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» Archive of Past Meeting Reports

Report of The Secretary, Hollywood Section
2012 to 2013 Fiscal Year
SECTION MEETING REPORTS

September 28, 2011
November 16, 2011
March 20, 2012
May 22, 2012
May 31, 2012
June 12, 2012
September 19, 2012
November 19, 2012
February 12, 2013
March 7, 2013
April 24, 2013
May 22, 2013

(Alphabetical Index follows.  Note: Refer to the SMPTE Journal Archive for final, full published versions of the Section Meeting Reports and photos)

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Hollywood
September 28, 2011

Section Chair Eric Gsell, of Dolby Laboratories, chaired the Hollywood Section meeting of 28 September, “It’s Not a Science Project…Look at the Pictures”, held at the Academy’s Lynwood Dunn Theatre.

Following an entertaining Popular Science news short film from the early 1950’s pulled by Dick May from the Paramount Archives, Eric Gsell led a panel discussion of four ASC Cinematographers as they explained the impact that recent digital cameras and RAW or Log file-based workflows have had on their creativity and quality control for motion image capture.

The panel consisted of Bill Bennett, ASC; David Darby, ASC; Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC; and Rodney Charters, ASC. Several digitally projected examples from their past or current digital work were shown.

Bill Bennett, ASC, showed several examples of footage recently shot for Dolby to examine the importance of better seeing what dynamic range compression may exist in a digital image file. One set of tests was to emulate 12 bit encoding into ITU-R BT.709-5 primaries, which was shown to the audience at cinema brightness as through a DCP originally graded for 100 candelas per square meter at television brightness. 

Also discussed was preserving the wider gamut and dynamic range that may exist in original digital files from television production today, for future implementation.

As part of Mr. Bennett’s tests for Dolby, it was intended to examine the original digital file potential on bright capable reference grade displays, such as viewing a perceived linear dynamic range of up to 600% above normal broadcast television aim luminance, for more examination of the highlight and contrast potential in the original file.

Mr. Bennett’s footage included images of from 120 to 150 frames per second exposures at 270 degree open shutter, where he used strobe lighting for base exposure to help compensate for color temperature shift in fire-type visual effects, to keep the original exposure of the fire a warm yellow, rather than shifting to white.

Of particular note were details by example and comment of each of the Cinematographer’s  technical choices and preferences for furthering their art.  Comments included  the use of key and fill lighting today, with sensitive cameras and prime or fast zoom lenses , thoughts on LED lighting products, camera body sizes, the use of standard grey card, histograms, log encoding, considerations for limiting or increasing displayed resolution, and for working with mixed color temperature lighting. 

Other comments were about workflow, camera rigging, tethering to external recorders, and improving on set control and monitoring.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Manager (emeritus)

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Hollywood
November 16, 2011

The Hollywood Section meeting for November was held at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on November 16th, 2011, as an in depth "examination" from working professionals "of the role of Pre-visualization in current filmmaking".

The program opened with the very funny 1928 Warner Bros. Vitaphone short “Shaw and Lee in The Beau Brummels” selected by Dick May.  Section Chair Eric Gsell, of Dolby Laboratories, introduced the topic of "The Emerging role and Current State of Pre-visualization in Production" to an 85 person audience of SMPTE members and guests.

Eric then introduced Garrett Smith, Vice President of Production Technology at Paramount Pictures.  Mr. Smith then led a distinguished succession of industry professionals speaking to the context of  coordinating artistic and technical services through Pre-visualization (Pre-vis), Virtual Production and Post-visualization (Post-vis), and visual effects, as may be used for motion picture or television storytelling.

The presenters were Ron Frankel, of Proof Inc., and one of the founders of the Pre-visualization Society; Colin Green, from Pixel Liberation Front, President and a co-founder of the Pre-visualization Society; David Morin, from Autodesk, Co-Chair of the Virtual Production Committee; John Scheele, a VFX Supervisor and Co-Chair of the Virtual Production Committee; Thomas Tannenberger, from Gradientfx, VFX Supervisor and Co-Creator of the company GLoW, for Gradient Location Optimized Workflow; and Marc Weigert, a VFX Supervisor on the films 2012 and Anonymous, and CEO of Uncharted Territories.

Garrett Smith first introduced Colin Green, who showed the audience many early video clip examples of computer and model-based pre-visualization, including a Levis commercial rendered out from wireframe layouts, and other scenes from the Lucas Film Star Wars trilogy.

Several video examples were shown from Industrial Light and Magic’s production design and effects development, such as showing  progressions for action sequences from flat art two dimensionally hand drawn storyboards to early stage computer generated three dimensional pre-visualizations, and then into the final film with full rendered objects, textures, and effects.

In the presented examples, one could see the differences in the final images compared to the 2D storyboards.  Colin Green pointed out that the 2D storyboards, and other illustrations for inspiration, or key moment depictions could be faster in the beginning stages of visual development to create than having to create a virtual world first. 

It was explained that, once in a virtual world, given enough rendering, object definition and relevant levels of sophistication, one can accurately determine object sizing, precise angles of view, geometry, accurate character and set design, story point potential or action progression, and then tie the visualization back into dramatic storyline interrelationships for review and change.

Garrett Smith then introduced John Schelle, who also introduced Alex Witt, the 2nd Unit Director and Cinema-tographer for the motion picture Fast and Furious. 

Together, John and Alex presented video clip examples of the pre-visualization of a passenger train and bridge car and truck sequence, including the car run off the cliff portion.

Marc Weigert followed, and presented the audience with video clips depicting a script to screen translation of the limousine sequence in the beginning of the motion picture 2012, showing how one half of a page of screenplay became approximately a three minute action sequence.

After showing the audience in power point some of the initial flat art production illustrations that were created, Marc then illustrated through video clips how the visual effects team set about to create a pre-visualization of the virtual set that could be used to stage action, motion, characters, props, camera positions, and time correlated editing.

This was first shown through examples with flat shading, and then shown with successive approximation of final rendered detail in the "look development" process of working toward the final graded imaging that was to be actually used in the motion picture.  The limousine, a key action prop in this sequence, for example, was said to consist of over 45,843 polygons, and in binary form, represented a 7.1MB file for Maya.  An approximately 60' x 100' platform built on hydraulics was the physical basis on the green screen set for the actors and picture vehicles and house exterior to portray the earthquake realistically.  This was used until the actors were in the limousine, and until the full visual effects virtual sequence intercut with actor close ups inside the vehicle, began.

Marc also explained how pre-visualization also helped in the production design, making it apparent that detail inside collapsing buildings would need full virtual set treatment and decoration, as the absence of perceived detail could easily become apparent and "ruin" the effect of the imagery and screen action to appear real. 

In this regard, he showed video clips of how some real-sized prop cars and other objects were manipulated mechanically to be tossed about in front of large green screen backgrounds, such as they would provide a visual reference for effects, or to serve as real objects to layer into the virtual sequence.

Marc followed these examples with video clips illustrating the creation of a virtual set of historic London, and the Globe Theatre, for his role as Executive Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor in the current motion picture Anonymous. 

In these examples, live action photography with certain physical props and set elements was shown to be correlated through sound stage work with the virtual elements as replaced through green screen effects compositing. 

The production design for the green screen fill in virtual portions was largely based on digital modeling and included the use of grafted or overlaid textures taken from real objects from Marc’s photographic trip around England, such as walls, doors, windows, and period appearing stone textures. 

In some scenes, 20,000 virtual extras are visible, rendered with clothing motion, texture, and animation. 

Moreover, the camera moves were matched into the live set cinematography to blend digital art fluidly with actors performing in otherwise constricted spaces.  Thomas Tannenberger presented video clips and software emulation examples of pre-rendered and rendered 2D pre-visualization, such as for location scanning using laser based "Light-R scanning".

This scanner was stated to be accurate from 1/4" up to 900' from the laser source, and for a developmental pre-visualization program for virtual planning using the current complete Paramount back lot.

The final speaker for the evening, David Morin, explained the joint interests of the Pre-visualization Society with industry organizations Visual Effects Society, Art Director's Guild, International Cinema-tographer's Guild, Producer's Guild, and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). 

Mr. Morin also presented clips from the making of Real Steel, which used a virtual camera with GPU-based sophisticated character renders for composited effects images, and similarly, for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin.  Through a series of charts, David also illustrated the changing percentages and time constraints of budgets earmarked for pre- production, production, and post- production.  He pointed out the current trend to overlap the time frames within which significant decisions are made by key creative personnel, such that “the lines of the traditional stages” or steps of movie making have become blurred into one stage, within which computer visualization has now progressed to be of significant importance to the entire process in some cases, from concept all the way to final completion. Curtis Clark, ASC, was mentioned several times throughout the evening for his supporting role with the early stages of pre-visualization.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Manager (emeritus)

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Hollywood
March 20, 2012

Eric Gsell, of Dolby Laboratories (SMPTE Hollywood Section Chair 2011-2012) welcomed an audience of over 170 people at the Hollywood Section meeting for March, entitled “120 Years in 120 Minutes – The Technology and History of Film”, held at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on the evening of Tuesday, March 20th, 2012. 

The meeting was presented by Beverly Pasterczyk, Eastman Kodak Company, who illustrated the broad history of the technical innovation of film as a product for motion image recording.  Ms. Pasterczyk is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and currently serves SMPTE as a Manager of the Hollywood Section, and National Membership Chair.

Following a beautifully vivid color film projected example of hand drawn animation on motion picture film, Unicycle Race, from 1966, by Bob Swarthe, provided by the Academy film archive, and obtained by film preservation and archive specialist Dick May, the audience was led by Beverly back to the earliest uses of film.  She then progressed with her presentation forward in time through notable discoveries that introduced progressive changes in chemistry based light and image recording technologies.  

Among the earliest examples mentioned in the presentation were the coated pewter plate 8 hour time exposure work in 1827, by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, in France, and the
birth of silver halide technology on gelatin emulsions on glass plates, in 1871, through the work of Dr. Richard Leach Maddox.

By 1873, Ms. Pasterczyk pointed out that Eadweard J. Muybridge was using emulsion coated glass plates to record the “locomotion” of a champion horse cantering, in a series of still images at the Palo Alto Farm (now on the site of the Leland Stanford Jr. University).  He had been commissioned for this photographic test in 1872.

The novel idea at that time was not to use stop-action photography for the purposes of entertainment, but rather to stage 24 glass plate still cameras in a series at predetermined distances, and “electro-shutter” them through the efforts of John D Isaccs, a mechanical engineer by trade, in “consecutive instantaneous exposures” through a series of tripwires, so as to be able to view the progression of the horse’s legs as it traversed a prescribed distance. 

