Mistika Helps Control Chaos for Nike Campaign

Press release from SGO:

Image

Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood-based Identity FX employed SGO’s Mistika to help complete the interactive portion of Nike’s “Quick Controls Chaos” transmedia campaign promoting the brand’s Jordan CPV.3 athletic shoes.

The CP3 Jump Man website features basketball player Chris Paul and is available online as an interactive experience under the search string “Quick Controls Chaos.” Designed for online customers to dynamically experience a Nike product launch, the unique ad campaign was made to generate a transmedia experience destined for the web, live events and broadcast. Online users are able to interactively participate in the commercial by operating a camera, ensuring that no two viewings would ever be the same.

Despite facing tight and unforgiving deadlines with multiplex project management challenges coupled with the pressures of a client-driven commercial scenario, Identity FX victoriously accomplished sensational results. They delivered complete post production services which ranged from data management, editorial, pre comp, visual effects, colour correction and online finishing, using Mistika.

“Mistika allowed us to read in R3D files at full resolution, in 5K without transcoding and therefore saving us a huge amount of time,” said Leo Vezzali, Co-Founder and Stereoscopic Supervisor, Identity FX.

The production team created an impressive set-up, made up of the largest single array of RED EPIC cameras ever to be used on a commercial at the same time.  An array of nine arc-mounted cameras, moved once, for a total of seventeen camera positions with a single camera overlap, were used. The Identity FX team faced the daunting task of creating a one-thousand frame-length final product, comprised of the seventeen individual camera positions that captured up to twelve green screen layers, per camera, in a 170 degree arc. “To put this in perspective that’s a total of 11 hours of 5K footage captured over a two and a half day shoot.” David Scott Van Woert, Owner and Producer at Identity FX, emphasised.

Most record-breaking high-level projects bring with them a series of labyrinthian challenges, and this was no exception. One example that illustrates the sheer complexity, was how the team had to provide a seamless basketball play to the end-user, which ultimately had to be built from interwoven, disparate takes. The footage incorporated a chain reaction of various interdependent scenes that included a man on fire, a mounted policeman rearing up, a “Vancouver Kiss,” a fan falling from the announcer’s booth, and, dramatically, a child almost being trampled by a horse.

“Simple logistics and safety concerns were paramount, along with the early realisation that we would not be able to do this in a single take, across an eighteen-camera array.” David explained. “There was not enough glass available to rig eighteen cameras together using 14mm prime lenses and secondly, even if there were, and we were not concerned about safety at all, this scenario would dictate that we would have had to paint out the rig in every shot, from every angle.”

The team also faced the monumental task of isolating the moments of action in the basketball play, into separate green screen layers across the array. The camera array had to be moved backwards and forwards for each and every layer, which, in itself, resulted in additional issues that required resolving. This involved matching the action across multiple takes and various array moves across up to a dozen different layers, as well as processing an increased volume of 5K RED EPIC material at 48fps across the entire timeline.

VFX Supervisor Richard Stammers on Prometheus

There are no outright spoilers in this story about the visual effects work in director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, although there are hints — even one about the scene that Glenn Kenny, chief film critic for MSN Movies, describes this way: “It is insane, one of the most perfectly perverse and beautifully executed pieces of shock cinema I’ve seen in years, an absolutely breathtaking and staggering and exhilarating set piece that kind of reminds you of every sick thing that cinema is good for.”

The year is 2093 and the crew of the spaceship Prometheus is on a quest for the origin of mankind after discovering what might be a map. After two years onboard in deep sleep while a robot named David (Michael Fassbender) tends the ship, the explorers wake up on an alien planet that supposedly holds the secret — a secret not without peril. And a gooey paranoia sets in. “The paranoia becomes palpable, and a lot of its impact comes from how dramatic and dazzlingly seamless the special effects are,” writes Christy Lemire of the Associated Press.

The comments from Kenny and Lemire might invoke images of Alien, director Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi horror film, released in 1979, and his last until this year’s highly anticipated Prometheus. And, it’s tempting to think of Prometheus as a kind of prequel to Alien or perhaps a side trip, but as critic Bill Goodykoontz of the Arizona Republic puts it: “You’re more likely to enjoy Prometheus  if you go in thinking less about Alien and more about Scott, with his emphasis on images, tone and atmosphere.” 

