Sunday, February 17, 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)

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)

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 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.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019
Blackmagic Design forms strategic partnership with the USC School of Cinematic Arts
A student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts taps into resources from Blackmagic Design
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has formed a strategic partnership with the USC School of Cinematic Arts to provide Blackmagic hardware and software to the school over three years. The products will be used by USC students studying filmmaking and post production, while broadcast production students will now have the opportunity to work with UltraHD in the school’s television station, Trojan Vision.

Through the partnership, Blackmagic Design will provide URSA Broadcast cameras and URSA Mini Pro cinema cameras, ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switchers, ATEM Camera Control Panels, HyperDeck Studio Pro recorders and DaVinci Resolve Micro and Mini Panels.

“Blackmagic is known for providing high quality equipment that filmmakers and other content creators find accessible,” said Elizabeth Daley, Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts. “We are thrilled our students get to use Blackmagic Design tools because we know that means they will be better prepared for the work environments they will encounter after graduation.”

The partnership with Blackmagic Design will provide a major upgrade to the equipment used by USC students who create programming for Trojan Vision, the School of Cinematic Arts’ award-winning television station that airs to homes across Los Angeles, and online.

Greg Vannoy, who oversees Trojan Vision, said: “While we broadcast in HD, the upgrade gives us full Ultra HD capability, which we feel creates a better learning facility for our students.” The studio, which is located in the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, will now have URSA Broadcast cameras, ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switchers, ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panels, ATEM Camera Control Panels, and a massive array of routing components, as well as HyperDeck Studio Pro recorders, transforming the facility into a modern teaching environment.

“We are thrilled that some of the media industry’s most talented young creators will be consistently learning on and using our products and we are excited to see what they end up creating,” said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design.

Beyond the broadcast equipment, the partnership provides DaVinci Resolve Micro Panels for students studying color grading. Students will have access to DaVinci Resolve Studio and instructors will have DaVinci Resolve Mini Panels for use in their classes. A number of URSA Mini Pro cinema cameras will be used for student productions.

“It’s important for our students to learn in an environment that closely resembles the industry,” said Meri Weingarten, Director of Digital Media & Technology at the school. “We know this will improve their skills.”

“We are excited to offer the URSA Mini Pro to our students. Blackmagic has done a great job creating a compact, multi-purpose camera that captures a beautiful image,” said Vannoy. “We are always interested in the newest and best tools the industry is using and we’re excited to see what our students do with the URSA Mini Pro.”

  • Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
ARwall adds sr.-level talent, advisors
Raymond Mosco

L.A.-based AR studio ARwall has expanded with the addition of sr.-level talent and entertainment industry advisors well known for their expertise in design, engineering, and XR. Their growing personnel roster boasts a board of production industry vets and experts, including Digital Domain EP for VR, AR and interactive John Canning, ITV Alliance CEO Allison Dollar and General Immersive CEO/founder Raymond Mosco. ARwall’s cumulative new talent has helped pave the way for companies including Apple, Facebook, Oculus, Microsoft Hololens, Survios, Disney Studios Technology Group and Microsoft TV. 

Mosco is a veteran of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, focusing on how immersive technology will shape the future of storytelling. Mosco has held notable positions at Apple, Facebook, and Oculus. In 2014 he traveled the world providing over 1M initial impressions with the Oculus Rift. Since then he has guided startups and deployed immersive technology for organizations including TED, GE, Sundance, and Hulu. Mosco brings his lead generation know-how to ARwall, using his abundant knowledge in immersive tech and startup business savvy to continue to promote the company for the most influential audiences and potential clients. 

Among the staffers coming aboard ARwall is UI/UX director Stephan Dube who’s  worked in software technology and video games for over 20 years, and most recently with Survios, designing interfaces for VR and console titles and mobile applications. His credits include Archangel, Werewolves Within, DC Universe Online, World of Tanks, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and Defiance.

  • Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
Katrib joins Advanced Imaging Society's Board
Ramy Katrib

The Advanced Imaging Society (A.I.S.) has added Ramy Katrib, CEO and founder of DigitalFilm Tree, to the non-profit’s Board of Governors. Founded in 2009 in Encino, Calif., the A.I.S. includes major M&E studios and technology companies like DreamWorks Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros., Marvel, Sony Pictures Entertainment, NBC Entertainment, Fox, Dolby Labs, and DTS Inc.