Analysis of the glass plates could then prove a bet as to whether or not Stanford’s horse maintained one foot on the ground at all times when cantering forward, or if there was a moment when all of its legs were in the air (they proved to be in the air upon analysis by J.D.B. Stillman, M.D., of the photo sequence).   The use of still images captured and subsequently viewed in sequence paved the way for the motion picture industry.

By 1889, William Friese was working with sequences of still images that were projected in rapid succession, and C. Francis Jenkins, an inventor who in 1891 attempted to create a motion picture projector called the Phantascope, founded SMPE, (the Society of Motion Picture Engineers) in 1916.  SMPE would many years later add the T to its namesake becoming, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

By 1894, the viewing of motion through the rapid flipping of photographic prints by cranking them in a rotary sequence within the persistence of lens focused vision became very popular in arcades and social circles. 

By the time period of 1894 to 1895, over 1000 Kinetoscopes were sold in North America to view short length exchangeable motion sequence still paper print image flip reels of various ordinary or staged scenes.

It was George Eastman, who brought the innovative Eastman negative film to life in 1896, as a monochromatic blue-light sensitive roll film emulsion on a gelatin base.

Mr. Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company three years later, in 1899, in part, to manufacture and chemically process his new film products, but perhaps more importantly to research, create, test, and refine through continual innovation, both general and special purpose imaging products and technologies that could push the boundaries of many interrelated imaging sciences.

For example, Ms. Pasterczyk pointed out at the conclusion of the presentation, that the Eastman Kodak Company’s development of laser projection technology, recently licensed by IMAX, contributes to the advancement of digital image projection.  Additionally, the Eastman Kodak Company has recently intruded a new product into the VISION3 family of color negative motion picture films.  She also mentioned that film maintains a leadership role in large format and format independent imaging, and long-term image preservation, and that Kodak is continuing its research into new archival film products.

Depicting innovation in the 20th century, from 1900 forward, Ms. Pasterczyk continued the timeline of significant events in film emulsion technology through the introduction of orthochromatic emulsions (responsive to blue and green light primaries), and panchromatic emulsions (responsive to blue, green and red light primaries).  She then discussed film bases of nitrate, diacetate, and triacetate (35mm

professional films were originally nitrate base, and 16mm or 8mm films were made on non-flammable diacetate base which was a precursor to the non-flammable triacetate “safety base” films still used today), and the early innovations of Technicolor, beginning with Disney’s animated Silly Symphony short, Flowers And Trees, in 1932. 

Ms. Pasterczyk pointed out that Kodachrome film was Kodak’s evolution into color, where inherently as black and white film, the color “comes from proprietary dyes that adhered to film during processing”.

She continued presenting significant breakthroughs through successive generations of professional motion picture film products, from refinements made to the Technicolor processes, in the 1930’s, through the present day.
 
Of particular interest were the images she presented of film stock layers, her discussions about early Technicolor bi-packs (where layers were actually exposed separately and then cemented together), and her discussions about improving film stock sensitivity to light. 

Of further note were comments on the recent evolution of film density with regard to the original Cineon densitometric patch values, and film recorder printing alignment, and that for digital scanning, and film printing, further analysis for workflow refinements and workaround considerations within the industry may create adjustments for these.

Ms. Pasterczyk’s presentation culminated with information on what she characterized as the most expressive, light sensitive, finest grain structured products produced for, and in use by, cinematographers today, that in fact, can be selectively chosen for their range and organic capabilities, and that in practice co-exist and integrate with even the most advanced digital image capture products.

Portions of a film of Kodak’s manufacturing process in the 1950’s were screened from a DVD source.  Also screened were portions of a 16mm film print, and 35mm film prints, one of which depicted VISION3 Color Negative Film 5213 origination, and the second print, Eastman EXR Color Negative Film 5245, from which the famous Marci test chart images originated.  These examples were introduced to illustrate vivid color representation, dark saturation potential, extended dynamic range, and optically balanced tonal capture.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Manager (emeritus)

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Hollywood
May 22, 2012

An audience of over 80 people were introduced to a DVD clip of the 1902 Georges Méliès silent film, Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) at the beginning of the May Hollywood Section meeting, held at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on the evening of Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012.

Entitled “Technology In The Service Of Creativity”, the meeting consisted of hosted presentations of how Hollywood Science Fiction artists in the 1960’s, using the best technologies of their day, helped set the stage for the modern Science Fiction Blockbusters. 

Contributing with presentations or discussion were, Bill Creber, Production Designer and Art Director, and nominated for three Academy Awards for Art Direction; Visual Effects Technologist Jon Erland, who shares Academy Scientific and technical Awards, and who worked from the beginning stages of Industrial Light and Magic on the blockbuster 1977 George Lucas film Star Wars, and later worked for Apogee Productions;  Gene Kozicki, Archivist with Rhythm & Hues, a Visual Effects company based in El Segundo, California; and author Jack Hagerty, of Livermore, California.

The meeting was hosted by USC Film School alumnus Chris Bone, who serves as an emeritus section manager, and is the incoming 2012-2013 Secretary/Treasurer of the Hollywood Chapter.  Chris currently works as Chief Technology Officer for VTP, in Burbank, California.

Chris introduced the idea of the meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Classic Hollywood Science Fiction in the 1960’s, noting that of the period, even on limited budgets compared to today, how creatively strong production designers were not afraid to use all of the technologies available at the time for image manipulation in the science fiction genre. 

Another reason for the meeting was to try to examine the contributions of artists who by virtue of their creative problem solving, enabled great story telling, and thus became intertwined with strong writing, believable staging, and mainstream accepted production styles, such that the story telling in the science fiction genre migrated quickly through the decade from sheer visual uniqueness into popular family stories for all ages, and stories with wide-scale mass appeal. 

When these talented, dedicated artists were behind a strong producer and there to support story telling with creative problem solving, no matter what technology they used or had available, the stage was then set for the modern Science Fiction blockbuster.

A particular example of this was given by Bill Creber, when he showed his sketches of how he planned the production design for the climax end scene at the base of the partially destroyed Statue of Liberty, in the 1968 release of the original Planet of the Apes movie, starring Charlton Heston, a scene considered by some to be the most seminal moment in American Science Fiction movies ever done.

Perhaps seen in public for the first and what may be only time, astute members of the audience could see that Mr. Creber showed through his sketches a perfect solution to camera placement, and scale, and had achieved a perfect balance of the entire production design of the movie from beginning to end in one scene of about three shots, transitioning artfully from the unfamiliar world of the future to the familiar world of the past.

The audience was also treated to images of the scaffolding and final matte painting composite of the Statue of Liberty as used in the scene. A clip from the movie of this scene was screened from DVD.

Earlier in the evening, Jack Hagerty gave an observer’s presentation of the significant contributions of the magnificent flying saucer sets as seen in the Lost In Space television series, as representative of future technology and family living, and from an audience’s perspective. 

Chris then introduced Jon Erland, to explain how sets at that time could be expanded through such methods as the use of miniatures, composited imaging and special photographic techniques. 

Mr. Erland then gave a concise summary presentation of the history of visual effects, including in camera effects, glass mattes, sodium vapor matte process photography, spectral sensitivity evolution for blue screen matting, and detail of Apogee Productions’ innovative matte technology evolution, which occurred after Industrial Light and Magic’s move north to San Rafael, and the people who remained behind in Los Angeles formed Apogee.

Gene Kozicki then followed with a presentation of the making of the 20th Century Fox feature movie, Fantastic Voyage, released in 1966, and some of the visual effects compositing and model work for the Desilu television series Star Trek, from September of 1966 through 1968. 

Gene also discussed some of the production design considerations with Bill Creber that Bill used on Lost in Space, and the 20th Century Fox features Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Planet of the Apes. 

The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea pilot would later blossom into a popular television series by the same name, but different cast, that would run an astonishing four years on ABC television (Star Trek the original series only ran three years, and the highly popular Lost in Space also only ran for three).

The audience was also treated to  clips of Irwin Allen explaining the reasons for the creation of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea as a television program spinoff for the ABC Network in 1964, and a narrated explanation of the reasons for creating Lost in Space for the CBS Television Network as a family-themed science fiction series, which followed soon after in 1965. 

Irwin Allen also served as an  occasional writer and director for the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea television series, as he would  occasionally co-direct, or direct various works of his throughout his career.  An additional clip showing Mr. Creber’s production design creation of a flying submarine for the second season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was also shown, along with the integration of the model photography into actual story point of a series episode entitled “Nightmare”.

Appropriately, to bring the audience current, the evening concluded following the Planet of the Apes final climax scene with a DCP Scope trailer from the latest Science Fiction movie of the moment, Universal’s Battleship, which had been released in the United States just 4 days prior on May 18.

Although time in the meeting did not permit discussion of all of Mr. Creber’s significant work, it should be noted that he also served as Production Designer on several of the top science fiction blockbusters in the 1970’s that pre-dated Star Wars, Irwin Allen’s The Poseidon Adventure, released in 1972, and The Towering Inferno, released in 1974. 

These films were both very popular in their day, and generated significant box office returns that rated them at the time of their initial release as among the 10 highest grossing films of all time.  Clip sources were DVD except as noted.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
May 31, 2012

The Hollywood Section meeting held a second meeting for the month at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on May 31st, 2012, this time, entitled “Digital Imaging with LEDs, More (or Less) than Meets the Eye”, in part, as a review of the fundamentals of white light created from LED sources, including trichromatic and pumped phosphor systems.

The meeting was also purposed to explore spectral power distribution, and some of the observable and measurable effects of non-continuous and continuous spectral power on motion picture and television imaging systems, particularly with regard to white light, and traditional relative to light source measurement determinants such as CCT (Correlated Color temperature, the absolute temperature of a blackbody whose chromaticity most nearly resembles that of the light source), and CRI (Color Rendering Index, a measure of the quality of color light).

Hollywood Section Chair Eric Gsell began the evening by welcoming an audience of over 180 people, the majority of whom raised their hand as non-members, and were attending a SMPTE meeting perhaps for the first time, as interested industry guests.  The meeting had been publicized, as had the last several chapter meetings, by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).  

Bill Hogan introduced the first speaker, Jon Erland, who provided a summary of color and its perception, and who gave his own personal perspective of the essence of a viable color imaging system.

Jon opined that for a system to be considered a viable system, it is to provide and help assure a basis for predictability, and that it was of the best long term intentions that color motion picture film, introduced in 1951, still dependent based on scene light, exposure, developing, and printing with stock and corrective filter biases, like modern color television cameras, are both the essence of fundamentally predictable systems because they were designed for exposures based on continuous spectrum white light.

It was the behavior of the tungsten filament illuminant as used primarily for interior photography that was determined to emit or reflect the best continuous spectrum for predictably exposing normal current color motion picture emulsions for color and tonal representation, or as its spectral power is detected in fundamentally quantum linear colorimetric photo site CMOS, and CCD sensors.

