk show host Wendy Williams, San Francisco-based Prochilo Health, and NuContext Creative, an award winning, Hollywood-based entertainment marketing and production agency, have teamed up to produce a dramatic, national PSA spot which promotes “World Aids Day,” on behalf of The National Minority AIDS Council and Gilead Sciences, Inc. The PSA calls on all Americans to join the fight to help end HIV. Angela Guice, president, Nucontext Creative, made the announcement.

The spot, which now appears online at various social media sites, will make its broadcast TV debut December 1 on the Logo and BET cable channels, and also during “The Wendy Williams” syndicated TV show. The PSA will also appear on the giant CBS “Super Screen” located in Times Square.

To view this work, please see:

http://www.nucontext.tv/uncategorized/hiv-psa/

In the spot, a tuxedo-clad Wendy Williams, standing against a stark white background, states, “HIV Aids is not the same epidemic it was 30 years ago, but it’s far from over. You see even today, right here in the U.S., someone is infected with HIV every nine and a half minutes. Imagine the day when new HIV infections are a thing of the past.”

Placing her top hat on a table and waving a magic wand over it, Williams continues, “Listen, ending HIV is not magic. All of us have the basic tools to end the epidemic.” After a rabbit leaps from it, the hat morphs into a series of luggage pieces including a satchel, a gym bag, a purse, a doctor’s medical bag, and a backpack.

Williams continues, “Break the silence. Talk to family and friends, church, your community and co-workers. Be a role model. Take the 20 minutes it takes to get tested and encourage others to follow your lead. If you’re HIV negative, takes steps to stay negative. If you’re HIV positive, protect yourself and others. If you’re HIV positive, talk to your doctor about HIV treatment while you’re still feeling well. Get involved—with all of us fighting stigma and discrimination, we will turn the tide.”

At this point in the PSA, we see a series of couples—lovers, parents and children, doctors and patients, and friends—who declare “It’s within our grasp. We have the tools. It takes all of us. HIV ends with us.” Williams, then standing in front of this group of people concludes, “Because HIV ends with us.”

Regarding the PSA, Ann Prochilo, Principal with Prochilo Health, Inc., said, “After we crafted the concept, script and storyboard for this PSA, we were highly recommended by producers at both NBC and CBS to retain NuContext Creative to produce it. Angela and her team were terrific, a real pleasure to work with, and eager to help us promote this worthy cause. They presented a real spirit of collaboration, a willingness to delve deep into some controversial issues and brought a real creative flair to the piece. We’re just thrilled with the end result.”

Adds Angela Guice, “It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, AIDS is still a worldwide problem and continues to kill millions. For the first time in 30 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, powerful HIV prevention tools now exist that can change the course of the epidemic. At this exciting crossroads, even President Obama has pronounced that the question is not ‘Whether we know what to do. But whether we will do it.”

Guice continues, “We were honored to work with Wendy and Prochilo Health to help spread the message that even in 2011, people must keep an open dialogue going about this disease. People need to keep practicing safe sex, have frank discussions with their partners, doctors and families, and keep themselves informed, whether they are infected or not. Working together, we can all help to ensure that this deadly pandemic doesn’t continue to ravage innocent people around the globe.”

Angela Guice served as Supervising Producer for the PSA, with Brent Loefke as Director and Jessie Marcus as Producer. Ann Prochilo and Prochilo Health, Inc., served as Executive Producers.

ABOUT WORLD AIDS DAY:

World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. More than 90,000 people are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 33.3 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

For more info: http://www.worldaidsday.org/about-world-aids-day.php

ABOUT PROCHILO HEALTH:

Prochilo Health is a San Francisco-based Health Care advocacy relations and communications firm with capabilities in New York, Washington, DC, and Miami. The firm specializes in creating relationship-based solutions proven effective in product development and brand marketing. For more info:
www.prochilo.com

ABOUT NMAC:

The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website: http://www.nmac.org/.

Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC’s advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. Visit the agency online at http://www.nmac.org/

ABOUT GILEAD SCIENCES, INC.:

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need.

