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SERVI NG THE I NDUSTRY FOR 27 YEARS
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Peter Jacksons The Hobbit, which was shot in 3D on Red Epic
5K cameras at 48fps, features 2,000 visual shots supervised by
Joe Letteri from Wellington, New Zealands Weta Digital (www.
wetafx.co.nz). Their software is a mix of off-the-shelf and
custom-made gear, with Maya as the main 3D platform,
RenderMan for rendering and Nuke for compositing. The film,
which has enhanced sound via the Dolby Atmos format, was
edited on Avid Media Composer V.6 by Jabez Olssen. For details
on The Hobbits visual effects, turn to page 14. And to learn more
about the editing process, turn to page 16.
2 EDITORS LETTER
After the storm
By Randi Altman
2 POST SCRIPT
Workflow: Dallas, Longmire
By Marc Loftus
4 BITS & PIECES
Whats new in post
8 ONE ON ONE
Skywalkers Gary Rydstrom
By Marc Loftus
10 POST PARTY
Photos from our 27th birthday bash
14 COVER STORY
Wetas Joe Letteri talks about The
Hobbits VFX shots
By Iain Blair
16 EDIT THIS!
The Hobbit editor Jabez Olssen
By Christine Bunish
47 PEOPLE
Keeping tabs of the industrys movers
& shakers
48 REVIEW
Tiffen Dfx V.3 Creative Editing Suite
By Brady Betzel
DAILY NEWS UPDATES
BUSINESS
How small studios can compete
By Gavin Greenwalt
GOING PRO Amanda Amalfi
OPEN HOUSE Copilot Music & Sound
SWOT
Graphics By Drew Neujahr
Branding By Josh Norton
Find more on www.postmagazine.com
This Month In
CG brings characters to life
in Life of Pi
Digital tools help Brazil go
green for World Cup
VFX set the stage for
Bonds big return
A look at the industrys
STRENGTHS,
WEAKNESSES,
OPPORTUNITIES
AND THREATS,
along with an
OUTLOOK for 2013
18 BUSINESS
By Christine Bunish
22 DIRECTORS
By Iain Blair
26 FILM OFFICES
By Randi Altman
30 ON-SET DAILIES
By Marc Loftus
34 VISUAL EFFECTS
By Randi Altman
38 NEW MEDIA
By Marc Loftus
42 AUDIO
By Jennifer Walden
departments
VOL 27 NO. 1 2
2 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
editors note
After the storm
Worklow: Dallas, Longmire
W
hen Superstorm Sandy finally rolled
off the East Coast, it left devastation
behind. For those affected by the
storm, these questions became part of the ver-
nacular: Do you have power yet? How much
damage? You found gas? How long were the lines?
The power is back and gas stations are enjoying
their normal flow of business again, news stories about
the devastation are less frequent, but the storms
effects still linger. Local parks still act as donation sites
and people are still displaced, looking for new homes,
new cars, and that ever-important insurance adjustor.
Lower Manhattan, rich with its post houses and
creative studios, took quite a hit. We were closed for
a week due to Sandy, reports Shellac NYC owner
Max Nova. Our office is in Soho, and we had no
power until the Saturday after the hurricane. As of
press time (November 30!), there was no heat there.
Its a little surprising and somewhat silly. We huddle
in edit suites wearing scarves and hats, warming our-
selves by computers and decks humming.
He calls the experience surreal, like some comic
book version of post-apocalyptic post. But were all
safe and dry and back to work. Our hearts go out to
all of the less fortunate still dealing with Sandys wrath.
Goldcrest NY was also in the storms path.
Although Hurricane Sandy left our Greenwich Vil-
lage area without power for a week, the Goldcrest
team brought in four generators to allow clients to
offload time-sensitive assets to meet their post dead-
lines, reports managing director Tim Spitzer. Our
engineering team was in throughout the week, both
to help our clients and our neighbors. It was amazing
to watch the teamwork of the Goldcrest staff. But
he says every cloud has its silver lining. We were able
to use this break in our usual hectic schedule to
continue work on our new DI and mix theaters.
Technicolor - PostWorks was lucky. Domenic Rom,
executive VP, says, Our facilities were back online
quickly. By the Monday following the storm, it was
virtually business as usual. All of our facilities were
operating at 100 percent capacity and we shifted into
hyper-drive with everyone working feverishly to catch
up. We experienced some small failures, primarily
due to the fact that we were down for a week, but
compared to what might have happened, and what
did happen to a lot of people and businesses, we
were very fortunate. Some of our employees expe-
rienced significant personal losses to their homes and
properties, but ultimately we are glad were all alive.
There are many places to donate. Here are two:
www.nycedc.com/backtobusiness#sandydonations,
and from the New York Film Office site: online at
www.nyc.gov or by mail to the Mayors Fund to
Advance New Yorl City; 253 Broadway, 8th Floor; NY,
NY 10007.
F
or Banyan Tree Productions Bryan J. Raber,
who is co-producer on both TNTs Dallas
and A&Es Longmire, the dailies process has
been designed to give the editing team as
much time as possible, as well as to leave as
much latitude in adjusting the imagery later on
in the workflow. Both shows are in their sec-
ond season and take different approaches to
production. They do however benefit from the
expertise at MTI Film, which serves as the post
house for both programs.
Dallas is shot in Dallas using Arris Alexa,
while Longmire is shot in Santa Fe to resemble
Wyoming. The show draws on Reds Epic and
Scarlet cameras. Both series are edited using
Apples Final Cut Pro 7.
Dallas is shot in Log C, giving it a flat look
out of the camera, says Raber. Rather than
apply a look on-set, the DIT instead checks the
footage and makes sure they have everything
they need. He can alert them immediately if
they need to shoot a pick-up. The near-set
team will then pick up a drive with the camera
masters and create smaller ProRes proxy files
that are pushed to MTI Film in LA.
We then color the proxies with the dailies
colorist, so everything looks pretty and per-
fect, he says of the overnight process. We
dont have much time on-set. With the ambient
lighting, its hard to get things that are going to
be ready for editorial.
For the Red-shot Longmire, the team also
creates ProRes proxies for editorial and then
ships a drive with the original raw camera files
to the post house via FedEx.
You can shoot it the way it would look in
the video village, but if we were to shoot it
that way, it would bake in some of the color,
he explains. And if they make a mistake on-set,
wed never be able to recover it perfectly.
The overnight processing at MTI Film
allows editorial to come to work in the
morning and start cutting footage that will
closely resemble the online. Color values
from the offline are later dropped in and bal-
anced by a final colorist.
By
RANDI
ALTMAN
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
raltman@postmagazine.com
By
MARC
LOFTUS
SENIOR EDITOR
mloftus@postmagazine.com
P O S T S C R I P T
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E D I T O R I A L
RANDI ALTMAN
Editor-in-Chief
(516) 797-0884
raltman@postmagazine.com
MARC LOFTUS
Senior Editor/Director of Web Content
(516) 376-1087
mloftus@postmagazine.com
CHRISTINE BUNISH
Film& Video
JENNIFER WALDEN
Audio
BOB PANK
European Correspondent
bob.pank@virgin.net
DANIEL RESTUCCIO
West Coast Bureau
dansweb451@aol.com
BARRY GOCH
West Coast Blogger/Reporter
IAIN BLAIR
Film
MICHAEL VIGGIANO
Art Director
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4 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
Bits & Pieces
C
HICAGO NEC Display Solutions (www.
necdisplay.com) has updated its NC900C
digital cinema projection, which is suitable for
smaller theatres. The NC900C is part of NECs
Digital Cinema Projector Series and delivers 2K
DCI-compliant cinema quality. This translates to
an image brightness of 14-ft-L (using a 1.8 gain
screen) on screens up to 30 feet/9 meters, while
adhering to DCI color specifications.
A new S2K chipset from Texas Instruments
helps make the NC900C a compact and 2K DCI-certi-
fied digital cinema projector. The all-in-one Integrated Media Server (IMS) with 2TB of RAID-5 storage
offers versatile connectivity, while reducing the number of peripheral devices needed. The projectors
High Frame Rate (HFR) capability offers a high-quality picture.
NEC is in the final stages of earning DCI CTP certification for the NC900C projector, which will be
available this month for just under $30K.
N
EW YORK Commercial production com-
pany Xenon (www.xenonmktg.com) has
produced a :30 spot that promotes New
Jersey State Lottery Holiday Instant Game tickets.
Developed through Brushfire, the spot suggests that a
lucky ticket could take a $100,000 winner on a journey
through a Winter Moneyland.
The commercial is a mix of live action and animation.
A young couple find themselves at the gate of Winter
Moneyland. Upon entering the snow-covered property,
they notice reindeer and pine trees, all made out of
dollar bills. Children sled through the snow on giant
currency, and in the distance, a castle appears, it too
made of cash. The spot aired on cable stations in New
Jersey, as well as on CBS-owned and operated stations
in the New York and Philadelphia markets.
Xenon director/CD Michael Wiehart developed
the story and created detailed images for the story-
boards and style boards so that technical R&D could
begin prior to the shoot. It was important to me to
develop a coherent storyline that draws the viewer
into the wonderland and lets them make an emotional
connection with the spots characters, he notes. As
there was no Moneyland in which to shoot, we had to
construct our hyper-real environment.
Foreground elements were built in CG, and matte
paintings helped create a larger scale. Lighting was
inspired by classic Dutch landscape paintings. Live
action was shot against greenscreen. CG characters
include Abe and George, the owl and deer, which
were created from densely layered dollar bills.
All effects and post were handled by the artists at
Gravity in NYC under the direction of Harry Dor-
rington. Autodesk Maya and 3DS Max were used for
CG, while compositing was performed in Nuke. Matte
paintings were created in Photoshop.
The musical underscore was composed at Hyper-
ballad Music in Brooklyn. Chris Arbisi of Studio Center
in NYC provided the sound design, audio recording
and final mix. In addition to Wiehart, the Xenon team
included president/EP Doug Robbins and producer
Jennifer Pearlman.
Creating a Winter Moneyland
Producer/musician Tony Verderosa has
relaunched his music house, Thwak!, as KVB
MUSIC (www.kvbmusic.com). The new
brand emphasizes the activities of Verderosas
KBV Records label, which has been working
in artist development since being founded in
2009. The boutique music company has
already won a high-profile placement under
its new moniker, supplying Royal Caribbean
and agency JWT with the raw rock track
Lets Get It On by the KBV Records artist
Romans. Additionally, KBV Music has just fin-
ished music clearance and supervision for the
new feature film Allegiance.
ESPN and Full Sail University have opened
the new FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
SPORTS LAB POWERED BY ESPN at its
Winter Park, FL campus. The new Sports Lab
is located in building 4D and will be used for
student and professional projects, including
ESPN productions. The Lab originally
launched in 2010.
DIGITAL RAPIDS was selected by Foxtel
in Sydney to provide encoding and stream-
ing solutions to underpin Foxtels new video
initiatives. Foxtel purchased StreamZ Live
adaptive streaming encoders and the Digital
Rapids Broadcast Manager multi-encoder
management system to power the new Fox-
tel Go App. The encoders and management
software are being used to provide IP
streams for Foxtel on Xbox 360, Foxtel on
Connected TV, and the Foxtel Go App.
Academy Award-winning director ANG
LEE will be the recipient of The Motion
Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) 2013 Film-
maker Award, which will be presented at the
60th MPSE Golden Reel Awards on Febru-
ary 17 in Los Angeles. Lee, whose latest
film Life of Pi is currently in theaters, was
selected for a body of work that has
demonstrated superlative artistry and
has advanced the craft of filmmaking.
Boston-based BORIS FX (www.bor-
isfx.com) has released Boris Continuum
Complete 8 FxPlug (BCC 8 FxPlug). BCC 8
FxPlug delivers over 200 comprehensive
VFX filters to Apple Final Cut Pro 7, Apple
Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion 5.
Enhanced lens flares, particles, glows and
lights, and new FxPlug 2 integration headline
the Version 8 release.
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NEC delivers new 2K projector
Built on revolutionary Thunderbolt

technology, UltraStudio 3D has a blazingly fast


10 Gb/s connection thats up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0! Machined from a solid
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features previously only available with a workstation. Its perfect for those on the go as an
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UltraStudio 3D features a huge range of video and audio
connections. Dual Link 3 Gb/s SDI, HDMI, component analog,
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balanced XLR analog audio. Connect to HDCAM SR, HDCAM, Digital Betacam,
Betacam SP, HDV cameras, big-screen TVs and more. UltraStudio 3D even supports
two streams of full resolution video up to 1080p HD for new stereoscopic 3D workows!
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If youve ever wanted to monitor in both HD and SD while you
work, then youll love the built in high quality down converter.
Use the Dual Link SDI outputs as a simultaneous HD and SD
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even center cut 4:3 down conversion styles!
Advanced 3 Gb/s SDI Technology
With exciting new 3 Gb/s SDI connections, UltraStudio
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Bits & Pieces
6 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
T
ORONTO RenderLife Inc. (www.renderlife.com) is a
new 3D marketplace that allows artists to sell their cre-
ations to those looking for 3D content. Company CEO Chris
Cawston says they spent the better part of a year studying the
global market for 3D, interviewing both artists who create the
models and businesses that purchase them.
RenderLife founder Jeff Mann says he recognized a need for a
marketplace when his design studio ran into issues with pur-
chasing 3D models. Our creative team was frustrated, he says.
Too many of the models they purchased from stock
sites simply didnt work, forcing us to invest time
and money to fix what wed already paid for. This
problem often caused us to run late and over budget
resulting in missed deadlines.
Renderlifes assets are available in Maya, 3DS Max and
Cinema 4D. When a user purchases a RenderLife asset, their
download package delivers all three files with one central tex-
ture directory. Most textures are high res, with exceptions
being made for small detail textures that do not necessarily
need to be high resolution (i.e.: the rivets on an airframe).
They can, however, supply other file types upon request.
Says Mann, These three platforms have continued to grow
in popularity, capturing the majority of the market. Our experi-
ence and research showed that users of secondary platforms
like Mudbox, Zbrush or Softimage are also using Maya, Max or
4D, even if they are not a users primary system. We guarantee
that the native file format of every model on RenderLife is
production ready.
RenderLife launches 3D marketplace
What Post Readers Are Up To:
right
now
MUSIC: Well, it
has finally hap-
pened. I have offi-
cially crossed over
to Spotify. As
someone who
loves collecting
music in digital
and physical for-
mats, its been a
leap. I still purchase albums I really love, not
only to support the artist, but to have it in
my collection permanently. Call me old
fashioned, but I still dont equate cloud with
ownership, and I think files are a better
platform for curation. However, the access
to music Spotify provides is astonishing.
Lately Ive listened to M83, Fela Kudi, Goza-
les, Father John Misty, and Black Mountain.
Josh Norton
President/Executive CD
Big Star, NYC
Jump (www.jumpny.tv), with offices in LA and
NYC, cut The Rolling Stones new music video
Doom and Gloom. Produced by Black Dog
Films and directed by Jonas kerlund, the
video pairs the bands performance with
scenes of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace. The
video was shot using Arris Alexa and several
GoPro cameras. Jumps Luis Moreno edited the
video in Final Cut Pro, with David Johnston
assisting. ProRes 4444 files were used for the
color correct and online. Poetica handled
Flame work and VFX. Pana at Uncle Berlin
handled color treatment. The music video
features sound design by Chimney Pot.
Mattias Eklund handled the mix.
RenderLife RenderLife launches 3D marketplace launches 3D marketplace launches 3D marketplace
S
ANTA MONICA The Climate Reality Project,
founded and chaired by former Vice President
Al Gore, enlisted Butcher Editorial (www.
butcheredit.com) to edit, design graphics and finish its
newest campaign, 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty
Weather Report. The second annual multimedia
event took place in mid-November and engaged the
public in a global conversation about the realities of
dirty weather.
The movement and viral videos were created to
push climate leaders toward urgent action. Directed by
Clay Williams of MJZ Productions, the non-traditional
spots gravely portray what scientists are calling the new
normal in extreme weather. The spots were edited in
Final Cut by Butchers Teddy Gersten and Chris Scheer.
The team used a combination of bleeped-out words,
real-life parallels and extreme weather to underscore
the necessary call to action. Adobes Creative Suite was
used throughout.
When it came to creating graphics for the spots,
realism was key, says David Henegar, partner/editor at
Butcher. It was important the viewer be immediately
engaged in the reality of the broadcast so that they
could fully digest the urgency of the weather crisis the
Climate Reality Project is dealing with.
Mock news broadcasts from around the world
report uncharacteristic heat, affected crops, and rising
grocery prices. The campaign has both broadcast and
viral elements. Steven Williams was assistant editor for
the project. Zac Dych was Autodesk Smoke artist.
Butcher contributes to
Climate Reality Project
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Copyright 2012. Sony Creative Software Inc. All rights reserved. SONY and make.believe are trademarks of Sony.
Scan to see a full list of Vegas Pro features.
