Category Archives: News

Microsoft Names New Chief; Gates Becomes Adviser –

Microsoft Names New Chief; Gates Becomes Adviser -

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that Satya Nadella was its next leader, betting on a longtime engineering executive to help the company keep better pace with changes in technology.

The selection of Mr. Nadella to replace Steven A. Ballmer, which was widely expected, was accompanied by news that Bill Gates, a company founder, had stepped down from his role as chairman and become a technology adviser to Mr. Nadella.

via Microsoft Names New Chief; Gates Becomes Adviser –

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Watch: ‘Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes’ Documentary Uncovers the Methods of a Master Filmmaker

The director’s trademark eccentricity is on full display as Ronson, who was invited to his estate by Kubrick’s widow, investigates his methodical system for storage and countless fan letters filed according to the geographic location they originated from. Unearthed memos read, “Please see there is a supply of melons kept in the house at all times.”

via Watch: ‘Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes’ Documentary Uncovers the Methods of a Master Filmmaker.

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ALEXA XT B+W Camera:


The ALEXA XT B+W sensor assembly has no Bayer mask, optical low-pass filter (OLPF) or IR block filter allowing each photosite to capture the full spectrum of visible light increasing spatial resolution and contrast. In this mode the camera’s look is very much like a 35 mm camera loaded with panchromatic film – the classic black-and-white look. As well as this the camera can also operate in an infrared mode in which the camera only ‘sees’ the reflected infrared non-visible light. These images appear dramatically different producing white foliage, blemish-free skin, black eye pupils, and moody dark skies. The camera is also more sensitive than a regular ALEXA XT Plus, with a native sensitivity of around EI 2000. Through the use of two new ALEXA In-Camera Filter (IFM) system compatible filters, the ALEXA XT B+W can be easily configured with either a BG39 filter to shoot stunning B+W images, or a BG87C infrared pass, visible light block filter for infrared capture.

via ALEXA XT B+W Camera:.

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Sensors & Circles |


When we talk about a lens, we often describe it by the film format or sensor size that it’s designed to work with. Super 35mm lenses are designed to work with Super 35mm film or sensors that are around the same size; Super 16mm lenses are designed to work with Super 16mm film or similar sensors, etc. This can be confusing in itself, as we talk about lens focal length in millimeters, as well. You can have a 35mm (focal length) Super 16mm lens, for instance, and a 16mm (focal length) Super 35mm lens.

via Sensors & Circles |

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 To Be Mixed in Dolby Atmos and Barco Auro 11.1 | Below the Line

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it is teaming with both Dolby Laboratories and Barco to mix The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the next chapter in the story of Peter Parker, in both the Auro 11.1 system and the Dolby Atmos cinema sound system, to deliver a more natural and realistic soundtrack that moves sound around and above audiences. These technologies open new possibilities to enhance storytelling through sound, giving the moviegoer a more immersive, exciting and compelling experience.

The film will be released in theaters internationally April 16, and domestically on May 2.

via The Amazing Spider-Man 2 To Be Mixed in Dolby Atmos and Barco Auro 11.1 | Below the Line.

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Why One Man Watched Every Episode of ‘Law & Order’ and Took Screenshots of All the Computers

Yahoo Tech

Binge-watching is mainstream. And Law & Order is among the most popular television shows of all time.

But nobody has binged on a show the way Jeffrey Thompson gorged himself on Law & Order.

He not only took in all 456 episode in the procedural’s 20-year-run, in order. He also meticulously cataloged — with more than 11,000 screen shots — every single instance of a computer or similar technology that appeared on the show.

“Does that sound crazy to you?” he asks.

via Yahoo Tech.

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Netflix Is Going to Rule TV After All | Wired Business |

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings could barely contain himself. On Wednesday, after reporting another stellar financial quarter for the company — 2.3 million new subscribers, nearly $50 million in profits — the man who destroyed the Blockbuster empire started taunting his latest nemesis: HBO.

When asked about HBO co-president Richard Plepler claiming that the company wasn’t hurt by people sharing their passwords for HBO Go, its streaming video app, Hastings pretended to give out Plepler’s personal login credentials: “It’s,” Hastings said, “and his password is netflixbitch.”

