Sunday, July 21, 2019

Toolbox

  • Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2019
Timeline TV adopts remote production workflow for Women's Super League based on URSA Broadcast
Timeline deploys the URSA Broadcast camera to cover the Football Association's (FA) Women's Super League
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has announced that broadcast services specialist Timeline TV has implemented a bespoke remote production solution to produce coverage of the Football Association’s (FA) Women’s Super League (WSL), built around the Blackmagic 3G-SDI Shield for Arduino and URSA Broadcast.

In order to meet the WSL’s requirements for live match coverage in the 2018/2019 season, its first as a full time professional league, the Timeline team needed to rethink how they’d approach a four multicamera OB, that could be deployed at any ground in the country while still delivering the level of quality expected by production partner, Whisper Films.

Timeline’s managing director, Dan McDonnell, explains that the URSA Broadcast was the ideal camera choice. “We pride ourselves on delivering broadcast quality output for our creative partners, and the URSA Broadcast, when paired with our B4 lenses, delivers excellent images, both on and off the pitch.”

When it came to controlling the URSA Broadcast, Timeline’s IP engineering team had to get creative. “Remote camera racking was essential and required a new approach to data transmission all while keeping the on site operation as simple as possible,” said McDonnell. “There was nothing else on the market that would afford us the flexibility, quality or control unless we deployed a full OB.”

The IP transmission solution resides in a backpack. It integrates a transmitter and the camera control interface systems needed for acquisition and live transmission back to the companies Ealing Studios’ headquarters, where each weekend’s coverage is produced.

“Essentially, we’ve eliminated the requirement for a full, static router, which normally is in place for a camera control unit to feed through. As well as the high resolution camera signals, an additional low res feed is sent carrying all the necessary camera settings,” according to McDonnell. “Working over IP channels provides reliable and consistent remote signal feeds from wherever we are around the country, and this, combined with Blackmagic’s open protocol has given us the flexibility to devise a high quality remote production solution that meets broadcasters’ strict standards for live sports coverage.”

Timeline will continue to provide all Women’s Super League footage with the remote solution, but its efficiency and technical capabilities could be easily transferred to other sporting leagues, tournaments and touring events.

“The ability to control an entire multicamera system via IP means that we can produce comprehensive coverage of high profile events from anywhere in the world, without having to send a huge amount of staff or equipment out to the venues,” McDonnell concluded. ”Once the operators are on site, it’s simply a matter of switching on the receivers and the cameras, and we’re ready to go. That balance of speed, flexibility and quality has only been possible at this price point thanks to Blackmagic Design.”

  • Friday, Mar. 8, 2019
IAB Europe hires Patrick Verdon as technical director
Patrick Verdon
BRUSSELS -- 

IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the online advertising ecosystem, has appointed Patrick Verdon as technical director, a newly created role for the organization as it continues its mission to enable digital advertising to support media plurality and Europe’s digital economy, to shape the regulatory environment and to help companies process user data legally with the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF).

Verdon brings more than two decades of senior technical experience to his role as the first technical director for IAB Europe. In his new role, one of his principal tasks is supporting the TCF technical updates that will provide a more complete accommodation of the “legitimate interests” legal basis for data processing. Plans are also in place for a new set of signals that allow Consent Management Providers (CMPs) to offer users the “right to object” to processing on the basis of a “legitimate interest” and new granular controls for publishers about the data processing purposes permitted by them on a per vendor basis. Most recently, thanks to Verdon’s guidance, IAB Europe recently announced the development of a new CMP validation tool for the TCF.

IAB Europe, with collaboration across the industry, released the open-source Transparency and Consent Framework in April 2018. It’s the only GDPR consent solution that has been built by the industry, for the industry, creating a true industry-standard approach. This framework is helping publishers, technology vendors and marketers speak in the same language when it comes to obtaining user consent for data processing after GDPR. Version 2 of the framework is due to be released later this year in association with IAB Tech Lab.

