• Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019
Panavision, Light Iron provide support for "Brittany Runs a Marathon"
A scene from "Brittany Runs a Marathon"
NEW YORK -- 

Brittany Runs a Marathon, the directorial debut of Paul Downs Colaizzo, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and got snatched up by Amazon. The film’s cinematographer Seamus Tierney had the backing of the Panavision family of services, including camera support and Light Iron postproduction.

“I knew Panavision equipment very well and that Marni Zimmerman and Sal Giarratano at Panavision New York would have my back—whatever I needed they would get it for me,” said Tierney.

The film is about a carefree woman whose life crashes down around her, prompting her on a journey of self-discovery and an unlikely entry in a marathon.

Tierney’s camera package included a couple Panavised ARRI Alexa Studio XT cameras with Panavision Primo Prime lenses and a 19-90mm Primo Compact Zoom. “I’m not much of a zoom guy,” he remarked, “but I fell in love with the 19-90 zoom so much that I ordered another for our B camera and lived on those after the first couple of days. It was the most streamlined way to go.”

Tierney came on to the production late, as can happen sometimes. “I didn’t want to come in and just change it all,” he said, “but Paul was very open and adaptable to the visuals. I lit with soft, directional lighting that allowed us to shoot almost 360 degrees. Coupled with those zoom lenses, we could plan shots on the fly, like working in free-form jazz.

“Having not been part of choosing the visual language in preproduction,” he continued, “I had a lot of questions, and Panavision, and later Light Iron, were instrumental in helping me get up to speed quickly.”

Knowing Light Iron in New York also was part of the process that put Tierney at ease. “I’ve done a bunch of movies with Light Iron, and all their colorists are great,” he said. “Luckily, we had Sean Dunckley. He color-graded my last film (Like Father), so we had a ball coloring this one. We already had a pretty good shorthand.”

Because of their previous sessions, Dunckley was able to work ahead some, shaping the image and taking down the exposure on walls--things Tierney usually thought about first. “We were able to move quicker through it,” Dunckley noted. “There were four stages in this film, each with a very identifiable look that follows the character’s journey. The transitions from one life stage to another were the trickiest and where we spent our most time.”

Though some marathon scenes were recreated, the production shot other scenes during the actual New York City Marathon. Stock footage filled the gaps.

“The director wanted that sequence to look real and slightly documentarian,” Dunckley said. “He enjoyed seeing these contrasting images from different cameras. What time I did spend was in getting the skies to match more closely.”

The film was graded with a Baselight at 2K resolution in P3 DCI color space for the Sundance Film Festival screening. After the film was acquired by Amazon, Dunckley and the filmmakers produced Rec 709 and HDR (high dynamic range) deliverables.

“When you’ve been doing an entire film in standard dynamic range and then you go to the larger dynamic range of HDR, it feels like it has so much more contrast,” Dunckley noted. “Nothing was baked into the image pipeline, so I easily did a combination of opening up the shadows and bringing down the highlights where needed to balance the contrast with whatever the moment is taking place in the film. It was a great experience having Séamus in the room; he’s always thinking outside of the box.”

“I am proud of the way the film came out,” Tierney said. “It was a challenge for sure to come into a project that I had not started from the get-go, but I knew that and with support from Panavision, Sean, and Light Iron, I could make the best of the situation. In fact, it was a freeing experience to rely purely on instinct with them having my back.”

  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019
U.S. tech industry becomes hotbed for employee activism
In this Aug. 22, 2019, photo Liz O'Sullivan, technology director at Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), poses for a photo in New York. O’Sullivan, considers herself part of a “growing backlash against unethical tech,” a groundswell in the past two years in which U.S. tech employees have tried to remake the industry from the inside out, pushing for more control over how their work is used and urging better conditions, job security and wages for affiliated workers. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

When Liz O'Sullivan was hired at the New York City-based artificial intelligence company Clarifai in 2017, she felt lucky to find work at the intersection of two of her main interests: technology and ethics. Two years later, she found herself facing a moral dilemma.