Pretty cocky for the guy who invented Qwikster. But his swagger has substance behind it. For a company that was on the death-watch list just a few years ago, Netflix has engineered one of the most remarkable corporate turnarounds in recent memory. Rising from the depths of a fading DVD-by-mail business, Hastings and company have transcended the movie rental market. Now they’re taking on television, both the industry and the medium itself. And in a way, Netflix has already won there, too.

via Netflix Is Going to Rule TV After All | Wired Business |

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End of film: Paramount first studio to stop distributing film prints –

In a historic step for Hollywood, Paramount Pictures has become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States.

Paramount recently notified theater owners that the Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which opened in December, would be the last movie that would it would release on 35-millimeter film.

The studio’s Oscar-nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street” from director Martin Scorsese is the first major studio film that was released all digitally, according to theater industry executives who were briefed on the plans but not authorized to speak about them.

The decision is significant because it is likely to encourage other studios to follow suit, accelerating the complete phase-out of film, possibly by the end of the year. That would mark the end of an era: film has been the medium for the motion picture industry for more than a century.

“It’s of huge significance,” said Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. “For 120 years, film and 35 mm has been the format of choice for theatrical presentations. Now we’re seeing the end of that. I’m not shocked that it’s happened, but how quickly it has happened.”

via End of film: Paramount first studio to stop distributing film prints –

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Your TV is missing some colors – Dolby – Lab Notes

When we watch a video, it’s easy to assume that the things that appear in that video—cars, people, plants, and so on—look just like the objects that the filmmaker recorded. If the car in the video is royal blue, for instance, we assume that the car the filmmaker shot was that same shade of royal blue.

But it’s usually not that simple. If you’re watching a television show or a movie, it’s likely that a great deal of care went into the way the colors of each and every scene appear.

Dolby’s Shane Ruggieri is a professional colorist who has spent years working with colors in film and video to help tell stories. Sometimes he changes the color palette of a scene for emotional reasons: heightening the red to communicate anger, for instance, or adding a sickly yellow-green to hint at horror.

Other times the changes Ruggieri makes are practical: by lowering the average brightness and shifting colors toward blue, he can make a scene shot in daylight look like it takes place at night.

But one of the tasks colorists hate is having to compromise a scene’s colors just to fit into the limitations of today’s TVs. The gamut, or range, of colors that current TV standards support is quite limited—not only is it far less than the colors the eye can see; it’s also far less than the colors that today’s cameras can capture.

Ruggieri likens it to being asked to write a story, but not being allowed to use 10 letters of the alphabet. He says it’s like telling the filmmaker: “Go tell a story based in reality, but you can’t use all of the reality you see.”

via Your TV is missing some colors – Dolby – Lab Notes.

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‘Hobbit’ Sequel’s High Frame Rate Theaters Nearly Doubled – But Warner Bros. Keeps It Quiet – TheWrap

Thousands of theaters will show “Desolation of Smaug” at director Peter Jackson’s preferred speed, but Warner Bros. and Jackson hope the divisive format stays out of the spotlight.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” arrives in theaters next week with a marketing blitz reserved for billion-dollar franchises, but a key aspect of the fantasy sequel is sneaking through unnoticed.

Director Peter Jackson shot the film at 48 frames per second, double the standard speed, in an attempt to make its 3D crisper and more realistic.  The first “Hobbit” film was shown at the higher frame rate — one of a half dozen different formats viewers could watch it in – and Jackson hailed it as the future of film.

via ‘Hobbit’ Sequel’s High Frame Rate Theaters Nearly Doubled – But Warner Bros. Keeps It Quiet – TheWrap.

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Gravity: vfx that’s anything but down to earth | fxguide

One of the most impressive films of the year is Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, with digital production (the word post does not apply here), computer imagery and visual effects primarily provided by Framestore and lead by visual effects supervisor Tim Webber. Framestore has produced truly remarkable footage and done more than just enhance the story – their work is central to the story, the emotional isolation and drama of the film. fxguide’s Mike Seymour spoke at length with Webber about Gravity and we also highlight some of the other history, elements and computer controlled rigs in our in-depth coverage of one of the year’s most important visual effects films.

