• Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020
ARRI lights up with GM Ivo Ivanovski
Ivo Ivanovski
STEPHANSKIRCHEN, Germany -- 

Ivo Ivanovski will join ARRI as general manager of business unit lighting, effective August 1. Together with GM Markus Lampier, Ivanovski will manage ARRI’s lighting business unit out of the facility in Stephanskirchen, Germany. 

Ivanovski will be responsible for demand creation including the areas of product management, application engineering, service, sales, and marketing. Ivanovski will report directly to Markus Zeiler, executive board member of ARRI.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020
DP Cookes up look for "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels"
"Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" (photo by John Conroy)
LEICESTER, UK -- 

When it came time for cinematographer John Conroy to develop the look for Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels spin-off, he already had eight episodes of lensing the original Penny Dreadful under his belt. A major part of the look for the spin-off would come from using Cooke Optics’ S4/i prime lenses and rehoused vintage Cooke Speed Panchro lenses.

Conroy noted, “The original series was set in Victorian gothic London, while City of Angels is set in 1938 Los Angeles — a very different look. That gave us the opportunity to start fresh and create our own vision. For example, the original series was dark with action taking place in shadows, while City of Angels takes place in a very colorful era in a bright and sunny city. It truly was the difference between night and day.”

Conroy explained, “We used four ARRI ALEXA Mini cameras in 3.2K 16:9. We rented a full set of S4/i lenses — all 18 lenses from 12mm to 300mm, as well as two sets of rehoused vintage Speed Panchro primes in 25mm, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths. We did several tests at Panavision to make sure that the Panchros and the S4/i’s matched, with the goal of the two lens families looking seamless to the viewer by the time our colorist got done with the footage.”

Creator and writer John Logan was very specific about not wanting a noir look and feel, but rather embracing the 100-degree heat of Los Angeles. “Our mantra from John was ‘we gotta feel the heat,’” said Conroy, who added that “having 60-70-year-old optics that were designed in the 1920s really helped with that aesthetic.”

  • Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020
Lightstorm deploys Blackmagic for "Avatar" sequels
Geoff Burdick

Lightstorm Entertainment used an extensive array of Blackmagic products, including the Teranex AV, Smart VideoHub 40x40 12G, ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K and more for their recent work during production for the Avatar sequels.

With the release of Avatar in 2009, the company once again proved that there were no limits in filmmaking. But just as the story of the Na’vi will evolve in the sequels, so will the technology behind the films. A key element is the ability to evaluate content as it’s being shot, rather than waiting until postproduction. “We evaluate live camera feeds in a manner as close to the theatrical experience as possible, so we can make real time decisions on set,” said Geoff Burdick, SVP of production services & technology for Lightstorm. “This saves time during shooting, benefits Weta Digital, our visual effects vendor, and helps streamline our postproduction and mastering process.”

This necessitated viewing live feeds from multiple 3D camera systems, simultaneously. “In the past, we viewed live and playback material in 3D HD at 24fps,” said Burdick. “Now, we acquire at 4K 3D, and feed through our pipeline at various resolutions and frame rates.” These include 3D 48fps in 2K and 4K, 3D 24fps in 2K and 4K, and 3D 24fps in HD.

Blackmagic Design provided a unique and comprehensive product set that allowed for numerous solutions throughout the pipeline. The key to the workflow was creating seamless viewing and playback, despite the massive amount of data necessary.  Having the ability to review multiple resolutions and frame rates in real time allowed the team to remain in step with issues that may have gone unnoticed before, only to be found later in post. “

One of Blackmagic’s simplest products became a production workhorse. The Teranex family allowed for a hybrid HD 24fps/4K 48fps workflow on set. 

  • Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2020
Zoom booms as pandemic drives millions to its video service
In this April 23, 2020 file photo, members of the Vermont House of Representatives convene in a Zoom video conference for its first full parliamentary online session in Montpelier, Vt. Zoom Video Communications is rapidly emerging as the latest internet gold mine as millions of people flock to its conferencing service to see colleagues, friends and family while tethered to their homes during the pandemic. The release Tuesday, June 2, 2020 of the once-obscure company's financial results for the February-April period provided a window into the astronomical growth that has turned it into a Wall Street star. (Wilson Ring/Zoom via AP, File)
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) -- 

Zoom Video Communications is rapidly emerging as the latest internet gold mine as millions of people flock to its conferencing service to see colleagues, friends and family while tethered to their homes during the pandemic.