The realization of that emphasis, and the drama and seamlessness of the effects, often rested on the shoulders of visual effects crews. Richard Stammers, visual effects supervisor, took leave from his work at the Moving Picture Company (MPC) to lead the group of 10 vendors, including MPC, that created the film’s 1400 visual effects shots. But the vision was Scott’s. “Most of our previs started with sketches and storyboards that Ridley [Scott] drew,” Stammers says. “He obviously has a fantastic vision for images.”

Extensive Previs

Scott worked with Halon Entertainment in LA for pre-production, and Halon artists previs’d an opening sequence. In addition, a previs team from MPC worked with Scott and Stammers on an action sequence, a crash of the Prometheus and an alien ship, and the Prometheus landing sequence.

“Ridley [Scott] got excited about previs, I think, for the first time,” Stammers says, describing the process of previsualizing the landing site on the alien planet.  “Ridley had a definite idea of what he wanted: A desolate desert with no sense of life or vegetation, and with storms, atmospherics, lightning. The concept art I saw from visual-effects art director Steve Messing was along those lines. When I realized we had to create the landscape in CG, we set up an interactive Maya scene so we could build and adjust the landscapes live with Ridley.”

To create the hero landing site, the team at MPC knew that Scott’s reference was Wadi Rum, a desert location in Jordan with tall, sheer, heavily eroded walls. “It was used in Lawrence of Arabia,” Stammers says. “There’s actually a lot of reference to Lawrence of Arabia in the film. You see David [the robot] watching the film when everyone else is in hyper sleep. Ridley loved the idea that the place the crew was visiting was a huge valley and they’d be dwarfed within.”

So, MPC utilized digital elevation files and Google Earth to generate simple geometry of the Wadi Rum valley. “Then we added the Prometheus ship and other elements based on a series of sketches Ridley did, and adjusted it until we got the look and scale Ridley liked,” Stammers says. “We lined up the cameras based on his sketches. When we worked out what we needed, we went to Jordon and shot the location from a helicopter. We did match moves of those shots to track and build point cloud data that we could mesh into the mountain shapes. And when we went to Iceland, we chose a location that would blend into Wadi Rum. The final shots have the ground of Iceland and the valley walls of Jordan.”

It was up to the crew at MPC to blend the flat grey Icelandic landscape with the red walls of Wadi Rum, adding snow-capped mountains and turbulent skies.

“We gave Ridley printouts of everything,” Stammers says. “He storyboarded on top with descriptions, and we’d redesign shots. He draws pretty much everything, and he sketches quickly. Every day, he’d come to the set with drawings of what he wanted. When we were discussing a VFX shot, he’d look at his monitor, draw what was on the screen, and then draw in the visual-effects element we needed to add. I could pass that on to our visual effects vendors, saying, ‘Here’s your brief.’ It was a great starting point.”

That interaction carried on throughout post-production as well. “It was totally amazing,” Stammers says. “And, a great way to work. We could print out frames from the Avid in sequences that his editor put together. He’d sketch on the top. We’d scan them and send them to the visual effects vendors. We’d show sequences to him, he’d draw, and we’d adjust.”

Shooting Stereo

Location work took the production to Iceland, Jordan, and Scotland, but most of the 90-day shoot happened at Pinewood Studios in London with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski shooting in native stereo with 5K-resolution Red Epic cameras. “We shot with the cameras parallel rather than converged,” Stammers says. “The main reason was to alleviate work and pain in the match-move and compositing processes in the visual-effects pipeline. By removing one of the moving, movable parts of the camera rig, namely the convergence, we could reduce the time spent on the stereo match-move. With the cameras always pointed to infinity, we didn’t have to track cameras with animated convergences.”

But that meant the images had to include extra room for convergence to happen in post-production. “If you looked at the output of a camera you would see the full frame and within that, a framing guide that was 93.5 percent [of the full image], which we could use to reposition the images,” Stammers says.