“A.I.S. represents a focus on the imaging side of our industry and the technologies that will be in play now, and into the future,” said Katrib. “A.I.S. continues developing relationships with members who are already applying the latest concepts in production, like game-engine motion capture and other advancements where traditional production techniques, like lighting and imaging, are now commingling with ever advancing game engine cinematic capabilities.”

  • Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
Blackmagic makes mark at Sundance Film Festival
A scene from "4 Feet: Blind Date"
PARK CITY, Utah -- 

More than 35 films, episodic series and projects at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival were shot and completed using Blackmagic Design products.

This roster of projects included Honey Boy and Them That Follow that used a range of Blackmagic Design products during production and DaVinci Resolve Studio in post; Luce that was composited with Fusion Studio and graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio; Native Son that was online edited, graded and finished with DaVinci Resolve Studio; 4 Feet: Blind Date composited with Fusion by Martin Lopez Funes of Malditomaus and his team; and many others such as The Farewell, The Infiltrators, Big Time Adolescence and It’s Not About Jimmy Keene that were created with Blackmagic Design cameras, DaVinci Resolve Studio and more.

Lucien Harriot, president of New York-based Mechanism Digital, used Fusion Studio for his VFX work on Luce. According to Harriot, “Some of the shots in Luce were quite challenging. For example, one particularly long shot orbited several times around an actor standing in a high school lobby, and we had to remove the camera crew’s reflections from all of the windows and trophy cases. Fusion Studio’s tracking tools came in very handy on those tasks.”

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Kathy-Anne McManus to helm global customer solutions & services at Avid
Kathy-Anne McManus

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) has appointed media technology services expert Kathy-Anne “KAM” McManus as SVP of global customer solutions and services. With more than 30 years of experience in providing services, support and education to creative individuals, teams and large media enterprises, KAM returns to the company to establish a service strategy to further optimize customers’ and users’ experience and success with Avid tools and solutions.

McManus’ previous roles with Avid included VP of worldwide professional services and director of services for Asia Pacific. Prior to rejoining Avid in January 2019, KAM held senior leadership roles in the services and support organizations of several media technology providers including Adobe, Amdocs and Ericsson and telecommunications operator Telstra. She entered the media industry as an editor and producer for major Australian broadcast television networks Seven and Nine.

“We’re fortunate that our search for the best available talent in media technology services has resulted in KAM’s return to Avid,” said Jeff Rosica, Avid CEO and president. “She’s done a lot of work in our customers’ community and knows how to navigate our landscape, so I anticipate we’ll make rapid progress in evolving our offerings.” 

“Avid customers and users count on us to help them deliver their best work so they can delight their audiences everywhere. In turn, it’s our responsibility to deliver a service experience that delights our customers,” said McManus. “I’m excited to get to work with the team on a strategy that will further elevate customer success with our tools and solutions today, and position them for their future through advanced approaches, such as SaaS, for more effective service delivery.”

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Deluxe expands localization services for broadcasters
Justin Beaudin

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. (Deluxe) has launched the High Efficiency Localization Package, a new language services offering that will expand the company’s suite of subtitling and dubbing services to provide streamlined and automated localization services for linear broadcasters. As part of Deluxe’s intuitive cloud-based platform, Deluxe One, the new localization solution will harness cloud-based capabilities and automation to address broadcasters’ growing needs to localize content and reach audiences around the world faster. 

With access to a global database of thousands of professional voice actors, proprietary quality control tools, pre-recorded and live broadcast localization options, and a complete integration into broadcast media asset management and playout systems, broadcasters will be able to create a reliable, accessible and centralized repository of localized assets that are available anytime via Deluxe One.

“As global audiences are demanding access to content at faster rates, Deluxe is leading the industry in providing services to meet these growing needs,” said Justin Beaudin, chief operating officer, Deluxe Distribution. “Because of our end-to-end digital media supply chain, reach, and scale, we are in a unique position to provide linear broadcasters and online streaming services with a highly-automated localization solution that will allow them to quickly deliver their content to audiences across every region of the world.”

Deluxe’s localization team leverages the world’s largest network of content translators, comprising of over 9,000 experts, to support hundreds of content creators in providing translation, subtitling and dubbing services that bring creative visions to audiences around the world. Deluxe’s partner network spans automated language detection and translation service companies that offer cost-effective solutions to subtitling and dubbing, providing clients with a higher capacity for the creation of content localization in shorter time periods, while ensuring around-the-clock support through Deluxe’s global localization team. 