Tuesday's release of the once-obscure company's financial results for the February-April period provided a window into the astronomical growth that has turned it into a Wall Street star.

Zoom's revenue for its fiscal first-quarter more than doubled from the same time last year to $328 million, resulting a profit of $27 million — up from just $198,000 a year ago.

The numbers exceeded analysts' already heightened expectations, providing another lift to a rocketing stock that has more than tripled in price so far this year while the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index has fallen 5%.

After a big run-up leading up to Tuesday's highly anticipated announcement, Zoom's stock initially rose even higher in extended trading. But it abruptly reversed course and fell more than 3% after company executives acknowledged during a video discussion that some of its newfound users might depart during the second half of the year if health worries caused by the novel corornavirus dissipate.

Even if the shares trade in similar fashion during Wednesday's regular session, the stock will still be hovering around $200 — more than five times the company's initial public offering price of $36 less than 14 months ago. 

The surge left Zoom with a market value of about $59 billion through Tuesday — greater than the combined market values of the four largest U.S. airlines, which have seen their businesses hammered by the coronavirus outbreak that has dramatically curtailed travel.

"Videoconferencing is going to become a mainstream service," predicted Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, who co-founded the company nine years ago. He made the remarks during the video conference that at one point attracted more than 3,000 participants, a reflection of the intense interest in the company and its hot stock.

In a sign that the company still expects phenomenal growth in the months ahead, Zoom forecast revenue of roughly $500 million for its current quarter ending in July, more than quadrupling from the same time last year. For its full fiscal year, Zoom now expects revenue of about $1.8 billion, nearly tripling in a year.

Zoom's boom has come despite privacy and security problems  that enabled outsiders to make uninvited — and sometimes crude — appearances during other people's video conferences. 

The concerns prompted some schools to stop using Zoom for online classes that have become widespread since February, although the company's efforts to introduce more security protection has brought some back to the service. More than 100,000 schools worldwide are now using Zoom for online classes, according to the company.

Overall, Zoom now has more than 300 million daily participants attending a meeting held on its service, up from 10 million five months ago. Those numbers include people who join multiple Zoom meetings during the same day, something that has been happening more recently in recent months.

But the once-weak privacy controls also helped make Zoom extremely easy to use, one of the reasons it became such a popular way to hold online classes, business meetings and virtual cocktail hours after most of the U.S. began ordering people to stay at home in effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Zoom also offers a free version of its service, another factor in its popularity at a time when about 40 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs since mid-March, raising the specter of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The San Jose, California, company has always made most of its money from companies that subscribe to a more sophisticated version of its service that traditionally has been used for business meetings among employees working in offices far apart from each other.

But the pandemic-driven shutdown turned Zoom into a tool for employees who once worked alongside each other, but have been doing their jobs from home during the past few months.

Zoom ended April with 265,400 corporate customers with at least 10 employees, more than quadrupling from the same time last year. About 30% of the company's revenue in the most recent quarter came from users with fewer than 10 employees, up from 20% in the November-January period.

Although Zoom remains focused on servicing its corporate customers, Yuan  is hoping  to figure out ways to make money from the all the socializing and learning that is happening on the service, too. Some analysts have speculated that eventually may involve showing ads on the free version of Zoom, although the company hasn't given any indication it will do that. "There are a lot of opportunities ahead of us," Yuan said in Tuesday's video conference without elaborating.

If it hopes to continue to expand, Zoom also will also will likely have to do a better job of protecting the privacy of its video conferences. To help achieve that goal, Yuan has been consulting since April with Alex Stamos, a highly respected online security expert who previously worked at Yahoo and Facebook. Both those companies encountered their only security and privacy problems, too.

Zoom's success is also drawing stiffer competition from much larger companies, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

  • Monday, May. 18, 2020
Stargate Studios creates real time virtual environments using Blackmagic Design
Stargate Studios generates real time virtual environments deploying Blackmagic Design resources
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that visual effects facility Stargate Studios utilized a wide range of Blackmagic Design products in creating “ThruView,” the company’s cutting edge, proprietary real time virtual production system.