Mr. Erland pointed out that when spectral power of a light source is non-continuous, the fundamentally predictable systems are forced to render what can become unpredictable results.  On the other hand, when a solid state or Light Emitting Diode (LED) light source is designed to be predictable or when it can be modeled when adjusted and measured appropriately, new efficiencies in lighting can be unleashed.

Three years ago, these observations had come to the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Technology Council from user reports on certain use of solid state and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights, and they resulted in the formation of a Solid State Lighting Sub-committee, of which Mr. Erland is the current Chair. 

Ryan Fletcher, with ARRI, in conjunction with Mr. Erland’s opening live and filmed presentation, showed software-based Matlab-style plot and digital chart color patch examples of the modeling tests and ongoing analysis undertaken in research by the Academy to observe and measure the phenomenon.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
June 12, 2012

The Hollywood Section held its regular June meeting at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on June 12, 2012, on the topic of “Connecting to the Future of Media and Entertainment Digital Storage”.

Section Chair Eric Gsell introduced host Tom Coughlin, of Coughlin Associates, who led an audience of over 80 SMPTE Members and guests through an informative presentation on emerging and current storage interfaces such as Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, fiber channel, IP connectivity, and data performance speeds such as through InfiniBand (QDR, FDR, EDR), Mini-SAS, SATA 2.0/3.0, and SAS Express (6 Gb, 12 Gb, 24 Gb) connectivity. 

Mr. Coughlin then presented what an idealized newly constructed data center might look like on paper in the near future of 2013-2016, as seen through the capabilities of advanced networking with 40 GbE and with the utilization of next generation performance multi-function express SAS/PCIe 3.0 bays. 

Mr. Coughlin then led a panel of manufacturers and users through both group discussion and summary individual presentation of their specific technologies. 

Of particular interest to the audience were the hearing of different comments from the panelists of idealized performance metrics with theoretically fully committed systems to the newest leading technologies as they are introduced, compared with real world examples of practical or budget limited implementations. 

Also discussed were the lags in real world re-investment and implementing technological changes in the ongoing maintenance of practical large scale systems.

The panelists were: Alex Grossman, with Active Storage; Steve Kochak, with Deluxe; Martin Libich, with EMC/Isilon; Eli Karpilovski, with Mellanox; John Mallory, with NetApp, and Brad Winett, with Data Direct Networks.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
September 19, 2012

The Hollywood Section held its September meeting at the AMPAS Pickford Center Linwood Dunn Theater on September 19, 2012 on the subject of “Theatrical Distribution – Past, Present, and Future”.  SMPTE Member Bill Hogan, Host for the meeting, introduced presenters and panelists to the 170 SMPTE Members and guests in attendance. 

Presenters Dick May, representing the Film Technology Company,  Michael D. Smith, of Wavelet Consulting, LLC, Nick Mitchell, of Technicolor, Nelson Meacham, Co-Chair of the SMPTE Working Group on Digital Cinema, distribution consultant Michael Karagosian, and Don Chestnutt, of Warner Bros., reviewed past and present standards and practices, and added comment on the future of both print and digital distribution.  Howard Lukk, of the Walt Disney Company, spoke to the history of digital projection, and the Digital Cinema Initative.

Dick May began the meeting with a clip from MGM’s The Big Parade, which he stated to be a highly successful film at the box office in its initial run, in the silent era in 1925, before the introduction of synchronous sound with film print exhibition, which was introduced in select theatres beginning in 1926 with Don Juan using Vitaphone’s sound on record disk synchronization technology. 

As Mr. May continued to summarize the history of theatrical print distribution, the audience was also treated to clips from another motion picture silent era spectacle, MGM’s Ben Hur, with Ramon Navarro.

Mr. May then summarized how quickly sound synchronization affected the motion picture industry, citing that by 1930, of 28 major motion pictures released that year by MGM, all except 3 were considered “full sound”, whereas the year prior, in 1929, of the 30 major features released, only 4 were using synchronized sound.   

An example of the early sound era was shown, as a clip from MGM’s first musical and Best Picture Academy Award winner, Broadway Melody, starring Charlie King.  Mr. May pointed out that films were still in the 1:33:1 “square” aspect ratio, and would predominantly remain so even through the advent of color, until the widescreen era, which followed about 1950.

Courtesy of Grover Crisp, at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the audience was shown an example of the widescreen theatrical motion picture as it would have been seen during the height of the widescreen era, Columbia’s fictional depiction of real-life conflict in World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai, photo-graphed in CinemaScope, starring Alec Guiness and William Holden.  This clip was projected with 2K digital technology. 

He concluded his summary of film sound technology by mentioning the introduction of optical stereo sound in theatres, in 1977, including briefly mentioning some of the contributions of THX, Dolby, and Sony DTS sound systems.

Mr. May summarized the adaptation of computer record keeping, and the efficiency it brought to the traditional carbon copy records used in the “Exchange Cities” method of physical print access of theatres, to circulate and rotate their exhibition prints within the theatre chains.

Meeting Host Bill Hogan then introduced Howard Lukk, who is with The Walt Disney Company.  Mr. Lukk explained the origins and growth of digital projection, and the Digital Cinema Initiative, including what is presently standardized for digital distribution.  Mr. Lukk had worked for the DCI group almost from its origin, until the group was disbanded, after the original 6 supporting Studios agreed to a set of digital and interrelated content security standards.

Presenter Michael D. Smith, of Wavelet Consulting, provided detail on the efficiencies of JPEG2000 as used within the DCI specifications, and discussed some of the new challenges of high frame rates for Digital Cinema.

Michael Karagosian provided a brief history of the DCP and the strategy for Virtual Print Fees, a method of offsetting the costs to implement digital projection systems in small theatre chains and independently owned theatres.

Nick Mitchell, of Technicolor, discussed the subjects of Text Link Ads, Foreign Language Ads, mastering, and versioning, and some of the current, overall challenges and complexities to the distribution process.

Mr. Mitchell stated that, such as with regard to the many versions that are being created, not only for 2D and 3D release, but coupled with different surround mixes, and for 3D, graded for different brightness levels, some releases have gone to as many as 57 versions.

Mr. Mitchell also commented on adapting captioning to be readable for stereo content where open captions appear as subtitles, burned into left and right eye images, the use of timed text with True Type font, and the practical advantage and current implementation of minimum 1 second per reel or longer duration image inserts to the playlist in the DCP such as may be used for censor and version changes without the need to update an entire DCP package. 

Also mentioned was the practical need for co-adaptation of the JPEG Interop formatting for Digital Cinema Packages, or migration to full specification, where .xml extensions are used in the folder structures.

Don Chestnutt of Warner Bros. described the change from traditional shipping and circulation of 35mm prints between theaters to the current digital system, with DCP drives and the security keys used to insure that a picture was only exhibited in the theater in which it is booked, and on the pre-arranged dates.  The meeting concluded in panel form with additional comments on the possible future of theatrical and digital distribution.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
November 19, 2012

The Hollywood Section held its November chapter meeting on the topic of lens technologies, on the evening of November 19, in the Fletcher Jones Foundation Auditorium of  Woodbury University’s School of Business, in Burbank, California.

The meeting was attended by approximately 85 SMPTE Members and guests.

Entitled “Through The Looking Glass – an evening with the lens experts”, and hosted by Doug Leighton, of Panasonic, the meeting consisted of short, narrative power point presentations that highlighted the performance characteristics and technical design considerations of the most current cinema lenses sold by the leading digital cinema lens manufacturers, Angenieux, Canon, Cooke, Fuji Optical Devices, Leica, Schneider Optics, and Carl Zeiss. 

An additional presentation was also given by OptiTek on a unique new EF to PL motor control capable lens adaptor for Canon EF lenses.  The presentations were followed by a group question and answer panel discussion. 

Also represented in the lobby were a variety of early and current Panavision anamorphic lenses, exhibited by David Kenig, of Panavision.

Participating in the presentations and panel discussion were: Eric Allen, from Canon; Alan Albert, of Clairmont Camera, representing Cooke and Zeiss; Chuck Lee of Fuji Optical Devices U.S.A.; Jeff Cree, of BandPro, representing Angenieux and Leica; Ryan Avery, of Schneider Optics; George Diaz-Amador, of Able Cine-tech, commenting on all current cinema lens technologies; Ron Fischer, of NBC Universal, commenting on lens metadata, and Jacek Zakowicz, of OptiTek. 

Of particular note at the conclusion of the manufacturer represented product-based performance presentations were George Diaz-Amador’s summaries of the overall meeting topic, where he cited “improvements in (cinematic) optical performance over the years”, particularly with regard to “Cine Prime Lenses”. 

George concluded that, there had been a trend increase in performance at apertures larger than f2.0, “especially f2.2”, which was now available in Cine Primes “as wide as 22mm, and as long as 150mm”, with “diffraction (now) limited on-axis usually not more than f3.2”, where there is “never a need to stop down past f8”. 

He also concluded in his analysis that there is an overall trend toward reduction in flare in current new Cine Prime lenses over their predecessor models, with another trend for “improved mechanics, improved breathing compensation, and improved geometry with visibly low distortion even with those new lenses that can go as wide as 12mm”.

In his concluding portion of the evening presentations, George also summarized other improvements he observed or came to understand personally in the newer or latest Cine
Prime lenses that include what he described as “mechanically isolated optics”, where pressure or weight on the lens housing does not affect any angles in the optical path, “stronger focus threads”, Master Primes that don’t use any threaded parts, and, special new generation multi-coatings such as those found in the latest Carl Zeiss Prime and Ultra-Prime lenses.

George also provided his summaries for Cine Zoom lenses, such as stating that “all new Cine Zooms are competitive with even modern primes”, and that “all new (Cine) Zooms cover (the) ANSI s35mm format (and) some cover RED 5k”.

Related topics that were discussed by the panel and the audience included servicing lenses, determining lens and imager resolving power, aspherical techniques such as used in anamorphic widescreen formatting, and other considerations for the design and selection of lenses for 3D and high-gain photography.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
February 12, 2013

A behind the scenes case study of HBO’s popular period fantasy “Game of Thrones” cable television series was the subject of the SMPTE Hollywood Section February chapter meeting, drawing an audience of over 250 people on the evening of February 12th, to the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Participating as a panel from the “Game of Thrones” Series were, Anette Haellmigk, Season 3 Director of Photography for Episodes 4 and 5; Berna Caulfield, currently the Series Co-Executive Producer; Steve Kullback, currently the Series Visual Effects Producer and Supervisor; Jon Reid, Series Colorist; and Greg Spence, Series Co-Producer in charge of Post Production. 