Clarifai was developing aerial photography and object detection tools as one of several companies working on Project Maven, a Pentagon drone surveillance program. After several conversations with friends and colleagues, O'Sullivan realized this type of technology eventually could be used for autonomous weapons.

In January, she wrote to Clarifai CEO Matt Zeiler on behalf of a group of employees, seeking clarification on whether the technology would be used to create weapons and asking him to commit to a series of ethical measures. Zeiler later explained at a meeting that Clarifai likely would provide tech for autonomous weapons. O'Sullivan quit the next day.

"I was very surprised and had to follow my conscience," she said. Zeiler and Clarifai did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. In a 2018 blog, Zeiler defended Clarifai's involvement in Project Maven, saying it aligned with the company's mission of accelerating human progress with continually improving AI.

O'Sullivan, 34, considers herself part of a "growing backlash against unethical tech," a groundswell in the past two years in which U.S. tech employees have tried to remake the industry from the inside out — pushing for more control over how their work is used and urging better conditions, job security and wages for affiliated workers.

While some speak out and others sign petitions and attend rallies, workers are collectively taking action like never before:

  • Amazon and Microsoft employees demanded the companies stop providing services to software company Palantir, which provides technology to federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Army.
  • Amazon employees also have urged the company to transition to renewable energy and confronted CEO Jeff Bezos at a shareholder meeting.
  • Following last year's walkouts over Google's handling of sexual misconduct cases, employees signed a letter protesting Project Dragonfly, a search engine that would comply with Chinese censorship.
  • Staff at Salesforce, Microsoft and Google have protested their companies' ties to Customs and Border Protection, ICE and the military.

Despite six-figure salaries and unlimited vacation time, many tech workers are questioning the effects of their work and joining forces with their more precarious blue-collar, service and contract-worker counterparts, pressing for better work conditions and pay.

"It's unprecedented, both the magnitude of the power of these companies and the willingness of white-collar employees to shake themselves of the privilege that they have and to really see the impact of the work they're doing," said Veena Dubal, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law who has interviewed dozens of tech workers involved in organizing.

They're feeling emboldened because of national and global "existential crises" and the realization that tech companies "have more power than any multinational corporation has had in a long time," Dubal said.

The phenomenon is particularly strong in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Salesforce, Google and Palantir, among others. The bastion of activism and progressive culture has been hit hard by the tech boom's housing affordability crisis.

"There's a lot of power (that) people are being asked to build for the shareholders of these companies and the management of these companies," said Ian Busher, 28, a former contract analyst for Google and an organizer with the Bay Area chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. "If you want to make the world a better place, you should exercise judgment and democracy with the people you're working with to build these tools."

Facebook and Palantir did not respond to requests for comment.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on employee activism but noted the Seattle-based company is committed to sustainability and said it provides good pay and benefits and humane conditions at its warehouses. At the stakeholder meeting, Bezos didn't directly address employees' renewable energy demands but referred to some sustainability efforts already underway.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company, headquartered in the Seattle area, appreciates employee feedback, respects differing views and provides "many avenues for all voices to be heard."

A Google spokesperson did not comment on specific incidents but emphasized that retaliation is prohibited and pointed to CEO Sundar Pichai's previous statements on worker dissent.

"There are many things good about giving employees a lot of voice," he said at a November conference. "There are decisions we make which they may not agree with."

Congress has begun to aggressively scrutinize the industry in recent years, and the Justice Department last month launched an investigation into big tech companies amid antitrust allegations. A recent Pew Research Center survey indicated Americans have an increasingly negative view of tech's effect on the country.

"As an employee in the tech sector right now, there is a fair bit of guilt or (asking), 'What is my responsibility?'" said Kellie McElhaney, a professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Amr Gaber, 32, a Google engineer, was among several tech workers at a July demonstration in front of Facebook's San Francisco office supporting cafeteria workers seeking a new contract. He said although the white-collar workers are more privileged, they're all working people.