ABOUT NUCONTEXT CREATIVE:

Launched by noted producer Angela Guice in Hollywood in 2005, NuContext Creative, the winner of numerous entertainment and broadcasting industry awards and honors, specializes in the conception, production, and post production of advertising and promotional campaigns, including live action shoots, promos, upfront presentations, websites, and mobile delivery, for television networks, programs, and telefilms, theatrical film and home entertainment releases, and multi-media corporations and their products.

Major cable television networks and entertainment companies including THQ, Sony, NBC Universal, Oxygen, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, USA Network, The Disney Channel, Syfy, Fuse, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Teen Nick, Universal HD, Chiller, SoapNet, IFC, Sleuth, The Hub, and AMC Networks are counted among NuContext clients. Please see: http://www.nucontext.tv/

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER TANIA STAYKOVA JOINS STARDUST TO LEAD NEW YORK OFFICE

Bi-coastal production company Stardust has named Tania Staykova Executive Producer of their New York office to oversee live action and animation work. With more than a decade of ad agency experience producing high-profile campaigns, Tania has hit the ground running at Stardust, managing all current projects and pitching a slew of new ones to boot. Gifted at reinvigorating clients’ profiles through strategic rebranding campaigns, Tania brings to Stardust a fresh perspective and a contagious effervescent energy.



“I have been working with Stardust as an agency producer for the past five years and have always enjoyed collaborating with them and seeing their unique creative aesthetic come to life,” Tania said. “When Jake approached me to come on board, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with this group of amazingly talented people. I look forward to being a part of the Stardust family and representing the brand, people, and the quality of work I believe in.”

“When we were looking to bring in a new EP in New York, we wanted a really well-rounded individual that would bring a great vibe to the office and embody the fun Stardust mentality that is reflected in our work,” said Jake Banks, owner and ECD of Stardust. “Working with Tania has always been a fantastic experience so she came to mind immediately. She is super knowledgeable on every facet of production, not just technically. She is in tune with where the industry is going and has the creative vision to take Stardust there. Tania was a rock star on the agency side, now she is going to be a rock star on the production side for Stardust.”

Previously at The Martin Agency, Tania worked on projects for top brands including Norwegian Cruise Line, Xfinity and Walmart, with shoots all over the world. For Mentos, she produced a social media campaign that was shortlisted in Cannes 2011. No stranger to the prestigious festival, the spot she produced for LEGO won top honors at the MOFILM Festival in Cannes the previous year.

Prior to The Martin Agency, Tania produced broadcast and digital projects for clients such as Lincoln-Mercury, Ford and Compuware while at Y&R/Team Detroit. For Campbell-Ewald, she focused on campaigns for Chevrolet. While at W.B. Doner, Tania produced a series of commercials for DirecTV and Blockbuster, two of which aired during Super Bowl XXXV.

About Stardust Studios
Stardust is a visually driven production company that specializes in design, motion graphics and live-action work out of its Santa Monica and New York based offices. Its collective of designers, illustrators, animators, VFX artists, directors and filmmakers continually redefine creativity for commercial, on-air, music video and experiential projects. Led by founder and Executive Creative Director Jake Banks, Stardust is characterized by an authentic voice and passion to push the creative envelope. The studio has worked with the world’s top ad agencies and brands on projects for HP, Nike, Sony, AT&T, Honda, Shell, Nissan, Ford, IBM, Nokia, Adidas, BMW, NYSE, LG and Microsoft, among many others. For more information, please visit www.stardust.tv.

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3D Road Show Comes to Orlando

Expert Driven Workshop Brings the Latest Info to Orlando, December 15th

(Burbank, CA) Createasphere – bringing together the best of the creative, production and technology communities in dynamic experiences – is demystifying 3D stereoscopic capture, post and delivery by bringing educational presentations, exhibits and hands-on demonstrations to Orlando. These one-day workshops offer attendees the chance to talk one on one with experts from such companies as AJA, Assimilate, Manfrotto and Panasonic. Orlando is the center of Florida’s filmmaking community and interest in 3D filmmaking is high.