Verdon brings a strong track-record of working in the Internet and mobile spaces and has held CTO roles in several successful start-ups. Most recently, he co-founded Databoxer, a CMP for websites. On joining IAB Europe Verdon said “My role will be focused on driving both product development and technical implementation across the Transparency and Consent Framework. I am coming back to my roots to ensure that the policy governance of the Framework takes good account of technology considerations, so we release a robust and commercially friendly updated version for all global stakeholders”. 

Verdon will also be the team lead for IAB Europe’s new Technical Committee, which will convene for the first time in May 2019, bringing together technology and business-side experts from IAB Europe member companies to ensure technical vetting of solutions the Association is driving to help the industry address challenges and leverage opportunities.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2019
Blackmagic Design rolls out URSA Mini Pro G2 camera
The URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has rolled out URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, a second generation URSA Mini Pro camera featuring fully redesigned electronics and a new Super 35mm 4.6K image sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range that combine to support high frame rate shooting at up to 300 frames per second. In addition, URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 supports Blackmagic RAW and features a new USB-C expansion port for direct recording to external disks.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is available now for $5,995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The new URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is a dramatic advancement over the original model as it now features entirely new electronics for higher speed processing. Also included is a new Super 35mm 4.6K image sensor that captures up to 4608 x 2592 pixels with 15 stops of latitude at up to 3200 ISO. This allows customers to record full sensor 4.6K images at up to 120 frames per second, windowed 4K DCI at up 150 frames per second, and windowed 1080 HD at an amazing 300 frames per second. That makes URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 ideal for capturing stylized fast action documentary work, nature photography, sports and more.

In addition, URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 can capture Blackmagic RAW images in both film and extended video modes, making it perfect for high end feature films, television shows, commercials, and indie films as well as broadcast news, studio and even live multi camera production.

Blackmagic RAW is a revolutionary, next generation codec that gives customers visually lossless images, extensive metadata support and highly optimized GPU and CPU accelerated processing. Blackmagic RAW combines the quality and workflow advantages of traditional RAW formats with the speed and ease of use of standard video codecs. With Blackmagic RAW, customers can choose compression levels up to 12:1 and still get stunning images that can be used for feature films, documentaries and broadcast programming. Blackmagic RAW settings such as 12:1 are important to allow customers to get the highest frame rates from the camera, and this means only Blackmagic RAW can allow high frame rates while retaining enough quality for professional results.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 also uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for superior imaging that results in extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Blackmagic RAW images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range. These formats can be recorded onto CFast or SD cards, as well as direct to flash disks using the new USB-C expansion port.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is designed to be extremely tough and fully featured. It includes everything customers need in a compact handheld magnesium alloy body that’s durable and light enough to use anywhere. There’s an external high visibility backlit LCD status display for viewing critical shooting information, a foldout touch screen for reviewing shots without needing an extra on-set monitor, professional connections such as 12G-SDI, XLR audio, built in high quality stereo microphones and more. Plus, every single control on the camera is redundant, including the power, so if anything should go wrong in the field, the camera can still be used.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 features neutral density (ND) filters with IR compensation for quickly reducing the amount of light that enters the camera. The 2, 4 and 6 stop filters are specifically designed to match the colorimetry of the camera and provide additional latitude, even under harsh lighting conditions. That means customers can use different combinations of aperture and shutter angle to achieve shallower depth of field, or specific levels of motion blur, in a wider range of situations. The IR filters evenly compensate for both far red and infrared wave lengths to eliminate IR contamination. The ND filters are true optical filters with a precision mechanism that quickly moves them into place when the ND filter dial is turned.

The broadcast camera design of URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 puts powerful external control buttons, switches, knobs and dials on the outside of the camera, giving customers direct access to the most important camera settings. The controls are laid out in a logical order that makes them easy to remember so cinematographers can operate the camera without having to look at the buttons, hunt through menus, or take their eye off of the action. URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 also features a high visibility status screen that displays important information such as timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels. The status display features a backlight and is designed to be clearly visible in both dimly lit studios and outside in direct sunlight.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 comes standard with an interchangeable EF lens mount for working high quality photographic lenses. If the camera is being used on a high end film or commercial shoot that calls for large cinematic lenses, simply remove the EF mount and replace it with the optional PL mount. There’s even a B4 broadcast lens mount for working with broadcast HD lenses. URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 also includes a standard 12 pin Hirose lens control connector.