HBO Executive Steve Beres moderated the panel discussion, leading the audience through a discussion of various pre-production, production, and post production techniques and challenges.

The panel discussion was followed by an open session for audience comments and questions.  Of particular note were many insightful comments from the panelists highlighting many examples of special considerations and choice points that they made for the depictions of the Series fantasy worlds, characters, and styles, such as determining that basic imagery was to be painstakingly coupled with photo-realistic details, staged with some real portions of sets to provide a “grounding” for the actors, and photo-graphed in real weather conditions.

Digital photography with lens metadata stored in Arri RAW on Codex Recorders for Season 3 was done across four countries in pre-selected world-wide locations, with everything purposed to help the Series production teams capture the Series’ strong production design styles, paired with a sense of visual and conceptual authenticity for the audience.
 
Although the Series would appear to be ambitious in its perceived cost per episode, the panelists seemed to suggest that careful considerations were made that correlated how something was depicted with the cost to introduce it, be it staged as real, or a combination real and computer visual effects, or pure computer graphics imaging.  Budgets and production expenses were not disclosed.

Clips from Seasons 1 and 2 and “making of” production examples were shown projected by an NEC 2500S digital cinema projector to an image width of approximately 40’, on the theater’s current 53’ 2.40:1 “scope” width screen, maintaining their 1.78:1 high definition aspect
ratio, which had been said to be mandated by HBO to be used without letterbox in the primary High Definition release formatting for the Series.  The clips were said to be compressed approximately 3:1 using JPEG 2000.

The topic had been brought to the attention of the SMPTE Hollywood Chapter Board of Managers by Member Bill Hogan, who was in contact with HBO, and who made and oversaw program arrangements.

The Egyptian Theatre was originally opened on October 18, 1922 and operated by Sid Grauman, holding as its first event the world premiere of the silent motion picture Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks. 

Today, it is owned and maintained by the American Cinematheque as a designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, supporting special events and retrospectives.
It has a working full traditional movie theatre concession stand, and it supports both DCI digital and 16/35/70mm film projection.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

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Hollywood
March 7, 2013

On March 7, 2013, the Hollywood Section of SMPTE held their regular meeting at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Linwood Dunn Theater, leading an audience of 85 members and guests through the subject of “Black and White Motion Picture Film: Some History, and Current and Future Use”.

Scott MacQueen, Head of Preservation of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, led the main evening program with 35mm projected film clips demonstrating sequences from major black and white Hollywood feature films created from 1934 to 1963, and adding commentary on the selection and effective dramatic use of black and white film stocks. 

Andrew Oran of FotoKem, and Tom Burton, of Technicolor, followed, with a presentation on how black and white film stock is still being used today, even in a world that otherwise uses almost one hundred percent color stock, when film is selected as the medium for principal photography in new motion picture productions.

A mood setting 35mm optical sound preserved archival audio recording of Leo Forbstein’s recorded arrangement of Mendelssohn’s overture from Warner Bros.’ 1935 movie A Midsummer Night’s Dream was also heard.  The audio recording was from the opening of the roadshow version of the movie, as it would be later released, having been archived on an optical-sound-only reel as part of the complete archival print set from the road show version of the picture.

The audience was also then treated to a new 35mm projected print reel from a digital intermediate containing the musical number “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” from Universal’s 1941 feature Buck Privates, courtesy of Universal.  This song, as presented by the Andrews Sisters, was an Academy Award nominee for best song of 1941.  The picture was filmed by Cinematographer Milton Krasner, who also filmed All About Eve, a clip from which was shown later in the evening presentation.

Preceding the evening speakers were brief remarks on black and white artistry from Chris Bone, Section Secretary/Treasurer, and an introduction of Scott MacQueen, from film preservation archivist Dick May, both of whom had together initiated the evening program to, in part, help preserve the master works and understandings of past achievements in the use of black and white film, to better understand the technological changes and best practices imposed over time through the implementation of color. 

Paul Chapman of Fotokem helped initiate additional information into the program through the inclusion of Andrew Oran and Tom Burton’s presentations, with regard to the use and practices associated with film as used for color separations for archive preservation.

Andrew Oran provided a summary of some of the early important dates in black and white film history, such as the time frame of 1889 to 1900, when the first black and white motion picture film stocks were offered in the United States by Eastman Kodak and Tomas Henry Blair, followed by the standardization of stock and perforating practices that continued for another ten years. It was not until 1920 that panchromatic stocks were to start to become widely used, and 1930 before improved backing and intermediate stocks began to be introduced.  The nitrate era ended by the 1950’s.

Oran also provided a list of some of the older Kodak black and white motion picture stocks, including 1201, as an orthochromatic nitrate original stock, 1203-17, an early panchromatic nitrate negative, 1301-02 print stock, and 1365 fine grain duplicating positive stock.
He also mentioned eight North American laboratories, including Fotokem’s film division in Burbank, still accepting black and white 35mm motion picture negatives.

Tom Burton summarized some of the considerations for what is today generally 4K scan film restoration, including pin registered and electronic pin registered scanning techniques, of both acetate and nitrate sources, and the use of scanners such as the pin registered Northlight 1 and 2 scanners, the pin registered Arri scanner, and the electronic pin registered DFT Scanity.

Burton explained that image restoration includes dirt, scratch, and defect repair, and that there is no infra-red channel available for use with the black and white stocks.  Missing and torn elements are also in need of replacement.  Warped color separations where the separated film stocks shrink unevenly need to be re-fit and warped back into alignment.  Archival new negatives need to be created.  YCM separations are created primarily for new, first run features.  Work can be checked by either or both the photochemical or the digital recombine verification processes.  It is anticipated that most work when checked is through the digital recombine verification process rather than by striking prints through optical printing.  Examples of motion picture stocks found in or used in the restoration and archiving processes are, Kodak 2237, 2238, 2302 print stock, and Fuji 4791. 

The first clip introduced by Scott MacQueen was from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1934 spectacle Cleopatra, from a 35mm dupe print that had been created from a UCLA Archived personal release print of Mr. DeMille, loaned to YCM Laboratory for the creation of a dupe negative and new print by Universal, who owns the pre-1948 Paramount library.

The audience was then treated to an authentic tonal rendering of the black and white film, where Cleopatra, played by Claudette Colbert, was “delivered” wrapped inside a rolled up carpet, into the presence of Caesar, played by actor Warren William, at his palace in Alexandria.

Cleopatra was the first of six DeMille pictures photo-graphed by Victor Milner, a top Paramount cameraman who had excelled at sophisticated comedies like Love Me Tonight and Trouble in Paradise, lavishing this tale of the legendary Egyptian queen with Paramount’s then house style of burnished polish décor with diaphanous glowing silks.

Tanned skin tones, the textures of the marble set, and Claudette’s visually silky black hair were all apparent and well balanced in the preserved images, creating many layers of detail, monotonic but tonally colorful compositional interest, and the perceptual resolution of being immersed in the scene.  The original prints would have similarly fascinated audiences when seen projected on a large screen almost 80 years ago.

The audience was then returned to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from a print courtesy of Warner Bros., showing its famous “Nocturne” fantasy scenes, where the story’s spirits and night creatures retreat as dawn approaches, achieved by the filmmakers with the use of considerable special effects, double exposures, and carefully choreographed dancing. 

MacQueen informed the audience that the picture had been started by Ernest Haller, later the cameraman of Gone with the Wind, who was dismissed from Midsummer after the first day’s shooting, but through no fault of his own (he had made the perceptual mistake of giving the directors the “blackest night” exposure that they had insisted on).

Haller’s replacement, Hal Mohr, would win the Academy Award for this film, for his remarkable use of diffusion, gauzes and sequins set in front of the camera lenses to achieve an ethereal mood. 

MacQueen quoted memos to the audience from the film’s producer Hal Wallis that revealed that even this sequence was to be reshot for being too dark and gloomy. Mohr was technically not nominated for the Cinematography award, but rather, won his Oscar by accumulating  write-in votes (for details of the 1935 Academy Awards regarding this subject , go to the database at www.oscars.org).

The Midsummer Night’s Dream print shown was struck from a dupe negative of the 135 minute roadshow version of the picture, as the picture was seen when released in New York, London and other key metropolitan centers in October, 1935, before being cut back to 117 minutes three weeks later for general release.

Additional excerpts were:

Marie Antoinette (MGM, 1938), a three minute clip example of Hollywood studio production at its grandest, introducing the audience to an artistically significant two-and-one half hour spectacle, where the film story ranges from a young girl named Marie Antoinette becoming the Queen of France, on through the French Revolution, and ending with her death.  The clip shows Marie being introduced to the French court, headed by King Louis IV (John Barrymore), the soon to be King Louis VI, who was also Marie’s husband-to-be (Robert Morley) accompanied on screen with numerous very elaborately dressed and made up dignitaries.

The beautiful black and white photography was done by William Daniels, who gave the film a bright, high-key look, helping to ensure that the one million dollars of production value was not missed by audiences, and fully and obviously “up there on the screen”. The period costuming was done by Adrian.

It was the same William Daniels who had been Greta Garbo’s cameraman, but later in the 1940s, had no trouble adapting to new visual trends toward stark reality, and giving the hard-edged urban realism to the location shooting of the picture Naked City.

The Marie Antoinette  print as shown, was provided courtesy of Warner Bros., and was struck during MGM’s ambitious conversion of their nitrate library to safety film, beginning in the late 1960s. The original negative is preserved at George Eastman House.

Rebecca (Selznick International, 1940)

A three-minute clip from Rebecca was shown, David O. Selznick’s second Best Picture Academy Award winner in a row (after Gone With the Wind for 1939). Rebecca was the first American project directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 

In the clip, the audience was treated to images of the grand entry hall at the deWinter mansion, Manderley, where a costume party is just getting under way.  The second Mrs. deWinter played by actress Joan Fontaine, whose character is never named, descends the grand staircase in a dress that she has foolishly copied from a portrait in the house gallery, unaware that the same gown had been worn by the first Mrs. deWinter, the ghostly Rebecca in the story, as such, infuriating her husband, Maxim, played by Laurence Olivier. 

The sequence emphasized texture, compositional intrigue, the integration of grand-sized sets but with intimate staging, deep image focus, and the use of matte paintings for set extensions.  

George Barnes’ cinema-tography won him the Academy Award for Black and White photography, an honor that did not prevent him from being reassigned to lower budgeted B-pictures when he was subsequently contracted to 20th Century-Fox, resulting in a paradox where it would be noticed through his talent that Fox “B” pictures photographed by George looked like most other studios’ “A” pictures.

The Rebecca print reel was loaned to SMPTE by the Walt Disney Company.  It had been made from the original camera negative by YCM Labs under Mr. MacQueen’s direct supervision as part of the preservation of the entire Selznick library when ABC was acquired by Disney.