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at up to 880 Mb/s
Comprehensive S-Log Workfow Leverage the wide dynamic range of your S-log footage with an integrated, end-to-end
ACES (Academy Color Encoding Specifcation) production workfow
Color Match OFX Plug-In Quickly and easily match the color characteristics of different video clips using the ultra-wide
L*a*b color space
Expanded Edit Mode Fine-tune the timing of your project interactively while the timeline is playing back
Project Media Tagging Fast, effective media searching using Quick Tags and Smart Bins
Updated Masking Tools New masking shapes and Effects Masking tool for quickly obscuring a face or logo
Stereoscopic Auto-Pairing Bulk pairing of stereoscopic subclips on the timeline for more effcient 3D editing
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To fnd out more about the entire set of new features and enhancements, or to download the free trial visit:
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8 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
S
AN RAFAEL, CA For Academy
Award-winning sound designer and
film mixer Gary Rydstrom (Terminator
2: Judgment Day, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic
Park, Titanic), 2012 was a busy year. He lent his
talents to the animated hits Brave and Wreck-
It Ralph, as well as to Steven Spielbergs his-
torical live-action drama Lincoln. The films
actually represent several years of thought
and development from a sound design per-
spective, with Rydstrom moving back and
forth from project to project as each moved
forward in production and post.
Here, we go one-on-one with the veteran
audio pro, who is already thinking about his
next project The Lone Ranger which is
due for release in the summer of 2013.
POST: Do you have the luxury of focusing on
one film at a time?
GARY RYDSTROM: They definitely over-
lap. Doing sound design for a film, you are
never going to get hired for the whole stretch.
When I worked on Pixars Brave, I started
thinking about the sound for that years ago. I
would do other projects and then come back
to it once the editing crew starts and once we
mix. They overlap, which makes the job fun.
When I am mixing and am at the console,
that tends to be full-time, and its hard to do
anything else. Most of the year I am kind of jug-
gling a few different shows at the same time.
POST: How does the workflow for an ani-
mated project differ from that of a live-action film?
RYDSTROM: A good animation picture
editor will be cutting sound effects even when
you are looking at storyboards. Pixar and Dis-
ney are particularly good at this. They cut a
complete and wonderful temp track as early
as possible because its part of the storytelling.
I am glad they do. I want to give them effects
as early as possible that help tell the story.
They are almost place holders for a while.
Then the animation comes in and when that is
finishing, thats when the sound editing crew
fully starts, and you have three, four, five peo-
ple cutting on the movie. Thats when you start
putting things in absolute sync and hope it still
works. There are two phases for animation:
the really early phase, with the design and
concepts; and then you have the weeks before
the mix, where the editing crew is working in
parallel to try to get it all ready for the mix.
POST: Sound, and dialogue specifically, really
drives the animation process?
RYDSTROM: They are animating to dia-
logue, which everyone knows. With that dia-
logue track, even early on before the anima-
tion, we get a sense of the rhythm of a scene,
even though its not animated. The couple of
times that I have directed animation, I would
use sound effects as a way of thinking, This is
how I want the animation to hit these poses.
POST: Did Skywalker Sound provide full
service audio?
RYDSTROM: For Lincoln, the final mix was
done in LA. But Wreck-It Ralph and Brave were
fully done under our roof at Skywalker.
POST: Do you prefer animation
over live action?
RYDSTROM: I tell people
who are starting out in sound to
do sound for animated films its
a lot of fun. You have to do a lot,
but you tend to have more leeway
in the choices that you make.
From the moment I heard the
premise of Wreck-It Ralph, I
thought it would be fun. Going
inside a videogame and trying to
imagine what an old 1980s game
might sound like, let alone what it
might sound like on the inside? It
reminded me of how excited I got when I
worked on Toy Story years ago and thought
this is fun what toys do when we are not
looking. So the premise of Wreck-It Ralph got
me excited from the get-go, and thats the
kind of thing you can only do with an ani-
mated film. I love that and I love the freedom.
With Wreck-It Ralph and Brave, the impor-
tance of the sound is so high that you feel that
you are a real part of the success of the film,
because the film is dead without good sound.
POST: What was your role on each film?
RYDSTROM: I was a sound designer and
co-supervisor with Frank Eulner on Wreck-It
Ralph. That one was mixed by Gary Rizzo
and David Fluhr. For Brave, I was sound
designer and co-supervisor. I mixed that one
with Tom Johnson.
POST: Lincolns sound was completely dif-
ferent, going more for historical accuracy?
RYDSTROM: That was sound design by
Ben Burtt, who is one of my heroes and a
mentor to me. He decided that he would be
as accurate with the sound in that movie as
possible, so he found Lincolns actual pocket
watch and recorded that. He found the actual
clock that was in Lincolns office and recorded
that. He recorded the doors of the White
House that were there in the 1860s... The
beauty of the sound design in Lincoln is not
that he created a whole new world, but that
he was able to recreate the world as he imag-
ined Lincoln would have heard it. It was a
whole different approach than what we would
usually take. Andy Nelson and I mixed the
movie. (For more on Burtts sound design for
Lincoln, see page 34 in our November issue.)
POST: What format are you mixing for
these days?
RYDSTROM: All of the movies this year
are 7.1, with four surround channels. That has
become fairly standard for movies, and with
Brave we went the extra step. It was the first
film in the Dolby Atmos format, which includes
ceiling speakers and fuller range surrounds
that are a little more accurate. We did a special
mix of Brave in Atmos.
POST: How does Atmos affect your approach
to panning?
RYDSTROM: When surrounds came in,
people generally loathed putting dialogue in the
surrounds. But the key to Atmos for dialogue
[is] the surrounds are fuller range than tradi-
tional surrounds. When you pull into the sur-
rounds in an existing 5.1 or 7.1 set-up, they are
a little less high fidelity than the fronts. Atmos
fixes that, so if you pull dialogue off the screen,
it doesnt sound different. And because the sur-
rounds are a little more fine tuned, you can pan
to a specific point in the theater.
In Brave, the characters would go off
screen and we would pan the dialogue just a
little bit off screen just a little to the sur-
rounds in the right or the left. Atmos allows
us to start pulling dialogue off the screen in
ways that we wouldnt dare before.
POST: What are you working on tool-wise?
RYDSTROM: Pro Tools. Thats definitely
what we cut with. We mix on an AMS Neve
DFC console. Thats something weve been
doing for years. Thats a digital console, and we
even record onto Pro Tools.
For our complete interview with Gary Ryd-
strom, visit the Post Website.
Skywalkers Gary Rydstrom
This year he
tackled Lincoln,
Wreck-It Ralph
and Brave.
one on one
By
MARC LOFTUS
Senior Editor
mloftus@postmagazine.com
Gary Rydstroms most
recent work was for
Disneys Wreck It Ralph.
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On November 14, Post Magazine celebrated its 27th birthday with a party at Stitch Bar & Lounge
in New York City. The turnout and heartfelt good wishes were amazing. Once again we streamed
live from the party, talking to our sponsors about their gear and services, as well as industry trends.
We would like to thank those sponsors: Harmonic, NetApp, Altermedia, Assimilate, Adobe, Red Dig-
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shout-out. At Post, we have a great time doing what we do and hope that comes through in our
issues and on our Website. For a slideshow of all of our party pictures, visit www.postmagazine.com.
POSTS 27TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
The Post staff: Natasha Swords, Michael Viggiano, owner William Rittwage, Randi
Altman, Marc Loftus, Mari Kohn and Gary Rhodes.
Shellacs Juliun Williams, Zack Wolder and Max Nova.
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The Rohde & Schwarz team, who helped sponsor our party: Kenny Horn, Tony Fox,
Niklas Fabian, David Phillips and Erik Balladares.
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14 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
W
ELLINGTON, NZ Writer/direc-
tor/producer Peter Jackson spent
years creating one of the most
ambitious and technically impressive epics in
cinema, the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings
trilogy, which he then followed up with King
Kong (2005) and The Lovely Bones (2009).
But maybe it was only a matter of time
before Jackson and his team, including senior
VFX supervisor Joe Letteri, returned to Mid-
dle-earth, this time for The Hobbit: An Unex-
pected Journey, a prequel and the first of a
planned trilogy set 60 years before the
Lord of the Rings blockbusters.
At press time, they were still deep in post
production, and here, in an exclusive interview,
Letteri, whose credits include The Adventures
of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Man of Steel,
Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: The
Last Stand, talks about making the eagerly-
awaited 3D film, the workflow and creating
the cutting-edge visual effects.
POST: What sort of film can fans expect?
JOE LETTERI: A very big film and a visual
treat. The Hobbit was just one, fairly slim book,
and I know theres been a lot of talk and dis-
cussion about the fact that were making
three movies out of whats the smallest of the
stories. But thats because Peter and the oth-
ers (co-writers/co-producers Fran Walsh and
Philippa Boyens) went back to all of Tolkiens
source material, all the appendices he used to
flesh out the story after he finished the Lord
of the Rings trilogy, and that story is getting
woven back into The Hobbit. So its much big-
ger in scope than people may anticipate.
POST: What were the biggest challenges of
creating this?
LETTERI: As usual, its all about the char-
acters. Anytime you create characters that
have to take on leading roles, its always so
important to get it exactly right. Gollum
returns again, although its actually his first
appearance in the stories, with the whole
riddles and dark sequence. We have Bilbo and
Gandalf again, and the Goblin King and the
dwarves who are captured by the goblins and
taken down into the caverns. So we created
the Goblin King, and a number of the goblins
were all done digitally. Then there are the orcs
they ride and the eagles. Its a lot going on!
POST: Is it true you shot all three films
back-to-back?
LETTERI: Yes, were still in post on the
first one and the other two are shot, but
there will be pick-up shoots next year now
that the storys being cut and Peters seeing
what gaps he needs to fill in. So the second
comes out in a year, and the final one in 2014.
POST: Visual effects have progressed so
much since you worked on Lord of the Rings,
which must have really helped with CG charac-
ters like Gollum?
LETTERI: Youre so right, and a lot of
what we did back then was on faith and intu-
ition. Gollums a really good example. We
broke new ground with him, like sub-surface
scattering and the amount of effort we put
into facial animation and motion capture... just
to get it all working together the body
performance and facial movements and dia-
logue and the look of the skin and make it
believable. In the 10 years since, weve really
broken down and studied what each of those
elements means.
So motion capture has become perfor-
mance capture, because we can do it with
Andy Serkis on set now instead of having to
go back and recreate his performance. We
can now capture with the facial camera head-
rig his facial performance at the same time as
we capture his body, and integrating the two
is so crucial to believability as the real-world
characters talk and act at the same time. So
were no longer guessing about the way the
muscles work under the skin.
Weve studied all that to understand how
movement relates to form, and there has
been a lot more work on areas like sub-sur-
face scattering and how light behaves in eyes
and hair simulation. Every element that goes
into making up a CG character has been
studied and has evolved over the last decade.
With Gollum, he had to look the same, but
yet we wanted to capture all those changes
and nuances. So the audience will see him as
the same Gollum, but with all this new detail
that makes him even more realistic.
POST: Peter Jackson decided to shoot this at
48fps. How did that impact the VFX?
LETTERI: The 48fps is designed to mini-
mize motion artifacts. Normally if youre
looking at things in 2D, its not such a big deal,
because were all used to motion blur in cin-
ema and stills, but in stereo your eye expects
to be able to resolve things spatially and that
motion blur is hard to take. So the 48fps
essentially just shortens up the motion blur
so you get sharper detail.
What that meant for us was really a lot
of preproduction tests, which are what we
need to do to understand and mimic the
actual set that they shot on. In other words,
the virtual cameras we have to track and the
copies of the virtual sets and everything we
have to do to lock in our virtual world to the
physical world being able to either extend
sets or put characters in them all that
requires a lot more detailed work as youre
doing twice as many frames. Some things
allow you to get more detail, like animation.
You can really nuance the animation since
you have finer frame increments to work
with. Other things are not really effective, like
lighting. How you set a light doesnt really
matter. So it was this mix and we had to look
at it area by area and department by depart-
ment and see what changes were needed.
Return to Middle-earth
Grinnah, a CG goblin: Wetas main 3D tool is Maya. They call on Nuke for compositing.
The Hobbits
VFX efforts are
no small task.
cover story
Wetas Joe Letteri headed
up a VFX team of 800,
working on 2,000 shots.
By
IAIN BLAIR
Thanks to enhancements
in performance capture,
Andy Serkiss CG Gollum
became even more
realistic and believable.
POST: Was it always planned as a 3D shoot?
LETTERI: Yes. Peter has always loved 3D
and wanted to do it. In fact, we briefly dis-
cussed doing King Kong in 3D. We met with
Jim Cameron and loved all the 3D rigs he had
developed, but we didnt have enough time to
really get into it, so he was very anxious to do
this in 3D because it brings that extra layer of
realism to the fantasy.
POST: Walk us through the workflow and
the whole process.
LETTERI: Normally what happens is well
look at what needs to be shot and well do a
breakdown ahead to see what set-ups we
need on the shot. Take the earlier Baggins
scenes In Lord of the Rings we used a lot of
forced perspective tricks to make Gandalf look
huge next to the hobbits, which worked great
but that doesnt work in stereo anymore.
So we had to create essentially a forced-per-
spective rig, and we did that by having two
stages set up simultaneously. So on one wed
have the dwarves performing on their fully-
dressed set and wed do a walk-through with
Ian McKellen so everyone knew where to
leave a path for him. Then hed go to our adja-
cent greenscreen stage set up with a motion-
control camera that was slaved to our live set.
We used motion capture technology to
track the live camera, scaled it up to match
the appropriate size for human versus hobbit
or dwarf, and drove the motion-controlled
camera on the greenscreen stage around Ians
performance based on what the camera was
doing on the live set. He had to still be able
to act with everyone, so they all used ear-
pieces, and we used markers on the green-
screen stage for each dwarf that would light
up when it was time for their dialogue, so he
always had an eye-line and face to interact
with. So there was an elaborate amount of
planning just to get this shot on stage, involv-
ing all the VFX, camera crews and all the cast.
Then we began on all the paint and roto and
detail work. Now were finishing up on this
one, were already starting VFX work on the
next two films.
POST: The film is edited on Avid Media Com-
poser by Jabez Olssen, who cut The Lovely
Bones and worked on Lord of the Rings and
King Kong. Tell us about the editing process and
how closely you collaborated.
LETTERI: All of the post is done here at
Weta Digital, so were all together, and a lot of
it is him working with Peter on what material
is going into the cut and the direction of cer-
tain sequences, and then
us really breaking down
the detail of what needs
to happen both in the
frame and across it as
youre always trying to
build elements that will
work in the cut and edi-
torially. So we talk a lot,
especially about motion
and dynamics and fram-
ing, as well as subtle
things about the intent of
a shot and how it relates
to other shots. As were
working digitally, we can
keep finessing stuff during
the edit. (For our inter-
view with Olssen, turn to page 16.)
POST: How many visual effects shots are
there, and what systems did you use?
LETTERI: Theres over 2,000 shots, about
800 crew on them, and weve been working
on it for two years. Our software is a mix of
off-the-shelf and custom-made gear. Maya is
our main 3D platform, RenderMan is our
main rendering system, and Nuke is the main
compositing platform. Then we augment that
with a lot of custom plug-ins for various shots
we need.
POST: It sounds like you tend to gravitate to
off-the-shelf systems that are fairly open?
LETTERI: Exactly. Theyre essentially plat-
forms that give you a fair amount of function-
ality, but theyre open systems that allow you
to write customized extensions for, which
works great for us.
POST: What was that the most difficult
effects shot to pull off?
LETTERI: Id say the scene inside the
goblin caverns. Its unique as you go down
underground and youre immediately in this
strange 3D world as theres almost no one
fixed ground plain anymore. It all happens at
multiple levels, so it was fascinating to design
and figure out camera moves that would take
most advantage of it, since youre constantly
able to move between these different levels in
the cavern, and we really wanted to use that
to exploit what we could do with stereo.
POST: Where does this rank in terms of
scope and difficulty compared with the other
massive productions youre worked on?
LETTERI: Its way up there at the top,
because every film is a little harder than the
last one and also a little more fun. Its been
an incredible experience and so much fun to
go back to Middle-earth and walk on the
same sets again and see a lot of the same cast
and crew back.
Director Peter Jackson chose to shoot this trilogy at 48fps, which
minimizes motion artifacts.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 15
16 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
W
ELLINGTON, NZ Warner Bros.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Jour-
ney is the first of three movies
based on the J. R. R. Tolkien introductory novel
to The Lord of the Rings saga that could very
well transform the movie-going experience.
The new trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson
and shot on Red Epic 5K cameras (all three
films were shot simultaneously) in 3D, gener-
ated an unprecedented 1,100 hours of foot-
age for each eye.
The Hobbit will also be the first 3D movie
recorded and exhibited digitally at 48 frames
to reduce eyes strain, but more on that
later and enhanced by the Dolby Atmos
sound system.
The Hobbit editor Jabez Olssen (The Lovely
Bones) says, not surprisingly, that the biggest
challenge was, the sheer size of the project:
the amount of footage, the complexity of it,
and the number of the characters that had to
be balanced.
There were production delays the proj-
ect evolved from two to three films but
the release date for the first film he says,
never changed.
Olssen wanted to be a filmmaker from an
early age, and after university, attended the
South Seas Film and TV School in New Zea-
land. He believed that films are written three
times, as the saying goes, once in the script,
again by the director on set, and the third time
in the cutting. No one offered him a job in the
first two areas, he says with a smile, so he chose
editing to be around the creative process.
In 2000, Olssen worked as an assistant edi-
tor and VFX editor for Sam Raimis Pacific
Renaissance Pictures on the TV shows Jack of
All Trades and Cleopatra 2525. The effects-
heavy Cleopatra featured 200 to 400 effects
shots per episode, says Olssen. There was a
lot of greenscreens and CG characters to
deal with. After season 1, Olssen was pro-
moted from assistant editor to main editor.