Featuring both dual C-Fast 2.0 recorders and dual SD UHS-II card recorders, customers can choose the media that works best for their projects. C-Fast cards are ideal for full resolution Blackmagic RAW 12 bit recording, while UHS-II SD cards are inexpensive and commonly available, making them perfect for recording Blackmagic RAW 8:1 or 12:1 for Ultra HD and regular HD files. With dual slots for each media type, the camera never has to stop recording because when the first card is full, it automatically continues onto the next card. Full cards can be swapped for empty ones, all without stopping the camera.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 also includes a new and innovative high speed USB-C expansion port for adding accessories such as an SSD for external recording. That means customers can now record for even longer durations without stopping. Plus, they can record directly onto the same external disks they will use for editing and color correction.

URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 includes the full DaVinci Resolve Studio software, giving customers a complete post production solution. This powerful software combines professional nonlinear video editing with the world’s most advanced color corrector for importing, editing, color correcting, finishing and delivering projects shot on URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2. DaVinci Resolve Studio works natively with Blackmagic RAW files from the camera, so customers can take them directly into post production without having to convert or change them. Every single bit of quality is preserved because it is a true lossless workflow. Using DaVinci Resolve Studio is the fastest and highest quality way to work with Blackmagic RAW files from URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2.

“The original URSA Mini Pro has been an extremely successful and very popular camera,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is exciting because it gives customers second generation electronics and an even higher performance image sensor so they can shoot at extremely high frame rates for crystal clear slow motion images. URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is powerful enough to be used on high end feature films and television shows, versatile enough to be used for broadcast news and live multi camera event production, and affordable enough for indie filmmakers and even students! It’s like getting 3 cameras in one!”

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Key Features
·       

  • Digital film camera with 15 stops of dynamic range.
  • Super 35mm 4.6K sensor with Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science.
  • Supports project frame rates up to 60 fps and off-speed slow motion recording up to 120 fps in 4.6K, 150 fps in 4K DCI and 300 fps in HD Blackmagic RAW.
  • Interchangeable lens mount with EF mount included as standard. Optional PL, B4 and F lens mounts available separately.
  • High quality 2, 4 and 6 stop neutral density (ND) filters with IR compensation designed to specifically match the colorimetry and color science of Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2.
  • Fully redundant controls including external controls which allow direct access to the most important camera settings such as external power switch, ND filter wheel, ISO, shutter, white balance, record button, audio gain controls, lens and transport control, high frame rate button and more.
  • Built in dual C-Fast 2.0 recorders and dual SD/UHS-II card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  • High speed USB-C expansion port for recording directly to an external SSD or flash disk.
  • Lightweight and durable magnesium alloy body.
  • LCD status display for quickly checking timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels.
  • Support for Blackmagic RAW files in Constant Bitrate 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 or Constant Quality Q0 and Q5 as well as ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422 Proxy recording at 4.6K, 4K, Ultra HD and HD resolutions.
  • Supports recording of up to 300 frames per second in HD, 150 frames per second in 4K DCI, and 120 frames per second at full frame 4.6K.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 12G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  • Built in high quality stereo microphones for recording sound.
  • 4 inch foldout touchscreen for on-set monitoring and menu settings.
  • Includes full copy of DaVinci Resolve software color grading and editing software.

Blackmagic URSA Mini Accessories
The Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is compatible with the full range of URSA Mini accessories available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide:

  • Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro PL, B4 and F lens mounts each sold separately.
  • Additional Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro EF lens mounts also sold separately.
  • Blackmagic URSA Mini Shoulder Kit features built in rosettes, rail mounts, viewfinder mount, integrated tripod quick lock release and top handle.
  • Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder is a high resolution viewfinder that includes a full HD OLED display and true glass optics for perfect focus.
  • Blackmagic URSA Studio Viewfinder featuring 7” screen, variable tension mounting points, grab handles, external controls and more.
  • URSA VLock Battery Plate provides a VLock compatible plate for attaching third party batteries.
  • Monday, Mar. 4, 2019
Avid, FotoKem renew multi-year enterprise agreement
Jeff Rosica, Avid CEO and president
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

FotoKem has renewed its multi-year enterprise agreement with Avid. Covering Avid video and audio products as well as customer support, the agreement ensures FotoKem will continue to optimize efficiencies from its Avid-based video and audio postproduction workflows.