“Without a convergence pass, the stereo in raw form is uncomfortable,” he adds. “Generally in 3D, you want to converge on a subject so the audiences’ eyes are trained there.So in post we took the left and right images, aligned them, and animated the appearance of convergence by moving the images together or apart. If you watch a 3D film without glasses, the area that looks sharpest with no doubling is the area of convergence.”

While shooting, the onset crew did temporary alignments to check. They gave those temporary alignments to the editorial teams so they could watch the film comfortably and have a rough guide for edits. “Company 3 conformed the final edit in DI,” Stammers says. “Sean Santiago, our post stereographer, set the final convergence with them so everything flowed comfortably.”

“For us, the main issue with [stereo] 3D,” he adds, “is that there are so many digital formats that are always changing, and Red is always updating software, firmware, the camera, the chips. Every time you work on a show with Red cameras, you have to re-evaluate where you are. So I did a lot of investigation before setting up a basic color pipeline that worked specifically with the resolution of the Red Epic. It was the first time I’d worked with source 5K material.”

Calibrating Color

In addition to the additional work necessitated by the dual images and high resolution – double the tracking, double the match-moves, double everything, Stammers needed to tailor the color pipeline to fit Scott and Wolski’s working method. “We worked with what Red recommended,” Stammers says, “and then made some slight adjustments based on what Dariusz [Wolski], the DP, wanted to see and what he wanted to view on set on his color-calibrated monitor. We made sure we set up the color pipeline so we could understand what he was doing, and then sent it to all the VFX vendors.”

Those vendors all worked on ungraded shots that had a full dynamic range. If the DP had applied a grade, the vendors would re-apply that grade before delivering. “The vendors want the cleanest, most unaltered image with the greatest color range without artifacts,” Stammers says. “Color choices made on the day of shooting are rarely adhered to when the scenes are cut together, so we needed to maintain the flexibility to change the color grade right through to the final DI process.”

Who Did What?

Stammers gave most of the visual effects shots to MPC, Weta Digital, and Fuel, with Hammerhead, Rising Sun Pictures, Lola, Luma Pictures, Prologue, and two one-man teams from Pixel Pirates and Invisible Effects working in-house on comps and cleanups.

MPC, led by visual effects supervisor Charley Henley, was the lead vendor with around 450 shots. “Ridley [Scott] felt they could do great environment work, as they had done for his Robin Hood and Kingdom of Heaven,Stammers says. “They did everything on the planet surface that the crew of Prometheus visits. So, rather than sharing work, we had them create the human and alien space ships, and therefore they also did the space travel shots and shots of the planet’s atmosphere with cloud formations and electrical storms. Any time you see exterior planetary landscapes, that’s all MPC’s environment work. They also created the epic crash sequence and the alien ship rolling toward Vickers and Shaw, as well as some small creature sequences and prosthetic enhancements when the crew get infected in the film.”

Weta Digital handled the majority of the creature work, though, creating around 250 shots, supervised on set by Everett Burrell and at Weta by Martin Hill. “They created the hero alien known as the Engineer,” Stammers says. “That was a digital representation of the actor they had on set, suited in fantastic prosthetics.” 

Weta also created an opening sequence in which an Engineer sacrifices himself. “We see inside his body, his DNA being pulled apart,” Stammers says. “It’s a beautiful moment. They also created some disgusting, gory moments that will be well remembered for years to come. There’s an automated surgery that’s realized with CG robotic arms, and a great combination of prosthetic and CG body parts – it’s really gross.”

Fuel VFX had the next-largest number of shots, supervised by Paul Butterworth. “They created fantastically original designs for the aliens’ holographic effects — pixilated, ghost-like holograms of fleeing figures that play beautifully in 3D,” Stammers says. “Ridley wanted the holograms to look decayed, like they were thousands of years old.”

Hammerhead also created a holographic representation at the beginning of the film to present a message from Peter Weyland, but one of their trickiest sequences was helping one of the characters lose his head. “For the most part, that’s an elaborate split screen using a prosthetic head, but they had to do body removal and track in [the actor’s] face onto the prosthetic head in stereo,” Stammers says. “They did a great job of seamlessly blending it.”