"Our fortunes are tied together," Gaber said. "If the (companies) can't even treat the people who work for them well, then how can we expect them to have a positive impact on society?"

There's evidence companies are listening.

Google and Facebook pledged to pay contract workers better and provide some benefits. Google ended forced arbitration for sexual misconduct cases after its employees walked out. Following employee outcry, Google declined to renew its contract with the Pentagon for work on Project Maven.

When employees asked Microsoft to cancel its contract with ICE, CEO Satya Nadella clarified that the company was not contributing to family separations at the border but supporting email, calendar and document systems.

A Salesforce spokesperson said conversations with employees led the company to create the Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology and "hire a chief ethical and humane use officer to develop guidelines and evaluate situations around the ethical use and development of our technology."

In the wake of concerns about tech's impact on the Bay Area housing crisis, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff this year gave $30 million to UC San Francisco to research homelessness, after donating $6 million to the city last year to help provide supportive housing for the formerly homeless. Pichai, Google's CEO, also pledged $1 billion to build 20,000 homes over a decade.

Such responsiveness is good for business and for building trust with customers and employees who are more inclined to express their demands, according to McElhaney.

"Those who are not responding are ... missing a huge ocean liner that's already left the dock," she said.

Still, some tech workers say the companies' efforts fall short. In some cases, employees have said they've seen or experienced retaliation after they or others have spoken out.

"We say that tech workers have a lot of power, but tech executives have more," said O'Sullivan, who quit on principle and now has a job at a young tech company pursuing transparency in the use of artificial intelligence. "The best way to impact change is through legislation and regulation."

  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019
MovieLabs and Hollywood studios publish white paper on future of media creation technology
Richard Berger, CEO of MovieLabs
LOS ANGELES -- 

A new white paper presenting an industry vision for the future of media creation technology by 2030 has been published. Jointly authored by Motion Pictures Laboratories, Inc. (MovieLabs) and technology leadership teams from Hollywood studios, the paper paints a bold picture of future technology and discusses the need for the industry to work together now on innovative new software, hardware and production workflows to support and enable new ways to create content over the next ten years. 
 
The 2030 Vision paper (available for free download on the MovieLabs website) lays out key principles that will form the foundation of this technological future, with examples and a discussion of the broader implications of each. The key principles envision a future in which:
 

  • 1.      All assets are created or ingested straight into the cloud and do not need to be moved.
  • 2.      Applications come to the media.
  • 3.      Propagation and distribution of assets is a “publish” function.
  • 4.      Archives are deep libraries with access policies matching speed, availability and security to the economics of the cloud.
  • 5.      Preservation of digital assets includes the future means to access and edit them.
  • 6.      Every individual on a project is identified and verified, and their access permissions are efficiently and consistently managed.
  • 7.      All media creation happens in a highly secure environment that adapts rapidly to changing threats.
  • 8.      Individual media elements are referenced, accessed, tracked and interrelated using a universal linking system.
  • 9.      Media workflows are non-destructive and dynamically created using common interfaces, underlying data formats and metadata.
  • 10.     Workflows are designed around real-time iteration and feedback.

 
The publication of the paper will be supported with a panel discussion at the IBC Conference in Amsterdam. The panel, titled “Hollywood’s Vision for the Future of Production in 2030,” will include senior technology leaders from five major Hollywood motion picture studios and will take place on Sunday, September 15 at 2:15pm at the IBC Conference in the Forum room of the RAI Amsterdam Conference Centre. 
 
Richard Berger, CEO of MovieLabs, said: “While the next ten years will bring significant opportunities, there are still major challenges and inherent inefficiencies in our production workflows that threaten to limit our future ability to innovate. We have been working closely with studio technology leaders and strategizing how to integrate new technologies that empower filmmakers to create ever more  compelling content with more speed and efficiency. By laying out these principles publicly, we hope to catalyze an industry dialog and fuel innovation, encouraging companies and organizations to help us deliver on these ideas.”