Stargate founder and award winning visual effects creator Sam Nicholson, A.S.C., originally developed the concept of real time compositing in the early 2000’s, when production had all but halted due to 9/11. “Shows based in remote locations were suddenly unable to travel to their respective locations,” said Nicholson. “So, the question was, could we convincingly put ‘ER’ in Chicago, ‘CSI’ and ‘Ugly Betty’ in New York City and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in Seattle, without ever having to leave LA?”

Using clever production design, extensive plate shooting and a fair amount of green screen on set, Nicholson’s team was able to convert all of the shows the company serviced to virtual production. “We established the Stargate Virtual Backlot, shooting high resolution 360-degree backgrounds of cities all over the world,” said Nicholson. Stargate Studios’ Virtual Backlot library is billed as being the largest virtual environment/set extension library in the world, with over 300,000 clips.

But the solution was not perfect. Using green screen on set was not ideal, with directors and actors feeling limited by working against green only, with nothing to which they can react. Directors of Photography also found it difficult to match lighting to backgrounds they couldn’t see. Add to that the increased time and cost of compositing scenes in postproduction, and Nicholson knew there had to be a better way. He began to ask, “Could we achieve what we had been doing in postproduction in real time? Could we achieve finished pixels on set?”

Nicholson’s team began to put their research into play, and leveraged it for their next production, HBO’s new series “Run.” The show required the characters to travel across the United States on a train, but production never intended to leave Toronto. “During preproduction we proved that with multiple Blackmagic Design DeckLink 8K Pro cards we could stream 10 simultaneous streams of 8K footage to the Epic Unreal game engine for real time playback on forty 4K monitors on a 150’ long train set.”

Utilizing a custom tracking and lighting tool developed in house, the system was able to deliver a photorealistic moving image, displayed through the train windows, with animated lighting to match the plate, tracked to and composited with the shot in real time. “We produced the entire series with this system which we now call ‘ThruView.’”

The “ThruView” system relies on a number of new technologies that are finally developing into robust, reliable tools, both proprietary and off the shelf. “We developed targetless, wireless camera tracking at Stargate, as well as a pixel mapped, RGBW DMX lighting system. Tools such as 8K image capture are now workable with Blackmagic Design‘s 8K playback and Davinci Resolve Studio on set color correction,” said Nicholson. Affordable 4K monitors, increasingly fine grain, modular LED panels, NVidia‘s accelerated GPU graphics processors and Epic‘s Unreal 4 game engine combine with the Blackmagic Design tools to make “ThruView” possible for Stargate. “The challenge is to bring these various technologies together and make them dependable and durable enough for the pressures of multicamera live action production.”

“The Stargate ‘ThruView’ team employed three Davinci Resolve Studio systems, simultaneously on the ‘Run’ set,” said Nicholson, “We relied on multiple Davinci Resolve stations to coordinate all of our assets for playback on set. Resolve’s extensive capabilities in real time color correction, editorial tools and Fusion VFX were essential to manipulating a large quantity of high resolution footage at the rapid pace of a live action set.”

In addition to Resolve and the DeckLink 8K Pro cards, the “ThruView” system also incorporates a variety of Blackmagic Design products as part of the system backbone. This includes multiple Smart Videohub 12G routers, DaVinci Resolve Micro Panels, UltraStudio 4K Extreme, a Teranex AV standards converter, an array of Micro and Mini Converters, as well as an ATEM Constellation 8K switcher, which was instrumental in handling the high resolution images.

Nicholson relied on Blackmagic Design because he knew he could depend on the tools. “Blackmagic products are very dependable. They work right out of the box and continue working. It‘s a rough working environment on set, so the tools you are using have to be bulletproof to survive.”

“Real Time Virtual Production, which uses a combination of photographic and computer-generated assets, will become the new norm as processors get faster, memory deeper and large scale LED displays become more affordable and more durable,” said Nicholson. ”Virtual production offers a practical solution to the challenging production situation we are currently facing. It is much easier to bring the location to a production than move an entire production to remote locations. That said, it is important to remember that virtual production is not for every production. It requires a much more diligent preproduction process to acquire your creative assets and test the specific technologies you will be using in principal photography.”

But despite the caution, Nicholson feels strongly that the industry is headed firmly in the direction of virtual production, and that “ThruView” is positioned to answer that call. “Ultimately, I do feel it will replace approximately 50% of global green screen shooting in the next few years. Our system is ideal because it works and, thanks to Blackmagic Design’s components, it can be offered at a reasonable price. Because no matter how good a piece of hardware is, it’s not good if you can’t afford it.”