Rising Sun dramatically augmented close ups of a partially practical sandstorm that had been established in wide, full CG shots created by MPC, and picked up several monitor comps. Lola augmented the faces of the Engineer characters. “Ridley wanted to shoot as much practically as possible,” Stammers says. “So we bulked out the 7-foot-1 actor’s head and body with the prosthetics and makeup to sell him as an 8-foot giant. The slight drawback was that in bulking out his face, his features became disproportionately smaller. So, Lola rebalanced his features to make him look more godlike, more perfect.”

In addition, Luma Pictures created a floating holographic screen, and Prologue put a welcome message into a holographic cube, created a dream sequence, and made the opening titles.

“We definitely had our challenges,” Stammers says of the film. “And the pressure involved … If I had stopped to think that I was working on one of the most highly anticipated sci-fi films in a long time, I would have gone crazy. But everyone jumped to the challenge and did a fantastic job.”

As for working with Ridley Scott? “I learned a huge amount, but if I had to put my finger on one thing, it’s that nothing is set in stone. The thing you think is most precious could go at any point. You have to be prepared to lose your favorite shot for the greatest good.”

Images © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Witcher 2″ Video Game Review

My fellow gaming community, I must admit the sad fact that I own a Mac. I love it, and yet I resent the fact that it keeps me restricted to console gaming, never to join the elite social class of PC-players. One time that was more aggravating to own an Apple product than any other was the release of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings,” a PC exclusive action-RPG. Those who prefer the keyboard to the controller gloated all over the internet about how they were awarded with a beautiful-looking and beautifully-written epic unsoiled by the current game market’s tendency to dumb itself down in order to appeal to a wider audience. I and all the other console-playing proletarians had to just huddle together in defeat, telling ourselves that it is ok and that “Skyrim” is just around the corner anyway. But lo and behold, Polish game developer CDProjekt Red took about a year to convert “The Witcher 2” into something an Xbox 360 can read as well as take out some of the game’s tweaks. Now I proudly own a copy of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition.”

“The Witcher” is a fantasy series that actually continues a popular Polish book series of the same name. It tells the tale of Geralt of Rivia, who is a witcher, a mutant who is specially trained to kill monsters for profit and remain as neutral as possible in the affairs of politics and other people. Geralt is conveniently stricken with amnesia and thus has forgotten all the adventures he had on paper. The dramatic twist of the story is that he lives in a world where it seems that the people are most often the biggest monsters, and they all seem to want Geralt to pick a side. In many ways, you could probably call “The Witcher” series the “Game of Thrones” of video games, considering the more intricate and dark take on fantasy. A king takes a city to regain his bastard children, racial disputes are rampant between humans and elves, and you need to decide how serious Geralt is with his relationship with the sexy sorceress, Triss Merigold.

Another nice aspect is the lack of a rigid morality. There are no outright good and bad options, there are merely choices that you make and the resulting consequences of those choices. In fact, the entire second act and much of the third is different depending on who you ally yourself with: the human faction that tries to keep peace but has a nasty habit of persecuting nonhumans or the elves that fight against racial injustice with medieval terrorism. There is blood, there is sex, and there is harsh language throughout the story. It is not because it is a teenage-boy’s fantasy, but rather an adult’s acknowledgment of these things in the world. It is a mature game for an actually mature audience.

That being said, those who buy the game on Xbox are at a bit of a disadvantage. “The Witcher” was also a PC exclusive that was planned to be brought to consoles as well, but never quite made it. So those picking “The Witcher 2” up on Xbox will most likely have no idea what is going on in the plot. Why does Geralt carry two swords as long as this game’s full title? Who’s the bard named after a flower? Where am I? Without playing the first game or reading the books, a bit of the context is lost. To make things a little more annoying, the choices made in the first game have a slight effect on a few things in the second, so the game automatically decides what you would have done in the first. Not that there are many of these instances, but it’s a notable nitpick for those who are obsessive-compulsive about their role-playing.