FotoKem is an independently-owned, full-service postproduction facility serving the worldwide creative community. Since 1963, the company has been a trusted resource for every corner of the entertainment market, providing comprehensive postproduction expertise, high-end solutions and innovative technologies. FotoKem’s workflows include Avid NEXIS®, the media industry’s first software-defined storage platform; Avid Interplay® production management solution; Media Composer® nonlinear editing systems; Pro Tools® digital audio workstations and Pro Tools | S6 modular control surface; and the Avid Artist™ I/O family.

“Our continued enterprise agreement with Avid helps FotoKem keep our focus on bridging the gap between technology and creativity so that, in turn, we can ensure that our customers can focus on delivering their best creative work,” said Jon Mauldin, VP of Technology Non-linear, FotoKem.   

“Avid is very proud of our long-standing relationship with our esteemed customer FotoKem,” said Jeff Rosica, Avid CEO and president. “We’re very pleased to help them to continue to achieve greater cost efficiency and predictability in their operations, while innovating with the latest Avid tools and solutions on behalf of their customers across film and television.”

  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019
Cooke Optics sets its NAB lineup
Cooke's 50mm anamorphic lens
LEICESTER, UK -- 

Cooke Optics will present some never-before-seen lenses from its S7/i, Panchro/i Classic and Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus ranges on Stand C6333 at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas from April 8-11. The award-winning lens manufacturer will also showcase new developments for /i3, the latest version of its /i Technology metadata system that provides detailed lens data to VFX and post-production teams.

The new Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus range has been designed to meet the growing appetite for large format production, while offering the popular anamorphic characteristics including flare and oval bokeh. The 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm focal lengths are in production, scheduled to start shipping in limited quantities from April 2019, and will be available for demonstration on Stand C6333. The additional lenses in the full range--32mm, 135mm and 180mm as well as a surprise or two--should be shipping by the end of the year. This range is also available with Cooke’s SF ‘Special Flair’ coating, which enables an exaggerated flare that gives yet more choice to cinematographers.

The complete set of Panchro/i Classic lenses is also scheduled to start shipping by NAB 2019, including the recently announced 65mm Macro lens--a 2-1 Macro--which also covers full frame, and the 21mm, 27mm, 135mm and 152mm designed to cover the S/35 image area. Visitors to Stand C6333 will see these lenses for the first time outside Europe.

In addition, the 18mm, 27mm and 180mm lenses from the S7/i full frame spherical range will be featured on the Cooke stand and will be going into production over the coming months.

“The manufacturing team in our Leicester factory continues to work flat out to round out these nascent lens ranges, which are all made entirely by hand,” said Les Zellan, chairman, Cooke Optics. “With nine lens ranges in the Cooke family, we have certainly set ourselves a challenge to meet the ever increasing demand, but we are proud to offer cinematographers such a wide choice of looks that help them tell their stories.”

Cooke will also present /i3 (/i Cubed), the latest version of its /i Technology metadata system that provides detailed lens data to VFX and post-production teams. /i3 firmware now provides distortion mapping - not just a theoretical measurement of spherical lenses of a particular focal length, but of the specific lens in use. Sony is currently working to integrate /i3 into the Sony Venice large format camera.

Cooke lenses will also be present at a number of camera manufacturer and reseller stands at the show.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019
8K Association formed, provides info, resources

The 8K Association (8KA) has been formed, setting among its goals:

  • Promoting 8K TVs and 8K Content to consumers and professionals
  • Helping educate consumers and professionals about the 8K ecosystem
  • Helping secure 8K native content for members
  • Encouraging service providers (especially OTT) to develop 8K offerings
  • Facilitating communication within 8K ecosystem to help with commercialization
  • Developing initial technical requirements for 8K input signals
  • Developing initial 8K TV categories and minimum specifications for image quality

Principal members of the 8K Association include panel supplier AU Optronics (AUO) along with consumer electronics companies Hisense, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics and TCL Electronics. Panel supplier Samsung Display is also in the process of joining the 8KA. 