Presented by Createasphere, the Road Show is led by 3D guru Keith Collea – a versatile and highly knowledgeable stereographer who has constructed 3D landscapes across a gamut of independent and studio features. He has worked on indies such as The Gene Generation and The Mortician 3D, as well as big-budget productions like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3D and The Monkey King 3D (Asia’s largest 3D production to date). The workshop will help attendees improve their skills and knowledge, and understand the choices in twin lens cameras, rigs and tools, post production workflows, visual effects creation and assembly, storage, projection, and delivery.

* Learn the tips of creating 3D and how to avoid the pitfalls
* Understand 3D workflow and budgeting
* Learn from the experts & get your questions answered
* Get your hands on the gear while improving your 3D skills & knowledge
* See first hand the options in choosing to produce in 3D:
o Twin lens cameras
o Rigs & tools
o Post
o VFX
o Storage
o Display & Projection

The cost to attend is only $15. For more information, and to register, visit http://createasphere.com/En/3d-road-show.html.

About Createasphere
Createasphere is a global community builder for the entertainment technology industry, advancing technologies and careers through Expos, Conferences, and online offerings.

Createasphere was founded in 2001 as HD EXPO, and over the past decade has grown into a global company that develops and presents influential events for the content creation community, on line and face to face. Founded by Kristin Petrovich Kennedy in Los Angeles, Createasphere became part of Diversified Business Communications in 2009, now driving their entertainment strategies and properties division. Currently Createasphere is presenting the Entertainment Technology Expos in New York and LA; the Digital Asset Management Conference in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe; The DAMMY Awards in New York; Cinema India Expo in Mumbai; the online news and content portal CreativeProCoalition.com; 3D Road Shows; and Post Production Master Classes.

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Media Contact:
Chris Purse, 818.303.8088
ignite strategic communications
chris@ignite.bz or mimi@ignite.bz

Autodesk Hosts 13th Annual 3December Celebration

Celebrates 3D Computer Graphics Worldwide with Live and Virtual Events



From December 5 to 8, Autodesk Inc., together with the support of HP, AMD and Xsens, will host 3December 2011, the company’s annual celebration of 3D computer graphics and the artists who create them. The event website will be the virtual home for celebrations, providing 3D artists with the opportunity to actively participate through events streamed live, watch free MasterClasses, view Autodesk tutorials and connect with fellow artists in user group meetings held in cities around the world.

3December Live Celebrations
On December 8, Autodesk will host a live event in Montreal, Quebec from 6 to 8 p.m. EST. The event will feature presentations by key artists in the media and entertainment industry highlighting the use of certain Autodesk tools . Modux FX will explain how scenes from the feature films Source Code and Immortals were created using software in Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites. Artists from MOTOR VFX will present how Autodesk 3ds Max, together with Autodesk Softimage and Autodesk Flame Premium software, were used to create and finish commercials shot entirely on blue screen. Digital Dimension/Meduzarts will also hold two presentations about a high resolution print campaign that used 3D to promote Elder Skolls Bethesda and how the Mortal Kombat game cinematic was created. During the event, Autodesk will announce the recipients of the peer-nominated Autodesk Masters Award, as well as the first-ever Autodesk Junior Master Award. The live event will be followed by an Electronic Theatre presentation from the Montreal ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter from 8 to 10 p.m. EST. For the complete list of presentations that will be taking place in Montreal, visit area.autodesk.com/3dec. Registration for the event in Montreal is required and can be completed online.

Live 3December celebrations will also take place in Toronto on Dec. 7 and in Tokyo on December 8. For a complete list of local user group meetings celebrating 3December, visit the event page.

3December Online
Artists are invited to join the virtual celebrations on AREA, the Autodesk online entertainment and visualization community. All presentations and demos from the Montreal event will be livestreamed on AREA TV and will be available on demand. Online content will include free Masterclasses, tutorials, exclusive web features, The Best CG Image of the Year contest and much more.