The game requires a good head on your shoulders not just for the story, but the gameplay and interface as well. Opening up the menus for the first time is intimidating to say the least. Trying to brew a potion or upgrade your weapon seems more like making a 3D pie chart on Microsoft Excel at first. There is so much to manage, and almost all of it necessary to do that it can seem overwhelming and unfriendly. However, given a few hours, I found it to be easy to work with. It may be an eyesore and a bit complicated, but once you know how it all works, everything is smooth and intuitive.

Combat is also more challenging than most games these days, even on the standard difficulty. You take damage quite easily and a lot of the time you are greatly outnumbered. It appears that the controller has a better combat interface than its keyboard companion. There’s a bit less lag in command, which can actually become your downfall; the temptation to simply button mash is prevalent. Just charging in will leave you dead in seconds. You must be able to prepare before battle with stat-boosting potions and laying down traps while also being able to think on your feet to keep yourself alive with magic, parrying and dodging. I will say that the parrying and dodging mechanics are bound to get on your nerves more than a couple times. You have to pull the right trigger for a good second before Geralt takes a hint and slowly raises his sword in a blocking position; it’s like he’s trying to make sure we get a good look at his bicep rather than preventing a halberd from slicing through his shoulder. This frustration may lead you to constantly dodgeroll all over the place, but often Geralt will land in the camera’s blind spot, which can sometimes have two angry men with sabers just waiting for you. All of this isn’t to say that it isn’t fun. It is actually really engaging and immensely satisfying every time you emerge victorious from a battle. Like everything else about the game, if you put in the time and effort to work with it, the payoff is great.

But there are two big questions to be answered with “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhance Edition.” One is, what are the changes between enhanced edition and regular? Well, there are few physical things you get by buying the enhanced edition. The game comes with a map of the game world, the soundtrack, and a quest handbook, a little booklet that gives a brief rundown of every quest in the game. As far as the in-game, there are many little additions and changes. For one, there are more cutscenes than the original, which give some much-appreciated context. Then there is four more hours of gameplay, mostly in the form of sidequests in the third act. They also changed a few mechanics such as weakening one of the more exploited defense spells and getting rid of the sequence in which Geralt delicately drinks his potions like fine wine (considering you drink potions quite often in the game, you’d have to suffer through this minute long process constantly). Finally, there are minor adjustments to animations and new items throughout the game.

The second question is, should I get the game on PC or Xbox? As I’ve said before, unless you’re willing to look some stuff up, you won’t know the events of the first game if you are the console player. Also, as is the case with most games, the graphics, while still beautiful, are noticeably less crisp and dynamic on console than PC. And, unless you install the game to your hard drive, the Xbox version has a few issues with loading all the textures during cutscenes, making everything take place in blob world for a few seconds. However, the combat does seem to be a bit more fluid with a controller in hand, and when you are slicing and dicing through spider crabs, you don’t tend to harp on the aesthetic of it. The Xbox version does very well seem to contend with it’s older brother. Still, if you’ve packed enough power into your PC that it can punch holes in the moon, don’t deny yourself from a great game that was originally made for you.

“The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition” is a wonderful and intricate beast of a game. It’s like a tar pit, it’ll be a bit messy getting in, but soon you’ll find yourself completely absorbed in it. If you are a fan of RPGs or the fantasy genre in general, you need to check this game out.

 

Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road – SYS



CHICAGO, IL — (Marketwire) — 05/07/12 — The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber, ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin, ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300, and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was creating a test that would bring out the real world differences between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions. Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Røde, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni, Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam, Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit: http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012.

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories. Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both 2010 2011 (Midwest region) http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

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Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road

CHICAGO, IL–(Marketwire -05/07/12)-
The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber, ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin, ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300, and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was creating a test that would bring out the real world differences between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions. Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Røde, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni, Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam, Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit: http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012.