The High Efficiency Localization Package is now available in markets across the globe.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
Cooke debuts Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus SF lens at BSC Expo
Cooke's Anamorphic/i Full Frame lens

Cooke Optics has announced that at BSC Expo 2019 it will present not only a standard Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus lens, but also--for the first time anywhere--an Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus SF coated version. The two 50mm lenses will be demonstrated on Stand 338 at BSC Expo, taking place at Battersea Evolution, London on February 1-2.

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. When the SF “Special Flair” coating is applied, it enables an exaggerated flare that gives yet more choice to cinematographers.

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 all 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.

The stand will also feature the Panchro/i Classic 65mm Macro lens--a 2-1 Macro--which also covers full frame, along with the newly designed 21mm and 135mm designed to cover the S/35 image area. In addition Cooke lenses will be present on a number of camera manufacturer and reseller stands at the show.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019
Panavision to showcase imaging ecosystem at BSC Expo 2019
Panavision DXL2

Panavision will return to BSC Expo (Feb. 1-2) with a demonstration of the company’s comprehensive and expanding ecosystem for feature film, television and commercial productions. Along with Panalux and LEE Filters, the array of integrated technologies--ranging from lenses, camera systems, and accessories, to filters and lights--illustrates the extent to which Panavision is committed to giving filmmakers the most versatile and creative storytelling tools possible.

“Panavision is excited to exhibit our latest innovations at BSC Expo and, in particular, to share how our products and services are designed to work together to help creatives tell their stories,” said Kim Snyder, president and CEO of Panavision. 

BSC Expo attendees were among the first in the world to get up close and personal with the DXL2 in 2018, and this year visitors can look forward to discovering a host of new options for the large format camera system. New to the DXL2 this year is an integrated C-Motion F.I.Z. module to allow the use of Arri WCU4 wireless lens control handsets with full lens mapping support. This important development broadens the DXL2 ecosystem for the European market.

D2E version 1.0 gave DITs the ability to wirelessly control the LUT and CDL directly in the DXL2 camera. New to the DXL2 ecosystem being shown at BSC Expo is the Comtek Audio Module, which is the basis for the D2E 2.0 enhancement.  In addition to the LUT and CDL from D2E 1.0, DXL2 now has the ability to receive audio feeds from the sound mixer via the industry standard Comtek transmitter, turning DXL2 in camera proxies into D2E dailies with color and sound.

Further advancing the popularity of the DXL camera system is the DXL-M Module and accessory kit for Red’s DSMC cameras, which includes expansive power and communication ports, the DXL menu system and LiColor2. Also included is an additional SDI output path giving users two independently controlled outputs as well as clones. Notable to the DXL-M package is the Panavision Primo HDR viewfinder and motorized cinema lenses, which create a unique option for filmmakers not found anywhere else.

Cinematographers keen to infuse distinct looks into their storytelling will be eager to see and handle the company’s proprietary portfolio of optics. Panavision’s team will be available at BSC Expo to offer tips and guidance on the large-format lenses on display, which include: Panaspeed, a large format update of the classic Primo look, offering the fastest option @ T1.4; Ultra Vista large format anamorphic optics with a 1.65x squeeze; H Series spherical lens set created with vintage glass for a classic portrait look; and the Primo X, the weather-proof compact and aerodynamic drone and gimbal solution.

“Panavision’s array of camera and glass options are meeting the demand for large-format filmmaking and illustrate the unmatched creative agility available to filmmakers,” added Snyder.

Additionally, wireless or wired control of DXL2 and DXL-M is now available for Android alongside iOS devices. The Android DXL Control app allows users the option of wired control in situations where wireless is not ideal, such as aerial, underwater, and for Techno cranes.

LEE Filters will be present at BSC Expo to highlight its range of next-generation filters, including the latest Zircon gels for essential fine-tuning LED control and ProGlass CINE IRND, the ultimate in precision Neutral Density filters for cinema.

Panalux will present a diverse range of products on practical display lighting the booth. In addition, there will be demonstrations of the Cine Reflect Lighting System by The Light Box illustrating how any light source can be shaped by diffusion reflectors to produce natural looking light and shadows. 

“As a camera and lens manufacturer that also serves filmmakers as a trusted equipment and service provider, Panavision is uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of the community,” noted Jeff Allen, managing director, EAME, Panavision. “All the technologies displayed at BSC Expo, including gels and lights, can be integrated in any combination and for any type and style of production to help creatives tell their stories with maximum control from the moment of capture through delivery and display.”

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