  • Friday, May. 15, 2020
Facebook buys Giphy, popular tool for creating animated GIFs
This March 29, 2018, file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Facebook has bought Giphy, a popular tool for creating the animated images known as GIFs that pepper conversations around the internet. 

The companies did not disclose financial terms. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, Axios said the deal is valued around $400 million. 

Facebook said in a blog post Friday that it plans to integrate Giphy into Instagram but added that Giphy will still work outside of Facebook's properties.

The company said about half of Giphy's traffic comes from Facebook's apps — Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp. Giphy is also widely used on Twitter and in messaging apps. 

  • Thursday, May. 7, 2020
"Dead to Me" DP Toby Oliver opts for Cooke Optics S7/i Full Frame Plus prime lenses
Toby Oliver, ACS
LEICESTER, UK -- 

The Netflix original series Dead to Me has moved production to Cooke Optics S7/i Full Frame Plus prime lenses for season two. The show stars Christina Applegate (nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy for season one) and Linda Cardellini.

When series creator and showrunner Liz Feldman wanted her main actresses to look their best on screen for season two, cinematographer Toby Oliver, ACS--who was brought on to lens the second season--decided that the “Cooke Look” would be exactly what was needed.

“Liz wanted to maintain as much of the overall look of season one as possible, but she also wanted the main actresses to appear warmer on screen,” said Oliver. “To improve the photography from the first season, I decided that the Cooke S7/i Full Frame Plus prime lenses would give her exactly what she was looking for. I’ve used Cookes a lot over the years, and they are quite flattering, especially with close-ups. There’s just something about the ‘Cooke Look’ that makes actors look really good on screen--it gives the skin a nice glow.”

This was to be Oliver’s first full frame project, shooting on Sony Venice cameras in 6K mode, using all of the full-frame sensor, so he did a range of lens tests at camera and lens supplier Alternative Rentals in Los Angeles.

“For my own tests, we had a model at Alternative Rentals, where I looked at all the full frame lenses that were available on a Sony Venice to do my due diligence,” said Oliver. “From a technical standpoint, I wanted to know where each lens sat compared to the others, particularly in terms of sharpness and breathing, as well as find lenses that were ergonomic for the ACs and with a full range of focal lengths and easy availability. From an artistic standpoint, I wanted the best look for the characters. The lenses that gave me exactly what I wanted were the Cooke S7/i Full Frame Plus primes.”

Later, when it came time to do the main test with the leading ladies, Oliver didn’t have to test a bunch of different lenses. “I knew that the Cookes would give the look Liz was looking for, and they did. The test with the ladies looked great,” he said.

Oliver credits Alternative Rentals with going out of their way to procure as many lenses in the S7/i range that were available for the 10-episode shooting schedule last year, as the lenses had recently been introduced.

“My lens kit started with a single set of Cooke S7/i ranging from the 25mm and went all the way up to the 135mm,” said Oliver. That gave him seven prime lenses (25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm) in the main set, plus duplicate lenses of the 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 135mm for use on two, and sometimes three, Sony Venice cameras. “The combination of the Venice and the S7/i full frame lenses are a great match, especially when working with a more mature cast. I had flexibility in lens sizes and when I needed a second set or just some extra lenses, Alternative Rentals came through...and I knew that I could trust that I was going to get the same matching results with each specific focal length from various sets. With the Cookes, I had more flexibility, but they also gave me an edge in making the actresses look good, while keeping the overall tone continuous from season one to season two.”

The Cooke S7/i full frame lenses also helped in dealing with the danger of the 6K image being too sharp, one of the downsides of digital cinematography. “You don’t want to have to fight that overly digital look. You want your lenses to help you. With the Cookes, I have an element of gentleness, without the image looking soft,” said Oliver.

In addition to choosing the best lenses and filters to help tell the story and show actors in their best light, Oliver worked with the series’ colorist, Tim Vincent of Technicolor, before shooting to look at the test shots and set up the LUTs for on-set monitoring and dailies. He was also in close contact with Vincent during the coloring process, reviewing his grades and giving notes, with dialog back and forth for the first few episodes--as well as comments from Feldman--to give Vincent a grading style for the show.