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories. Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both 2010 2011 (Midwest region) http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road


CHICAGO, IL, May 07, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) —
The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera
Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in
their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow
will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major
cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC
cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A
series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up
for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the
opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the
very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it
doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s
mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that
makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by
Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber,
ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin,
ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300,
and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved
with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools
available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but
only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was
creating a test that would bring out the real world differences
between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge
Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions.
Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Rode, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni,
Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities
include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by
an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam,
Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit:

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012 .

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the
USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories.
Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both
2010 2011 (Midwest region)
http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto
on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available:

http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

SOURCE: Zacuto USA

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

Contour’s new mount, watersports kits help bring its cameras with you in the …

CONTOUR’S NEW MOUNT KITS OFFER VARIETY OF MOUNTING OPTIONS FOR CAPTURING LIFE’S EPIC MOMENTS

Innovative Mount Kits and New ROAM Watersports Kit Makes it Easy to Capture Rich Video – From Anywhere

SEATTLE, WASH. – May 1, 2012 – Contour, Inc. (www.contour.com), the company that makes it easy to capture and share epic moments with hands free HD video cameras, apps and accessories, today announces five new activity-specific mount kits. Each kit is designed to integrate seamlessly with Contour’s award-winning cameras, and provides everything required for capturing beautiful HD action video for snow, bike, motorsports, outdoor or almost any other adventure.

Additionally, the ContourROAM Watersports Kit, also available today, offers a complete solution for watersports aficionados.

“Getting the best shot as it happens is our top priority,” says Marc Barros, CEO. “Creating an integrated system of cameras and mounts allows unlimited creativity, and enables people to use our cameras to capture rich, HD video wherever or whenever they happen to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re dropping into your first wave, free-climbing Half Dome or grinding a rail, our ecosystem of high-quality products provides a simple, complete experience from capture to share.”

The activity-based mounts highlight the company’s emphasis on product design. The mounts are easier to buy (just select your activity and pick the appropriate kit); they also offer an almost unlimited variety of filming options, from helmets, surfboards, kayaks, snowboards, ski poles, bikes, motorcycles, cars, or virtually any outdoor activity.

Limitless Solutions for Capturing Rich, HD Video
Snow Mounts – The perfect combination for capturing all the action on the snow, the Contour Snow Mounts includes two easy-to-use helmet mounts, a goggle strap mount, and the recently launched pole mount that allows users to mount their ContourROAM or Contour+ to any standard ski pole (11-18 mm diameter) for recording winter adventures. The Snow Mounts and all other mount kits also include a compact, weatherproof carry bag. For sample action footage using Snow Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-snow-mounts

Bike Mounts – For cyclists on skinny or fat tires, Contour Bike Mounts provide a variety of mount combinations. Two helmet mounts can be attached to either a vented or full-face helmet. A bar mount can be strapped to handlebars (15-33 mm diameter) and a flex strap mount lets cyclists attach their camera to a seat post, chain stay or any round or irregular bar. For sample action footage using Bike Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-bike-mounts

Moto Mounts – Designed for all motorsports professionals and enthusiasts, this combination includes a suction cup mount for windshields or the flex strap mount on roll bars, handle bars or any other round or irregular shape. The profile mount is designed to be a low profile option and the adjustable rotating flat surface mount helps drivers get the perfect angle at any speed. For sample action footage using Motorsports Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-motor-sports-mounts

Outdoor Mounts – Designed for true outdoors adventurers whether it’s fishing, climbing or trekking, this all-around mounts combination enables users to attach their camera to their head or baseball cap. People can also use the flex strap mount to affix their camera on any type of pole. For sample action footage using Outdoor Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-outdoor-mounts

Helmet Mounts – Made for all helmet types, whether it’s a hard shell, vented or full-face, this combination of mounts supports motorcross, downhill, snow, skate or climbing activities. An extra 3M adhesive pack is included to allow easy change of mounting positions or helmets. For sample action footage using Helmet Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-helmet-mounts

ROAM Watersports Kit – An all-in-one package that contains everything needed to capture beautiful HD action video while doing water-based sports such as wake boarding, surfing, paddling, scuba diving, etc. The kit includes the easy-to-use ContourROAM, a fully adjustable surfboard mount and the ContourROAM waterproof case which enables you to dive down to 60 meters. For sample action footage using the ROAM Watersports Kit, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-watersports-mounts

Pricing and Availability
Available today from Contour.com and select retailers, the kits are priced at $79.99 for Snow Mounts, $79.99 for Bike Mounts, $99.99 for Moto Mounts, $59.99 for Outdoor Mounts and $59.99 for Helmet Mounts. The ROAM Watersports Kit is also available at Contour.com for $249.99. Products are also available at major sports retailers including REI and backcountry.com; and consumer electronics retailers, including Amazon.com and crutchfield.com.