Canon U.S.A. Introduces the XJ95x8.6B Super-Telephoto Long-Zoom HD Field Lens with Improved Image Stabilization

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., November 30, 2011 – In response to the ever-evolving requirements of live sports and other popular mobile-location HD productions, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, has developed a series of long-zoom field lenses designed for some of the most demanding HDTV sports and outside-broadcast applications, including the popular XJ100x9.3B and XJ86x9.3B/13.5B lenses. Now, answering the need for an ever-diversifying range of creative HD production uses, Canon has developed a totally new-generation super-telephoto XJ95x8.6B lens, which provides an unprecedented combination of the widest angle of view of any HD field lens presently in the broadcasting industry with an augmented 95x focal range.

“Canon’s XJ95x8.6B super-telephoto HD field lens is based upon a totally new design intended to deliver enhanced optical performance and extended operational flexibilities,” noted Larry Thorpe, senior director of sales, Broadcast and Communications division of Canon U.S.A. “The lens has a 95x zoom ratio and the widest angle of view (58.3 degrees horizontal at 8.6 mm) of any field lens presently available. This combination offers an enormous range of imaging possibilities unachievable with conventional field lenses. Given its extensive image-framing latitude, the XJ95x8.6B can dramatically enable HD capture of every visual detail at a major sporting event, from wide shots of a roiling mass of fans in a crowded stadium to extreme close-ups of a single athlete’s facial expression.”

Optical Performance and Image Stabilization
The new Canon XJ95x8.6B super-telephoto HD lens provides optical performance that has been significantly elevated over previous models. The new lens is engineered with many of Canon’s most advanced technologies, including powerful optical design tools, new glass materials, and new exotic optical coatings. Canon’s proprietary large-diameter aspherical lens technology and new glass materials minimize lateral chromatic aberration, monochromatic aberrations, and geometric distortion that have always challenged large focal-length ranges. Significant reduction of these aberrations enhances the superb resolution and contrast in a manner that contributes to the capture of images with superb picture sharpness across the 16:9 HD image plane.

As with many of the other long-zoom HD field lenses in Canon’s DIGISUPER product line, the new XJ95x8.6B super-telephoto HD lens includes Canon’s exclusive built-in Shift-IS Image Stabilization system. The new lens, however, comes standard-equipped with an improved Canon optical Shift-Type Image Stabilizer. When the new Shift-IS system sensor detects vibration, a correction drive signal is created that shifts compensating optics at high-speed to instantly deflect the incoming light rays in a direction that cancels out the vibration’s effect on the image. In addition to providing rock-solid image capture from telephoto distances, and tighter control over picture stability at higher vibration frequencies (as encountered on towers), the system virtually eliminates image drift following cessation of an operational panning action.

Smooth Imaging and Virtual Studio Interface
Improved performance in the new XJ95x8.6B super-telephoto HD lens is also provided in the form of operational ease through features such as CAFS (Constant Angle Focusing System). CAFS employs built-in 32-bit microcomputer control to help counteract “breathing,” the phenomena known to change picture size/angle of view during a focusing operation. The lens has improved digital servo systems using 16-bit miniature optical encoders for zoom, iris, and focus that significantly empower the camera operator in terms of ultra-slow to very high-speed zoom, high resolution control of both iris and focus, and highly precise repeatability of zoom and focus operations. Despite its augmented specifications, however, the new XJ95x8.6B remains similar in size and weight to Canon’s XJ86x9.3B/13.5B, facilitating easy panning and tilting operations.

An added benefit of the sophisticated zoom, focus, and iris encoders built into the new XJ95x8.6B is the lens’ multiple support for discrete digital encoder outputs, analog outputs, and serial digital outputs. This ability to share focus, iris, and zoom-position data makes the XJ95x8.6B compatible with many kinds of digital virtual studio systems; the lens easily adapts to these systems via Canon’s standard 20-pin lens-interface connector.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With more than $45 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks fourth overall in patent holdings in the U.S. in 2010† and is one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2011. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.
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†Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.
All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

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Christie Wins Contract with Harkins Theatres for Deployment of More Than 400 Digital Cinema Projectors