OLSSENS JOURNEY
When Cleopatra wound down, he wrote
letters to New Zealand-based Michael Hor-
ton (who edited the first and second LOTR)
and Jamie Selkirk (supervising editor on the
first two, editor on the third and co-producer
on all three LOTR). They were needing a new
operator for Mike, and I was recommended.
After meeting with Horton and Selkirk, he
was hired to drive the Avid for Horton on
the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Because the Rings films overlapped quite a bit,
he did some work on all three movies.
After the second movie he moved to Lon-
don for year to work on various productions.
While VFX editor on Wimbledon, he got a call
from Jackson to come back and work
with Selkirk on King Kong. Olssen
then worked on a number of smaller
projects, including previs for The
Adventures of Tintin, and editing Cross-
ing The Line, the Red Digital Cinema
movie directed by Jackson and Neill
Blomkamp. Olssen was on deck to be
the main editor on Jacksons remake
of Dambusters, but that got delayed,
and he was hired as lead editor on
Jacksons The Lovely Bones in 09.
Later that year, Olssen started
previs work for Guillermo Del Toros
version of The Hobbit, as well as per-
forming the role of additional editor
on The Adventures of Tintin. In May of
2010, De Toro left the project and
Olssen was tapped by Jackson to come
aboard as main editor. Peter didnt take over
immediately, says Olssen. He said, Look if I
wind up directing The Hobbit, will you cut it? I
told him Id be thrilled and honored.
THE HOBBIT
Olssen and Jackson continued the previs
process Jackson got local actors and
motion captured them as live action perfor-
mances. The previs team would turn that data
into low-res CG characters, and then use
virtual cameras to get as many angles and
takes as any live-action film. That process
took them right up until actual shooting
began in March 2011.
In contrast to editors who often work far
from the shoot, for The Hobbit Olssen was on
set every day. Post begins from day one of
the shoot, particularly with the digital camer-
as. With our schedule and timetable, we had
to be editing right from the beginning.
Post was essentially integrated into pro-
duction. We had a portable Avid (Media
Composer V.6) set-up on the soundstage that
was wired by fiber optics back to the editing
rooms, describes Olssen. This gave him full
access to all the footage shot previously
thanks to Avid ISIS networked storage.
Between shooting set-ups, Olssen worked
with Jackson to do performance selects and
select angles. Then I would be able to go off
and do my editor assemble of the scene.
It was good to be there when the scenes
were being shot, he continues, because I
could hear Peter talk to the actors and get a
greater understanding of how the scene
should be, and that helped me do an initial
assembly. Without that contact we would
have been a lot further behind when the
shooting ended.
When The Hobbit was on location, editorial
used Avid software on a laptop system with
FireWire hard drives that enabled them to
edit even from remote mountaintop loca-
tions. The third component of the produc-
tion post system was the EMC (Editorial
Mobile Command), a truck containing a full-
size Avid Media Composer V.6 with a big
plasma screen and a couch for Jackson.
When we had an hour or two break, wed
go into the truck. It had privacy and was like
an actual cutting room environment. The
EMC was used on soundstages and traveled
all over the country as well.
Jackson monitored the Red camera 3D
output via an on-set system using 3D glasses.
He even had a satellite set-up that beamed
second unit footage to his main location.
However, according to Olssen, the Avid
editing was done entirely in 2D at 24fps. Jack-
sons Park Road Post would digital telecine
all the original footage into graded Avid
DNxHD files at 24fps. So the editing room
had normal Avid footage just like any other
film. As needed, Park Road Post would con-
form scenes in 3D at 48fps and screen them
in 2K 3D at 48fps in a full-size digital theater.
Printing single eye lower frame rate dai-
lies took some of the storage stress off the
Avid 128TB Unity system. After 266 days of
The Hobbits fantastical journey
While shot in stereo at
48fps, the films 2D version
will be exhibited at 24fps..
Jabez Olssen on
cutting Peter
Jacksons latest.
edit this!
By DANIEL
RESTUCCIO
dansweb451@aol.com
Park Road Post would
conform scenes in 3D at
48fps and screen them in
2K 3D at 48fps in a full-size
digital theater.
main unit shooting and 195 days of second
unit shooting, they still had 1,100 hours of
footage for each eye the equivalent of
nearly 24 million feet of film. The most dailies
they had in a single day was 11 hours of foot-
age for each eye. Olssens support team, led
by first assistant editor Dan Best, was made
up of eight assistant editors, including two
VFX editors who wrangled 25,000 clips. But
there are multiple takes in each of those clips
because Peter has a method we call rolling
resets. He wont cut between takes. Hell just
tell the actors to go back and start again.
There were 13 Avid Media Composers, but
some assistants used more than one Avid.
JACKSONS PROCESS
Peter likes to be heavily involved with the
actual editing. The first step, says Olssen, is for
him to chop up the footage and line up all
the takes. When Jackson comes into the edit-
ing room he looks at all the takes and makes
his selects. Olssen typically does an assembly
of the scene first, but he and Jackson will work
on the scene from scratch, then compare it to
Olssens earlier version, and perhaps merge
aspects of the two.
Hes not a director who limits himself to
one way of cutting a scene, describes Olssen.
He will shoot options and coverage. He will
provide choices for the cutting room. Always
with Peters films, you have to explore the
scene and make big choices about which way
to tell the story. Youre not going to end up
with a couple of cool camera moves that
cant be used because they cover the same
piece of the story.
Creatively, Olssen prepped for the edit by
watching all the Lord of the Rings movies, re-
reading The Hobbit and reading the script. His
approach was to treat it like any other film.
The footage for a scene comes in and you
look and put it together as it feels it should go.
Whether theres greenscreen or missing CG
monsters from the scene, you treat all films
the same. Regardless, he says, if its a quieter
drama piece or big spectacle you try to find
the best takes, the best rhythm to the scene
and how you want to tell the story.
Stylistically, Olssen says the movie is consis-
tent with the other Lord of the Rings movies
because Peter Jackson is directing. By follow-
ing the natural rhythms and style of each
scene, it ends up with a similar stylistic con-
nection to Lord of the Rings.
Jackson, he says, wants it to be an immersive
experience. Once youve made the decision to
go 3D, youve moved away from the normal
cinematic experience. Traditionally, cinema has
been 2D. Once you go to 3D you are trying to
make it more realistic. Shooting at 48fps, notes
Olssen, is primarily to reduce strobbing and
flicker that causes eyestrain for the 3D version
of the movie the 2D version will be exhib-
ited at 24fps. You increase the frame rate and
its more comfortable to watch.
Reducing eyestrain is a good thing.
Most of the new technology,
3D and 48fps, was transparent
creatively to the editing process.
We would see the 3D when
we conformed the scenes, says
Olssen. Occasionally we would
make allowances and alterations
because of the stereoscopic
depth. So for example, they
might hold shots a bit longer.
Generally he says, If you are cut-
ting on the small size screen and
then see it on a cinema big
screen you often extend the wide shots a
few more frames.
But they didnt want to limit the 2D experi-
ence either. We didnt want the technique to
rule the dramatic decisions of the storytelling.
There were not as many changes as Ols-
sen had expected. We were thinking when
we set out that wed have to cut it, conform
it in 3D at 48 frames and then change it, but
at the end of the day there wasnt as much of
that. There were very few tweaks. Whats
working dramatically for the story continues
to work no matter the format. So generally
what would work in one medium would
work for the other.
THREE FILMS, NOT TWO
So how did The Hobbit evolve into three
movies? There always was going to be two
movies, explains Olssen. By doing three
movies it allows us to keep the good material
people remember. The Hobbit is only a 300-
page book, but theres a lot of story in there.
People complain with film adaptions of a
book about all the good things that got
chopped out. Three films will allow us to keep
the characters and many iconic moments and
events from the book. A lot of story is alluded
to in the appendices in The Lord of the Rings.
After writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the
Rings, Tolkien went back and fleshed out all
that time when Gandalf leaves the dwarfs, so
thats being told as well.
In the last weeks of post, Olssen moved
from the The Hobbit soundstages to Park Road
Post (www.parkroadpost.co.nz), where every-
one was working around the clock to finish
the film. Well go into the mixes and give
notes on the VFX shots and listen to the
Atmos reviews.
Hes also working on the last stages of the
second film, but notes not a lot has been
done on the third one so far!
Jabez Olssen with his Avid Media Composer V.6 set-up.
18 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
B
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The post production industry faces a
number of challenges today, including lower barriers to enter the post
business, increased competition on that front and from more clients
taking aspects of post in-house, and continuing cash-strapped budgets.
But the industry is buoyed by lighter investments in the technical
infrastructure and greater investments in talent, the globalization of the
business, the maturing of the Web, the arrival of 4K, and more demand
for content of all kinds.
AXEL ERICSON
Founder
Digital Arts
www.digital-arts.net
New York City
Digital Arts offers complete end-to-end services for film
and TV with a strong focus on new technologies and high-end pipelines, such
as 4K finishing, DCP delivery and 7.1 surround mixing.
STRENGTHS: I have observed the maturing of
digital pipelines from acquisition to fully-digital workflows
and delivery. Its no longer the Wild West clients know
what the process is like and what to expect from ven-
dors, and we know what to deliver. Yes, theres always
something new coming up, but it still falls in the realm of
what clients and vendors already know.
Another strength is that technology enables us to
integrate more of the post process in-house. For exam-
ple, what used to be considered VFX are now part of
the finishing process a client used to have to go to a
VFX house for image stabilization without zooming in on
a shot, which was really a matte painting [technique]. On
a long-form project we can achieve such a technique
routinely in post, further enhancing the final product.
WEAKNESSES: The remnants of the recession,
and clients who chose lower-end workflows, has meant less busi-
ness from such clients, and the industr y overall suffers. Some
clients are more focused on passing QC than on the quality of
the production.
OPPORTUNITIES: There are a number of opportunities in the
industry right now. Were focusing heavily on 4K: Were already a
4K-ready house with true 4K displays and projectors and a fully-digital
pipeline for end-to-end 4K delivery.
There are also opportunities with the maturing of Web markets.
Some now have very stringent delivery requirements and real budgets.
I heard about one client who sent content to Apple, which passed
broadcast QC but failed Apples QC. Also, there is more need for
content due to growing distribution models, from Web to mobile.
Outsourcing can work for and against us. There are opportunities
for post houses by creating modular tasks and outsourcing parts of big
jobs to other locations or freelancers. These tasks can then be quickly
integrated back into the workflow.
THREATS: Outsourcing can also be a threat if clients see it as an
opportunity to take their work internationally. Its not an immediate
threat, but its on our radar.
The efficiency of the Web business model may challenge produc-
tion budgets and the way things are done in the television world,
which has a very top-down infrastructure. Were caught in the cross-
fire in some ways as distribution models change and create a lot of
flux in the industry.
More and more production companies are offering their own
post production pipelines now. Its a natural evolution for them;
theyve made a significant investment in post infrastructure. So thats
a threat to existing post houses, although there are still plenty of
opportunities out there.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013 4K is on the table now. The feature world
is headed in that direction, and its time for post houses to move on
to 4K. Were really focused on theatrical 4K.
ROBIN SHENFIELD
Co-Founder/CEO
The Mill
www.themill.com
London, New York, Los Angeles
The Mill is a VFX studio creating moving image,
design and digital for the advertising, film, TV, games and music industries.
Recent projects include Guinness Cloud and the Good Books Havana
Heat viral film, and the feature film Snow White and The Huntsman.
STRENGTHS: Post production is not a term we use to describe
what we do. Were an advertising-focused VFX business with a small
division for features, special projects and television. Im not sure weve
found the right terminology to describe ourselves, apart from as a
creative moving image company. This is relevant to strengths because
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This visual album for artist Essie Jane got its DI via Resolve
in Digital Arts 4K theatre.It was mixed in 5.1 in Pro Tools.
DIVERSIFICATION
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 19
theres an increasing demand for creative moving images across all
media. The marketplace is growing and changing for us. We are trading
in a very dynamic marketplace.
Its also a market in which great creative work is at a greater pre-
mium than ever because the more media there is, the more consum-
ers act as natural selectors editing out messages that are not engaging.
To get noticed and get traction [marketers] need to invest in quality
and brilliant craft execution.
WEAKNESSES: Theres a real weaknesses in viewing what we do
as an afterthought. Businesses like ours have historically existed in the
post part of the value chain, but we try to interact and influence the
process of production as early as possible to make sure were able to
add value. More and more, were involved earlier and in a way that is
more collaborative; there are a zillion great reasons to engage us early.
OPPORTUNITIES: When I started this business in London 23
years ago, it cost about half-a-million pounds to equip a single person
with a color suite, edit suite or a Quantel Henry. Today, technology
investments have become less: servers, storage and networking con-
sume more money than front-end tools. Our most significant invest-
ment is in people designers, art directors, people with skills in digital
and motion graphics. The make up of our creative staff has never been
more diverse and reflects all the different kinds of moving image con-
tent that were now involved in creating.
Assets produced for broadcast can now be used in lots of different
ways, which creates efficiencies for our clients and opportunities for us.
When we worked on Nikes Write the Future campaign for the Foot-
ball World Cup with Wieden & Kennedy/Amsterdam, the three-min-
ute spot debuted not on television but on Facebook and then went
massively viral; the TV media spend was pretty limited.
There are exciting new ways to collaborate with clients to travel
their messages to different parts of the globe on different channels in
ways that maintain the integrity of the advertising idea while engaging
with an extremely discerning audience.
THREATS: The biggest threat is probably related to the low bar-
riers to entry that now exist due to cheaper technology and, as a
consequence, a trend with some clients to view post production as a
commodity. Some aspects of post are ripe for commoditization, and
there are a number of companies
in London, owned by advertising
networks, that are sensibly taking
in-house simple post work, like the
foreign-language adaptation and
versioning of projects for different
geographies. Our niche is different:
Its creative work, and our challenge
is to continually assert our creative
credentials and the market value
we add. We have to make sure we
win the argument that we arent a
technical service that anyone with
technology can deliver but a cre-
ative business that only a small
number of people in the world can prioritize at a high level.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I feel optimistic about the outlook in the
US and the UK. The US has been the bigger part of our group for a few
years now, and the US advertising industry occupies a position of great
advantage. The appetite for media in the US, the inventiveness, the
willingness to try new things is enormously exciting and stimulating.
We feel very good about the UK, too. The scale of the ad industry
in the UK is smaller than in the US, but its also a great source of inno-
vation, invention and interesting creative endeavor. Many agencies are
doing remarkably well and continue to reinvent themselves. In fact, the
UK continues to be a fertile market for new agency start-ups.
Elsewhere in the world, were seeing quite a bit of work coming
into The Mill NY and The Mill LA from South America, particularly with
the growth of Brazil, along with work from mainland China and Singa-
pore. As a business that acts as one company in three locations, were
excited about the increasingly globalized nature of the industry.
CHRIS CLAEYS
Senior Editor/Senior Partner
Cutters Studios
www.cutters.com
Chicago
Cutters Studios is a collaboration of creative services
shoot, edit, audio, VFX, design, finish, interactive. Recent projects include
the Disney Parks 2013 North America campaign, Capital Ones Alec Bald-
win and Jimmy Fallon campaigns, commercials for State Farm, Oscar
Meyer and Esurance, and Fiats upcoming Super Bowl spot.
STRENGTHS: The greatest strength is the need for more con-
tent because of the Internet. For post houses that means you have to
be flexible and diverse. What we do now is different from 10 years ago
when we were largely posting :30 commercials. We still do quite a bit
of that, but there are so many other types of work: Webisodes and
short-form projects that originate in advertising but are not traditional
advertising, plus a lot of internal corporate communications.
WEAKNESSES: The flipside is that not all post production com-
panies are necessarily good at diversification. Its hard to wear all these
hats and wear them well.
A recent Mill project is
this Chest Drums spot for
Old Spice.
20 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
BUSINESS
Budgets have been a challenge for a decade. With the diversifica-
tion of projects theres the sense that a project that isnt a :30 com-
mercial shouldnt cost as much it should be cheaper to produce.
But it costs the same to do a one-minute Webisode as a one-minute
Super Bowl commercial; you put the same amount of work and effort
into the project.
In the last three years weve seen a seismic shift from film to digital
capture. When you shoot digitally, generally speaking, theres no addi-
tional cost in production to keep the camera rolling, so most projects
acquire a lot of footage, and running time relates to labor. We recently
edited a six-day shoot for a large national client and expected 10
hours of running time. We got 22 hours. When you double the foot-
age, you the impact labor. Thats not an unusual situation today.
OPPORTUNITIES: There are opportunities with the Internet as
broadband gets faster and advertisers demand better quality in what
they put on the Web. Five or 10 years ago you could throw anything
on YouTube and be a sensation. I think were moving away from that,
and quality will be important.
There are opportunities in diversification by going outside your
home base. In the past two years weve gone into the Detroit market
by acquiring a 50 percent interest in RingSide Creative. We looked at
Detroit and the car industry and felt it had hit bottom and was on the
way back up, and thats been a wise decision. We also opened an office
in Tokyo in October 2012 after a two-year exploration. The Pacific Rim
covets Western-style creativity, and were convinced that Tokyo, and
perhaps Seoul and Shanghai, is the place to be.