In addition to Framestore’s efforts on the film, Prime Focus partnered to help with the stereo conversion, although much of the digital footage was rendered in stereo. Rising Sun Pictures provided 17 shots, but given Cuarón’s trademark long continuous shots, those 17 shots accounted for over two and a half minutes of screentime (see more details below). Additional VFX work was carried out by Nhance, with scanning and LIDAR contributions from 4DMax, additional scanning by XYZ RGB, facial scanning by Lightstage and facial mocap by Mova.

The previs which was key to the film’s success was primarily done by Framestore but in partnership with The Third Floor. It was actually this collaboration that lead to the creation of The Third Floor London. This new company is actually a joint venture between Framestore and The Third Floor LA. The Third Floor London saw the two companies sharing staff, tools, skills and philosophies and an initial headquarters at Framestore’s Wells Street office.

via Gravity: vfx that’s anything but down to earth | fxguide.

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Joel Kinnaman discusses “uncomfortable” RoboCop suit |

“It was very uncomfortable,” the Swedish-American star says of RoboCop’s new body armour, designed by Oscar-nominated costume designer April Ferry.

“I’m not wearing much under the suit… you feel naked. Also, when the cameras weren’t rolling, I [felt] awkward and embarrassed. It was hard to move my head and everything was making my back ache. I used that awkwardness because that’s what Murphy would’ve felt, times a thousand.”

via Joel Kinnaman discusses “uncomfortable” RoboCop suit |

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Definition Magazine – Def Mag – Arri Releases 9th Software Upgrade For Their Alexa Cameras

Arri are gifting even more features to their ALEXA camera range with the release of ‘SUP 9.0’ Software Update Packet 9.0 for ARRI ALEXA XT cameras and ALEXA Classic cameras. One of the headline features is with the XR Module Upgrade, DNxHD becomes available in 444 colour space for cameras with a DNxHD license.

DNxHD 444 supports Log C, a cornerstone of the ALEXA system’s approach to high quality image acquisition. DNxHD 444 recording will be of great interest to the many corporations and production companies that work with MXF files and the SMPTE-standardised DNxHD codec, which offers high quality at low bandwidths.

With an absence of subsampling or averaging of chroma information, the 10 bit 4:4:4 RGB codec provides an basis for creative grading, colour keying and multi-generational finishing and mastering.

DNxHD 444 clips can be recorded at up to 30 fps on 32 GB SxS Pro cards and up to 60 fps on 64GB SxS Pro cards, CFast 2.0 cards or XR Capture Drives.

Other new features include improved ProRes Recording. ARRI has increased the maximum frame rate of the highest quality ProRes codec (ProRes 4444) to 120 fps in 16:9 HD mode. This requires ALEXA XT cameras or ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module upgrade and the use of XR Capture Drives or CFast 2.0 cards. It is now possible to keep shooting ProRes 4444, no matter what the frame rate.

via Definition Magazine – Def Mag – Arri Releases 9th Software Upgrade For Their Alexa Cameras.

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The Mystery of the Creepiest Television Hack | Motherboard

Right up until 9:14 PM on November 22nd, 1987, what appeared on Chicago’s television sets was somewhat normal: entertainment, news, game shows. That night, as usual, Dan Roan, a popular local sportscaster on Channel 9’s Nine O’Clock News, was narrating highlights of the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions. And then, suddenly and without warning, the signal flickered up and out into darkness.

In the control room of WGN-TV, the technicians on duty stared blankly at their screens. It was from their studio, located at Bradley Place in the north of the city, that the network broadcasted its microwave transmission to an antenna at the top of the 100-story John Hancock tower, seven miles away, and then out to tens of thousands of viewers. Time seemed to slow to a trickle as they watched that signal get hijacked.

A squat, suited figure sputtered into being, and bounced around maniacally. Wearing a ghoulish rubbery mask with sunglasses and a frozen grin, the mysterious intruder looked like a cross between Richard Nixon and the Joker. Static hissed through the signal; behind him, a slab of corrugated metal spun hypnotically. This was not part of the regularly scheduled broadcast.

via The Mystery of the Creepiest Television Hack | Motherboard.