When it came to his first full frame project, Oliver found it interesting to work in a new format where what you get is slightly different than what you expect. “Lenses come across wider than in 35mm format, which gave us a different field of view, with the 75mm prime being my ‘go to’ lens for close-ups and medium shots,” he said. “For our wide shots, I mostly used the 32mm and 40mm. When shooting a black comedy, you’re not going to go to the extremes from scene to scene, so I didn’t use the 25mm or the 135mm as much. The bulk of the shooting is within a fairly narrow range of focal lengths, 40mm to 100mm, except for special moments.”

Another element that Oliver found very useful during shooting was Cooke’s /i Technology that collects detailed lens data for production, VFX and postproduction. “In addition to this data being recorded automatically by the Venice so that the VFX supervisor and artists would have it, I would use this data daily on the shooting monitors,” explained Oliver. “That way I would have all the details of the lens, including size, iris, distance and other lens parameters on the edges of the monitors. That direct feedback of the iris right on the monitor is very useful, especially as I control the iris, so I don’t have to rely on hand-drawn numbers on the control.”

Season two of Dead to Me is for release on Netflix this Friday (5/8).

  • Friday, May. 1, 2020
Sony Electronics expands filmmaking versatility with upgrades to VENICE and FX9 full-frame cameras
Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging and Professional Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics
PARAMUS, NJ -- 

Sony Electronics Inc. will expand the capabilities of its digital motion picture camera VENICE and FX9 full-frame camera in 2020 to offer even greater expression and usability for cinematographers and their collaborators in production and post.

These firmware upgrades build on the two platforms’ image capture and color science. VENICE delivers more monitoring options and high frame rate and FX9 expands shooting as well as recording capabilities for content creators.

“Sony is committed to empowering filmmakers to fulfill their artistic vision with cameras developed by and for cinematographers,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging and Professional Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “Shooting capability and efficient workflow are key factors in the selection of camera. We listen to our customers and continue to enhance the functionality of VENICE and FX9 cameras to better meet their visual storytelling needs.”

Since its launch in 2017, VENICE has been used to capture more than 200 theatrical, broadcast, cable and streaming releases, including HBO’s “The Plot Against America” and sixteen other series premiering in March and April 2020. Regular firmware and hardware updates have been key to the wide adoption of VENICE.

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware will allow the import of Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) files that improve monitoring picture quality and viewing options on-set. These .art files can be generated by Sony’s RAW Viewer software, from users’ own 3D LUT files. Additionally, Sony is collaborating with Technicolor and its award-winning color scientists to create a new “look library” for the VENICE camera, which will be available online as a resource for creatives wishing to quickly access some of Technicolor’s premier established looks inspired by their cinematic history.

Another enhancement in VENICE Version 6.0 firmware is the ability to shoot with a second user frame line. This enables cinematographers to more easily take advantage of VENICE’s large sensor size to shoot for both horizontal and vertical distribution within the same composition.

VENICE Version 6.0 features also include:

  • Expansion of HFR Capabilities – up to 72fps at 5.7K 16:9 and 110fps 3.8K 16:9, which simplifies postproduction of slow-motion especially for TV drama workflows that have quick turnarounds. In addition, up to 72fps at 4K 6:5 imager mode for Anamorphic lens operation.
  • Improved 3D LUT monitoring – 3D LUT look can be fed to camera viewfinder
  • Gyro information in metadata – camera’s Tilt & Roll data can be referenced by VFX teams

FX9
FX9 was launched in 2019 to bring full-frame imaging to “run-and-gun,” documentary, and independent productions. Employing the form factor, ergonomics and workflow of Sony’s FS7 and FS7II camera, FX9 brings color science from VENICE, and auto focus (AF) technology from Sony’s interchangeable lens camera, Alpha, to creatives desiring a small camera footprint.

Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware supports 4K 60p/50p recording through oversampling from a 5K cropped area of 6K full-frame sensor. Version 2.0 also enables output of a 4K 16-bit RAW signal to an external recorder with the optional XDCA-FX9 accessory. This additional bit depth beyond the camera’s internal 10-bit recording is ideal for projects requiring more intensive postproduction.