Anthony Guarino, EVP, worldwide technical operations, Paramount Pictures, stated, “The MovieLabs 2030 Vision Paper is the culmination of the technological opportunities emerging  today that the major stakeholders in entertainment—particularly movie studios—are committed to making available for mainstream productions over the next decade. Ideally, the white paper becomes a catalyst for all participants in our industry to confidently make the technology development investments needed to underpin the next-generation workflows and guiding principles. Paramount Pictures looks forward to working with production service partners to encourage development efforts that will bring forward solutions that support this vision.” 

Sony Pictures CTO Don Eklund, said, “Sony Pictures Entertainment has a deep appreciation for the role that current and future technologies play in content creation. As a subsidiary of a technology focused company, we benefit from the power of Sony R&D and Sony’s product groups. The MovieLabs 2030 document represents the contribution of multiple studios to forecast and embrace the impact that cloud, ML, and a range of hardware and software will have on our industry. We consider this a living document that will evolve over time and provide appreciated insight.”

Michael Wise, SVP and CTO, Universal Pictures, added, “With film production experiencing unprecedented growth, and new innovative forms of storytelling capturing our audiences’ attention, we’re proud to be collaborating across the industry to envision new technological paradigms for our filmmakers so we can efficiently deliver worldwide audiences compelling entertainment.” 
 
Shadi Almassizadeh, VP, motion picture architecture and engineering, Walt Disney Pictures and Television, said, “Disney looks forward to working with the industry to strategically integrate technology developments into the production process over the next ten years.” 

Vicky Colf, CTO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., stated, “In today’s entertainment landscape, creativity and technological innovation are inextricably linked. The MovieLabs 2030 vision does the important work of focusing on technology tools and processes which enable content creator artistry and ingenuity, while delivering efficiency, agility, and security to the ever evolving production environment.” 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019
Aussie sci-fi film "Quanta" shot on URSA Mini Pro and graded with DaVinci Resolve
A scene from "Quanta"
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has announced the new sci fi film “Quanta” was shot entirely on an URSA Mini Pro, while grading was done using DaVinci Resolve Studio. The film is one of the first globally distributed films by the new Melbourne-based film production company and film collective Raygun, and will begin distribution in the U.S. and other countries in August.

“Quanta,” shot in Melbourne, tells the story of a weary physicist and an egotistical grad student who discover an immense source of information from an unknown signal in space, but face a clash of ideals with how to handle this unprecedented resource. The director on the film, Nathan Dalton, is an Australian filmmaker who has written and directed numerous award winning short films, music videos and corporate videos. Along with filmmakers Samuel Baulch, Jesse O’Brien, Christian D’Alessi, Sasha Dalton, Dalton founded Raygun Films, which has already completed a number of films using various Blackmagic Design products and DaVinci Resolve Studio software.

“Quanta” takes place in Melbourne, and Dalton used the URSA Mini Pro as the exclusive camera for the film. He wanted to capture the intense sense of foreboding coming from discovering a mysterious alien signal, as well as the vibrant life and city of Melbourne.

“For most of the film I wanted to create a sense of dark and moody. Images that made people think there is something out there just beyond sight. We used a lot of low lighting and we tried to bring in a lot of blues and greens with the LUT that we built in Resolve and used with the URSA Mini Pro,” Dalton said. “Also, we had to create high quality sci fi images, but at the same time on a low budget. The URSA Mini Pro let me do that without compromising on image quality.”

The film showed more than just dark and foreboding images. It was important for Dalton and his crew to capture the color and energy of Melbourne. This meant shooting in crowded venues that showcased a huge amount of different colors.