8KA has prepared info and resources for industry education, including an initial frequently asked questions document. 8KA expects to soon publish more documents to allow additional companies to consider joining the organization.

  • Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019
SGO to release Mistika Boutique at NAB 
LAS VEGAS -- 

SGO has announced official release dates of Mistika Boutique, billed as a new, affordable full-finishing software-only solution available through subscription and derived from the hero-suite Mistika Ultima. Available for both Windows and MacOS, Mistika Boutique will be the next product to join SGO’s expanding line-up of natively integrated Mistika Technology solutions and will be launched during NAB 2019 in Las Vegas (April 8-11).

Mistika Boutique offers an extensive spectrum of fully-integrated finishing tools, essential for creating first-class content, including color grading, VFX, Stereo 3D and VR/360o.

“The set of features that form the core of the Mistika philosophy such as unlimited timeline, node stacks and unparalleled processing power, make Mistika Boutique the perfect choice to handle accurate color managed workflows,” shared Francisco Ramos, sr. colorist and HDR workflow specialist. “The way operations are laid out in a Mistika Boutique environment help to intuitively design future proof color pipelines, be it ACES or any other camera native log curve. Mistika Boutique provides enough flexibility to help any post house, no matter the size, to successfully finish projects of the most demanding content providers in the industry.”

Mistika Boutique integrates VFX and color grading tools into the same, unified environment, enabling the possibility to change the parameters at any moment and providing finishing artists with much greater control and flexibility.

Full finishing for immersive content
Mistika Boutique offers a professional immersive reality toolset to facilitate 360 media. Being natively integrated and fully compatible with the industry-adopted stitching software Mistika VR allows a highly efficient workflow by just sharing project metadata which eliminates the need of intermediate rendering.

“At DeoVR, a large amount of VR media is being processed on a daily basis. The very high quality stereo alignments are done with Mistika Boutique - it saves your life if you know what you’re doing and if you don’t, you always get the best help from the team behind it,” shared Ivan Varko, DeoVR visionary.

Free and open beta in March
The pre-release of Mistika Boutique will be available publicly in March 2019. “Everyone can take part in the SGO Open Beta program and help us shape Mistika Boutique software by test-driving pre-release versions and letting us know what they think,” said Geoff Mills, managing director at SGO, adding that joining the Mistika Boutique Beta program will be completely free of charge and open to all.

Leading plug-in developer, Boris FX will support the Mistika Boutique Open Beta Program by providing all testers with a one month fully working license of the Boris FX bundle: industry standard plug-ins for creative look development, title design, planar tracking, and more - Sapphire, Continuum and Mocha Pro.

“VFX artists and colorists using Mistika Boutique have powerful new options for postproduction and finishing,” said Boris Yamnitsky, founder of Boris FX. “We are pleased to work with SGO to ensure that our most popular OFX plug-ins; Sapphire,
Continuum and Mocha Pro all support this new host.”

  • Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019
Leica unveils “ASC 100 Edition” camera
The Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition”
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

Leica Camera has created a fitting tribute to the world of cinema with the Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers. Comprised of a Leica M10-P camera and a Leica Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. lens, the memorable set offers two specially tailored Cine Look modes built into the camera’s software that make it a focused professional tool for cinematographers and filmmakers. The set also includes a Leica Visoflex electronic viewfinder and a Leica M-PL-Mount Adapter that allows the use of almost all PL mount cine lenses available on the market.

In collaboration with some of the world’s most influential cinematographers and members of the ASC, Leica has developed the new Cine Look feature, which provides directors an exceptional visual experience. The “ASC Cine Classic” mode simulates a classic, analog 35mm motion-picture film look, while the “ASC Contemporary” mode delivers the current digital style of contemporary movies. Additionally, aspect ratios that are used in cinematography can also be selected from the camera’s menu. Once activated, the selected aspect ratio is displayed as a bright-line frame in Live View mode. The Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition ” offers cinematographers and directors the freedom to view and assess scenes with any desired lens before filming even begins.  
Founded in 1919, the American Society of Cinematographers is the world’s longest-standing artistic, technical and professional organization dedicated to the advancement of cinematography. Just like Leica, this extraordinary society has influenced and shaped how people of all cultures see the world for more than 100 years.