About Contour
Seattle-based Contour makes it easy for people to capture and share life’s epic moments. With award-winning, hands-free HD video cameras, apps and accessories; active people, athletes and professional filmmakers can outfit themselves with easy-to-use solutions for creating, broadcasting and sharing engaging videos. The company has become synonymous with hands-free, POV cameras and social video tools, topping charts for RED Dot’s design award, Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies, the INC. 500 list and CNET’s Editor’s Choice award. For more information, visit www.contour.com

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Weekend guide: All about Avengers

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Peter Jackson Responds to ‘Hobbit’ Footage Critics, Explains 48-Frames Strategy

Shrugging off the mixed reaction that greeted ten minutes of unfinished footage from The Hobbit, which screened earlier this week at the Cinemacon exhibitors convention in Las Vegas, director Peter Jackson told the Hollywood Reporter, “It wasn’t particularly surprising because it is something new.”

CinemaCon 2012: Warner Bros. to Preview ‘The Hobbit’Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ Should Hit Theaters at 48-Per-Second Frame Rate

The Oscar-winning director is filming The Hobbit, his two-part 3D prequel to The Lord of the Rings at the higher frame rate of 48 frames per second. Movies have been shot and projected at a standard rate of 24 frames per second since the arrival of talkies, and the new technique results in a dramatically different aesthetic look.

“A lot of the critical response I was reading was people saying it’s different. Well, yes, it certainly is,” Jackson, speaking by phone from New Zealand, said. “But I think, ultimately, it is different in a positive way, especially for 3D, especially for epic films and films that are trying to immerse the viewer in the experience of a story.”

Jackson’s epic, which Warners will release Dec. 14, will be the first major motion picture to be made in 48 fps – a different aesthetic look that Jackson believes can result in smoother, more lifelike pictures.

PHOTOS: The Scene at Cinemacon

While many at the crowded showroom at Caesars Palace applauded the depth and detail in the large-scale battle sequences, some found more intimate daylight sequences too crisp and bright, complaining that they looked more like HD video and that the new process sacrificed a traditional “cinematic” feeling.

A number of bloggers, whose opinions quickly ricocheted across the web, found fault with the 48 fps footage. On the popular fanboy web site Aint-It-Cool-News, Moisés Chiullan, writing under the name 
”Monty Cristo,” offered a mixed assessment but provided the anti-48 fps forces with a rallying cry when he reported that some “people said that all the brief clips ‘felt’ like the 1970 I, Claudius in HD,” a reference to a 40-year-old British TV series. Devin Faraci of BadAssDigest.com tweeted, “Oh no. Not a fan of 48fps. Oh no no no,” adding that “THE HOBBIT, frankly, did not look cinematic.”

Jackson acknowledged that the short, ten-minute clip package — ranging from action sequences to quieter moments between Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis‘ Gollum – may have been too brief for viewers to acclimate to the new process.

“It does take you a while to get used to,” he said. “Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more. Another thing that I think is a factor is it’s different to look at a bunch of clips and some were fast-cutting, montage-style clips. This is different experience than watching a character and story unfold.”

Because of that, he isn’t planning to release a 48 fps trailer for the movie. “I personally wouldn’t advocate a 48-frame trailer because the 48 frames is something you should experience with the entire film. A 2 1/2 minute trailer isn’t enough time to adjust to the immersive quality.”

STORY: Peter Jackson Debuts ‘The Hobbit’ Footage

Jackson himself has grown accustomed to watching 48fps imagery. He watches dailies in 48 frames every day, sometimes two hours worth.