“There were two distinctly different scenes where the URSA Mini Pro’s color science and dynamic range stood out. In one scene, a main character was in a dark room where a computer signal was being put directly into a characters brain in front a computer. At the other end of the spectrum we shot a scene with 20 to 30 extras in a pub during a trivia night party that had an amazing amount of different colors. The URSA Mini Pro let me capture all the details we needed even in low lighting, while bringing out the warmth of the lighting and skin tones at the trivia night. You just really appreciate the color science in the camera,” he said.

Color correction and LUT development on “Quanta” was completed using DaVinci Resolve Studio.

“When we were trying to dial in the look and feel of the film, we used Resolve to create an initial LUT and a finished grade that brought in the subtle blues and greens that we needed to create a sense of foreboding,” he continued. “And beyond that, the workflow between URSA Mini Pro and Resolve could not be simpler. There was no wasted time or money on transcoding because we were able to shoot in RAW and bring the footage right into Resolve.”

Many of Raygun’s other films and projects also use DaVinci Resolve. “Blackmagic Design as a company is a game changer. We are able to affordably shoot and handle post production without compromising on quality. We are creating Hollywood level films, and Blackmagic has been part of what has allowed us to make the jump into starting our own film production company,” Dalton said.

  • Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
IABM gears up for IBC2019
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK -- 

IABM, the international trade association for broadcast and media technology suppliers, will have a major presence at IBC2019--set for September 13-17 in Amsterdam--to support its 500+ member companies. Member services at the show include lounges, meeting rooms and IABM TV. In addition, IABM is continuing its mission to share knowledge and reward innovation across the industry with a series of inclusive events. IABM will also be distributing its Strategic Industry Analysis special report at the show, featuring up to the moment research on the state and direction of the industry carried out in the run-up to IBC2019 by the IABM Business Intelligence Unit.

The show-opening IABM State of the Industry breakfast session is on Friday, September 13, at 7.45am in the Forum, under the banner “Seeing clearly in the cloud – strategies for business transformation.” The session kicks off with a run-down of the latest IABM research findings on how the supply and buying sides of the industry are faring, and where we are heading next.

The broadcast and media industry is at the tipping point of its transformation to an on-demand, data-driven world with the cloud at its heart. Every level of our industry is being disrupted – people, technology and business practices. Powered by IABM’s business and technology insights with expert presentations and an interactive debate, the session will explore the challenges and opportunities of transformation to a cloud media ecosystem. Panellists include: David Kline, chief information & technology officer, Viacom; Timothy Shoulders, president, Grass Valley, a Belden Brand; Morwen Williams, head of UK operations, BBC News; and Bhavik Vyas, head of M&E Global Partnerships and Alliances, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
 
IABM Future Trends Theatre in the IBC Future Zone
Following its successful debut at IBC2018, the IABM Future Trends Theatre returns for this year’s show with more than twice as many presentations across a huge range of future-looking topics. The presentations are designed to give attendees an understanding of new technology and business trends and how they can enable business plans now; to illustrate this with practical, real-world use-cases; and look beyond the horizon at emerging technologies that will bring new possibilities. The IABM Future Trends Theatre is running from September 14-17.

Future Zone Launch Party
IABM has gotten together with the IET to launch the Future Zone with a bang on September 13, 5pm – 7pm. With an international guest list from the broadcast and media industry, the Future Zone Launch Party will provide an ideal opportunity for networking with colleagues, competitors, visitors and the wider industry at a fun and relaxing event where attendees can exchange views and ideas at the end of the first day of the show. 

BaM Awards® party
Saturday, September 14, 6pm: The IBC2019 edition of the BaM Awards® has attracted a record 189 entries--a clear demonstration of the value to innovators of the industry’s only truly independent technology awards. IABM’s BaM Awards® recognize outstanding innovation in each of 10 categories across the entire BaM Content Chain®. Open to all IABM members and the trade press, the BaM Awards® party celebrates and rewards the winners with IABM’s coveted BaM® winners’ sculptures--the culmination of an arduous judging process carried out by IABM’s panel of 40+ independent experts over the weeks running up to IBC Show. As well as giving attendees a first-hand view of the top innovators, the BaM Awards® party is also a prime networking opportunity. 