Additionally, FX9 Version 2.0 firmware will expand the camera’s operability with Eye AF technology and touch screen operation for focus control and menu setting on the viewfinder. FX9 Version 2.0 features also include:

  • 180 fps full-frame HD recording
  • 4K (4096×2160) DCI recording
  • Ability to load user 3D LUTs
  • HDR shooting function recorded in Hybrid Log Gamma

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware is planned for release in November 2020, and Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware is planned for an October 2020 release.

  • Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2020
Light Illusion unveils new color management system
Steve Shaw
LONDON -- 

Light Illusion, a specialist in critical color management within the film, postproduction, and broadcast industries, has launched a brand new color management product called “ColourSpace CMS”. It is currently available for pre-order, which enables participation in the open beta program to provide feedback and input for the final release.

ColourSpace CMS is a software program which connects to a wide variety of display calibration probes in order to accurately assess the color rendition of any display. It then creates color management data which can be used to perfect color accuracy by uploading it into a display that has color management features, or alternatively, applied as a correction to the signal feeding the display using associated hardware.

Applications include display calibration, color management, and color workflows within the professional film, postproduction, and broadcast industries, as well as for display manufacturers and home cinema enthusiasts. ColourSpace CMS data is compatible with most color related postproduction platforms such as Resolve, Flame and Baselight.

ColourSpace CMS has been designed to bring a significant improvement to how color accuracy is measured and reported. Steve Shaw, CEO of Light Illusion, said, “The most visually impressive aspect of ColourSpace CMS is the unique way it communicates color accuracy to the user. Full volumetric accuracy of any given display can be quickly and easily assessed, using the new 3-dimensional, fully interactive, re-sizeable, and color coded graphs. Complex color data can be clearly analysed, with 3D CIE and normalized RGB Color Space graphs, including Error Tangent lines and color coded measure points.”

Shaw added, “Color coding within the display graphs helps to quickly identify the accuracy of any given measured point. For example, Green signifies that a measured color value is below 1dE, while Orange shows a color as being between 1dE and 2.3dE, and Red indicates a value above 2.3dE. Additional Tangent Lines are visual plots of any given point’s error, showing the recorded location of the measured color, compared to where the color should actually be located for any given color space.”

Display manufacturer Flanders Scientific Inc. has been actively involved in testing and feedback during the development of ColourSpace CMS. Bram Desmet, general manager at FSI, comments, “It’s always impressive to see something that was already good to begin with evolve into something that provides totally new and unique capabilities. Light Illusion really has changed the way we can assess and understand display calibration, and ColourSpace CMS is a testament to Light Illusion’s commitment to the continued development of color management and calibration tools.”

  • Thursday, Apr. 23, 2020
Chesapeake Systems acquires StorExcel
Jason Paquin
BALTIMORE -- 

Chesapeake Systems has acquired StorExcel, a systems integrator serving the Rocky Mountain region and U.S. federal government. The acquisition joins the mutual strengths of the media technology providers, extending their ability to offer turnkey asset management solutions and support. The combination of companies expands Chesapeake System’s services in the media and entertainment and government markets.

The union integrates StorExcel team members from bases in Colorado and Virginia with the existing Chesapeake teams (located in Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, DC-metro), strengthening core competencies and service offerings. The two companies pride themselves on being consultative in nature and adding value to the highly complex decision-making process involved with asset management and media workflow design and implementation.

“Chesapeake Systems and StorExcel have substantial synergies that make this acquisition a win-win for both companies and, importantly, will drive value to our partners and customers,” said Jason Paquin, CEO of Chesapeake Systems. “StorExcel brings a strong regional market presence to the fold at Chesapeake and builds on our services to the government sector.”

StorExcel was founded in Denver, Colo., in 2013 by Lance Hukill, along with a core team of sales and technical experts. Embracing digital media technology from its inception, the company has grown to be an industry leader in media asset management and storage platform integration for postproduction, broadcast, sports, churches, and the U.S. government.

Hukill, who now serves as VP of sales for Chesapeake, notes that the combined entity extends and scales the reputable expertise of both organizations. “This acquisition provides a huge opportunity for us to access new vertical and geographic markets, new products, and new offices while maintaining our core brand culture that our customers know and love.”

Paquin added, “Together, we strengthen all cross functions of our teams from sales to solution architecture as well as support and delivery services. This is an exciting growth step for Chesapeake Systems, especially as we navigate the new future for our customers who are pivoting to accommodate a forever-changed business environment.”

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