The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century-Fox, 1940).

In the opinion of MacQueen, possibly the best picture ever made by Fox was The Grapes of Wrath, and the audience was treated to a three minute clip.  The film was directed by John Ford, as based on the John Steinbeck novel of the Great Depression.  Ford would receive the Best Director Oscar, and Jane Darwell received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.  The cinematography was by Gregg Toland, working in a style that evokes Walker Evans’ 1936 photojournalism of the Dust Bowl. 

It was Gregg Toland who would go on to lens Orson Wells’ Citizen Kane, where large areas of those sets would be cloaked with black velvet, and along with deep focus, and bright pools of light with enough convincing details, would serve to enhance contrast and help draw the illusion that the sets were much bigger than they were.

In the three minute The Grapes of Wrath clip, the audience could experience a high contrast scene with an intimate setting through actors Tom and Casey, played respectively by Henry Fonda and John Carradine, inside the Joad family’s crumbling house, lit as if by only one candle.  The story at that moment concerns disclosure by Muley, played by John Qualen, of how the bank foreclosed on his property.  The use of shadow in this scene limited the depth of focus, but contributed to the feeling of intimacy.

Qualen’s performance in this short scene, and as lit starkly by Cinematographer Greg Toland, was considered to be one of the most gripping performances in the film, as part of a full audience experience of wonderful characterizations that as experienced visually by the audience in high dynamic range black and white form related the story’s necessary moods through sound, visual composition, expressive use of contrast and mid-tones, staging, and the actors’ performances themselves. 

The audience attention was held and directed through the story without the use color to create or reinforce the intended emotional mood or context.

Although the original negative has not survived, the 35mm print shown to the audience was the result of a digital restoration by Cineric, as output to a film negative, from which a release print was struck. 

The Lodger (20th Century-Fox 1944)

A three minute clip was shown from the dark horror genre picture, The Lodger, released by 20th Century-Fox in 1944, perhaps best described in summary form as a stand-out example of its exemplary integration of contrast and dynamic range achieved through seemingly realistic and dramatic use of softened shadows with range blended intermediate tones, accented with bright pools of softened light.  The cinematography so transparently captured transitions between light and shadow, and depicted scenes of characters turning on and off gas light sources, that it can be said to serve as an illustration of what it may have looked like, otherwise given a color muted palate, to be living in that time in history before the advent of electric lighting.

In the clip, emerging from the nighttime London fog into gaslight, Jack the Ripper (played by Laird Cregar) seeks a room to rent. He arrives that the door of a middle class home, where the lady of the house, played by actress Sara Algood, leads him through the family’s quarters, lit by a fireplace, and kerosene lamp, to the upstairs rooms.

When the available room does not appeal to the solitude sought by the lodger, holding a lit single wax taper, she takes the new lodger up a black staircase to the attic rooms, using the solitary flame to light successive gas sconces as they ascend the stairs and enter the attic.

To help achieve these dramatic lighting effects, the film’s Cameraman, Lucien Ballard, used dimmer lights and “specials” to illuminate their progress through the sets.  The exposures also appear to be consistent through the moving shots and intercut shots, and also appear to be logical to the audience in their depiction of what the actual contrast and black levels might have been.

Guided by the continued dramatic visual cues in the performances, staging, and lighting, when the lodger says he is a pathologist, the audience naturally suspects otherwise. 

When the sequence concluded with a low angle shot of the lodger as seen through the cold iron burner ring of a dark toned stove, as he intoned that sometimes in his work he needs “great heat”, a swath of light falling across his eyes points up both his performance intensity and hinting at the unspoken purpose of his intentions.

Lucien Ballard married the film’s leading lady, Merle Oberon, and was credited with 142 titles starting with Joseph Von Sternberg’s lustrous Dietrich films in the 1930s and culminating as Sam Peckinpah’s cameraman starting with Ride the High Country. The print shown was from a dupe negative, and the laboratory work was by YCM.

All About Eve (20th Century-Fox  1950)

A three minute clip from All About Eve was the third print presented, and was provided courtesy of Fox.  All About Eve was the Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 1950. The film also won five other Oscars, but did not win for Best Cinematography. Milton Krasner, while nominated as the film’s Cinematographer, lost that honor to Robert Krasker for the picture The Third Man.

Milton Krasner’s  work on All About Eve was selected by presenter MacQueen to illustrate the generally straightforward studio work of that period, highlighting the tuxedo-and-gown milieu of the backstage theater world, like a period cartoon from The New Yorker magazine, without distracting from the story with any tricks of camera or special lighting.

The clip began with Margo Channing, played by actress Bette Davis, delivering the now-famous line “Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!”.  In the selected clip, Margo meets the acerbic critic Addison DeWitt, played by actor George Sanders in an Academy Award winning performance, and his escort, Miss Caswell, played by actress Marilyn Monroe in one of her first on-screen performances. Monroe’s actual screen time is as notably brief in the film as it is memorable. “Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?” she sighs, gazing over the pool of middle aged producers that in the story she is about to “canvas”. Like The Grapes of Wrath clip, the All About Eve clip was a digital restoration by Cineric, that was taken out of an intermediate file to film negative, and then struck to film print.

Hud (Paramount 1963)

A three minute clip from Hud was shown, a picture released by Paramount Pictures in 1963, and photographed by legendary Cinematographer James Wong Howe.  Hud was one of his two Academy Award winners out of his ten nominations, ranging from 1938 to 1975.

The clip showed Paul Newman as a drunken ranch hand named Hud, described by host MacQueen as “rapaciously invading the guest house cabin of Alma, a housekeeper”, a character played by Best Actress winner Patricia Neal. 

In the clip, a lone porch light illuminates the exterior of the cabin. Hud enters the cabin by forcing open the door, and attacks Alma in her room.  The scenes in the cabin are starkly lit only as if by a single naked bulb dangling from its cord.  The clip ended when she is rescued by Hud’s brother Lon, played by actor Brandon De Wilde. The black and white CinemaScope print was made from the original negative at Film Technology Company.

Following the film clips, speakers Andrew Oran of FotoKem and Tom Burton of Technicolor, led a presentation and discussion of the current use of black and white film stocks, including color separations for archive.

Two famous scenes from 1950’s Sunset Blvd. were then shown, as a representation of the imaginative photography of Cinematographer John F. Seitz, and of the picture’s Academy Award winning set decoration.  The story line was described by MacQueen as “acidic”, with the screenplay authored by Academy Award winning Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman, and Billy Wilder. 

In the clips, the audience saw actor William Holden come upon silent movie queen Norma Desmond, played by actress Gloria Swanson, living in an aged Hollywood mansion, with the story and imagery capturing the smoky romanticism of the past in sharp contrast to the contemporary modern world of 1950.

Gloria Swanson’s famous lines as were heard, where she proclaimed, “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small” and, “I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille”.

For his contributions to the film Cinematographer John F. Seitz was nominated for an Academy Award in the black and white category. Seitz had been Valentino’s cameraman at Metro and thus was what was considered to be a genuine veteran of the stature of cameraman who would have worked in the mythical Desmond’s roaring twenties time period.  Although the original negative of the film did not survive, the print clip shown was struck from a digital restoration of 2002 by Lowry Digital for Paramount, and then output to film negative and struck into film print.

After the legendary close up from Sunset Boulevard was seen,

THE END 
A Paramount Picture

closed the evening.

--Article by Scott MacQueen, UCLA Film and Television Archive. Chris Bone and Dick May of the SMPTE Hollywood Section, were also contributing editors

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Hollywood
April 24, 2013

An artist’s 35mm silent short movie consisting of flash frame rapidly changing images of 31 motion picture test patterns was the lead presentation subject of the SMPTE Hollywood Section April chapter meeting on the subject of “Test Patterns, Science and…Art?”, and held at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood on the evening of April 24, 2013 for an audience of over 85 members and guests. 

The unique film short had come to the attention of SMPTE members from an art exhibit at the Hammer Museum, and who were subsequently able to arrange both the projection of the print, and the appearance of its creator, Lucy Raven.

Participating in the program were, Lucy Raven, with her film projected 35mm silent print entitled “Test Patterns As Art”; Vince Roth, Technical Director of FotoKem, presenting silent print images from 70mm film of their newly created 70mm Format Resolution Chart, and discussing visual examples shown depicting scaling artifacts; Dan Sherlock, Senior Project Engineer with the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, presenting an overview on the evolution of the SMPTE Digital Leader as from existing motion picture test patterns; and Joe Kane, of Joe Kane Productions, presenting a summary of television test patterns, and illustrating some of the important reasons for their ongoing development, use, and  standardization. 

Dan Sherlock provided his historical perspective on the development of today’s digital leader for motion pictures. He also addressed the often voiced question of the use of other frame rates in digital leader, such as 16 frames per second, and for 3D, 48 frames per second. To this question, he gave his belief that it would require the creation of additional new images and versions for that purpose. 

He also stated that he believes the creation of an ITU-R Recommendation BT.709 (Rec.709) version of the motion picture Digital Leader could be a problem because the Digital Content Package (DCP) images are defined in X’Y’Z’ with P3 primaries.  Therefore, certain color patches are more saturated in that space than is possible in Rec.709, and that there might be a risk of using the wrong version if a Rec.709 version proved to be too similar in design appearance. 

Sherlock explained that in the final version of the Digital Leader, the grey patches in the staircase patterns are the shades defined in the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) specification. 

The upper color patches are the saturated primaries and secondary colors of the P3 color space when shown from a DCP, and the lower patches are the same hues but clipped to the Rec.709 color triangle.  If the DCP image is shown with the projector scaled or clipped to Rec.709, the image will appear obviously incorrect.

Further, if the gamma of both the content and the projector are set to 2.6, and one squints to blur the hash lines into a grey shade, the result should match the shade of grey triangles next to the hash lines; otherwise, the gamma is either different in the DCP or in the projector, in which case, they will not match up. 

Mr. Kane’s presentation opened with examples of test patterns in the early history of television, such as the Indian Head test pattern, SMPTE color bars, and the Philips test pattern which was used in the world of Phase Alternating Line (PAL) video.  He pointed out that as time progressed, combination patterns became popular, where one could observe many parameters of the video system in a single pattern. 

Kane stated that in the mid 1970’s enough research work was being done in video where it became desirable to have full field test patterns that only test one or two parameters. 

Kane also noted that in the early days of expensive video test pattern generators it often took two or three years of time to get new patterns put into them.  Yet by the late 1980’s manufacturers were able to program chips with the new patterns that could be inserted into a generator, bringing the time it took to generate new patterns from the equipment down to just a few months. 