IABM member lounges and meeting rooms
IABM will have two member lounges at IBC2019--in the Hall 8 foyer and on Level 2 in the Amtrium (Hall 4)--the latter with bookable meeting rooms. With ample seating and Wi-Fi available, the lounges are a great location to conduct meetings or to catch up on business in a quiet, stress-free environment.

IABM TV
IABM TV will be relaying members’ news from the show floor and covering panels on developments in each segment of the Bam Content Chain® as well as presentations to continue growing the Knowledge Vault on the IABM website into the industry’s most comprehensive and up-to-the-minute reference resource.

“Once again, we’ve pulled out all the stops to help our members get the most out of their investment in IBC,” said Peter White, CEO, IABM. “As well as supporting their activities, we’re also providing unique platforms for engagement and the exchange of ideas across the industry to help everyone do better business now and also be prepared for the future as the rate of transformation in broadcast and media continues to accelerate.”

  • Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019
Lineup set for SMPTE tech conference & exhibition
LOS ANGELES & WHITE PLAINS, NY -- 

SMPTE® has set the full event lineup for its annual technical conference and exhibition, a forum for the exploration of media and entertainment technology. SMPTE 2019 will be held Oct. 21-24 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. 

SMPTE VP of education Sara J. Kudrle will co-chair the SMPTE 2019 technical program committee along with Thomas Edwards, VP of engineering and development at Fox.

A redesigned conference schedule this year features concurrent sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Over those three days, 40 papers will address topics including machine learning and artificial intelligence technology in professional content creation; new compression techniques and implementations; putting SMPTE ST 2110 into practice; leveraging SMPTE ST 2110 for live production; cinema processing and projection technology; the cloud; advances in audio; standards-based security in collaborative media spaces; 8K, 4K, UHD, HDR, and high frame rates; perceptual color quality metrics; new production workflows; and access and the global community of technology. Thursday, the final day of the conference, will be “Space Day.”

In addition to a wealth of technical sessions and exhibitions of advanced technologies, SMPTE 2019 will include special events, including sponsored “pop-up” happy hours that offer numerous opportunities for face-to-face interaction among attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.

The SMPTE 2019 All-Access Pass includes all conference sessions, as well as admission to the exhibition, the daily rooftop buffet lunch, and the Opening Night BBQ. Attendees with this registration package will also receive access to download available papers and presentations from the conference sessions. Tickets for other special events may be added during registration at an additional cost.

The SMPTE 2019 Daily Pass includes admission to the conference sessions, exhibition, and buffet lunch for the day(s) selected. Tickets for special events may be added during registration at an additional cost.

The SMPTE 2019 Exhibits-Only Pass is free for students and SMPTE Members this year. It includes admission only to the exhibition. Tickets for special events may be added during registration.

Complete information about SMPTE 2019, including a detailed schedule and registration, is available here.

 

  • Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019
Ex-Googler Tristan Harris Contends Tech "Downgrades" Humans
Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, speaks to The Associated Press during a round-table discussion on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in New York. Harris says he's concerned about people's addiction to technology, thanks to tools that major technology companies employ to persuade people to spend more time on their services. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

Tristan Harris wants to reverse the harmful effects he believes technology has had on all of us.

Harris, a former Google design ethicist, first rose to national awareness after a presentation he gave within Google in 2013 spread throughout the industry. In it, he argued that many tech products were designed to be addictive, causing people to spend too much time on them and distracting them from living their lives. He urged designers to alter their approach.

Harris spent more than two years pushing change within Google, but says he couldn't get traction. So he quit and started a movement called Time Well Spent, which eventually pushed companies such as Apple and Google to build screen time usage metrics and tools into their phones.

He has since widened his focus, having decided that many issues facing society today are actually connected and can be traced, at least partly, to the design of technologies we use every day.