Christie®, the leader in digital cinema projection, announced that it has signed a contract with Harkins Theatres, the largest privately held cinema chain in North America. The contract provides for more than 400 of its Christie Solaria™ Series 2 digital cinema projectors to be deployed by the end of November 2011. The chain has also subscribed to Christie’s Virtual Print Fee (VPF) program.
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“Harkins Theatres is both an entertainment and a cultural destination for the many diverse communities it serves throughout the Southwest,” said George Scheckel, director, Business Development, Entertainment Solutions at Christie. “As a major supporter of so many charitable organizations and community-based educational programs, Harkins is committed to providing the highest quality movie-viewing experience to its patrons. Christie is pleased that its new generation of DLP Cinema® projectors, offering the brightest, sharpest 2D and 3D images, will now help contribute to their inspiring legacy that includes groundbreaking innovations in cinema.”
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About Harkins Theatres
Celebrating 78 years, Harkins Theatres is the largest privately owned theatre chain in the country and the premier movie exhibitor of the Western U.S. operating over 420 screens. Featuring a larger selection of film, snacks, and innovative amenities to moviegoers since 1933, Harkins Theatres is renown for its commitment and passion for offering the Ultimate Movie going® experience. Founded by renowned showman, inventor, and community leader Dwight “Red” Harkins, Harkins Theatres has historically been a trailblazer for advancements in the motion picture exhibition industry. For more history, awards, and other information, visit www.harkinstheatres.com. Or, call Bryan Laurel at 602-738-3906 or Melissa Rich at 602-390-4232.
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About Christie®
Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. is a global visual technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world’s most advanced projectors and complete system displays, Christie is recognized as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centers to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images. Visit www.christiedigital.com for more information.
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For more information contact:
Dave Paolini
1 519-749-3127
david.paolini@christiedigital.com
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Mario Almonte
Herman & Almonte PR
(212) 616-1190, ext. 267
malmonte@herman-almontepr.com
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Follow Christie at:
Facebook.com/christiedigital
Twitter.com/christiedigital
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Christie® is a registered trademark of Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc.
Solaria™ is a registered trademark of Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc.
DLP Cinema® is a registered trademark of Texas Instruments

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STORY’s John Komnenich Helps Crest Promote Healthy Smiles

John Komnenich of STORY has directed a new campaign for Crest in which a dentist and a researcher offer valuable advice on how to prevent gum disease. Conceived by Chicago agency Burrell Communications, the spots promote Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste, which can help reverse gingivitis in just four weeks. more

Clint Arent Joins Sonixphere to Head East Coast Business Development

Sonixphere, a globally-connected music and sound company, has appointed Clint Arent to the newly-created post of Director of East Coast Business Development. Arent, who brings broad experience in music and marketing, will lead the company’s sales effort on the East Coast, and focus in particular in growing its ties to New York advertising agencies and others in the ad community. He will report directly to Greg Allan, Sonixphere’s founder and executive producer. more

PIXOMONDO LEADS VFX FOR MARTIN SCORSESE’S ‘HUGO’

Company’s Artists Across the US, UK, China, Germany and Canada Complete over 800 Stereo 3D VFX Shots

International visual effects company Pixomondo completed over 800 shots as the primary visual effects vendor on Martin Scorsese’s 3D epic adventure, Hugo. Independently produced by GK Films and distributed in the U.S. by Paramount Pictures, the film features shots contributed by ten of Pixomondo’s eleven facilities across Germany, the US, Canada, China and the UK. Pixomondo’s 24/7 global pipeline was instrumental in completing the project on time and budget while keeping up with the highly inventive creative vision of director Martin Scorsese and visual effects supervisor Rob Legato.






Employing stereo 3D as a narrative device driving an immersive audience experience, Scorsese was intent on pushing the capabilities of 3D filmmaking to extremes. With this mandate as the driving force, Pixomondo developed custom workflows not only to handle complex challenges in VFX, but also to capture in painstaking detail all of the live action production data required to accommodate the rigorous effects and post production demands of this project. Pixomondo began working on Hugo in July of 2010 and was integrated into the production from the outset with Pixomondo VFX Supervisor Ben Grossmann and Digital Effects Supervisor Alex Henning on set in England and France working alongside Legato and Scorsese.

“Marty and I worked with Ben on Shutter Island so we already knew he was our first choice for Hugo,” said Legato. “For this film, Pixomondo’s ability to tap internal teams around the world was invaluable. It simplified everything from both a creative and logistical standpoint. This was a project with many moving parts, and Ben, Alex and the entire Pixomondo team worked tirelessly to cater to the demands of this show.”