Kane claimed that it was only by the early 1990’s, that the first ‘affordable’, programmable test pattern generators became available. He also stated that in the process of trying to define test options for the NTSC and PAL component analog domain that he, operating as Joe Kane Productions, was able to design nearly 140 patterns each for 50 and 59.95 Hertz systems.  He stated that they proved useful for closely analyzing standard definition capability and for the checking of up conversion to some of the higher scan rates of newer display technologies such as in plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD).  By the time the industry migrated to high definition television (HDTV), it was practical to use computers to generate test patterns. He pointed out that interestingly enough in the digital age fewer operators felt the need for test materials. 

To that assumption, Mr. Kane then used test patterns to illustrate how things could go wrong in the film to digital transfer process and how further processing may inadvertently degrade the original image, as in editing where an editorial program or related hardware could damage the quality of the displayed video output through assumptive high frequency roll off, such as may be used in the SMPTE 274M Standard under Annex D, and originally meant not as a mandatory specific roll off filter, but as an optional parameter set for taps for a suggested low pass filter for improving picture quality on analog displays.

Kane also emphasized the need to “run” test materials through the entire production chain to insure the capability of the system to do a good job in preserving quality, and how simplified test patterns could make the job of analyzing the video quality much easier, taking things one step at a time rather than using complex patterns and trying to do everything at once.

Mr. Kane concluded by showing a partial list of organizations in the test pattern business, including SMPTE, and further emphasized how important and useful such work is to program production.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013; also contributing were SMPTE Members Joe Kane, and Dan Sherlock

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Hollywood
May 22, 2013

A tribute to the late motion picture visual effects and stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen was the subject of the SMPTE Hollywood Section May chapter meeting, held at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood on the evening of May 22, 2013 for an audience of over 130 members and guests. 

The Section Managers had noted the upcoming 50th anniversary of the release of Mr. Harryhausen’s favorite picture, Jason and The Argonauts, first released June 19, 1963 by Columbia Pictures.  Section Manager Dick May arranged for the picture as a DCP, courtesy of Grover Crisp, of Sony Pictures.  Mr. Crisp arranged for a special introduction of the film by three-time Academy Award winning Visual Effects Supervisor Randall Cook, who shared Oscars for Best Visual Effects in 2003 and 2004, and Best Effects, Visual Effects in 2002 for his outstanding work on The Lord of the Rings feature film trilogy. 

Mr. Cook, a fan and friend of Ray Harryhausen, introduced the Jason and The Argonauts film, and summarized the artistry and technical innovations made by Ray Harryhausen as expressed in that film, and throughout Ray’s lifetime of work and achievements.

Sadly, Mr. Harryhausen passed away in London on May 7th, 2013, where he had been residing for many years. Mr. Harryhausen was 92.  Mr. Cook said that he had been in touch with Ray, that Ray knew we were going to be holding the event, and that Ray would have smiled and been pleased that we were enjoying his work that night, seeing Ray’s favorite picture Jason and The Argonauts, in the theatre, as a movie.

Preceding the introduction was a special thirty-minute live demonstration of visual effects, using today’s technologies, arranged by SMPTE meeting host Chris Bone.  The idea was to present the audience with a pre-show demonstration of the technologies that a director can use today to plan or control visual effects scenes that combine real actors, real sets, computer generated characters, and computer generated sets.

In contrast to the large effects or animation teams today that number well into the hundreds, many of whom contribute to digital characters, Randy Cook explained that Ray Harryhausen often did his motion capture animation work alone, in one pass, working in stop motion, with all the challenges of depth of field and film exposures, and with his rigging of physical models and forms. 

Ray bent his clay and puppet armatures to depict motion, and then photographed each movement frame by frame.  Ray’s characters would then be composited into the live action images with his proprietary methods, and come to life when seen on film projected back at normal speed.  His work was persuasive of realistic motion for its time, and his characters came to movie star status, aided by Ray’s amazing sense of staging, personality, and drama.

As Chris Bone explained during the live pre-show demonstration, some of the compositing from the systems put into place could be refined into finished work, and the motion capture tracking data was being stored such that everything could be re-pinned and refined further in visual effects compositing passes. 

At the very least, by combining these tools, the director can refine performance timing, determine camera positioning with the cinematographer, and all of the creative people in a movie can essentially participate in pre-visualization of the final result. 

The opportunity to create an immediate composite also exists, which could be part of the future of the motion picture industry with the bridging of creativity in story from gaming, and live performances, like the early days of live television. 

In the spirit of the early days of motion picture exhibition in the silent era, when organists added music to the films in the theatre, and to complete the live experience, Chris also added composer JoJo Zawawi, who composed a music bed, and then played live music back on top of it into the theatre in real time from a synthesizer, emulating some of the style of the movie’s score from the famous film composer, Bernard Hermann.

Although the pre-show demonstration of effects was live, the scene action was carefully planned, choreographed and rehearsed at Containment Field and LightCraft for the correct handling of props as would be required for a safe set.  The props and period costume were obtained from Western Costume.

Contributing to the pre-show live effects demonstration were, LightCraft, with a portable on-set wireless camera tracking and virtual set compositing system, and Containment Field VFX, who supplied a virtual set compatible wireless motion capture system, and choreographed performers.   Both the camera tracking, and wireless motion capture technologies are currently used in motion picture production, although they are not typically brought together and used at the same time to represent so many live controllable elements of a scene.

The SMPTE demonstration was designed to bring together technologies that have the potential of furthering the capabilities of content exchange and control, and of unbridling the creative freedom to create new forms of theatrical entertainment within the motion picture industry.  Not surprisingly, the directors and artisans could use these same technologies for stop
motion animation, were that to be desired.  The meeting also showed that metadata exchange and object defined spaces can remain independent of the delivery medium, and that new forms of digital object content mastering may need to be explored along with new standards for interchange and live-characterized theatrical exhibition.

Michael Taglianetti and Paul M. Smith, co-owners of Containment Field, also supplied two trained performers, Arthur Belokonov and Madison Gray, who would portray composited images from the famous Jason and The Argonauts skeleton battle, fought among Greek ruins.

The skeleton character seen by the audience was refined from a stock digital avatar and rigged for live motion capture.  Motion capture and live control of the skeleton was achieved with Containment Field’s MOCAP system, using 17 precisely positioned wireless sensors on a motion capture suit, which for this special demonstration was worn by the performer underneath a green screen suit.

The virtual set that surrounded the characters was created by LightCraft, from photographs and 3D mesh they had stitched together and rigged that depicts a portion of the Great Wall of China.  While it was not practical to build a virtual set from the Jason and The Argonauts picture just for this demonstration, it would have been possible to do so with a full budget.  On close-up images, the stonework on the wall was fairly similar to the stone work seen in the movie. Moreover, the pre-existing virtual set and sufficiently articulated texture live rendering demonstrated that the camera could pan off the green screen set into the sky or the ground at will, with convincing layers of depth, and object surface texture reality.  The portable digital green screen was rigged and lit by Jon Erland using white florescent lights, since the digital green screen was highly saturated. 

Eliot Mack, from LightCraft, presented an overview of their camera tracking and com-positing technology as it is currently and typically used throughout the industry.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

INDEX OF GENERAL MEETING REPORTS
     
16mm (Mar.20 2012)     
8mm (Mar.20 2012)     

A
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mar.7 2013)       
Albert, Alan (Nov.19 2012)     
All About Eve (Mar.7 2013)     
Allen, Eric (Nov.19 2012)     
Allen, Irwin (May 22 2012)     
American Cinematheque (Feb.12 2013)     
Angenieux (Nov.19  2012)     
Apogee Productions (May 22 2012)      
ASC (Sep.28, Nov.16 2011; May 31 2012)        
aspherical techniques (Nov.19 2012)     
Avery, Ryan (Nov.19 2012)     

B
Barnes, George, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
Battleship (trailer) (May 22 2012)     
Ben Hur  (Sep.19 2012)     
Bennett, Bill, ASC (Sep. 28 2011)     
Beres, Steve (Feb.12 2013)      
bi-packs (Mar.20 2012)     
black and white film (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
Blair, Thomas Henry (Mar.7 2013)     
blue-light sensitive (Mar.20 2012)     
Bone, Chris (May 22 2012; Mar.7, May 22 2013)        
Broadway Melody (Sep.19 2012)     
Buck Privates (Mar.7 2013)     
Burton, Tom (Mar.7 2013)     

C
camera tracking (May 22 2013)     
Caulfield, Berna (Feb.12 2013)     
CCD (May 31 2012)     
CCT (correlated color temperature)  (May 31 2012)    
Chapman, Paul (Mar.7 2013)     
Charters, Rodney, ASC (Sep.28 2011)     
chemistry-based (Mar.20 2012)     
Chestnutt, Don (Sep.19 2012)     
cine Prime Lenses (Nov.19 2012)     
Cineon (Mar.20 2012)     
Clark, Curtis, ASC (Nov.16 2011)     
Cleopatra (Mar.7 2013)     
CMOS (May 31 2012)     
color separations (Mar.7 2013)     
color temperature (shift)  (Sep.28 2011; May 31 2012)    
computer record keeping (box office) (Sept.19 2012)    
contrast (Sept.28 2011; Mar.7, May 22 2013)     
Cook, Randall (May 22 2013)     
Cooke (Nov.19 2012)     
Coughlin Associates (Jun.12 2012)     
Coughlin, Tom (Jun.12 2012)     
cranking (Mar.20 2012)     
Creber, William (Bill) (May 22 2012)      
Cree, Jeff (Nov.19 2012)     
Crisp, Grover (Sept.19 2012; May 22 2013)     

D
Daniels, William, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
Darby, David, ASC (Sept.28 2011)     
dark saturation potential (Mar.20 2012)     
data center (Jun.12 2012)     
DCP (Sept.28 2011; May 31,Sep.19 2012; Apr.24 2013)    
DeMille, Cecil B. (Mar.7 2013)      
densitometric patch (Mar.20 2012)     
density (Mar.20 2012)     
diacetate base (Mar.20 2012)     
Diaz-Amador, George (Nov.19 2012)     
Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) (Sept.19 2012; Feb.12, Mar.7, Apr.24 2013)   
digital leader (Apr.24 2013)     
digital modeling (Nov.16 2011)     
digital object content mastering (May 22 2013)     
digital scanning (Sept. 28, Nov.16 2011; Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)  
distortion (optical) (Nov.19 2012)     
Dolby (Sept.28 2011; Sept.19 2012)     
Don Juan (Sept.19 2012)     
dyes (Mar.20 2012)     
dynamic range compression (Sept.28 2011)     