We also see opportunities in the interactive arena. Another
opportunity we see is working direct with corporations on content
that doesnt originate with agencies.
THREATS: The biggest threat is agencies bringing post produc-
tion in-house, including finishing and versioning commercials. Even
medium-size agencies have edit rooms and sometimes audio rooms.
The lines can sometimes blur between vendor and client.
The general volatility of the economy continues to be a threat.
Little things can spike sharp downturns quickly, so that makes it hard
to forecast. You have to be ready for a downturn at any time because
chances are one will come.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: My partners and I agree that you cant
really forecast in the commercial post production industry. There arent
many long-term contracts, so you work pretty much project by proj-
ect. You can see your schedule two months out, but its hard to fore-
cast. That said, the last couple of years have been some of the best in
our history. So, knock on wood, barring any economic or geopolitical
problems, business should continue to be healthy.
LOLA LOTT
President/Owner
Charlieuniformtango
www.charlieuniformtango.com
Dallas
Charlieuniformtango is a full-service post facility
specializing in creative editorial, visual effects, audio mixing and digital
production. It also operates Liberal Media Films, a group of directors, and
Digitango, a team of digital strategy gurus.
STRENGTHS: The strengths in the industry are talent and the
flexibility of the technology, which increases our speed and the ability
to provide many different options to clients. Everybody says that with
the advent of new technology, but knowing how to manage the tech-
nology is key you dont want to be inundated by the tools, but
well-versed and apprised of current and coming technology.
The barrier to entry in post production is much lower now, so you
have to distinguish yourself somehow. We do it based on talent. Weve
always been a talent-driven company. We feel if you bring in the right
talent and give them the best tools, it will keep you at the forefront. This
[philosophy] has enabled us to expand into production as well. One of
the reasons for our production arms success is our talent-first approach.
But weve also given them great post resources to support great ideas.
[Talent and technology] are more intermingled now than ever before.
WEAKNESSES: Budgets are a real weakness. Some very well
educated clients think some things should cost less and be done faster.
But post production is a process: You have to have the right amount of
time and the right people to explore all the options.
With the lower barrier to entry, some technology costs so little
and is so much more accessible to the least common denominator.
Clients ask, Why should I pay X for a graphics-driven spot when the
kid down the street can do it for a thousand dollars? Dont they want
the experience of someone whos been down that road before for
their high-profile job? Or are they willing to risk it? You have to make
them aware they only have one chance to make a statement. If you
give it the time [it merits], it will pay off.
OPPORTUNITIES: We still have a very strong advertising agency
Expansion!
Cutters Tokyo
location.
Charlieuniformtango posted this Fiat commercial out of
The Richards Group.
continued on page 46
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22 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
D
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Despite or because of the ongoing grim eco-
nomic picture, 2012 was a pretty good year for Hollywood. Audiences,
happy to forget the recession and their financial woes for a couple of
hours, headed to the theatres in healthy numbers, especially to see
anything light and escapist.
Here, four top directors Barry Sonnenfeld, Len Wiseman,
Andrew Stanton and William Friedkin tackle Posts SWOT ques-
tions and air their views about the year ahead.
BARRY SONNENFELD
Director
Men In Black franchise, Addams Family, Get
Shorty, Wild Wild West
Sonnefeld started in this industry as a cinematogra-
pher for the Coen brothers (Blood Simple, Raising Ari-
zona, Millers Crossing) before turning to directing.
STRENGTHS: Its my favorite part of the whole filmmaking pro-
cess, and the best part is its where you get to make the movie better
again. You almost become a writer again in the editing room, and find
out the stuff you thought you needed you
dont need. You find out that things you were
worried about having to explain to the audi-
ence work fine without any explanation.
Im not a big believer in establishing shots
or masters. Ill shoot them but often feel
theyre banal and just slow down the pace.
Im pretty different from a lot of directors.
Usually my first cut is too fast and I actually
have to go back and slow down the movie,
while most directors first cuts are way too
long. Mines always 15 minutes too short. Post
is where you find the rhythm and look of the
film. On Men in Black 3 we had over 1,200
visual effects shots, and its hard to convey the
scale and scope of some of the bigger set
pieces until youre quite far along in post. And
even though I know how theyll look, Im still
amazed and impressed when all the shots
come together!
WEAKNESSES: For me there are hard-
ly any weaknesses in post. Maybe the only drawback is in a time-travel
movie like MIB3 where you start feeling you need to really guide the
audience in case you lose them. So you start adding lines of dialogue
to explain stuff, and then you run the movie and realize you dont need
it. Another pitfall in a comedy is not letting silent moments live silently.
You have to resist the urge to keep fiddling with things.
OPPORTUNITIES: So much has changed in post since I began
as a DP, like DI. Its overwhelmingly a good thing because you can go
in and darken skies, vignette corners, take down white shirts and all
selectively within a frame, which you cant do if youre doing a chemical
inter-negative.
THREATS: Its easy to be lazy in shooting since you can now fix
so much in post and the DI. For instance, I love the DSLRs I use for
my private photography, but I find that I dont spend the time framing
a shot exactly right and so on. In the same way, I think digital editorial
work has in some ways hurt comedy. When I began directing, I
worked with editor DeDe Allen, who cut on an upright Moviola; it
was such a pain to make a cut and find the trim and so on. But every
cut was thought about so much, and comedies used to play much
more in two-shots.
Look at old comedies like Bringing Up Baby. Youve got to have
action and reaction in the same frame. Today, most comedy directors
shoot with multiple cameras and ad-libbing, and because they can cut
so much faster on Avid, comedies have many more cuts, and you dont
have to think about it that much because its so easy. In the same way,
because you know you can clean up so much in the DI, it makes you
a little sloppier and lazier in how you frame and shoot.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: The middles been squeezed out. Its
either $100-200 million budget movies or $5 million movies with
nothing in between, which is sad since the middle used to have great
movies, especially comedies. What makes me most sad now is the ugly
comedy meaning aesthetically ugly, the comedy shot with multiple
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Sonnenfeld helmed Men in Black 3, which featured
1,200 visual effects shots.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 23
cameras so you cant light anything in an interesting way. I feel that a
lot of todays comedies, though very funny, often, have lost all sense of
visual style. Theyre just lit and framed so badly. Its almost part of their
religious belief. Im not saying its better or worse just different.
ANDREW STANTON
Writer/Director
Wall-E, Finding Nemo, John Carter
He joined Pixar in 1991 and began as their second
animator (John Lasseter was the first) and a writer.
After co-directing A Bugs Life and winning Oscars for
directing Wall-E and Finding Nemo, Stanton made his live-action directo-
rial debut with John Carter.
STRENGTHS: The fact that you can hide every mistake youve
ever made is huge. I had no idea just what post was capable of in
todays houses until I began dealing with all the visual effects and the
rest of the post on John Carter. It means you can totally rethink every
scene and sequence if you have to. You never want to just rely on it,
but man it gives you so many options.
WEAKNESSES: The big one is that you can tweak something
forever, and thats a side of post I was so familiar with working only in
digital. You can keep trying to perfect your film until they drag it out of
your hands. Its so tempting.
OPPORTUNITIES: I think youre seeing a little bit of a different
approach and thinking about post, depending who you talk to and
whos more comfortable with all the tools available, in that some
people are now not shooting so much for exactly the look they want
at the time of shooting. Now, theyre waiting until they get to post and
keeping their options open, and often coming up with something they
hadnt thought of during the shoot.
THREATS: The big problem now is the faster you work in post
and the less money you need, then everyone starts making that the
standard and the rule. Weve seen it happen with scoring and orches-
tration. All it takes is one fast composer who does the job a little faster
and cheaper, and suddenly everyone has to do it that fast, and then the
whole process starts to suffer for it.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: There are still problems with the econo-
my affecting audience attendance, and ongoing things like exhibition
lagging so far behind in some places, but Ill still take those problems over
getting people to leave their homes and go see movies on the big
screen. Id rather people see movies under poor conditions in a theater
than staying home and watching them on their phones or computers.
WILLIAM FRIEDKIN
Writer/Producer/Director
The French Connection, The Exorcist,
Cruising, Killer Joe
William Friedkin won the Best Directing Oscar for The
French Connection. He began in TV, doing live shows and
docs, and directed one of the last episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
Director Stantons
first live-action film
was the VFX-heavy
John Carter.
24 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
DIRECTORS
before directing his first feature, 1967s Good Times with Sonny and Cher.
STRENGTHS: For me, the whole shooting process is at best just
acquiring all the raw material for post. Thats where you really make
the film, and so much can be added by the use of sound and the addi-
tion of music. You dont even need to use a lot to be effective. Back-
ground sounds that are more like effects like the feel of a cold hand
on the back of your neck add so much to the magic spell of a film.
How you combine images and color with all the sound all that is
the real strength of post. Obviously, if you dont have the coverage and
footage the foundations youre not going to be able to build
something great. But all thats only effective in the way that you join all
the images and then underline them with music and sound, to empha-
size certain things, the same way you do
with a lens.
WEAKNESSES: Because its so easy
now to try infinite versions of a film, you
have to be ruthless about what works and
what doesnt. For me, in post the film is
talking to you in a symbolic way. Its saying, I
am this, not that. You try to cut two shots
or scenes together, and it just doesnt work.
The film immediately tells you it doesnt
work. For The French Connection, I ended up
cutting out nine scenes wed shot, because
they just didnt work. They were like scaf-
folding on a building, which you have to get
rid of when constructions finished. Id
thought they were absolutely necessary to
tell the story, but when I got in the cutting
room, the film just rejected those scenes.
OPPORTUNITIES: For me, when
youre shooting a film, you have to be able
to envision the entire film in your minds
eye. You have to see the film before you make it. At least I do. So I
always know exactly what Im going to shoot and how. But less than
half the time do I know how its going to all be edited together until
the editor and I get into the cutting room. So thats the great oppor-
tunity about post, that you can then take the original vision and hope-
fully improve on it in post.
THREATS: Its always the same: time and money. Ive been fortu-
nate in that Ive always made the time to use post as a creative process,
but everyone wants it done faster and cheaper nowadays.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Hollywoods making a lot of money, but
with fewer films. So many films today are just about superheroes, guys
in capes flying around and cleaning up the streets I just dont see
life that way. I know theyre very well made films and very popular, but
theyre just not for me. Its rare youll find something that will examine
the darker corners of life, like I like to do. So you have these huge
event films, and then the smaller independent films that are important
in terms of awards and acclaim, not box office, like The Hurt Locker,
which won the Oscar over Avatar, and The Artist.
Those films dont keep Hollywood alive. The ones that do are
based on comic books and videogames, and thats where its going.
Theyre all aimed at kids. Serious adults are watching cable TV now or
satellite. There are so few new films I want to see today, frankly. I just
dont understand why more films arent shot here in California. The
legislature just doesnt seem to see how thousands of people lose
work every time they move a production to a state that does give
generous tax credits. So thats very shortsighted. But Hollywoods
doing fine and the global markets expanding, so in terms of sheer box
office, the outlooks fairly healthy.
LEN WISEMAN
Writer/Producer/Director
Total Recall, Live Free or Die Hard, Underworld
franchise
Wiseman began his career as a storyboard and
conceptual artist, and as an art department assistant
Friedkins latest: KIller Joe with Matthew McConaughey.
Wisemans Total Recall remake.
on such Roland Emmerich films as
Independence Day and Stargate.
STRENGTHS: After the editing
of course, theres the huge strength
of being able to look at your film
from a lot of different sides. Im a
believer in the theory that you make
your film three times, and post is the
place where you really do make it
again... for the last time. Its the time
where you can re-evaluate all the
footage and play with pacing and
mood and all the other variables that
can shade and alter that footage.
Then theres the whole visual effects
side of post.
WEAKNESSES: The weak-
nesses come hand in hand with all
the strengths. So along with that
advantage of being able to re-evalu-
ate your film, you can sometimes
get caught up in just tearing it apar t
too much and over-analyzing every
shot and scene to death. For me,
that doesnt exist in the shooting
process, where its so fast and full of
adrenaline, and you just have to
make a decision instantly. But in
post you can have too many options
if youre not careful.
OPPORTUNITIES: I love the
way you can now do all your 2K visual
effects reviews with Skype sessions if
youre working with a company in, say
London, like I did for Total Recall. Thats
been a great process for me, because
back when I did Die Hard this sort of
system wasnt even set up yet. So the
new technology has really helped.
THREATS: Time and budget are
always the big enemy.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Its defi-
nitely more polarized than ever, in
terms of these huge tent pole movies
and then small-budget films at the
other end. I realize Im part of the big-
budget end, but its still a frustration. To
be honest, would I have gotten Total
Recall if my other movies had been far
smaller budgets? Probably not. And it
took me a three-year process to get
there. I was trying to get other movies
off the ground, which fell apart for
various reasons. The fact is, its harder
to get a $60 million movie made now
than a $150 million.
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26 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
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Film and TV production is no longer only
happening in Hollywood. Thanks to many states stepping up and offer-
ing tax incentives for production and post production, television shows
and feature films have been taking advantage of not only a cost savings,
but locations they might not have considered before.
A couple of TVs hottest new shows Showtimes Homeland and
NBCs Revolution are currently being shot in North Carolina. New
York City doubles for The Good Wifes Chicago and also hosts CBSs
Person of Interest. New Mexico, where much of the The Avengers was
shot, is currently hosting Breaking Bads final season as well as the
western Longmire. Quentin Tarantinos Django Unchained was shot in
Louisiana, along with two HBO series, True Blood and Treme. Its up to
the film offices to make their state or city inviting enough for produc-
tions to come, and stay.
NICK MANIATIS
Director
New Mexico Film Office
www.nmfilm.com
Santa Fe
The New Mexico film office offers a 25 percent incen-
tive (which includes post) with a 50-million-dollar rolling cap. Projects shot in the
state include Breaking Bad, The Lone Ranger, Two Guns and Longmire.
STRENGTHS: In addition to our 25 percent rebate we have
other incentives, like our Film Crew Advancement program and our
Pre-Employment Training program, that are helpful to the film industry.
Additionally, when you have a script that you might want to shoot in
New Mexico, well break it down for locations and send you packages
of photos of suitable locations in the state. We have other advantages
that some states dont, for instance, we are an 1.45 hour flight to Los
Angeles. We have a huge number of sunny days here as well as areas
where you can shoot 360-degree shots without getting telephone
poles and buildings in your shot.
For states that have incentives, a film office is crucial. There is a
whole process that productions have to go through, and you need
someone who can guide you through that process. In our state, the
Department of Taxation and Revenue is the final arbiter of what
amount you get, but you need to have a point of contact that can help
you wade through processes involved.
WEAKNESSES: The weakness is, we dont have a vote. We are
administering a law that the legislature votes on and the governor
approves. We do our best to make the incentives better and can make
processes easier, and we do that, but ultimately its up to the legislature.
If I lose something to Georgia or another state, well get it the next time.
We show ourselves in the best possible light and let them make the
decision based on what is best for their production.
OPPORTUNITIES: For our film office, the initiative I am pushing is
emerging media app creation, videogame creation. All of that falls
under our purview, and can qualify for the tax credit. We havent pushed
in that area because we have been focused on film and TV, but I think thats
the future of where everything is going, and I want New Mexico to have
its piece of the pie. I am hiring someone full-time to deal with emerging
media and to help create an environment where these companies can
thrive. Its another way to incentivize companies to start up or expand
here. This is where the opportunities exist in all states.
THREATS: One is, how is your economy? Is your state in a deficit
or surplus? Then its just the temperature of the legislature and gover-
nor, and how they feel about tax incentives in general. The issue we
and other states have, and this is fairly universal, is there are some that
are philosophically against tax incentives for any industry. We are in a
state where tax incentives are important. The issue is how high do you
go, how far does this race take you? In Vancouver you can get up to
50 percent back on post production on certain talent. There is no way
we could do that. So whats the number that hits the sweet spot?
Where you are getting the economic benefit back to the to the state,
but not giving away so much that the cost for that benefit is too high.
I dont know where that number is, but I hope were close.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Im always loath to make predictions, but
we feel like we are looking good for 2013. We have had a lot of scouts
on the ground and people in talks with our office. But these things
change quickly, we just never know. I do think that 2013 will be better
than 2012 and I think that will be the case for other states as well.
AARON SYRETT
Director
North Carolina Film Office
www.ncfilm.com
Raleigh
The North Carolina Film Office was formed to cre-
ate high-quality jobs for North Carolina film professionals. They offer an
established infrastructure, trained crews, incentives (which includes post
production) and varied locations.
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SHOOT HERE!
The A&E series Longmire takes advantage of New Mexicos
Western locales.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 27
STRENGTHS: The reason North Carolina is able to do more
with less our incentive is 25 percent where our competition, Geor-
gia and Louisiana, are at 30 and 35 percent, respectively is the way
our incentive is structured. Our incentive is a fully refundable 25 per-
cent, so 25 percent equals 25 percent. When looking at incentives you
have to look at the effective rate. Our effective rate is 25 percent. You
dont have to sell it, so there is no reduction for what a tax credit is
going for on the open market, nor are there deductions for broker
fees. Add to that, the robust filmmaking infrastructure that was already
here before incentives were even offered. When you couple our infra-
structure with our incentive, we become a really strong force for
production. I am talking crews, equipment, stages, talent.
Our locations are another strength from the mountains to the
large cities to rural America and the waterfront.