A lushly art-directed blend of detailed sets, miniatures, matte paintings and CG VFX all aiming to evoke the look of Paris re-imagined on a 1930’s film set, Hugo is a love letter to classic cinema and cinema history. The shots are framed to draw parallels to great filmmakers like Méliès and Lumière peppered with stop-motion animation, time-lapses, morphs & stereo transitions, flipbook animation, motion-captured and hand-animated CG characters, and use of miniatures throughout.

To achieve this unique look, Pixomondo’s Grossmann oversaw contributions from Pixomondo studios around the world; parceling sequences to teams in various geographies based on the strengths of their artists and how they matched to shot demands of the film. Pixomondo’s London facility completed a heavily-CG opening fly-through sequence and shots involving the inside of the train station; Stuttgart handled most of George Melies’ apartment, graveyard sequences and Paris exteriors; Berlin managed complicated fire and debris VFX simulation scattered throughout the film along with portions of the train crash sequence; Shanghai completed shots focused around the clock tower staircase and green screen composites; Beijing worked on a magic show sequence, crowd duplication, match-moving and wire removal; Burbank created a magical animation sequence of flying papers, character animation and CG face replacement; Toronto and Frankfurt worked on train station coverage, with Frankfurt executing Hugo’s nightmare transformation into the Automaton. Pixomondo’s Los Angeles team completed specialized shots throughout the film, and Hugo’s nightmare in the train station, while also acting as the hub for all VFX work and editorial for all vendor shots.







Pixomondo’s standardized VFX workflow was ideally suited to this project as the company could address change requests quickly and efficiently. With shots that demanded quick turnaround, Grossmann could provide VFX direction from LA, handing off creation of CG elements to Shanghai to pass along to the VFX team in the UK for compositing, and have it back for review and approval in L.A. by the next morning. In addition to leveraging their global workforce, Pixomondo devised a process to embed highly-detailed metadata in every shot—everything from the stereo values, focus, convergence distance, interocular separation, time of day, source reel and conform reel, timecodes, etc, automating what typically requires at least three rounds of manual labor—and vastly extending flexibility in editorial, post production and VFX pipelines.

“Marty has encyclopedic knowledge of cinema history and working with him on a project that used the dawn of filmmaking as a foundation was incredibly inspiring. In this movie every shot was composed with stereo as a primary consideration, laying the groundwork for very demanding visual effects. I’m incredibly proud of what the Pixomondo team achieved,” said Grossmann. “This film hops through cinematic styles all portrayed through a child’s vision—it was easy to get caught up in the art and flow of that sentiment. Working with over 400 artists around the world all embracing that same sentiment has been the most rewarding experience of my career.”

Hugo opened November 23, 2011 in the US and stars Asa Butterfield in the title role as an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. Hugo is the astonishing adventure of a wily and resourceful boy whose quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father will transform Hugo and all those around him, and reveal a safe and loving place he can call home.

ABOUT HUGO
HUGO, presented by Paramount Pictures and GK Films, is a GK Films / Infinitum Nihil Production and a Martin Scorsese Picture, produced by Graham King, Tim Headington, Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp. It is directed by Martin Scorsese from a screenplay by John Logan based on the book entitled

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick. The film stars Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, with Jude Law.

ABOUT PIXOMONDO
Pixomondo is an international visual effects company boasting 24-hour production capabilities, sharing projects across a global network of 11 facilities in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing, London, Munich, Burbank, Toronto and Hamburg. Founded by CEO Thilo Kuther in 2001, Pixomondo has created visual effects for more than 30 feature films including Hugo, Super 8, Fast Five, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 2012, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ninja Assassin and Sucker Punch. The company is currently in production on upcoming features including Red Tails, Snow White and the Huntsman, and TV series including Terra Nova and the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. In addition to visual effects, Pixomondo delivers the full range of creative, production and post services required to produce design-driven storytelling for commercials and special venue projects. More information on Pixomondo can be found here: http://www.pixomondo.com

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