E
Eastman Kodak Company (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
Eastman, George (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
Egyptian Theatre (Feb.12 2013)     
electro-shutter (Mar.20 2012)     
emulsion (Mar.20 2012; May 31 2012)      
Erland, Jon (May 22, May 31 2012; May 22 2013)      
extended dynamic range (Sept.28 2011; Mar.20 2012)    
Fantastic Voyage (May 22 2012)     

F
fiber channel (Jun.12 2012)     
film (Sep.28, Nov.16 2011; Mar.20, May 22, May 31, Sep. 19 2012; Feb. thru May 2013 inclusive)     
final graded imaging (Nov.16 2011)     
Fischer, Ron (Nov.19 2012)     
flat shading (Nov.16 2011)     
Fletcher, Ryan (May 31, Nov.19 2012)     
Ford, John (Mar.7 2013)     
foreign language ads (Sep.19 2012)     
Frankel, Ron (Nov.16 2011)     
Friese, William (Mar.20 2012)     
Fuji Optical Devices (Nov.19 2012)     
full sound (Sep.19 2012)     

G
gaming (May 22 2013)     
gamma (May 22 2013)     
gelatin base (Mar.20 2012)     
glass mattes (May 22 2012)     
glass plates (Mar.20 2012)     
Gone WithThe Wind (Mar.7 2013)     
grain (Mar.20 2012)     
Grauman, Sid (Feb.12 2013)     
green screen (Nov.16 2011; May 22 2013)      
Green, Colin (Nov.16 2011)     
Gsell, Eric (Sep. 28, Nov.16 2011; Mar.20, May 31, Jun.12 2012; Feb.12 2013)  

H
Haellmigk, Anette (Feb.12 2013)     
Hagerty, Jack (May 22 2012)     
Harryhausen, Ray (May 22 2013)     
high-gain photography (Nov.19 2012)     
histograms (Sep. 28 2011)     
Hitchcock, Alfred (Mar.7 2013)     
Hogan, Bill (May 31, Sep.19 2012; Feb.12 2013)        
Howe, James Wong, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
Hud (Mar.7 2013)     
hydraulics (Nov.16 2011)     

I
ILM (Nov.16 2011, May 22 2012)     
imaging sciences (Mar.20 2012)     
IMAX (Mar.20 2012)     
infiniBand (Jun.12 2012)     
IP connectivity (Jun.12 2012)     
Isaccs, John D. (Mar.20 2012)     

J
Jason and The Argonauts (May 22 2013)     
Jenkins, C. Francis (Mar.20 2012)     
JPEG 2000 (Feb.12 2013)     

K
Kane, Joe (Apr.24 2013)      
Karagosian, Michael (Sept.19 2012)     
Karpilovski, Eli (Jun.12 2012)     
Kenig, David (Nov.19 2012)     
Kinetoscopes (Mar.20 2012)     
Kochak, Steve (Jun.12 2012)     
Kodachrome film (Mar.20 2012)     
Kozicki, Gene (May 22 2012)      
Krasker, Robert, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
Krasner, Milton, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
Kullback, Steve (Feb.12 2013)     

L
laser (Nov.16 2011)     
laser projection (Mar.20 2012)     
Le Voyage dans la lune (May 22 2012)     
LED lighting (Sep.28 2011; May 31 2012)     
Lee, Chuck (Nov.19 2012)     
Leica (Nov.19 2012)     
Leighton, Doug (Nov.19 2012)     
Libich, Martin (Jun.12 2012)     
Light-R scanning (Nov.16 2011)     
Lindenlaub, Karl Walter, ASC (Sep.28 2011)     
linear dynamic range (Sep.28 2011)     
live action photography (Nov.16 2011; May 22 2013)    
locomotion (Mar.20 2012)     
log encoding (Sep.28 2011)     
look development (Nov.16 2011)     
Lost In Space (TV) (May 22 2012)     
Love Me Tonight (Mar.7 2013)     
Lukk, Howard (Sep.19 2012)     

M
Mack, Eliot (May 22 2013)     
MacQueen, Scott (Mar.7 2013)     
Maddox, Dr. Richard Leach (Mar.20 2012)     
Mallory, John (Jun.12 2012)     
Marci test Chart (Mar.20 2012)     
Marie Antoinette (Mar.7 2013)       
May, Dick (Sep.28, Nov.16 2011; Mar.20, Sep.19 2012; Mar. thru May 2013 inclusive)
Maya (Nov.16 2011)     
Meacham, Nelson (Sept.19 2012)     
Méliès, Georges (May 22 2012)     
mesh (May 22, 2013)     
metadata exchange (May 22, 2013)     
mini-SAS (Jun.12 2012)     
Mitchell, Nick (Sep.19 2012)     
monochromatic (Mar.20 2012)     
monotonic  (Mar.7 2013)     
Morin, David (Nov.16 2011)     
Muybridge, Eadweard J. (Mar.20 2012)     

N
Naked City (Mar.7 2013)     
nitrate (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
nitrate era (Mar.7 2013)     

O
object defined spaces (May 22 2013)     
object definition (Nov.16 2011)     
object sizing (Nov.16 2011)     
optical stereo (Sep.19 2012)     
optically balanced (Mar.20 2012)     
Oran, Andrew (Mar.7 2013)     
orthochromatic (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     

P-Q
P3 primaries (Apr.24 2013)     
panchromatic (Mar.20 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
paper print (Mar.20 2012)     
Pasterczyk, Beverly (Mar.20 2012)     
PCIe 3.0 (Jun.12 2012)     
perforating (Mar.7 2013)     
persistence of…vision (Mar.20 2012)     
Phantascope (Mar.20 2012)     
Planet of the Apes (May 22 2012)       
polygons (Nov.16 2011)     
postvisualization (post-vis) (Nov.16 2011)     
previsualization (pre-vis) (Nov.16 2011)     
print stock (Mar.7 2013)     
production design (Nov.16 2011; May 22 2012; Feb.12 2013)   

R
Raven, Lucy (Apr.24 2013)     
Rebecca (Mar.7 2013)     
reference grade displays (Sep.28 2011)     
Reid, Jon (Feb.12 2013)     
Ride The High Country (Mar.7 2013)     
Robin Hood (Feb.12 2013)     
roll film (Mar.20 2012)     
Roth, Vince (Apr.24 2013)     

S
safety-base (Mar.20 2012)     
SAS Express (Jun.12 2012)     
SATA (Jun.12 2012)     
Schelle, John (Nov.16 2011)     
Sherlock, Dan (Apr.24 2013)     
Smith, Garrett (Nov.16 2011)     
Smith, Michael D. (Sep.19 2012)     
SMPE (Mar.20 2012)     
Sony DTS (Sep.19 2012)     
sound synchronization (Sep.19 2012)     
spectral power distribution (May 31 2012)     
spectral sensitivity (May 22 2012)     
spectrum (May 31 2012)     
Spence, Greg (Feb.12 2013)     
standard grey card (Sep.28 2011)     
standards and practices (Sep.19 2012)     
Star Trek (TV Series) (May 22 2012)     
Star Wars (Nov.16 2011; May 22 2012)     
Stillman, J.D.B., M.D. (Mar.20 2012)     
storage (Jun.12 2012)     
storyboards (Nov.16 2011)     
strobe lighting (Sep.28 2011)     
Sunset Boulevard (Mar.7 2013)     

T
Taglianetti, Michael (May 22 2013)      
Tannenberger, Thomas (Nov.16 2011)     
Technicolor (Mar.20, Sep.19 2012; Mar.7 2013)     
test pattern (Apr.24 2013)      
text link ads (Sep.19 2012)     
The Big Parade (Sep.19 2012)     
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Sep.19 2012)     
The Grapes of Wrath (Mar.7 2013)     
The Lodger (Mar.7 2013)     
The Lord of the Rings (May 22 2013)     
The Poseidon Adventure (May 22 2012)     
The Third Man (Mar.7 2013)     
The Towering Inferno (May 22 2012)     
Thunderbolt (Jun.12 2012)     
THX (Sep.19 2012)     
Toland, Greg, ASC (Mar.7 2013)     
triacetate…film(s) (Mar.20 2012)     
trichromatic (May 31 2012)     
Trouble In Paradise (Mar.7 2013)     

U
UCLA Film and Television Archive (Mar.7 2013)     
USB 3.0 (Jun.12 2012)     
USC Film School (May 22 2012)     

V
virtual elements (Nov.16 2011)     
virtual set (Nov.16 2011; May 22 2013)     
virtual world (Nov.16 2011)     
VISION 3 (Mar.20 2012)     
visual development (Nov.16 2011)     
visual effects (Sep.28, Nov.16 2011; May 22 2012; Feb.12, May 22 2013)  
Visual Effects Society (VES) (Nov.16 2011)     
Vitaphone (Nov.16 2011, Sep.19 2012)     
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (May 22 2012)     

W
(The) Walt Disney Company (Sep.19 2012, Mar.7 2013)    
Weigert, Marc (Nov.16 2011)     
Winett, Brad (Jun.12 2012)     
Witt, Alex (Nov.16 2011)     

X
X'Y'Z' (Apr.24 2013)     

Y-Z
Zakowicz, Jacek (Nov.19 2012)     
Zeiss (Nov.19 2012)

 

 today to plan or control visual effects scenes that combine real actors, real sets, computer generated characters, and computer generated sets.

In contrast to the large effects or animation teams today that number well into the hundreds, many of whom contribute to digital characters, Randy Cook explained that Ray Harryhausen often did his motion capture animation work alone, in one pass, working in stop motion, with all the challenges of depth of field and film exposures, and with his rigging of physical models and forms. 

Ray bent his clay and puppet armatures to depict motion, and then photographed each movement frame by frame.  Ray’s characters would then be composited into the live action images with his proprietary methods, and come to life when seen on film projected back at normal speed.  His work was persuasive of realistic motion for its time, and his characters came to movie star status, aided by Ray’s amazing sense of staging, personality, and drama.

As Chris Bone explained during the live pre-show demonstration, some of the compositing from the systems put into place could be refined into finished work, and the motion capture tracking data was being stored such that everything could be re-pinned
and refined further in visual effects compositing passes. 

At the very least, by combining these tools, the director can refine performance timing, determine camera positioning with the cinematographer, and all of the creative people in a movie can essentially participate in pre-visualization of the final result. 

The opportunity to create an immediate composite also exists, which could be part of the future of the motion picture industry with the bridging of creativity in story from gaming, and live performances, like the early days of live television. 

In the spirit of the early days of motion picture exhibition in the silent era, when organists added music to the films in the theatre, and to complete the live experience, Chris also added composer JoJo Zawawi, who composed a music bed, and then played live music back on top of it into the theatre in real time from a synthesizer, emulating some of the style of the movie’s score from the famous film composer, Bernard Hermann.

