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November 2013

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Bits & Pieces VAST launches for conversion & restoration L OS ANGELES — Visionary Arts & Scientific Technologies ( is a new company headed by Sean McKee and Peter Bowers. McKee was the former director of restoration & new technology for Point.360 Digital Film Labs, where he led development of the Advanced Restoration Tools (ART) grain/noise reduction system. Prior to that, he was CEO of Screen Time Images for 13 years. Peter Bowers was co-founder of DC3 Music Group, and co-created the Qello live concert platform. The company specializes in technology development and services related to image processing, restoration and 3D data acquisition and conversion. VAST's original intent was further development of 3D lasers and accompanying software for use in modern filmmaking, as well as to convert to 3D a library of licensed A-list concert titles that Bowers brought to even newer outlets, such as the live on stage, holographic presentation of Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella music festival. When I restored Tupac's last concert, it was for a 2D Blu-Ray. That same footage ended up being used for the Coachella show, and now we're in discussions on how to help improve the 'roundness' and viewability of holograms from side angles on stage for future projects. Enter 3D conversion and advanced projection techniques." The new system, called Visionary Grand, employs advanced machine vision algorithms developed inhouse. It allows for total control over objects in a scene when reducing grain or camera noise, and can also automatically generate mattes of each object in a scene. Though some are not perfect, this offers a huge time saver. Also, by having the grain or noise removed, it makes any subsequent rotoscoping or semi-automat- the table. It soon became apparent, however, that image processing and restoration technologies would come into play as a means to improve the quality of the converted titles. Many 3D converted titles use a combination of manual rotoscoping, 3D modeling and algorithmicbased, semi-automated processing. To assist these processes, it's necessary to remove the grain in classic titles, or the noise from modern digital cinema cameras. While the ART was a breakthrough that swayed many studios to use this process, it remains a proprietary system. So McKee set out to develop the next generation system, with additional features geared toward restoration, with the intent of 3D conversion. "It's become clear that restored content is not only being repurposed for high resolution home theaters, but also for new revenue streams, such as the 3D conversion of classics for theatrical re-release, as seen with The Wizard of Oz," says McKee. "But there are ed algorithm based object segmentation much easier. This process was applied to several recent concert films that Bowers produced, including Chickenfoot (shown split-screen, before and after). "It helped that we had the amazing lighting crew from American Idol and a 24-camera shoot," says McKee, "because lighting affects how much noise gets in the image. No camera is perfect though, and the Visionary Grand process greatly improved the subsequent 3D results." With older titles, the grain reduction process becomes more critical. VAST took a very grainy Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood, and provided MGM with a sample 3D conversion. "The issue with doing grain reduction on a title that previously had a dirt/ scratch removal pass is that when the layer of grain is peeled away, it reveals even more dirt... and then requires more restoration, but the end result is an immaculate 3D presentation," notes McKee. For more on "Restoration," turn to page 30. 4 Post • November 2013 Front (L-R) Brannon, Gyger, McHaney, Koch and King. Back (L-R) Rivas and Collins. 3008's team grows D ALLAS — 3008's ( team has grown since the summer, with a number of recent appointments, and according to senior producer Jennifer Brannon, who was previously with Reel FX, the studio is already working on holiday spots. Formerly editorial manager at Reel FX, Lisa King joined 3008 last summer as an assistant and has already been promoted to producer. She's collaborated with Brannon on projects for Ford and Stage Stores. Other newcomers include producer Ciara McHaney, who joined 3008 from Mouser Electronics, where she was a project manager. McHaney has since served as post producer on several projects for The Richards Group, including TGI Fridays and Metro PCS. Gina Rivas is a talented and bilingual editor who was able to jump into high profile projects for Hasbro, Irwin Tools, Albertson's, Suddenlink, Procter & Gamble and People En Espanol when she joined the team last summer. Previously at Reel FX, Rivas is now a part of 3008's core offline team. After first freelancing for 3008, Kristin Koch became a full-time graphic designer, working in 2D and 3D space using Adobe After Effects and Maxon's Cinema 4D. Koch spent time at Red Car, Guava and Nice Shoes in New York City. And Chris Collins and Chelsea Gyger are two new assistants who round out the 3008 team. "As we grow and diversify, we remain focused on our roots as an editorial boutique and our commitment to client service," notes 3008's editor/partner Brent Herrington.

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