Blink Digital Helps Bring “Baraka� to Blu-ray

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BURBANK, Calif.— Blink Digital (

), which provides creative and production services for DVDs, Blu-ray discs and other forms of digital content, recently completed work on “Baraka,� Producer Mark Magidson’s and Director Ron Fricke’s spectacular 70mm exploration of life on Earth. Painstakingly restored for its release on Blu-ray, “Baraka,� produced by MPI Media Group, is being hailed by critics everywhere for its unsurpassed quality. Roger Ebert called it the finest video disc he has ever viewed and added that “’Baraka’ by itself is sufficient reason to acquire a Blu-ray player.� Blink was responsible for the disc’s menu design, as well as video and audio encoding, and authoring. It was provided with a digital master of the film that had undergone a first-of-its-kind restoration process which included scanning the original 65mm film negative in 8K. The digital master comprised an astounding 30 terabytes of data.

Blink developed an innovative approach that allowed them to encode audio and video elements while fully preserving the sharpness, depth, contrast and complexity of the imagery. Compressionists initially performed a baseline encode of the entire feature and then used it to perform a video analysis of picture quality and make fine tune adjustments on a scene-by-scene basis. “On many studio features, the final adjustment process is an easy step as most movies have a consistent look and feel,� explained Blink Digital Senior Director of Technical Operations Drew Huntsman. “With ‘Baraka,’ this step was very time consuming as almost every scene had differing levels of detail over a wide variety of content, with considerable variation in lighting, style and depth of field. Many scenes required encoding multiple times using a variety of setting modifications to obtain the best image quality.� Blu-ray production was performed under the direction of Digital Restoration Producer Chris Reyna for MPI Media Group. “We employed the best and most advanced technology available in the world today,� Reyna said. “The dynamic range, color saturation, sharpness and contrast ratio of ‘Baraka’ in the home environment now far exceeds anything in the industry. Nothing comes close.� The Blu-ray and DVD menu systems employ iconic images drawn from the film itself. “The film images lend themselves quite well to menus,� Huntsman said. “The trick was to use the images in a way that entices viewers without over using scenes so that they become too familiar. It also had to meet the high aesthetic standards of Chris Reyna and Mark Magidson. Ultimately, we created a video montage that is simple, easy to navigate and beautiful.� Originally shot in 24 countries on six continents, “Baraka� brings together a series of stunningly photographed scenes to capture what director/cinematographer Ron Fricke calls “a guided meditation on humanity.� It was a shoot of unprecedented technical, logistical and bureaucratic scope – detailed in the disc’s extensive documentary Bonus Features – that took 30 months to complete, including 14 months on location, with a custom-built computerized 65mm camera. “The goal of the film,� said Producer Mark Magidson, “was to reach past language, nationality, religion and politics and speak to the inner viewer.� The result is a global cultural perspective unlike anything seen before by audiences. In its Blu-ray form, “Baraka� represents a breakthrough in digital technology that will serve as the standard by which other Blu-ray discs are judged for years to come. “A DVD of ‘Baraka’ that was released in 2001 became one of the most acclaimed and popular titles in the format’s history,� observed MPI Media Director of Production Ben Pavlovic. “With the advent of new scanning and Blu-ray technologies, Fricke and Magidson became intrigued with the challenge of capturing the film’s full 70mm impact on disc.� Critical reaction has been immediate. Martin Liebman, writing for states that “Baraka� “represents the current zenith of Blu-ray picture quality. The depth, clarity, and color reproduction of the film is incredible.� “Baraka� is the best looking live action Blu-ray release I have EVER seen,� notes Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits. “It's truly an extraordinary viewing experience.� “The film looks better than ever on Blu-ray, with sharpness and color saturation that’s as dynamic as the newer Planet Earth,� observes Samantha Clark in Video Business. “The special features …are just as engrossing as the feature itself.� Blink Digital has offices in Santa Monica, Burbank and New York. For more information, phone (818) 526-2800 or (212) 661-6900 or visit

. About Ascent Media Group Santa Monica, California-based Ascent Media Group, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascent Media Corporation (Nasdaq: ASCMA), which provides creative and technical services to the media and entertainment industries. Through more than 40 facilities in regions of Southern California, New York, Atlanta, London and Singapore, Ascent Media provides effective solutions for the creation, management and distribution of content to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and other companies that produce, own and/or distribute entertainment, news, sports, corporate, educational, industrial and advertising content. Forward-Looking Statements Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements� within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Ascent Media Corporation and its subsidiaries or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others: the risks and factors described in the statements and reports of Ascent Media Corporation filed or furnished with the Securities and Exchange Commission (and publicly available at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website,

); general economic and business conditions and industry trends; spending on television advertising, first-run content libraries and existing content libraries; the regulatory and competitive environment of the industries in which Ascent Media Corporation operates; rapid technological changes; future financial performance, including availability, terms and deployment of capital; changes in, or failure to comply with, government regulations, including, without limitation, regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, and adverse outcomes from regulatory proceedings; and competitor responses to Ascent Media Corporation’s products and services, and the overall market acceptance of such products and services, including acceptance of the pricing of such products and services. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Release. Ascent Media Corporation expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Ascent Media Corporation’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


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