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Inter BEE 2013: Groundbreaking Workflows for Star Trek Into Darkness

Prior to beginning work on Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams proposed a challenge to his Post Production Supervisor, Ben Rosenblatt. He wanted to be able to screen a rough cut of the film at any given time, complete with temp audio, instead of having to lock a version of it weeks in advance in order to create a temp sound edit and mix suitable for screening. His team, including Sound Designer & Re-Recording Mixer Will Files and Assistant Editors Evan Schiff, Matt Evans and Robby Stambler not only solved this problem, but also pioneered a new workflow in doing so.

via Inter BEE 2013: Groundbreaking Workflows for Star Trek Into Darkness.

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Monty Python reunion: Surviving members to reform for a stage show – News – Comedy – The Independent

It’s the reunion which John Cleese once dismissed as “absolutely impossible”. But hatchets have been buried and grudges set aside as the surviving members of the ground-breaking comedy troupe confirmed that the Monty Python circus will fly once again.

Following months of secret talks, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will announce their plans at a London press conference on Thursday.

via Monty Python reunion: Surviving members to reform for a stage show – News – Comedy – The Independent.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces major gifts from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received separate $10 million gifts from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. In recognition of these gifts, the two main galleries on the lobby floor of the Academy Museum will be named for Katzenberg and Spielberg – The Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery and The Spielberg Family Gallery.

via The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces major gifts from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.

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The Big Question: Why Post in 4K? | Studio Daily

When does 4K make sense in post? Not as often as you might think, according to some speakers at last week’s Production + Post Conference, held in conjunction with Content and Communications World at Javits Center in New York City. Post gurus said it’s not always easy to make a budgetary case for 4K, with its dramatically increased demands for post-production bandwidth and storage capacity. High-profile features are often graded at 2K or, in the case of Dallas Buyers Club (pictured, top), in HD.

via The Big Question: Why Post in 4K? | Studio Daily.

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Sony α7R and α7 full-frame cameras | Film and Digital Times

Sony’s new α7 and α7R digital cameras are full-frame, 24 x 36mm, interchangeable lens cameras. They use the familiar Sony E mount — the same as the FS700 and NEX, which are APS-C size — but now the E mount covers full frame. (A full frame Sony E-mount consumer video camcorder was shown last year at Photokina.)

The α7R has a 36.4 megapixel CMOS sensor and no optical low pass filter.  The α7 has a 24.3  megapixel CMOS sensor with a faster autofocus and an OLPF.

via Sony α7R and α7 full-frame cameras | Film and Digital Times.

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Andy Kaufman’s Brother Says Comedian is Alive, in Love and Has a Daughter

“I witnessed the entire thing and I can tell you without a doubt this was not a prank,” says Al Parinello, a lifelong friend of the comedian who produces the awards. Parinello relayed to The Hollywood Reporter how Michael, whom he describes as “accountant-like” in demeanor and not prone to mounting hoaxes, followed instructions in the essay to meet his brother at a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve, 1999.

via Andy Kaufman’s Brother Says Comedian is Alive, in Love and Has a Daughter.

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Netflix’s New Look Is a Glimpse at the Future of TV | Underwire |

Netflix's New Look Is a Glimpse at the Future of TV | Underwire |

Netflix just announced a whole new browsing experience for users who access the service on more than half the devices that run it, from game consoles to smart TVs. On the surface it just looks like a sleek new interface upgrade – better images, more integrated program information – but underneath there’s a hint of things to come: the idea that soon, viewers will look at the video-streaming service no differently than they do the guide channel piped in through their living room’s cable box.

via Netflix’s New Look Is a Glimpse at the Future of TV | Underwire |

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Panavision Primo V Series Lenses Announced:

The Primo V lenses are designed to bring the look and feel of Panavision Primos to digital cinematography, using the lens elements from existing Primo lenses, long an industry standard for top cinematographers. Primo V lenses take advantage of specific design adaptations to work in harmony with digital cameras, maximizing image quality while delivering Primo quality and character.

via Panavision Primo V Series Lenses Announced:.

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