WEAKNESSES: Studios and producers want certainty, and any-
time a production relies solely on an incentive, they could be vulner-
able because governments could go in and slash them at any time. I
dont think they will, but you never know whats going to happen when
new legislatures come into office.
Also, if you only have an incentive and no infrastructure, thats a
problem. We saw that happen with Michigan. They didnt have an exist-
ing infrastructure, but came in with a 42 percent incentive and quickly
built up that infrastructure. But they couldnt sustain themselves and
you saw it start to dissipate. Both Louisiana and Georgia have been
able to build up really strong infrastructures over the years, and its
worked really well for them.
If we ourselves have a weakness with our competitors, Louisiana
and Georgia, its our cap. We cap talent and labor at the first million
dollars, whereas Georgia and Louisiana dont cap talent or above-the-
line salaries at all. They will qualify the entire salary to a highly compen-
sated individual.
OPPORTUNITIES: For us, its our new television series. Right
now we have Homeland, Revolution and Cinemaxs new series, Banshee.
Our incentive is really geared to those types of television productions,
and its a strong opportunity for us.
This year we got into the superhero movies with Iron Man 3 and
built up a strong relationship with Marvel in the process. Though we
have a cap on highly compensated individuals who make more than
a million dollars, studio tentpoles see we have the qualified labor
who can handle these pictures, certainly with our stages like Screen
Gems, they know they can build whatever they need to build in
those huge studios.
THREATS: You are always conscious about what your tax
incentive can and cant do, and you do see cer tain states trying to
get rid of them. We have seen how cer tainty having it in law
is a huge thing. Our law is set to sunset in 2015, however since
2006 we have been successful going in a few years prior and
extending the sunset. This gives productions the cer tainty they
need. Any time you have uncer tainty is when you have a huge
threat. Other states, like Louisiana and Georgia, are our threat as
well. We are competing for the same jobs.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: We are expecting to have another solid
year. 2013 is looking up, and well sustain the level of work we did in
2011 and 2012. I see the industry remaining strong. During economic
hard times, the industry always seems to do well, and its been doing
well in here North Carolina. We remain competitive and aggressive,
and we are in Los Angeles a lot, meeting a lot of people. So we expect
to continue to do well.
CHRISTOPHER STELLY
Executive Director
Louisiana Entertainment
Louisiana Economic Development
www.louisianaentertainment.gov
Baton Rouge
Louisiana Entertainment offers incentive programs for film, music, interactive
media and live performance. The office was established within the Department
of Economic Development.
STRENGTHS: We approached this industry early on from a
business standpoint; it was long-term vision for the state of Louisiana.
We said what areas of interest can capitalize on our strengths, and at
the same time diversify our economy. We created a plan for the enter-
tainment industry, which included a plan for the film industry. One of
our biggest strengths was the fact that we already had a film industry
Street Car Named Desire, Cincinnati Kid, Interview with the Vampire,
Deadman Walking those films were shot in Louisiana. So we had
historical ties, a small crew base, and a very creative culture.
We have created a very stable incentive program but at the same
time we created and built a great crew base. So motion pictures that
come to our state can see we have all the goods and services they
need to make their production successful. We also have a tempered
climate. You can do things year round in Louisiana, where its relatively
sunny and mild. Our communities are also very film friendly and
diverse from Shreveport to Lafayette to Alexandria to Baton Rouge
HERE!
The NBC series Revolution shoots in North Carolina, which
doubles for the Midwest.
Just one of the
locations that can
be had in Louisiana.
This one is in St.
Francisville.
28 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
FILM OFFICES
to Lake Charles to Monroe and New Orleans.
We also have a forward-thinking director of economic develop-
ment, Stephen Morris. His focus is on the digital media industries and
film fits firmly into that. Our motion picture program has been a cata-
lyst for other parts of the industry.
WEAKNESSES: As an industry, the weakness is that everyone
involved in this industry is tied to the ups and downs of the industry
as a whole as well as the economy. Whenever the industry dips, the
business in each area of the world dips.
OPPORTUNITIES: We are starting to see major companies
looking to expand into our market. That creates job opportunities for
Louisiana residents. I look at it from a fathers point of view; we are
setting forth a path for the future, so my kids will have opportunities
that I never had. Expatriates who may have moved away to work in this
industry in other states can now come back. We are reversing the brain
drain and creating opportunities for those around the world who are
looking for a fresh start because there are job opportunities.
THREATS: There is always a threat that someone comes and looks
at incentives in general and decides to do away with the office. The current
administration under Governor Jindal has supported this industry fully, but
the threat is that the program could go away and that everything we have
built up to this point will go away as well. We have to make sure what we
are doing is showing a good return to the state. That we are creating job
opportunities for Louisiana residents, making sure the program is efficient
and administered tightly.
As an industry, the biggest threat is how do you capitalize on the
current emerging trends in technology. Box office receipts are coming
in less, even though the movies are coming in bigger and bigger. How
do you appeal to those whose attention span has been reduced by
YouTube and videogames? They dont necessarily want to go out to a
three-hour movie.
Another big threat to the film industry is increasing piracy. There
are some countries in the underdeveloped world where their govern-
ment hasnt taken piracy seriously. It affects everyone.
OUTLOOK 2013: For Louisiana, weve seen increases in produc-
tion, plus increases in the number of companies that want to move
into our market. People have recognized the opportunities in what we
are doing and are relocating families and companies. As an industry,
well always have the movie industry in some way shape or form. There
will always be a subset of population that will enjoy escaping reality and
go to movies. That will never go away and that will work itself out.
KATHERINE OLIVER
Commissioner
New York City Mayors Office of Media and
Entertainment
www.nyc.gov/mome
New York
The Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment consists of the Office
of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; NYC Digital; and NYC Media. The city is
seeing a boom in TV series work. Throughout this season, the office already
has 25 primetime episodic series filming in the five boroughs.
STRENGTHS: Some film offices focus on managing the logistics of
permits while others promote their region as an optimal location to the
industry. We all have customer service in common, and we all want to
attract production to our area because its an important economic
driver. Having productions on the ground in your city or state can bring
lasting economic benefits, not just while theyre filming, but also into the
future when tourists visit because of what theyve seen on screen. We
see all of the films and TV shows that film here in New York as postcards
to the world.
If a production has a good experience here in NYC, theyll be
more likely to return for future projects. We have an experienced staff
that coordinates with productions on all aspects of their shoot
from location requests to special permissions, and well come up with
creative solutions for filming elaborate sequences.
We also liaison with community boards, business improvement dis-
tricts and local elected officials. We host community appreciation screen-
ings in the neighborhood where a film was shot and hold free panels
under the umbrella of our Made in NY Industry Series so that inter-
ested New Yorkers can learn more about career opportunities in film
and television. We also created the Made in NY Discount Card Program
so that local businesses could connect with productions.
WEAKNESSES: Until last year, our permits were signed by hand,
and a production would have to come into our office to pick up the
approved permit. So that could have been considered a weakness.
Now the system is computerized so productions can apply for permits
from any computer, and approved permits can be emailed directly to
the production office. The computerized system also allows our staff
to quickly and efficiently spot conflicts when more than one produc-
tion requests to be at a specific location.
OPPORTUNITIES: Originally tasked with issuing permits to pro-
ductions, weve also grown to run the citys television stations and coor-
dinate the citys digital communications to better engage with local resi-
dents. We also think theres opportunity for collaboration and commu-
nity-building in the media and entertainment industries, and with that in
mind weve announced the Made in NY Media Center. The center
which will be located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and developed and oper-
ated by IFP, the Independent Feature Project will be a centralized hub
that will provide affordable workspace for emerging media entrepre-
neurs and companies as well as space for educational programs and
networking events. The goal of the Made in NY Media Center is to
connect filmmakers and producers with digital companies who can
design apps and social media games that will expand the original con-
tents reach and make it even more accessible. It will also include confer-
Person of Interest shoots all over New York City.
continued on page 46
Incredible images. Seamless workow.
RED +
Scene from Glowing Man, a film from Jacob Sutton. Watch it at vimeo.com/36979569.
The Epic delivered stunning images in nearly impossible temperature and
lighting conditions. And SCRATCH Lab made processing multiple versions
of the footage a dream. RED + SCRATCH Lab was the perfect combination
for this extraordinary project. - Jacob Sutton, photographer/lmmaker
www.assimilateinc.com/products/scratch-red
30 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
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Whether its the securing of camera files
or the creation of media for editorial, the dailies process is considered
by many where post begins.
While the terms on-set and digital dailies are often mentioned
during the production and post processes, what they mean will
depend on whom you ask.
Some pros consider on-set dailies as the securing or backing up of
files from digital cameras, such as Arris Alexa or one of Reds releases.
Others say its the transcoding process, which takes
these files and makes them more lightweight for for-
warding to editorial. This often includes implementing
a look that will stay with the footage through edito-
rial, up until the online, where it will be further
tweaked. Much of the time, this process takes place
near-set, in a less chaotic environment than the set
itself. And yet others see dailies as a chemical process,
which by its nature, takes place in a lab, with no con-
nection to the set where the footage was acquired.
Below is a glimpse at some different perspectives
of the on-set business and the trends professionals
are witnessing.
BRYAN RABER
Co-Producer
Banyan Tree Productions
banyantreeproductions.com
Los Angeles
Bryan Raber is a co-producer on TNTs Dallas and
A&Es Longmire. Both shows are in their second season and undergo post
at MTI Film, though their workflows differ. Dallas is shot in Texas on Arri
Alexa while Longmire is shot in New Mexico on Red Scarlets and Epics.
Both are edited in Final Cut Pro 7.
STRENGTHS: The ultimate strength is, we can film on-location,
states away from editorial. Its the speed at which I can get the footage
back from set. I can have my footage ready to cut early the next morn-
ing, as if they we shooting right next to the post facility. There is no
slow down at all.
WEAKNESSES: Theres a few of them and weve hit every one.
What happens when power goes out? Cameras can keep shooting,
they have battery back-ups, but they only last for so long because they
are power intensive. If you dont have power, you are dead in the water.
The other pitfall is the Internet, depending on how you get it, it can
sometimes slow you down. What happens when a system doesnt
boot up? And time there is a 3x realtime process for transcoding
to ProRes uncolored.
Ive found that everybody wants to shoot, then give editorial their
files at the end of day, and circumvent the post house a bit. They want
to be self sufficient. The one pitfall is the machines still take time to
make a file that we can work with for editorial. If the DIT is doing that,
the DIT is working an extreme amount of hours. You get into a double
DIT scenario, and thats not going to work for on-set.
OPPORTUNITIES: At this moment, we have maxed ourselves
out, but that doesnt mean in six months we wont be trying some-
thing new. For television, the most important thing is to be editing
footage because the air dates are coming at you. The more time you
have in editorial, the better. That means I need to get it from the
stages to here faster. Weve maxed out the speed. Now, lets find a
way to minimize the cost. MTI created a software called Cortex,
which allows for automatic syncing of our offline files, so we can edit
with them. This will save a human from finding timecode and the clap,
and locking it in. It speeds up that process, and because its auto-
mated, there are no costs involved. The software automates it so well
that you can do it on-set. There is no time wasted at all. That will get
our footage to LA a little faster. It takes out a cost, which is what the
studios are always looking to save.
Digital
DAILIES
Dallas is shot on Arris Alexa and posted at MTI.
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Automation, and any way you can eliminate a step is a way to save
money and speed the process up. My primary goal is to see [where
there is] a slow down and find another way to attack it. Thats the fun
part for me. How do we use new technology to make [things] better,
faster and more cost effective, and stronger without sacrificing anything
to save time and money?
THREATS: As you get reduced and further automated, you need
to have a post house or very tech savvy group of individuals that you
are working with. If one day you bring it all in-house, you need to have
people who understand the process and what if something goes
wrong, and something does every time. There are plenty of times that
our DIT or dailies assistant has to call the post house at 4am to say
something is not working. These files are coming out black. What am I
doing wrong? If I dont have someone knowledgable on the back-end
to troubleshoot and fix that problem, I am a day behind again.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: The world is changing every day. We are
going to test a new system on Dallas, and perhaps the suitcase system
for Longmire. Its going to give us fully-automated syncing and the ability
if we choose to provide on-set to editorial dailies without the
need to go through the post house. The suitcase system will allow you
to be on-set We could have colored synced dailies right off the
stages without the need to go through a colorist or a post house
right to editorial. Ill probably never do that because I like to have
someone properly coloring our footage every night. Never the less,
the capability will be there.
RYAN SHERIDAN
VP of Digital Cinema
Otto Nemenz International
http://ottonemenz.com
Los Angeles
Otto Nemenz International specializes in the rental and maintenance
of film and digital cinema cameras, lenses and accessories. They offer the
Sony F65 and F35, Arri Alexa and Red Epic, as well as high-speed cam-
eras and film cameras. They also rent Zeiss Master Primes, the Zeiss
Ultra Prime lenses, and Cooke S4 prime lenses, as well as Leica and
Fujinon lenses.
STRENGTHS: A few different things are at play: cost versus time,
talent versus equipment, and physical logistics. For shows in metro
areas like New York and Los Angeles, on-set dailies is strong but trend-
ing more toward data management. There is a slow gravitation to true
on-set dailies. Were seeing that slowly build. One component that has
trumped all of that is security archiving and back-up. Theres been
a trend for last two years to use commodity, off-the-shelf hardware,
including Mac towers and RAIDS.
WEAKNESSES: The only big weakness you see with on-set is
generally the talent pool. There are some amazing, smart people that
are freelancers, and theres the standard post house. But there are
weaknesses with on-set talent. There are people that are so good at it,
but there are people that make you cringe. Thats the real pitfall
data mangement and talent.
OPPORTUNITIES: I think the biggest opportunity is security.
Universal Television Cable contributes to shows like USA
Networks long-running Psych.
32 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
ON SET
Theres been a rapid change from tape and film right to digital work-
flows. Questions about security have made people think. Are dailies
secure? Are the archives secure? What about backing up on-set? Is the
transportation secure? Do I have to QC every clip? The more you talk
about it, the more people question each option. I would say more than
one piece of equipment, the person who educates correctly the DP,
the data manager that is the person who will be valuable.
THREATS: The biggest threat is unfounded personal greed. The
person who is trying to get a rental for something as opposed to doing
the job as best they can. Proprietary things become more of a detri-
ment. Cultivation of talent is a threat. Were watching it happen. Solu-
tions that dont require human talent. Were watching people look for pure
automation. The biggest opportunity is also a liability education.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I think 4K is still a growth segment the
F65 and Raw in an economical sense. Red, Arri and Canon there
are 4K offerings that will push limits of what post can handle.
RICHARD WINNIE
VP of Post Production
Universal Television, Universal
Television Cable
www.nbcuni.com
Universal City, CA
Universal Television has produced content for broadcast networks,
including The Mindy Project, House, 30 Rock and The Office. Univer-
sal Cable productions include work for USA and SyFy. These shows
include Royal Pains, Psych, Fairly Legal, Warehouse 13, Alphas, Suits
and Covert Affairs.
STRENGTHS: It gives the DP a certain level of comfort that
hes getting what he thinks he is getting. Overall, file-based is less
expensive, which is one of the reasons we are moving toward it. It
saves a lot of money to process this way as opposed to labs, tele-
cines and transfers.
WEAKNESSES: I think a weakness is trying to do too much in
the hectic environment of the set; its
not necessarily always the best thing
for the material itself. Its too rushed
and too frenetic, and there are a lot
opportunities for things to not get
backed up or QCd. If we were to be
on-set, once the crew shuts down,
you are still going to have people there
trying to wrap up the dailies for
another four, five, six hours. And you
are still paying for set time. Its not
necessarily ideal. It has ripple effects,
which is another good reason why we
dont do that. When you are on-loca-
tion, the environment for electronic equipment isnt necessarily the great-
est. Its really not the perfect environment to try to do that type of thing.
OPPORTUNITIES: I dont think [the challenge of working on-
set] is going to change. When you are shooting, you want to be
focused on capturing the best images that you can, and not worrying
so much about what happens later. I dont think that is going to change.
Some of the opportunities that weve seen are with some shows that
choose to bring it into the cutting room, like in the old days when we
used to cut film where the assistants would sync the material. Sync
is part of it. That is an opportunity. Whether the cutting room is the
best place for that is debatable. On some shows it might be. On oth-
ers, not so much. Are your assistants best trained for that? Maybe. So
that is an opportunity to keep things more localized with less travel.
THREATS: There is some threat to the facilities that didnt make
the transition fast enough. The brick and mortar-type places that might
have been stuck in the way they are doing things. I think some werent
making the changes as quick as the transition was happening. Now
they are catching up a bit. The major players are all pretty much caught
up now. Its easier for a start-up company that is starting from scratch
to create a workflow and is not dependent on maximizing the profit
from existing infrastructure.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I think there are some interesting new
cameras coming out, and every time that happens there are more
possibilities for workflows. It also gives us more creative choices. I
know there is a new Sony camera that came out beyond F65, theres
the new Blackmagic camera, which is a game changer. They are getting
smaller and more mobile, which is something that everyone likes.
Theres more flexibility and no one wants to be tethered to cables and
things like that.
It might be more of a gradual evolution. Canons got a new
C500, that will be a contender for B and C cameras, if not A cam-
eras. Wait five minutes and the technology will change, and we have
to keep rolling with that. Its exciting. We can make better product.
Prices are going down. Democratization presents different opportu-
nities and challenges.