This limited-edition release is a modern take on Oskar Barnack’s original vision of the “Ur-Leica” prototype camera as an aid to cinematography, now reiterated in the unique design of the Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition.” Reduced simply to the essentials, blacked-out engravings on its black chrome surface accentuates the camera’s minimalistic feel which is further emphasized with the body leathering, similar to that of the Leica SL. The gold-colored anodized finish of the Leica Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. lens reinterprets the brass lens of the original “Ur-Leica” in a contemporary way. The unique aesthetic of the Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition” is also complemented by the ASC logo on the top plate.

The combination of the included electronic viewfinder, M-PL-Mount Adapter, Cine Look pre-sets and aspect ratio options enables the use of the camera as a director’s viewfinder, making it an extraordinarily versatile and useful tool for filmmakers. And together with the Leica FOTOS App, location scouting can be made much easier, as results can be shared and discussed immediately with everyone involved in the filming project.

The Leica M10-P “ASC 100 Edition” will be available in autumn 2019.

  • Friday, Feb. 15, 2019
Amazon's exit could scare off tech companies from New York
In this Nov. 7, 2018, file photo traffic moves along 44th Drive in Long Island City in the Queens borough of New York. According to experts analyzing the e-commerce giant's sudden cancellation of plans to build a massive headquarters in New York City, Amazon's decision to walk away could scare off other tech companies considering moving to or expanding in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Amazon jilted New York City on Valentine's Day, scrapping plans to build a massive headquarters campus in Queens amid fierce opposition from politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company's anti-union stance.

With millions of jobs and a bustling economy, New York can withstand the blow, but experts say the decision by the e-commerce giant to walk away and take with it 25,000 promised jobs could scare off other companies considering moving to or expanding in the city, which wants to be seen as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.

"One of the real risks here is the message we send to companies that want to come to New York and expand to New York," said Julie Samuels, the executive director of industry group Tech: NYC. "We're really playing with fire right now."

In November, Amazon selected New York City and Crystal City, Virginia, as the winners of a secretive, yearlong process in which more than 230 North American cities bid to become the home of the Seattle-based company's second headquarters.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo heralded the city's selection at the time as the biggest boon yet to its burgeoning tech economy and underscored that the deal would generate billions of dollars for improving transit, schools and housing.

Opposition came swiftly though, as details started to emerge.

Critics complained about public subsidies that were offered to Amazon and chafed at some of the conditions of the deal, such as the company's demand for access to a helipad. Some pleaded for the deal to be renegotiated or scrapped altogether.

"We knew this was going south from the moment it was announced," said Thomas Stringer, a site selection adviser for big companies. "If this was done right, all the elected officials would have been out there touting how great it was. When you didn't see that happen, you knew something was wrong."

Stringer, a managing director of the consulting firm BDO USA LLP, said city and state officials need to rethink the secrecy with which they approached the negotiations. Community leaders and potential critics were kept in the dark, only to be blindsided when details became public.

"It's time to hit the reset button and say, 'What did we do wrong?'" Stringer said. "This is fumbling at the 1-yard line."

Amazon said in a statement Thursday that its commitment to New York City required "positive, collaborative relationships" with state and local officials and that a number of them had "made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward."

Not that Amazon is blameless, experts say.

Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, said the company's high-profile bidding process may have stoked the backlash. Companies usually search for new locations quietly, in part to avoid the kind of opposition Amazon received.

"They had this huge competition, and the media covered it really aggressively, and a bunch of cities responded," Parilla said. "What did you expect? It gave the opposition a much bigger platform."

Richard Florida, an urban studies professor and critic of Amazon's initial search process, said the company should have expected to feel the heat when it selected New York, a city known for its neighborhood activism.

"At the end of the day, this is going to hurt Amazon," said Florida, head of the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute. "This is going to embolden people who don't like corporate welfare across the country."

Other tech companies have been keeping New York City's tech economy churning without making much of a fuss.