The goal of his organization, the Center for Humane Technology, is to reverse human "downgrading," or the idea that technology is shortening our attention spans, pushing people toward more extreme views and making it harder to find common ground. In short: technology has caused humanity to worsen, and Harris wants to help fix it.

Harris recently spoke about his work, the tech industry's progress so far, and why all hope is not lost. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Q: Could you tell us the important ideas of your work?

A: This isn't about addiction, it's not about time. It's about what we call "human downgrading." It's a phrase that we came up with to describe something we don't think people are acknowledging as a connected system.

Technology is causing a set of seemingly disconnected things —shortening of attention spans, polarization, outrage-ification of culture, mass narcissism, election engineering, addiction to technology. These seem like separate problems, and we're actually saying that these are all predictable consequences of a race between technology companies to figure out how to scoop attention out of your brain.

Q: Where is the central place to fight this multifaceted problem that you've outlined?

A: Much like you say, "How do you solve climate change?" Do you just get people to turn off their light bulbs? No. Do you pass some policy? Yes. But is that enough? No. Do you have to work collaboratively with the oil companies to change what they're doing? Yes. Do you have to pass laws and mandates and bans?

You have to do all these things. You have to have a mass cultural awareness. You have to have everybody wake up.

This is like the social climate change of culture. So working on internal advocacy and having people on the inside of tech companies feel, frankly, guilty, and ask, "what is my legacy in this thing that's happening to society?"

We work on the internal advocacy. We work on public pressure and policy.

Q: How do you work with companies, and how are they taking to your vision?

A: Doing it from the inside didn't do anything when the cultural catch-up wasn't there. But now in a world post-Cambridge Analytica, post the success of Time Well Spent, post more whistleblowers coming out and talking about the problem, we do have conversations with people on the inside who I think begrudgingly accept or respect this perspective.

I think that there might be some frustration from some of the people who are at the YouTubes and Facebooks of the world whose business models are completely against the things we're advocating for. But we've also gotten Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Apple and Android to launch Time Well Spent features through some kind of advocacy with them.

Q: Is there a path that you try to help map out for these companies?

A: They're not going to do it voluntarily. But with lots of outside pressure, shareholder activism, a public that realizes they've been lied to by the companies, that all starts to change.
There are multiple business models — subscription is one.
Would you pay $8 a month to a Facebook that didn't have any interest in manipulating your brain, basically making you as vulnerable as possible to advertisers, who are their true customers? I think people might pay for that.
So our policy agenda is to make the current business model more expensive and to make the alternatives less expensive.

Q: Washington is now in a huge debate about privacy and data and misinformation. Will that process deal with the causes that you care about by default?

A: I actually worry that we're so mindlessly following the herd on privacy and data being the principle concerns when the actual things that are affecting the felt sense of your life and where your time goes, where your attention goes, where democracy goes, where teen mental health goes, where outrage goes. Those things are so much more consequential to the outcomes of elections and what culture looks like.

Those issues connected together have to be named as an impact area of technology. There has to be regulation that addresses that.

My concern about how the policy debate is going is everyone is just angry at Big Tech. And that's not actually productive, because it's not just the bigness that is the problem. We have to name that the business model is the problem.

Q: Don't people have individual agency? Are we really in the thrall of tech companies and their software?

A: There's this view that we should have more self-control or that people are responsible for whatever they see.
That hides an asymmetry of power. Like when you think, "I'm going to go to Facebook just to look at this one post from a friend," and then you find yourself scrolling for two hours.

In that moment, Facebook wakes up a voodoo doll-like version of you in a supercomputer. The voodoo doll of you is based on all the clicks you've ever made, all the likes you've ever done, all the things you've ever watched. The idea is that as this becomes a better and more accurate model of you, I know you better than you know yourself.

We always borrow this from E. O. Wilson, the sociobiologist: the problem of humans is that we have Paleolithic brains, medieval institutions and godlike technology. Our medieval institutions can only stay in control of what's happening at a slow clock rate of every four years. Our primitive brains are getting hijacked and are super primitive compared to godlike tech.