“You get used to it reasonably quickly,” he said, commenting that now when he views traditional 24 frames footage, “I’m very aware of the strobing, the flicker and the artifacts.”

“We have obviously seen cuts of our movie at 48 and in a relatively short amount of time you have forgotten (the frame rate change). It is a more immersive and in 3D a gentler way to see the film.”

Jackson also explained the footage presented at Cinemacon would look different once it goes through the post-production process.

Because production is not scheduled to wrap until July, the customary postproduction that affects the overall look of a film has not yet been done, so the clips were unfinished. They were not yet color corrected, nor had the visual effects been completed. (In various scenes the actors were shown performing in front of a greenscreen.)

Jackson explained that his original The Lord of the Rings used various postproduction techniques to create a certain look for the movies, including “extensive” digital color grading, “added texture, and we took out highlights.”

“We’ll do the same with The Hobbit, to make it consistent and give it the feeling of otherworldliness – to get the mood, the tone, the feel of the different scenes,” he said. “We are certainly going to experiment with different finishing techniques to give the 48 frames a look that is more organic. But that work isn’t due to start until we wrap photography in July (both Hobbit films are being shot simultaneously).”

Jackson is also lensing the movie – which is being shot in 3D, a first for the franchise – using Red Epic cameras with 3Ality Technica 3D rigs.

The Red Epic, Jackson explained, allowed him to shoot in 5K resolution. (5K refers to the number of horizontal pixels that compose a frame.) Today, movies are generally lensed and projected at 2K, though the industry is moving in the direction of 4K.

“It is very clean. On a 5K camera you are seeing very crisp pictures,” he said. “Part of the digital grading will give those incredibly sharp pictures a texture and a feeling that we want the film to have. We haven’t done that yet. What you saw [at CinemaCon, in terms of “crispness”] is partly due to the lack of motion blur (from the high frame rate) and partly due to the camera (in terms of resolution).”

While the Cinemacon footage may have suggested the direction in which Jackson is heading, he added, “People haven’t experienced it yet in the way it should be experienced.”

In contrast to the first wave of skeptical tweets, a sampling of reaction from exhibitors, studio executives and producers at Cinemacon found many saying that 48 fps represents the wave of the future.

At one panel, Regal CEO Amy Miles said her circuit is committed to 48 frame rates, and that technological advances are key to a thriving in the exhibition business. “We have to evolve. We want to make sure we can deliver options. At Regal, we will be ready and able to provide that experience,” Miles said.

Producer Neal Moritz (Fast Five, 21 Jump Street) likened the reaction to the 48 fps footage to the first reactions to digital cameras, which wasn’t initially embraced by many filmmakers. “Now, every filmmaker wants digital. It just takes getting used to and this is no different,” he said.

IMAX Filmed Entertainment chairman Greg Foster said it amounts to a generational issue, and that all the kids who have grown up watching digital television find it easy to accept movies projected at 48 fps.

“It’s older people like me who will have a reaction, but there is no doubt it is here. Every filmmaker likes it,” Foster said. “And what a great way to start with The Hobbit.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment vice chairman Jeff Blake agreed that technological gains such as the move to 48 frame rates “revitalizes” the business.

A year ago at the 2011 edition of CinemaCon, James Cameron argued that higher frame rates offer an “enhanced sense of detail” and “enhanced clarity,” and he demonstrated the potential with test footage that was generally well received. Cameron showed those clips in comparison with the same scenes in 24fps where motion blur and other artifacts were visible.

But Jackson doesn’t believe 48fps is right for every movie, and he even proposed that different frame rates be mixed into a single film. “As another creative tool, I think (high frame rates) is a really important thing,” he said.

He also believes such options are important for exhibition. “As an industry there is a certain amount of trouble that we are in; kids seem to think watching a movie on an iPad is an okay think to do,” he said. “Advocating that we have to stick with what we know [24 fps] I think is a slightly narrow mined way of looking at things when as an industry we are facing declining audiences. We have to find ways to make it more vibrant, more immersive – something that will encourage people to come back to the theaters for that experience.”