Besides cameras, Otto
Nemenz provides on-set
archiving solutions, most
recently for the upcoming
feature The Last Stand .
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MICHAEL CIONI
CEO
Light Iron
www.lightiron.com
Hollywood
Light Iron is a post house that
specializes in on-site dailies, digital intermediate,
archival and data ser vices for projects originated on
file-based cameras. The company offers both hard-
ware and software solutions that have been custom
configured to enhance the creative process. Credits
include Hitchcock, Flight, Lincoln and Halo 4.
STRENGTHS: The market of on-set is not an
alternative to brick-and-mortar infrastructures, rather
it is the replacement to brick-and-mortar. Thanks to
the advent of GPU-accelerated software tools and a
number of image processing hardware and software
combinations, the ability to perform typical post labo-
ratory activities has shrunk into a smaller set of tools.
WEAKNESSES: The weakness with any new
business model or service is an education. And edu-
cation affects both ends of the market. First, we have
to educate the customer to inquire about the
options that on-set services bring them. They need to
learn the process, the benefits, how to budget it,
where it goes and who operates it.
The second part of that education is the on-set
operators themselves. At this point in time, there is a
fog over the DITs role on the set. Some DITs come
from a video engineering background. Others are
camera technicians or data managers. The problem is
that because its not clear to the producers who does
what and exactly what services they offer, some pro-
ducers shy away from hiring DITs or kit rentals on
the set. The way to deal with this is to educate the
on-set operators to offer more value to the produc-
ers they work for.
OPPORTUNITIES: Training people in this
new post production technology is one of the most
promising and profitable areas of post and produc-
tion, but it does require an investment in education
or the entire system can fail to deliver as efficiently
as promised.
Currently, our work has been mostly in feature
films (2D and 3D), but recently the television market
has been opening up to on-set. Television is almost all
off of tape. Their adoption of file-based capture and
post in 1080 and 2K-plus is similar enough to the
processes of features that we can deploy successful
feature workflows and tools on television shows.
Because TV is on a tighter schedule and often with
less financial resources, these on-set tools can have a
much larger impact compared to a feature that
shoots and edits a two-hour project over an eight-
month period. On-set delivers a better solution, but
TV has to be open to letting go of their traditional
reliance on laboratory support.
THREATS: The biggest threat to the on-set
business is fear. In baseball, if a conservative base run-
ner never takes a lead for fear of being picked off, hell
never make it to home plate. In business, you also
have to take risks, despite fear of leaving the comfort-
able space of legacy techniques.
Its hard to understand now, but in four years, on-
set will seem as common as using the Internet to
read articles like this one. But 10 years ago, the Inter-
net being the best resource for information wasnt a
slam-dunk concept. People are addicted to legacy
tools and techniques, and the talent behind them
because familiarity breeds comfort. Admittedly, those
legacy systems have and will get the work done, but
the goals of better, faster and cheaper are not achiev-
able with legacy tools. When something shrinks, it is
usually less expensive, and when something is less
expensive and small, it is likely to be treated as por-
table. This combination: size, cost and portability is the
triple threat that makes on-set tools superior to brick
and mortar.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Failure to recognize the
burgeoning market of on-set post production will
result in massive downsizing and even closings. Youve
seen this before: Blockbuster vs. Netflix, Best Buy vs.
Amazon, Walkman vs. iPod. Like many good ideas that
eventually become obsolete, post dailies laboratories
are an endangered species. By 2016, if companies
dont make the necessary changes, the graveyard of
post houses will be a sad place to visit.
The outlook for the on-set business in 2013 is
extremely promising. When Light Iron started our
on-set program, Outpost, in 2009, we did two jobs. In
2012, we are closing in on 100. We recently opened
a second facility to meet the growing demand for
on-set services.
In addition to post services, Light Iron
offers these on-set tools.
34 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
V
F
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Fluctuating pay scales, tighter deadlines
and increased competition from a worldwide marketplace have made
working in visual effects production, lets say, interesting. But the
work has never been better, and the cost of entry is getting lower
each year. While there are challenges, the talent is plentiful, as is artists
love of the process.
CHRIS HEALER
Founder
The Molecule
www.themolecule.net
New York
The Molecule, in NYC and LA, creates visual effects
and motion graphics for television and film. Recent work includes VFX for
Smash, Elementary, Royal Pains, Infamous, Golden Boy and an upcoming
pilot coming out called Sirens.
STRENGTHS: I like the way things are going now with color flow
being able to shoot on set with CDL data in mind and following that
through the workflow to the end. Its exciting because with TV we put
out a lot of shots, and being able to see them properly (and in deep
color space) all the way to the end is important. This
workflow has been embraced over the past two years.
We do on the order of 100 shots a week; in the
past getting out 10-15 shots would be a good number.
Now we have refined our workflow we have our
process together; we have our software together. Tradi-
tionally, you think a visual effect needs to be an explo-
sion or a slimy monster, but now its tons of cosmetics.
We are changing the way people look, changing cos-
tumes, splitting takes, adding things together.
WEAKNESSES: There is a lot of rumbling out
there about VFX unions. The VES, which has been strong
in LA for a long time, has gained a lot of momentum
with their New York chapter, and they are starting to
build a charter and they have board members. That in
and of itself isnt the weakness, but the reason its gaining
momentum is visual effects as an industry has problems
in terms of how the billing structure works, and the
perception of what things are worth.
OPPORTUNITIES: I look at Digital Domain closing their Florida
office, Asylum and Core going out of business, and what I take from
that is a visual effects company wants to be a certain size. When it gets
too big it doesnt function well, and the size is determined by the
industrys technology at any given moment. The ideal size is smaller
than it used to be, and that leads to an exciting opportunity for people
to grow. Its now not crazy to have a VFX company with five or eight
people doing a lot of stuff. You dont need 500 people working in a
warehouse or a half-million-dollar Flame system. If you are unhappy
with the way the industry is going, you have a tremendous opportunity
to start your own VFX shop and contribute to the VFX industry in a
different way.
Also, thanks to fast Internet speeds and regular computers you can
perform work quickly. In the past that was a moat that kept the small
guys out, and now that moat has dried up.
THREATS: I wouldnt say outsourcing is a problem in the sense
of, dont let it happen, but there is a threat. For example, with us being
in New York, I cant compete with India, China and Singapore. Thats
why all these other companies open offices out there it might as
well be their company than someone elses. That is happening more
and more, and its a severe threat.
Another is that people arent being paid a fixed rate. Its not mea-
sured, like it is for a doctor or a lawyer or a banker. Its whatever town
youre in, the people you know, the budget, and getting paid what you
can negotiate. Another problem is there are lots of degree programs
now, and they are putting out kids with tremendous school loan debts.
I am afraid for them because I have people coming with virtually no
experience asking for $700-800 a day for VFX work. There is a break-
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The Molecule added an explosion and other CG goodies to
CBSs Elementary Episode 107, which airs Thursday nights.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 35
ing point, and they know it,
and they cant cover their
loans at the rate people are
getting paid.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013:
There are a lot of cool gad-
gets coming out, like with
Nuke, that I cant wait to get
my hands on. There is also something interesting going on where $10
million movies are being made, and they have a need for visual effects
that people like us and others can provide, and thats exciting. In the
past a $10 million movie probably wasnt a VFX movie because they
couldnt afford it. The possibilities that are coming are something I am
excited to be a part of.
ERIC ROTH
Executive Director
Visual Effects Society
www.visualeffectssociety.com
Sherman Oaks, CA
The VES represents visual effects artists working in
TV, film, commercials, music videos and games. While headquartered in
Southern California, the VES has members in 29 countries around the
world and seven Sections globally.
STRENGTHS: The strength of the industry is we create the kind
of visuals that people want to see, things that will put butts in seats and
keep the industry growing. We are able to fulfill the promise of, If you
can imagine it, we can create it. Every thought or idea that a director
might have, we can bring to life and make it real. The artists who create
visual effects have the ability to make stories come alive, and thats
going to keep growing.
WEAKNESSES: You have a lot of uncertainty in terms of the US
market this is more a comment on a changing world and the global
economy since the industry itself and the VES are global. Here in the
US, there has been a collective race to the bottom at the facility level
with everyone trying to undercut each other to get business. As a
result, profit margins have gotten even more razor thin, so the ability
to land work here in the US is more difficult because the work tends
to follow tax incentives and lower wage rates in other places. Artists
now refer to themselves as migrant filmworkers, because they know if
they want to work, they have to get on a plane and say goodbye to
their families for months at a time.
OPPORTUNITIES: From a global economic standpoint, there
are incentives and economic opportunities to take advantage of. There
are opportunities to make sure you can do the work you need to do,
corral it from various sources and create a business model that works.
Smart people are taking a longer look, a five- or 10-year look, to see
how to redefine business models how to use your own intellectual
property and become content creators, to get equity positions on all
the projects being looked at on the studio level and elsewhere.
THREATS: The global economy and extraordinary changes in
technology have changed the rules everyone learned over the last
20-30 years so that anybody can now do anything, anywhere, at any
time. Global competition will grow ever more brutal, and the technol-
ogy will grow ever more sophisticated, which will allow competition to
get even more intense. If you want to rest on yesterdays laurels, the
threat is you are gone tomorrow. If you are staying ahead of the curve
and looking at possibilities for the future and investing time and money
in resources and training on the next-generation of sophisticated soft-
ware, you are going to be ahead of the game.
The current business model in Hollywood is to have a key pres-
ence in Southern California and have satellite offices in Vancouver, Asia,
Europe or in states that are offering great tax incentives. The absolute
number of working visual effects artists in California is shrinking, and in
five years from now it will be even smaller. Why? Because California
doesnt offer the kind of competitive incentives that other locations do.
Unless that is addressed, you will see a further migration away from
California and likely away from the US.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I continue to be amazed at the artistry
I see on screen. As many have said, the best visual effects in the world
cant cover over a weak story our work is always in service to help
show the story, but unless the actual story is a strong one, visual effects
wont cover that up. For me, 2013 will see further advancement in
what we will be able to see on screen, but only if filmmakers use all
the tools in the VFX tool chest to make those stories come to life.
Snow White and the
Hunstman features
many visual effects
shots by Pixomondo.
The VES Awards draw big talent like Marty Scorsese, and
the awards themselves are coveted.
36 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
VFX
PATRICK DAVENPORT
VP of Creative Operations
Method Studios
www.methodstudios.com
Santa Monica
Method Studios, a visual effects company with stu-
dios in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, provides a full range of ser-
vices to film and spot clients.
STRENGTHS: Its a very resilient industry, given the economic pres-
sures on it. The industry has been very adaptable and inventive in coming
up with ways to do more with less. And its not just less money, but less
time too. We are also seeing new levels of artistry, and the level of
creativity is getting ever more sophisticated. There is a still a huge
demand for visual effects, so thats a strength.
WEAKNESSES: The margins are razor thin, so the threat is hav-
ing the necessary money to keep reinvesting in people, technology and
equipment. That could ultimately hamper the continued development
of the industry.
Also, we are always needing more artists, and its often a challenge
to find the right teams for certain shows. Weve always been able to
figure it out, but its an ongoing challenge.
OPPORTUNITIES: Its very much a global business, and compa-
nies like Method Studios are hoping to take advantage of having offices
in different locations to service our client needs. We hope to become
greater than the sum of our parts.
Even in the current economic climate, weve had success here in
LA this year working on features; doing a lot of highly-creative work. I
still feel that LA has a great part to play in the world of features, even
when work is heading to areas with tax incentives.
There is also continuing high demand for visual effects in features,
commercials and games, and that is an opportunity.
THREATS: These threats go back to not being able to make
decent enough margins to keep investing in the business. I think we will
see a few more companies go under; thats probably inevitable in 2013.
Another threat is getting less and less time to do the work. The
industry works on such fast turnaround times and being always willing
to pull off the impossible, we become our own worst enemies!
Tighter schedules also mean you dont get enough time to really
work on visual effects and get them as good as they could be, irrespec-
tive of resources. There is never enough time, and that is a big threat.
But we always rise to the challenge, and that is pretty much true of
everyone in the visual effects industry, and this goes back to what I
mean about the resilience of the companies. There are some really
great companies out there doing really great work, but it would be
great to have more time. The compressed schedules mean you have
longer hours and dont necessarily get the time to refine the work.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I am optimistic. The industry is used to
dealing with the issues, and while we have seen companies go under,
there are still a lot of companies out there. I feel like we will continue
to see great visual effects work, but there will be some sort of attrition
on the way there.
JONI JACOBSON
Executive Producer
Pixomondo
www.pixomondo.com
Santa Monica
Pixomondo is an international visual effects com-
pany that specializes in VFX production and supervision, CG character
creation, 3D animation and previsualization, and stereo 3D production for
the feature film, television and commercial industries.
STRENGTHS: With visual effects, the strengths are always artists
and talent. Its great that a movie like Hugo (Pixomondo won the VFX
Oscar for this one) was recognized for VFX because it tells me that
the Academy is looking not just at technical achievement, but also the
art. 2012 has shown some amazing work across the board. From John
Carter of Mars to The Avengers, artists continue to prove that VFX can
do anything, and thats a wonderful power to have.
In addition, the Internet is starting to provide some interesting
opportunities in technology. Much like artistry that can be accessed
worldwide, companies are starting to embrace the concept of the
cloud. Many facilities, including Pixomondo, are now running servers
and rendering remotely, meaning in datacenters as opposed to in the
facility. I see this type of opportunity expanding in the future, including
cloud-based rendering services that are much more accessible than
current models, increasing connectivity around the world.
WEAKNESSES: The sad truth is visual effects artists garner little
respect in the industry, regardless of the quality of the work. This has
been as evident as ever in 2012, where there has been much heated
argument about unionization and globalization. Artists lack a significant
voice in all aspects of the industry, regardless of the fact that the most
successful films rely heavily on visual effects for their success. This
became grossly evident as well when Digital Domain was forced to
close its doors in Florida, stranding artists who thought their jobs were
safe. Events like this show us just how precarious the VFX industry is.
OPPORTUNITIES: As clich as it sounds, our industry is in a
place where it seems like we can do anything. 2012 has opened the
doors for new approaches to the spectacle of movie making and in
the experiential world. Though stereo seems to have leveled off, it
continues to develop as a new business, though perhaps in more spar-
ing use. The Hobbit will show us the value, or the downfall, of 48 frames
per second, and the pending need for 4K film projection, along with 4K
VFX, looms. This could be seen as a threat to many, and will certainly
Methods
commercial work
includes these hip
hamsters for
Kias Soul.
continued on page 46
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38 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
N
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Start a conversation about new media
and it could quickly become a discussion about mobile devices. Smart
phones and tablets, too are helping to drive content consump-
tion and are opening up opportunities for traditional broadcasters and
cable networks, as well as to independents and those who may not
already have a footing in the entertainment space.
While mobile devices are helping to create new opportunities, they
also present challenges to those looking to ride the anytime, any-
where wave.
HANS DEUTMEYER
Vice President
HBO Go & Max Go
www.hbogo.com; www.maxgo.com
New York
HBO Go and its companion site Max Go allow HBO
and Cinemax subscribers to watch their favorite programs on their porta-
ble devices. At press time, HBO Go had 1,700 titles available for viewing,
with new content being added daily. This includes clas-
sic series such as Sex and the City and The Sopra-
nos. New shows are added to the site at the same
time theyre being broadcast. Currently, subscribers can
view programming on their Android or iOS devices, as
well as on various game platforms.
STRENGTHS: It offers the user or subscrib-
er a lot more in terms of choice. And it ultimately
provides a much better consumer experience.
From a television standpoint, searching for some-
thing to watch through your set-top box or on-
demand platforms, there are a lot of limitations for
many reasons. But with a lot of these new media
platforms, like a game console or a tablet device or
even the Web itself, it provides us the ability to
offer a much better consumer experience. It allows
them new and improved ways to watch, but also
new ways to engage and discover content.
WEAKNESSES: Its not quality we are offering a 1080p
experience on some of our platforms, so the video experience has
improved significantly over the years. I think one possible weakness is
the number of platforms. You think about the fragmentation and diver-
gence of all these platforms. Instead of offering a linear television feed
and some on-demand content, we now have to offer these experi-
ences to a wide range of platforms that range from a 3.5-inch mobile
phone screen to a very large, big-screen TV. When you think of all of
the operating systems, its a very broad ecosystem. Designing an expe-
rience across all of these platforms, maintaining it, producing content
for it day in and day out, thats a challenge.
OPPORTUNITIES: We are always looking at a road map. There
will be more ways for consumers to experience HBO Go. That will
naturally occur as we expand to more platforms. Beyond the plat-
forms, which allow us to reach more consumers, we also with the
new platforms have the opportunity to provide different experi-
ences. So, how do we offer new and interactive content experiences?
We started to touch on that with some of our bigger shows with
interactive experiences on the iPad, and also through our Website.
Well continue to do so more into next near and years to come. How
do you enhance the viewing experience even further? Fans of these
shows are looking for more and more content. How do we do that in
conjunction with the video itself? Whether its second screen experi-
ences or interactive experiences, there definitely is an opportunity to
do more on the content side. We have done Web-focused shorts and
digital shorts, so we are experimenting in that sense. And were looking
at opportunities and trying to figure out whats next?
THREATS: The device proliferation is definitely a challenge, but
on the flip side, there is an opportunity there. I think one of the
threats is its getting harder and harder to stand out. Theres a cost
B
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ANYTIME,
anywhere!