Google is spending $2.4 billion to build up its Manhattan campus. Cloud-computing company Salesforce has plastered its name on Verizon's former headquarters in midtown, and music streaming service Spotify is gobbling up space at the World Trade Center complex.

Despite higher costs, New York City remains attractive to tech companies because of its vast, diverse talent pool, world-class educational and cultural institutions and access to other industries, such as Wall Street capital and Madison Avenue ad dollars.

No other metropolitan area in the U.S. has as many computer-related jobs as New York City, which has 225,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, Boston, Atlanta and Dallas each have a greater concentration of their workers in tech.

In the New York area, the average computer-related job pays roughly $104,000 a year, about $15,000 above the national average. Still, that's about $20,000 less than in San Francisco.

Even after cancelling its headquarters project, Amazon still has 5,000 employees in New York City, not counting Whole Foods.

"New York has actually done a really great job of growing and supporting its tech ecosystem, and I'm confident that will continue," Samuels said. "Today we took a step back, but I would not but the nail in the coffin of tech in New York City."

Boak reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Bernard Condon in New York and Chris Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
Cooke Anamorphic/i primes translate into a virtue for "Vice"
Amy Adams (l) and Christian Bale in a scene from "Vice" (photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures)
LEICESTER, UK -- 

Over the 50 years chronicled in Adam McKay’s Vice, cinematographer Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS had the challenges of photographing actors playing characters twice their age--with intense prosthetics, makeup and hair--while also making a potentially dull series of office-based scenes into a visually interesting story for audiences. To accomplish this feat, Fraser relied on Kodak 200T and 500T film and Cooke Optics’ Anamorphic/i prime lenses.

“When it all comes down to it, this is a procedural film shot in lots of office spaces, and that can be very visually boring,” said Fraser. “And while Adam [McKay] has proved that he can make the most boring subjects entertaining--like The Big Short about the 2008 housing collapse that’s based on a very dry book--I had to make Vice as visually engaging and interesting as his script. I had to make it ‘sing’ properly, but with no one noticing.”

Fraser doesn’t have a discernable style while shooting, aiming for the opposite of that. “It’s one thing to have an eye, but avoiding a specific style...that’s the ideal scenario,” explained Fraser. “While Cheney took great pride in being very methodical, he lacked political charisma. What he was able to do was to be the puppet master and pull the strings of government from the background to achieve his ultimate goals. From a cinematographer’s standpoint, this had to be simple and classic--and balance the look against the more jagged styles of Adam and Hank [Corwin, the editor].”

A fan of Cooke lenses all the way back to the start of his career, Fraser tested the Cooke Anamorphic/i primes, looking for consistency through the range, with the warmth he enjoyed from his long-time use of Cooke spherical lenses.

“For Vice, the Cookes worked very well,” said Fraser. “There’s a mix of prosthetics, hair and makeup that’s unique. Just look at any scene with those prosthetics. You’ve got Christian Bale who’s in his 40s and 180 pounds playing Dick Cheney at 75 and 260 pounds...plus Amy Adams playing Lynne Cheney in her late 60s. They’re playing almost double their ages under unflattering fluorescent lighting a lot of the time. The combination of lenses and film format absolutely came into play. I had to find the perfect combination that was sharp enough to resolve, but soft enough and earthy enough to be beneficial to the prosthetics, makeup and hair. The Cookes helped to give me that look.”

Used for approximately 70 percent of the film, Fraser had the full set of Cooke Anamorphic/i primes, but primarily used the 50mm, 75mm and 100mm.

“The underlying technology of the lenses is perfect,” said Fraser. “They always lined up. And that’s really important when shooting on film as you wouldn’t know about a lens failure until the next day. But they were technically tip-top. My focus puller could guarantee marks, regardless of the temperature or environment.

“In the end, I got exactly what I was hoping for and needed,” Fraser concluded. “A family of anamorphic lenses that delivered exactly what I’ve loved for years with Cooke’s spherical lenses — consistency and warmth.”

With six Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture, and a win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy by Christian Bale, Vice has also been nominated for eight Academy Awards, six BAFTA awards (winning Best Editing) and two SAG Awards.

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