Although the pre-show demonstration of effects was live, the scene action was carefully planned, choreo-graphed and rehearsed at Containment Field and LightCraft for the correct handling of props as would be required for a safe set.  The props and period costume were obtained from Western Costume.

Contributing to the pre-show live effects demonstration were, LightCraft, with a portable on-set wireless camera tracking and virtual set compositing system, and Containment Field VFX, who supplied a virtual set compatible wireless motion capture system, and choreographed performers.   Both the camera tracking, and wireless motion capture technologies are currently used in motion picture production, although they are not typically brought together and used at the same time to represent so many live controllable elements of a scene.

The SMPTE demonstration was designed to bring together technologies that have the potential of furthering the capabilities of content exchange and control, and of unbridling the creative freedom to create new forms of theatrical entertainment within the motion picture industry.  Not surprisingly, the directors and artisans could use these same technologies for stop
motion animation, were that

to be desired.  The meeting also showed that metadata exchange and object defined spaces can remain independent of the delivery medium, and that new forms of digital object content mastering may need to be explored along with new standards for interchange and live-characterized theatrical exhibition.

Michael Taglianetti and Paul M. Smith, co-owners of Containment Field, also supplied two trained performers, Arthur Belokonov and Madison Gray, who would portray composited images from the famous Jason and The Argonauts skeleton battle, fought among Greek ruins.

The skeleton character seen by the audience was refined from a stock digital avatar and rigged for live motion capture.  Motion capture and live control of the skeleton was achieved with Containment Field’s MOCAP system, using 17 precisely positioned wireless sensors on a motion capture suit, which for this special demonstration was worn by the performer underneath a green screen suit.

The virtual set that surrounded the characters was created by LightCraft, from photographs and 3D mesh they had stitched together and rigged that depicts a portion of the Great Wall of China.  While it was not practical to build a virtual set from the Jason and The Argonauts picture just for this demonstration, it would have been possible to do so with a full budget.  On close-up images, the stonework on the wall was fairly similar to the stone work seen in the movie. Moreover, the pre-existing virtual set and sufficiently articulated texture live rendering demonstrated that the camera could pan off the green screen set into the sky or the ground at will, with convincing layers of depth, and object surface texture reality.  The portable digital green screen was rigged and lit by Jon Erland using white florescent lights, since the digital green screen was highly saturated. 

Eliot Mack, from LightCraft, presented an overview of their camera tracking and com-positing technology as it is currently and typically used throughout the industry.

SMPTE meeting host Chris Bone, introducing the live demonstration of visual effects technologies.

A composited image of the live staged skeleton battle depicting what the audience could see on the theatre’s movie screen. Live composed music also accompanied the action.

The actors creating the live action as they appeared in motion without the compositing of the virtual set or the skeleton avatar character.

The actors creating the live action as they appeared in motion, as a fully composited image, and staged in proximity to the theatre screen for the audience to relate the two realities.

Randall Cook, reflecting on the life and work of Ray Harryhausen.

--Chris Bone, reporting Section Secretary/Treasurer 2012-2013

INDEX OF GENERAL MEETING REPORTS     
16mm p8     
8mm p8     
A Midsummer Night’s Dream p19-21       
Albert, Alan p15-16     
All About Eve p19, 23-24     
Allen, Eric p15-16     
Allen, Irwin p9     
American Cinematheque p18     
Angenieux p15     
Apogee Productions p8-9      
ASC P2, 4-5, 11        
aspherical techniques p16     
Avery, Ryan p15-16     
Barnes, George, ASC p22     
Battleship (trailer) p9     
Ben Hur p13     
Bennett, Bill, ASC p2     
Beres, Steve p17-18      
bi-packs p7     
black and white film p7, 19-24     
Blair, Thomas Henry p19     
blue-light sensitive p6     
Bone, Chris p7-9, 19-24, 26-30        
Broadway Melody p13     
Buck Privates p19     
Burton, Tom p19-20, 24-25     
camera tracking p29-30     
Caulfield, Berna p17     
CCD p11     
CCT (corrolated color temperature) p11     
Chapman, Paul p19     
Charters, Rodney, ASC p2     
chemistry-based p6     
Chestnutt, Don p13-24     
Cine Prime Lenses p15     
Cineon p7     
Clark, Curtis, ASC p5     
Cleopatra p20     
CMOS p11     
color separations p19-20, 24     
color temperature (shift) p2, 11     
computer record keeping (box office) p13     
contrast p2, 22-24, 28     
Cook, Randall p28, 30     
Cooke p15     
Coughlin Associates p12     
Coughlin, Tom p12     
cranking p6     
Creber, William (Bill) p8-10      
Cree, Jeff p15     
Crisp, Grover p13, 28     
Daniels, William, ASC p21     
Darby, David, ASC p2     
dark saturation potential p7     
data center p12     
DCP p2, 9, 14, 26     
DeMille, Cecil B. p20, 24      
densitometric patch p7     
density p7     
diacetate base p7     
Diaz-Amador, George p15-16     
Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) p14,18, 26      
digital leader p26     
digital modeling p4     
digital object content mastering p29     
digital scanning p2, 4, 7, 20     
distortion (optical) p15     
Dolby p2, 13     
Don Juan p13     
dyes p7     
dynamic range compression p2     
Eastman Kodak Company p6-7, 19-20      
Eastman, George p6, 21     
Egyptian Theatre p17     
electro-shutter p6     
emulsion p6-7, 11      
Erland, Jon p8-9, 11, 30      
extended dynamic range p2, 7     
Fantastic Voyage p9     
fiber channel p12     
film p2-3, 6-9, 11, 13, 18-29     
final graded imaging p4     
Fischer, Ron p15-16     
flat shading p4     
Fletcher, Ryan p11, 15     
Ford, John p22     
foreign language ads p14     
Frankel, Ron p3     
Friese, William p6     
Fuji Optical Devices p15     
full sound p13     
gaming p29     
gamma p26     
gelatin base p6     
glass mattes p9     
glass plates p6     
Gone WithThe Wind p21     
grain p7     
Grauman, Sid p17     
green screen p4, 29-30      
Green, Colin p3     
Gsell, Eric p2-3, 5-6, 11-12, 18       
Haellmigk, Anette p17     
Hagerty, Jack p8     
Harryhausen, Ray p28, 30     
high-gain photography p16     
histograms p2     
Hitchcock, Alfred p21     
Hogan, Bill p11, 13-14, 17-18        
Howe, James Wong, ASC p24     
Hud p24     
hydraulics p4     
ILM p3, 8     
imaging sciences p7     
IMAX p7     
InfiniBand p12     
IP connectivity p12     
Isaccs, John D. p6     
Jason and The Argonauts p28- 30     
Jenkins, C. Francis p6     
JPEG 2000 p17     
Kane, Joe p26-27      
Karagosian, Michael p13-14     
Karpilovski, Eli p12     
Kenig, David p15     
Kinetoscopes p6     
Kochak, Steve p12     
Kodachrome film p7     
Kozicki, Gene p8-9      
Krasker, Robert, ASC p23     
Krasner, Milton, ASC p19, 23     
Kullback, Steve p17     
laser p4     
laser projection p7     
Le Voyage dans la lune p8     
LED lighting p2, 11     
Lee, Chuck p15-16     
Leica p15     
Leighton, Doug p15-16     
Libich, Martin p12     
Light-R scanning p4     
Lindenlaub, Karl Walter, ASC p2     
linear dynamic range p2     
live action photography p4, 28, 30     
locomotion p6     
log encoding p2     
look development p4     
Lost In Space (TV) p9     
Love Me Tonight p20     
Lukk, Howard p13-14     
Mack, Eliot p30     
MacQueen, Scott p19-25     
Maddox, Dr. Richard Leach p6     
Mallory, John p12     
Marci test Chart p7     
Marie Antoinette  p21       
May, Dick P2-3, 6, 13-14, 19, 25-28     
Maya p4     
Meacham, Nelson p13-14     
Méliès, Georges p8     
mesh p29     
metadata exchange p29     
Mini-SAS p12     
Mitchell, Nick p13-14     
monochromatic p6     
monotonic p20     
Morin, David p3-4     
Muybridge, Eadweard J. p6     
Naked City p21     
nitrate p7, 20-21     
nitrate era p20-21     
object defined spaces p29     
object definition p3     
object sizing p3     
optical stereo p13     
optically balanced p7     
Oran, Andrew p19, 24-35     
orthochromatic p7, 20     
P3 primaries p26     
panchromatic p7, 20     
paper print p6     
Pasterczyk, Beverly p6     
PCIe 3.0 p12     
perforating p19     
persistence of…vision p6     
Phantascope p6     
Planet of the Apes p8-10       
polygons p4     
postvisualization (post-vis) p3     
previsualization (pre-vis) p3     
print stock p20     
production design p3-4, 8-9, 17     
Raven, Lucy p26-27     
Rebecca p21-22     
reference grade displays p2     
Reid, Jon p17     
Ride The High Country p23     
Robin Hood p17     
roll film p6     
Roth, Vince p26     
safety-base p7     
SAS Express p12     
SATA p12     
Schelle, John p3     
Sherlock, Dan p26-27     
Smith, Garrett p3, 5     
Smith, Michael D. p13-14     
SMPE p6     
Sony DTS p13     
sound synchronization p13     
spectral power distribution p11     
spectral sensitivity p9     
spectrum p11     
Spence, Greg p17     
standard grey card p2     
standards and practices p13     
Star Trek (TV Series) p9     
Star Wars p3, 8-9     
Stillman, J.D.B., M.D. p6     
storage p12     
storyboards p3     
strobe lighting p2     
Sunset Boulevard p25     
Taglianetti, Michael p29      
Tannenberger, Thomas p3-4     
Technicolor p7, 13, 19, 24     
test pattern p26-27      
text link ads p14     
The Big Parade p13     
The Bridge on the River Kwai p13     
The Grapes of Wrath p22, 24     
The Lodger p23     
The Lord of the Rings p28     
The Poseidon Adventure p9     
The Third Man p23     
The Towering Inferno p9     
Thunderbolt p12     
THX p13     
Toland, Greg, ASC p22     
triacetate…film(s) p7     
trichromatic p11     
Trouble In Paradise p20     
UCLA Film and Television Archive p19, 25     
USB 3.0 p12     
USC Film School p8     
virtual elements p4     
virtual set p4, 29-30     
virtual world p3     
VISION 3 p7     
visual development p3     
visual effects p2, 3, 4, 8-9, 17, 28, 30     
Visual Effects Society (VES) p4     
Vitaphone p3, 13     
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea p9     
(The) Walt Disney Company p13, 22     
Weigert, Marc p3     
Winett, Brad p12     
Witt, Alex p3     
X'Y'Z' p26     
Zakowicz, Jacek p15     
Zeiss p15-16