Thanks to HBO Go, fans of Girls can watch the show at
their convenience and on the go.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 39
to get on these platforms and there is a pressure to be everywhere.
As it is, its all about the content. Thats why people are coming to
HBO and Cinemax. Its all about the content. We like to think we
have great applications and great Websites, and offer great consumer
experiences, but at the end of the day, these fans are coming to
watch their favorite HBO content.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Thats a big question, and its hard to
answer. We are going to see a lot more of what weve seen in the last
year. We are looking at a lot everything from what technologies will
allow us to do, what the consumers are interested in, what kind of
programming people are watching and whats resonating with fans. We
are taking a very broad view, as we always do.
I dont think this coming year will be any different than any other
year, in that sense. I would say you are going to see more and more
users leveraging these new platforms and devices in terms of watching
premium video experiences. Its an expansion of what we are seeing
today, but I am not giving any bold predictions.
ISMAEL OBREGON
Founder
Oishii Creative
www.oishiicreative.com
Los Angeles
Oishii Creative opened in 2002, with a primary
focus on broadcast branding and strategy. About three years ago, the com-
pany noticed a shift in the business, and as an agency, looked at how they
could apply their creative strengths for entertainment clients into solutions
for clients outside of that space. They have since collaborated with financial
institutions, start-ups and legal service providers to help visualize their
often intangible and elusive concepts and ideas.
STRENGTHS: The strengths of new technology is the ability to
be able to communicate intelligently with a much wider audience. It
goes beyond broadcast. Entertainment creates audiences. Technology
creates users to interact with a phone or tablet, or to do Google
searches. Even cars have new technology. When you combine technol-
ogy with the ability to approach it from an entertainment point of
view, it create participants.
WEAKNESSES: When it comes to technology, and creating or
using the technology, the weakness comes in understanding the tech-
nology. A lot of people try to sell the features. I think they get bogged
down with that. Facebook is still creating new things and trying things
out. Eventually were going to get to a point where maturity sets in.
Companies need to look at technology today with that frame of mind
how does it have the ability to make peoples lives better? Apple
knew what they were going to be 20 years in the future: computers
for the masses that make peoples lives better. Not recognizing that
technology can improve lives of people is a weakness.
OPPORTUNITIES: Non-entertainment entities are becoming
entertainment producers. I think thats the future of commerce as a
whole. Weve been trained to watch television or movies and be
entertained. We are all brand specialists. Consumers have
been trained to watch commercials. Companies outside the
entertainment space that can adopt and use tools that con-
sumers are already trained on will benefit.
THREATS: What is a threat for some is an opportunity
for others. Once you are established, the threat of someone
copying your system will always be there. I see them as
opportunities. We welcome the idea of having companies
look at new markets and areas, and test our theories. Can
they come up with a better way? Can they help the industry
as a whole? Saturation is always an issue, [but] its not an
issue if quality drives it. Its always disappointing to see a
company come in and claim to do the same thing and then
see they are not there yet. Companies in our field have to
evolve to survive.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I think the area of growth that will
be exciting is in companies like ourselves, who rather than con-
sult, will take the reins and create our own products. Start owning your
intellectual property. Thats something we look forward to.
NAC Film Theorys [L-R] Gabriel Carmona, Richard
Hartley and Branden Selman on location.
Oishii Creatives mascot The Kid started as a CG
character and then became a vinyl toy.
40 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
NEW MEDIA
GABRIEL CARMONA
Co-Founder
Nac Film Theory
www.nacfilmtheory.com
Nacogdoches, TX
Nac Film Theory is a collection of Texas-based artists
that come together to write, direct, shoot, post and distribute short films
and documentaries. Gabriel Carmona and Branden Selman are two of the
collectives founders and take on much of the work, which has included
production of the Caballero series of two-minute Web shorts. The collective
has been operating with the goal of producing one short film a month,
regardless of the challenges the concept imposes.
STRENGTHS: If you have a camera or an iPhone, filmmaking is
open for everybody now. A few years ago, when there was only film,
it was hard to get that kind of equipment. But now, there are phones
out there that are able to meet high standards of quality. And [you
can] produce things really fast. What new media allows us to do is
make the film and post it. Sometimes people send us pointers about
where they believe the story is going. It allows people to see our
work, be intrigued and keep coming back. Some send me messages
like, This would be a good idea to see. It helps us to whittle down
the story. You have a relationship with a lot of people you dont
really know.
WEAKNESSES: The weaknesses would be that people think its
easy. People talk my ear off about how I should shoot a scene, or how
it should have gone. You know what, when you can get three or four
people and have your schedules aligned and find a camera and micro-
phone and editor, you can shoot that movie. Right now we are shoot-
ing this one. The one short film a month idea happens really fast and
what people dont realize is its a lot of work. Theres that one thing
that you cant buy or download, and thats desire. You have to have
that passion.
OPPORTUNITIES: The opportunity I see are with people. Rob-
ert Rodriguezs book, Rebel Without a Crew was a big inspiration.
After I read it, and my friends read it, we said, If he can do it, so can
we. I see opportunities with the cameras that we are able to use now.
It opens up [filmmaking] to a broader audience.
THREATS: YouTube is flooded with videos. We have a tag that
mentions The Twilight Zone. People were clicking on it thinking its a
vampire movie. Thats a disadvantage. Anyone can make a movie but
whether or not its good is another thing.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: The quality on the phones can get better,
and I think were starting to see that. I also think about the space in
which to watch a movie. The bathroom? People seem to have time for
two-minute or three-minute episodes.
JAN MAITLAND
President
HEATHER MITCHELL
Executive Producer, Post
Utopic
www.utopic.net
Chicago
Chicagos Utopic is comprised of a group of integrated digital experts
that employ a trans-media approach, using skills in traditional production,
post, audio, Web, design, mobile and interactive production. The company
has worked with clients that include Allstate, Advil, Kelloggs, McDonalds,
Nintendo, Samsung and HP.
STRENGTHS: JAN MAITLAND: What I hear and experience
the most is clients being able to quantify the impact of that particular
media. There is realtime engagement with their consumer base that
they just cant get with broadcast.
HEATHER MITCHELL: I think reach and number of people can
be similar. But the way that you can target your market is much
more [efficient] in the online world, where on TV its just people
who might watch a type of show. When its online, you can really
reach your target much more efficiently. Theres no telling how
many people are going to see it.
MAITLAND: I think the device is a gateway for interaction with a
brand or consumer less so than a viewing platform. I hear a lot about
dual screens, where youve got your television on, but youre also
engaging in social media, so you have two screens in front of you.
There are tons of analytics out there on tablet usage. I think the last
thing I heard was that 62 percent of tablet users are on the couch
with the TV on.
WEAKNESSES: MAITLAND: It seems that a couple of years ago,
there was so much static and so much content being rushed out to
the Web, that [saturation] might have been the case. Whats happened
now is that marketing dollars that are behind that content helps to
separate the weak [content]. There is a better-educated consumer
base. Were at an interesting point in time for marketers or advertisers
where, when someone doesnt skip their ad on YouTube, that is far
Examples of
Utopics online
work.
more meaningful than getting in front of lots of people who may not
engage after the fact, whether its thousands or millions of people.
MITCHELL: I think the consumer is much more savvy. When a
campaign goes viral, its because its amazing. That doesnt happen with
shitty stuff. Campaigns go viral, not because the marketer makes them
go viral, but because the consumer makes them go viral.
OPPORTUNITIES: MAITLAND: We [are seeing] more and
more that we are able to open eyes more easily. Clients come in for
one thing and realize, Wow, we can do other things. Not because we
have the power or structure to do it, but because it aids their narrative
and their message. For the coming year, I see a greater drive toward
new media and messaging. Its not just the Fortune 100 companies.
John Q. Law Firm can do it, as well as Coca-Cola. For us, its about
wherever there is a screen, we can put a story on that screen.
MITCHELL: The way technology is going these days clients
come in with these grandiose ideas we can figure out how to do
it. There is almost no ceiling as to how or where you can get message
out. Its as big as you can dream.
THREATS: MAITLAND: I dont see threats. IP is always a consid-
eration, but at the level we are engaged, so far its not been an issue.
Outside of the usual thing thats been stated for years now budgets
the bottom line is a concern.
MITCHELL: A lot of clients are still under the impression that its
cheaper to do because its online and not broadcast. I think they are
getting more educated knowing what that money is going to get
you: there are designers and coders. We are from the mindset here
that if you have awesome idea well do whatever it takes to get it done,
within reason.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: MAITLAND: Next year, traditional work
not withstanding, I think theres a lot to be done in the mobile space.
Motion content for devices but not in a static way and content
associated and embedded within the application. As an app developer,
I would love to see less fragmentation in the Android space, but I love
the competition between the Android OS and the Apples iOS. I
would love to see Research In Motion come back strong. I would love
Windows Phone 8 to come on strong. I would love to see the Win-
dows ecosystem catch on because there are a billion installed seats. Its
better for the marketer and for us.
MITCHELL: Because of the recent election, theres going to be a
lot more participation in the healthcare space when it comes to
apps. I think thats exciting. I agree with Jan about the patent wars: it
makes more work for us because we have to develop on different
platforms, but if it makes it more universally acceptable in the end,
then we will do it.
42 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
A
U
D
I
O
There have been some exciting changes in
the audio post industry. In 2012, we had the introduction of 3D audio
systems for feature films, such as Dolbys Atmos on Brave and Barcos
Auro-3D on Red Tails. Weve seen several new devices able to run
applications and mobile games. And in December, the implementation
of the CALM Act for TV spec.
These four audio post pros, from films, television, commercials and
games, share their 2012 experiences, and take a look at the year ahead.
KRISTEN QUEBE
Sound Supervisor
Microsoft Game Studios
www.microsoft.com/en-us/
productionstudios
Redmond, WA
Microsoft Game Studios creates games and interac-
tive content for Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles, and for
Windows PCs and Windows phone platforms. Recent
work is Fable III, and past projects include Condemned
2, F.E.A.R. and Fable II.
STRENGTHS: I think theres a lot of opportu-
nity in game audio, particularly because its such an
interactive media. We are continually developing
technology in ways to build systems in games. There
is still a lot of room for growth in that area. I feel like
the better technology gets, the more we can do. We
used to have more limitations put on us, and now I
feel like were starting to be able to build bigger and think bigger.
WEAKNESSES: The games industry is still one of the newer
ones, if you look at the history of it. We are still building on how we
build games, and we are still learning how to schedule and plan.
Because games involve such a dynamic group of people building some-
thing together, there are a lot of dependencies. There is a lot of time
crunch in the games industry and we end up working long and hard
hours. In terms of game audio, a challenge would be the mix.
In doing more linear audio production work, and other media like
film, they can preemptively plan for things and have a lot more con-
trol over their mix than we do. That is a huge challenge that we are
learning to overcome. In games, we dont know when things are
about to happen. In film, you know when a moment is going to be
big so you can build in a quiet moment before that event happens.
That doesnt always happen with games. We dont always have that
granular level of control.
OPPORTUNITIES: The industry as a whole has proven itself to
be a viable entertainment media. I think for people who like challenges,
especially interactive challenges, there is a lot opportunity in the games
industry. The game audio industry has a lot of people who know each
other. Its smaller than I like to think it is, but there is still room for new
people. We hire constantly, and I believe that games are growing. And
while its changing, and the market is changing, I do think it has proven
itself as a viable career option. So there is opportunity for people look-
ing to get into the game audio industry.
THREATS: The threat is not being adaptable. If we arent adapt-
able to markets that are changing, or looking at new markets, say, casual
games, for instance, that is a threat. We need to be adaptable in what
were building, and who we are building for. As long as the industry as
a whole is constantly looking at that, then I think well be ok.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: We go through the usual cycles, where
our summer is crunched to hit holidays, because holidays are when the
majority of big titles come out. I think youre going to see a lot of big
titles come out. Were seeing new areas in media expansion in consoles,
and a lot more applications on consoles. I wouldnt be surprised if that
provides a lot of opportunity in the future. We work on a lot of console
games, but we are also focusing on smaller mobile games, and tablet
games. For games in general, I think youre going to see them spread
out to a wider audience. I think youll see more growth for games
across the various devices.
B
Y

J
E
N
N
I
F
E
R

W
A
L
D
E
N
Sounds
GOOD
Microsoft Game Studios worked on Fable: The Journey.
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 43
DAVID RAINES
Re-recording Mixer
Los Angeles
This Australian-born re-recording mixer has worked
on TV series such as Bent, Burn Notice and White
Collar, as well as on films, like Minority Report, Deep
Impact and The Chronicles of Riddick. His most recent series, Hell on
Wheels, is mixed at Larson Studios.
STRENGTHS: Our strength as an industry is our creative use of
sound in the storytelling process, no matter how technology or busi-
ness structures may change.
WEAKNESSES: Its going to take a tremendous effort from
supervisors, mixers, producers and studios to correct the path that
television seems to have started down with regards to the CALM Act.
Remember, CALM stands for Commercial Advertisement Loudness
Mitigation Act. These perceived problems with loudness in television
did not start on the film or series mix stage.
OPPORTUNITIES: This is also one of our biggest opportunities:
the technology that we have these days to deliver sound and picture
masters from the mixing stage to the audience is amazing. If imple-
mented well, the benefit to the dynamic way in which we tell dramatic
stories can be incredibly satisfying for the audience, and for distributors
returns, as a result.
THREATS: The most recent threat to our clients stories being
delivered to the television audience in terms of sound is the way the
CALM Act is being interpreted and implemented by various networks
and some upstream QC departments who see it as their responsibility
to deliver masters in spec. Unfortunately, were hearing a lot of sub-
standard series and film broadcasts now due to the misinterpretation
and subsequent mishandling of program Dial Norm (LKFS). Of the
many re-recording mixers Ive spoken to about this, most agree that
weve never heard television series and films on television sound as
bad as some of them are sounding now.
In some cases, regardless of whether the print master meets the
specification detailed by the film studio and network, engineering
departments may still be engaging a sausage box on the program as
it is transferred to the master as a hedge against a QC rejection. In
some cases, a downstream QC department may be making that
change before the network receives it and in some cases the network
may be doing it in addition to all of the above. The result is background
sound in quiet scenes being increased as loud as dialogue, and dialogue
louder than action sequences, and action sequences that have abso-
lutely no dynamic impact at all.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: 2013 could be an interesting year as a
result of the strategic adjustments made to some businesses during
the later part of 2012.
MARSHALL GRUPP
COO/Managing Partner/Sound Designer
Sound Lounge
www.soundlounge.com
New York City
Sound Lounge specializes in audio for commercials
and offers three Dolby-certified studios for 5.1 mixing. Recent work includes
spots for Cadillac ATS, Fiat and Google Play.
STRENGTHS: The more 5.1 surround becomes an important
piece in terms of home systems and eventually with 3D as well,
the more you have to maintain audio quality. You have to treat it the
same as if you were sitting in a movie theater. There is an opportunity
here to make audio not be the stepchild of the process. Audio is
always considered the last little bit to do, but it is as critical to the story
telling as shooting it, or directing it, or writing it.
WEAKNESSES: There are a lot of little shops being created,
because its easy to buy equipment, and its easy to set up a little room
I think that quality is being sacrificed for pricing. Yeah, you can do it
cheaper in a little tiny room, but how much experience is there? There
are a lot of elements that go into good audio post. Im most concerned
about the quality thats out there.
OPPORTUNITIES: There are so many places now where com-
mercials are being sent. Its not just a TV box anymore. Its YouTube, its
Sound Lounge
designed and
mixed this Cadillac
ATS vs. The World
commercial.
David Raines and the mix team for Hell on Wheels work
out of Larson Studios in Hollywood.
44 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
OUTLOOK
AUDIO
Websites, its everywhere. Its on your mobile phone. The most impor-
tant thing is that you have to maintain the quality, and thats always
going to be the challenge, whether its on a 36-inch screen or a mobile
phone. The quality is still going to be important.
THREATS: People putting more money toward interactive, and
moving away from the :30 TV spot.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Im very optimistic as long as Obama
creates jobs. If people can go back to work, then they can spend
money. If they can spend money, then advertisers are going to create
advertising to market their products. You can see whats happened
over the last three months. The industry took a dive because no one
knew what was going to happen with the election. If jobs are created,
then I think everything is going to be great.
KIM WAUGH
Senior VP of Post Production Services
Warner Bros.
http://wbpostproduction.warnerbros.com
Burbank
Warner Bros. Studio Facilities provides audio post
from ADR to a 7.1 surround mix for films, television and games.
Recent Warner Bros. films include: The Dark Knight Rises, Argo and The
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
STRENGTHS: Over the last year and continuing into the
future weve never before seen such a grouping of high-profile tal-
ent available to the film community, from the sound editors to re-
recording mixers and sound designers. Its never been at this level of
strength of talent and creativity. Its extraordinary. Were very blessed
with the amount of talent that exists in the industry today. Its been
nurtured over the last decade, and its really at a great point. You can
just hear the quality of work thats being delivered to the screen
from independent films to tentpoles.
WEAKNESSES: There is a weakness in that the marketplace has
changed. There is an increase in independent films, and that has put pres-
sure on the resources that arent necessarily used to working on differ-
ent scopes of films. However, its not a sign of production softness; its
really a window into the globalization of production and post produc-
tion. Its a change. Its not a decrease; its a change in how the market is
perceived. Speaking from a West Coast perspective, its a weakness, but
in other markets, they may see it very differently.