Q: Do you feel there's awareness (within tech companies) that you wouldn't have thought existed two years ago?

A: There has been a sea change. For four years, I was watching how no one was really accepting or working on or addressing any of these issues. And then suddenly in the last two years — because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, because of "60 Minutes," because of Roger McNamee's book "Zucked." I would have never suspected that Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, would be saying it's time to break up Facebook.
I've seen an enormous amount of change in the last three years and I can only bank on the fact that the clip at which things are starting to change is accelerating. I just want to give you hope that I would have never expected so much to start changing that is now changing. And we just need that pressure to continue.

  • Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
SHED's Shotgun approach works on commercials
Bud Light Flavors spot
MONTREAL -- 

Production manager and CG supervisor François Hogue joined SHED Montreal in January 2019, where he took the lead on spearheading a new pipeline solution. Hogue selected Shotgun initially for production management, budgeting and review, having previously implemented the solution successfully at his former company Moment Factory. 

Prior to integrating Shotgun, SHED had no central database for storing information on frame count, shots, dailies or review notes, and communication bottlenecks among artists and supervisors often bogged down SHED’s workflows. “Information for a particular project might be in 10 different places, and verbal comments and notes taken during a review session might be lost altogether,” noted SHED pipeline developer Thibault Houdon, “By reengineering our pipeline with Shotgun, we now have a central location to store and share everything, increasing the team’s productivity and eliminating any communication difficulties by streamlining review.”

SHED utilized this for a national Bud Light Flavors ad campaign which entailed creating nearly 40 different deliverables for broadcast, web, social and print.

  • Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
ARRI marks M18's 10th anniversary
ARRI M18 daylight lamphead
MUNICH, Germany -- 

To mark the 10th anniversary of its M18 daylight lamphead, ARRI is offering a special edition of the fixture, limited to 500 units. The lampheads, printed with the anniversary logo on the housing, are being shipped starting this month.

The M18 was presented for the first time in 2009 at the IBC as the second model of the M-Series after the large ARRIMAX. The compact, powerful 1,800 W daylight lamphead combines the optical system of the ARRIMAX--which received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences--with the design of the True Blue Series.

Since its launch, the M18 has enjoyed great popularity. Recently, it provided light for the feature film productions Dunkirk and Sauerkrautkoma as well as for the series Dark, Parfum, and The Alienist.  Even after 10 years, no significant changes have been made to the certified system.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K deployed on music videos
Pentatonix on the set
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Director/videographer Ben Hausdorff used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to shoot music videos for Pentatonix’s new Ariana Grande medley, as well as for Kirstin Maldonado’s cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love.”

Pentatonix is a three time Grammy® Award winning and multi platinum selling group. Hausdorff has worked on a number of music videos, BTS videos for the band’s YouTube channel and concert videos for both Pentatonix and Maldonado (who’s also a Pentatonix member).

The music video of the Grande medley captured the  harmonies of the five members of the Pentatonix group singing together, and was one of the fastest trending videos on YouTube, gaining more than five million views in less than a month.
One of the aspects of the camera that Hausdorff found especially useful was the large monitor on its back. “It is always better when the members of Pentatonix can see the result of each take, but with most cameras’ monitors it is not possible because they are so small and do not show a quality image. But with the Pocket Cinema Camera’s large back monitor, they could all see exactly what they needed with each shot.”

For Maldonado’s new cover, Hausdorff used the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K with a larger lighting set up than with the Pentatonix video. This video was also run and gun style, with Hausdorff constantly moving and capturing Maldonado singing in front five other musicians. “We wanted to get a real cinema look and feel for the video, but also capture a warm feel to it. At the same time we did not have the budget to go out and rent a lot of gear. The Pocket camera produces cinema quality images in such a small design that I was able to just use that camera and be as mobile as I needed to be,” said Hausdorff.

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