Post Magazine

October 2010

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editor’s note IBC & 3D Stereo A By RANDI ALTMAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF t IBC last month, while there was no earth-shattering new technology intro- duced, there was some cool stuff going on. In addition to the AJA KiPro Mini, the software-only DS from Avid, and the upcoming Storm from The Foundry, there were plenty of new offerings and upgrades designed to make users’ lives a bit easier. (For comprehensive product info, including videos, check out While wandering the exhibit halls, I noticed a commotion at the Band Pro booth. There was what appeared to be a paparazzi-type crowd gath- ered. Who could it be? Madonna? Justin Bieber? Fabio? I craned my neck just so and caught the smallest glimpse of….Ted Schilowitz from Red (see photo, left). He had a working version of Epic. I al- most expected this to turn into a Beatles movie, with Ted and the Epic running for their lives down European streets. Another take-away from IBC was the realiza- tion that 3D stereo is making its mark.While not everyone is working in stereo, everyone wants to be prepared for when their clients do start mak- ing requests, and product makers are obliging. Post is helping as well.This month, we tackle the topic of compositing 3D stereo with a round- table of experienced pros. One of those pros is consultant David Cox, who kindly answered all of POST SCRIPT VFX in NYC L By MARC LOFTUS SENIOR EDITOR our questions. He also brought up the issue of dis- parity and post producing for 3D stereo. “Disparity is what you see when you take your 3D glasses off — a double image,” he explains.“The more the double image, the greater the sense of depth, but this is subject to a tight limit, and if this is exceeded, the scene becomes difficult to view. Dis- parity is a function of lens focal length, distance be- tween cameras, convergence and the distance to the closest and furthest objects in the scene. So this is mostly under the control of the production.” However, Cox reports there are two occasions when it needs to be dealt with in post. “One is where the shoot wasn’t right because the cameras weren’t set up properly; the other is where the shots are good individually, but when cut together make an awkward transition,” he says.“This is not easy [to fix in post], because to change the dispar- ity you need to be able to retrospectively change the distance between the cameras, which means the post tool has to recreate pixels of the scene that might have been obscured.You also need the tools to measure disparity as broadcasters have placed limits on allowable amounts of disparity. If you can’t measure it, you won’t know if you’re making ‘legal’ content.” He offers this tip: a post tool can’t be seen as being 3D-capable if it doesn’t have tools to control and measure disparity. EDIT ORIAL RANDI ALTMAN Editor-in-Chief (516) 797-0884 MARC LOFTUS Senior Editor (516) 376-1087 KEN MCGORRY Consulting Editor CHRISTINE BUNISH Film& Video RON DICESARE Audio BOB PANK European Correspondent DAN RESTUCCIO West Coast Bureau IAIN BLAIR Film MICHAEL VIGGIANO Art Director AD VER TISING MARI KOHN National Sales Manager (818) 291-1153 cell: (818) 472-1491 LISA BLACK Sales Manager 877-249-7678 KEITH KNOPF Production Director (818) 291-1158 CHRIS SALCIDO Account Manager (818) 291-1144 CUSTOMER SERVICE 620 West Elk Ave, Glendale, CA 91204 (800) 280 6446 opt 2 (publishing), opt 1 (subscriptions) ast month, Post teamed up with the Visual Effects Society to host a panel at the Createasphere conference in New York City. I served as moderator of the “Hot VFX NYC” session, which evolved into a discussion of the business of visual effects in the competitive New York market.The slate of panelists had no shortage of commentary over the hour-and-a- half session, which still managed to highlight much of their impressive work. Panelists included: Dan Schrecker,VFX super- visor at Look Effects, which recently handled FX for Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman; Jim Rider,VFX supervisor at Gravity, who focuses specifically on film work; Keith McCabe, head of CG at Charlex, which cranks out tons of com- mercials for clients such as Verizon; Fred Ruckel, creative director of Stitch, who has worked on a Super Bowl spot for Pepsi, and is currently pro- ducing and posting his own cable show;The Mill’s Westley Sarokin, who handled effects for Budweiser’s Bridge Super Bowl spot, and more recently completed a piece for DirecTV; and Brainstorm Digital’s Richard Friedlander, who 2 Post • October 2010 has a long history working with director Ron Howard, and whose studio is currently provid- ing services for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. All of the panelists are located in New York and often compete directly with each other for jobs.This brought up the question of winning the bid: How does a studio get a job, with so much talent and competition out there? All agreed that relationships help in securing work. In film, for example, a client may give a studio a few shots initially, and once they’ve got- ten a feel for the facility’s work and ability to meet a deadline, they may give them more work for that film, or another, down the road. Friedlander noted that his past relationships are what help his Brooklyn studio bring in film projects that may otherwise go to post houses on the West Coast.“Without them,” he says of the relationships,“it would be very difficult.” Rates are another issue, and Ruckel said stu- dios like his that do spot work need to be careful not to make low-ball bids just to get a job.The result could fill a show reel with loss leaders, and even put a studio out of business. REPRINTS Reprints (781) 255-0625 • (818) 291-1153 LA SALES office: 620 West Elk Avenue, Glendale, California 91204 (800) 280-6446 WILLIAM R. RITTWAGE President / CEO See us on Post Magazine is published by Post, LLC,a COP communications company. Post does not verify any claims or other information appearing in any of the ad- vertisements contained in the publication, and cannot take any responsibility for any losses or other damages incurred by readers in reliance on such content. Post cannot be held responsible for the safekeeping or return of unsolicited articles, manuscripts, photographs, illustrations or other materials. 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