OPPORTUNITIES: The opportunity is diversification, across the
board. The grand opportunity to work with new filmmakers on inde-
pendent projects, all the way through to the opportunities of working
with the creative individuals that you read about everyday who are
creating high-profile content. A greater opportunity is looking at the
marketplace from a global perspective. For Warner Bros. Post sound,
we have addressed the market in a very progressive fashion by looking
at how we produce and where we post.
For example, we are about to open up a new satellite facility in
New York, which will be a dub stage, sound editing suites and pic-
turing editing suites on a moderate scale to respond to that mar-
ketplace. Also, we just made an acquisition in London, where we
purchased De Lane Lea in Soho, a leading London post production
house, which will suppor t the creative community in the UK. Thats
really a response to the globalization in the marketplace, and mak-
ing sure that we can have the highest level of talent available for
our filmmakers, and for all filmmakers in the locations that they are
completing their projects.
THREATS: Its an interesting word, threat. Is it a real threat, or a
perceived threat? The feature film market in Los Angeles may feel threat-
ened by a perceived contraction, but its really just a change, a market
change. A trend to more independent films is fantastic. Its an opportu-
nity to work with new filmmakers, an opportunity to work with new
content and with new workflows and to integrate the technology that
has been developed over the last few years. And to work with the great-
est group of talent that exists today; those who are really rising to the
occasion to support these types of things that people see as threats.
Its a global industry, and the reality of it is that opportunities exist,
but there are geographical barriers. We responded to those geo-
graphical barriers by having our satellite locations, because Warner
Bros. produces in every time zone.
We have production going on in New Zealand with The Hobbit,
The Great Gatsby in Australia, Hangover 3 in Los Angeles, in New York
A Winters Tale, and All You Need is Kill in London. These are significant
investments weve made from a global standpoint. That may be per-
ceived in Los Angeles as a threat, because the work isnt necessarily
being completed here. Its really how we perceive it. So we are
responding to creatively completing our content in those marketplac-
es, and supporting our filmmakers.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: Im Mr. Positive, always looking forward
to new opportunities. The studios are healthy. Its exciting to see other
major studios in town, and their acquisitions. Its great to see the strong
production relationships that Warner Bros. has, and the great writers
and directors that are in front of us.
Im so pleased to be in a community that raises the bar every year
and supports our filmmakers. Its a great time in history. It starts and
ends with our people. Anyone can buy the equipment and build grand
facilities, but its a people business. Its built on those people, their cre-
ativity, and their relationships.
In regards to 3D audio systems, its exciting. These new tools sepa-
rate the home theater environment and the theatrical experience. Its
great to enhance the theatrical experience for the filmgoers. The com-
peting companies, and their versions of 3D audio, all offer very exciting
opportunities. Those tools for the sound designers and re-recording
mixers, to enhance the theatrical experience, are remarkable. Right
now it in its infancy, and we at Warner Bros. are embracing the oppor-
tunity to work with 3D sound.
Ben Afflecks
Argo was
mixed at Warner
Bros. Post.
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46 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
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ployed and who are now certified Made in NY PAs. The
program provides free training that prepares partici-
pants for entry-level positions on film sets and in pro-
duction offices. We developed this program in partner-
ship with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.
THREATS: New York State offers a 30 percent
refundable tax credit for productions that shoot here as
well as a post credit, so New York remains a competitive
option for producers. We cant control what tax credits
other states and territories offer, and we cant control the
fluctuations of currency. What we can control is providing
the best possible customer service.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: We believe that New
York City will continue to be a TV town. According to a
report released by the Boston Consulting Group, New
York Citys film sector is the strongest in its history,
generating a direct spend of $7.1 billion in 2011, an
increase of over $2 billion dollars since 2002. The sector
now employs 130,000 people, an increase of 30,000
jobs since 2004, so well look for those numbers to
continue to grow.
Also, the way people are entertained has changed
in the past few years. Yes, people are still watching TV
and going to the movies, but theyre also streaming films
online and watching the latest episodes on smart
phones and tablets. So for content creators following
traditional business models make a film, advertise a
film, release a film it may not be enough.
F I L M C O M M I S I O N S WOT
[ Cont.from 26 ]
clientele that produces traditional
advertising and a ton of Web content, which acts as
commercials too you can play full-stream, high-end
concept motion video on the Web now. We produce
quite a bit of Web content, which may start as a TV
concept and expand onto the Web or vice-versa.
Another opportunity is the turnkey model we
have. People come to us for production and see great
value in post done in tandem. That has opened up
other post production opportunities, including long-
format feature film work.
THREATS: Threats come from clients with lower
budgets who want much more in return. They see that
the technology costs less, so why cant they get services
for less? It is tempting to say we will do a particular job
for the smaller budget in the hopes they realize the
budget should be larger for the next job. Unfortunately,
business rarely works that way. In the end, you look for
realistic solutions within a budget, and if they dont fit,
dont do it. You have your reputation and quality of
work to defend; there is a price for everything.
The different digital acquisition formats also pose a
threat. If people are not educated about them, they
dont understand what theyre giving up when they
choose one camera over another. The advent of digital
cameras resulted in a huge educational gap from film to
file-based workflows. Production companies were used
to traditional dailies: Now they had files. Who was going
to convert them? Who was going to color grade them?
And who would pay for it? You dont see this nearly as
much now, but it was a problem for a while.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I think well see more
growth. This has been a good year for us, and I think more
content will be produced next year. Maybe people will even
pay more attention to quality instead of quantity: Instead of
all that crazy YouTube content theyll understand that they
only have one shot at making an impression, so they should
put more time and money into it.
B U S I N E S S S WOT
[ Cont.from 20 ]
be daunting with regards to band-
width, rendering and storage, but it should also increase
opportunity and work, which is always a good thing.
Opportunities have also arisen in other display for-
mats. The Internet is growing, as is its appetite for con-
tent. With NFC (Near Field Communication) technol-
ogy being built into smart phones, there is a growing
business in this type of mobile computing. Second-
screen media is also rising, which all needs to be
designed and implemented. Who better to create the
graphics, the 3D animation or the media than us!
THREATS: I rarely see true threats, but instead try to
see these types of challenges as opportunities. Globaliza-
tion has seriously remapped the framework of visual
effects, and continues to do so. But regardless of how
much we argue that the world is stealing our jobs away, it
isnt simply an issue of incentives or aggressive pricing.
We have to face the fact that we live in a global village,
and as the moments go by, artists around the world are
gaining knowledge and experience that will soon, if not
already, match that of our best in the United States, Cana-
da and England. So instead of fighting outsourcing, I feel we
need to start embracing it. Companies need to be able to
offer a staff local to productions, such as around the Hol-
lywood studios or networks, but also seek out partner-
ships, relationships and offices in other countries. Embrace
the fact that we will all need to work as one world, and
find ways to keep work at home, while still embracing the
world around us.
OUTLOOK FOR 2013: I see more blurring of the
lines between new and traditional media. More projects will
be written to take advantage of the interactivity available
through smart devices. More projects planned to be equally
distributed through multiple platforms and in general, so a
huge increase in content. Both good and not so good as the
cost of creating media continues to be so low.
V F X S WOT
[ Cont.from 36 ]
www.postmagazine.com Post December 2012 47
people
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JAMES ALVICH
MAS (Music and strategy), specializing in creative
solutions for brands and agencies, has promoted
founding partner/EP James Alvich to the role
of managing director. Alvich created MAS along
with music vets Gabe Hilfer and Jim Black. The
studio recently completed a comprehensive
music partnership with Kate Spade New York
featuring the Vivian Girls. It included talent pro-
curement, Facebook development, a battle of the
bands campaign/contest and film production.
SUZETTE FERGUSON
NYCs Cinedeck, makers mobile capture sys-
tems for film and broadcast, has named Suzette
Ferguson senior VP of sales for North America.
Based in LA, Ferguson was most recently with
Assimilate, where she was director of North
American sales. She brings over 30 years of
experience to Cinedeck. She has worked in con-
sultative sales at Universal Studios/NBC, Disney
Studios, Deluxe, EFilm, Technicolor, Ascent and
Laser Pacific/Kodak.
MEGAN MELOTH
Santa Monica VFX studio A52 has promoted
Megan Meloth to executive producer after
helping sister studio Elastic more than double in
size since 2008. Meloth has worked in agency,
production and post, and has been involved in
Nikes Puppets, P&Gs Olympic work and spots for
Hondas Crosstour vehicle. She has also worked
on campaigns for Volvo, Intel, Mercedes, Target,
Microsoft, Acura and Lexus.
EAMONN BUTLER
Cinesite, a London-based VFX studio, has named
Eamonn Butler animation director. He will head
up the studios growing animation division. Butler
joins from Double Negative, where he was head
of animation and supervised such films as Iron Man
2, John Carter, Hellboy 2 and Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix. He also joins the companys
board. Prior to Dneg, Butler spent 10 years at
Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank.
ELLEN SCHOPLER, MIKE LAHOOD
Chicago production studio Leviathan has hired
Ellen Schopler as associate producer and Mike
LaHood as assistant editor. Schopler joins from
The Filmworkers Club, where she held the same
position. While there, she helped to produce
Super Bowl spots for Bud Light and Ronald
ALVICH
FERGUSON PRYOR
BUTLER PURCELL
CRONIN
McDonald House, and other projects for Advil,
McDonalds and Ziploc.
A recent graduate of Columbia College Chica-
go, LaHood already has experience as a television
and music video editor. LaHood had internships
with Red Car, Nolan Collaborative and Leviathan
earlier this year, and after co-editing Leviathans
short film Lilith with editor Andrew Maggio, he
now joins Leviathan as a full-time editor.
TOM CRONIN
Foundation Content, an indie advertising and
production collective, has named Tom Cronin
senior VP/executive producer for the companys
Chicago Office. Prior to joining Foundation
Content, Cronin had been VP/executive pro-
ducer at DraftFCB in Chicago. Other agency
experience includes time at Chicagos Ele-
ment79 Partners, with accounts such as Aquafi-
na, Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Supercuts.
Cronin holds a BS Degree in Mass Communica-
tions from Illinois State University.
KATHLEEN PRYOR
Integrated media company Utopic has signed
editor Katherine Pryor to its post division.
Pryor has edited commercials and campaigns for
agencies such as Leo Burnett, McGarryBowen,
Ogilvy & Mather, DDB, Y&R, Downtown Part-
ners and Walton Isaacson. A native of the Kansas
City area, Pryor received her BA in Film at
Columbia College Chicago and began working
in post almost 13 years ago.
STEVE PURCELL
KRYSTLE TESORIERO
Chainsaw, a Hollywood-based post and edito-
rial rental house, has named Steve Purcell as
its GM. Purcell is a two-time Emmy winner with
over 25 years of experience as a director, editor
and producer. In his new role, he will oversee all
Chainsaw operations. He was previously presi-
dent of his own company SLP Productions.
Purcell began his career at The Post Group
where he was lead editor for 10 years. He won
two Emmy Awards for his work, including one in
1986 for Pee-wees Playhouse.
Chainsaw has also hired KrystleTesoriero
as operations manager. Tesoriero comes from a
similar position with editorial systems provider
Runway. She began her career with Match-
frame Video.
48 Post December 2012 www.postmagazine.com
review
Tiffen Dfx V.3 Creative Editing Suite
O
ne name that is a standard in pho-
tography and videography is Tiffen.
With their wide array of filters, from
circular polarizers to neutral density filters
and even infrared filters, people like me who
only dabble in photography have definitely
heard the name Tiffen. Naturally, when I was
scrubbing through my Twitter feed on #Post-
chat and all other forms of post hash tags like
#postdontstop, I found the Tiffen Dfx V.3
video plug-in to be blazing trails on the scene.
I was curious, I had never heard the name
Tiffen within the plug-in ecosphere before
and immediately thought, how are they going
to be able to create a top-notch plug-in that
will adequately represent their trusted brand
name the way their other physical products
have done before? Well, they partnered with
the company Digital Film Tools, which offers
plug-ins such as Film Stocks, Photocopy and
Rays, to name a few. I love the way Rays
works without having to go out and get a
degree in discrete mathematics to customize
an effect, and the results are pretty incredible.
I realized Tiffen was in great hands and further
found that under the Tiffen Dfx video plug-in
hood were many parts that I was familiar with.
New to Tiffen Dfx V.3 is Color Shadow,
DeBand, DeBlock, DeNoise, Film Stocks,
Glow Darks, Key Light, Rays, Texture and
Match. These may sound familiar because the
plug-in is basically giving you some of the
other Digital Film Tools plug-ins within Tiffen
Dfx V.3 for a price that is far below other
color tinting and effects products. Not to
mention the beautiful Tiffen Filters included,
such as HFX Star, Black Pro-Mist, Smoque or
GamColor (a gel recreator).
If you havent seen these yet, do yourself a
favor and check out digitalfilmtools.com/
tiffenDFX and click on the image gallery. They
have examples of every plug-in inside Dfx V.3.
The ones I mentioned above are a couple of
my favorites because they allow you to add as
subtle or as striking of a look as you want.
Once you take a discerning look you will
notice the organic quality and texture that
Tiffen Dfx is giving to these images.
VALUABLE SHORTCUTS
As an assistant editor I am always asked if
I know of any shortcuts to create unique and
specific looks. Tiffen Dfx is a great place to
start. Not only does the editor have over 121
filters to start from, the editors and assistants
can infinitely customize each one. Layering
the Tiffen filters will give stylish yet
professional results as each layer
works in tandem the others.
Tiffens Dfx interface is a familiar
visual environment that any editor
will be comfortable with. Whether
you are an editor that likes the
Instagram-ish way to apply filters
with visual examples or you want
to technically go through each
preset and customize until you
create your Mona Lisa, Tiffen and
DFT have you covered.
In my case I use Tiffen Dfx inside
of Avid Media Composer and
Adobe After Effects. Because I have
both programs installed on the
same system, the plug-in works
within both programs beautifully. If you
recently purchased Media Composer 6.5,
Tiffen has a fully compatible and download-
able version on their site, tiffensoftware.com.
The results-oriented interface within Tiffen
Dfx is very straightforward. With a great split
view and side-by-side comparisons, you can see
your original image and your effected image
quickly and easily. On the left-hand side you can
have the visual examples of the plug-in, in the
middle your work area, and on the right all the
customizable parameters you could wish for.
The plug-in and filters are searchable, including
any favorites that you save along the way. You
can tag effects with a star to quickly identify the
very best filters for your toolbox. You can even
sort your filters by favorites.
In the Parameter column on the right-hand
side there are all the standard sliders and
manual inputs that we are accustomed to
from hue, saturation, etc. Tiffen Dfx has a
useful and interesting feature they call Varia-
tions, where you can click multiple parame-
ters such as hue and saturation, and you can
auto-generate variations of the effect based
on the parameters you have chosen. This is a
great idea inspirational tool, even if you dont
like any of the variations Tiffen offers, you are
sure to be tipped onto something that is a
solution for your situation.
FINAL THOUGHTS
Tiffen Dfx V.3 for video/film is an invaluable
plug-in that gives editors a wide variety of
customizable effects for a great price. If you
have an editor looking for a simple vignette
and/or night vision effect, or even a more
complex effect with wide-angle lenses and
f-stop adjustments, Tiffen and Digital Film Tools
have come together to bring you an action-
filled plug-in that is as easy as an iPhone photo
filter and infinitely customizable.
Tiffen Dfx V.3 gives the end user the abil-
ity to create almost any look and color
treatment they can imagine, harnessing an
enhanced multi-processor acceleration for
fast rendering. With Dfxs built-in Tiffen glass
camera filters, specialized lenses, optical lab
processes, film grain, color correction, natu-
ral light and photographic effects, Tiffen Dfx
V.3 hands all the tools to the user without
any limitations.
By
BRADY BETZEL
Assistant Editor
Bunim Murray
Productions
Van Nuys, CA
bradybetzel@gmail.com
A great idea
inspiration tool.
V
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T
A
L

S
T
A
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S
PRODUCT: Tiffen Dfx V.3 Creative Editing Suite
PRICE: $599.99
One install for multiple applications on same
machine
Simulation of Tiffen glass camera filters and
specialized lenses.
121 individual filters
T-TAP
Go mobile. Smaller than a deck of playing cards,
T-TAP enables SDI and HDMI 10-bit video and
embedded audio output from any Thunderbolt
-equipped system. Compatible with all major
editing software and using industry-proven
AJA drivers, T-TAP puts SD, HD and 2K resolution
output in the palm of your hand.
Ki Pro Rack
Transition from tape decks to file-based
workflows seamlessly. Ki Pro Rack has a
familiar front panel interface thats right at
home in the machine room.
With professional video and audio
connections, RS-422 control and recording
directly to high-quality ready-to-edit files,
Ki Pro Rack is the ultimate deck replacement.
Ki Pro Quad
Prepare for 4K now. Ki Pro Quad handles
resolutions from HD up to 4K, all at full 4:4:4
quality. Debayer RAW camera data in real time,
record 4K ProRes to removable SSD drives
and monitor at 4K and HD resolutions all
simultaneously. Ki Pro Quad unites the
components of your workflow from camera
to monitoring and editorial in a compact,
powerful and affordable package.

B e c a u s e i t m a t t e r s .
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AJA announces three new products that continue
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