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  1. Hello all, a couple of friends from Vienna have produced a small Star Wars-inspired fan film. What the flick lacks in dialogues and dramaturgy is hopefully compensated a bit by the excessive overuse of homicidal martial arts elements :P (All are passionate fencers.) Well, since John Williams is unfortunately no longer available for Star Wars, I had to step in for the music. :P Have fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OElWnjrzvl0 LG Dustin
  2. FotoKem, a leader in digital and film post production, was the facility of choice for providing comprehensive creative and technical services from pre-production through final deliverables on the critically acclaimed Star Wars: The Last Jedi from Disney/Lucasfilm. The facility built technically advanced solutions that supported the creative team through their interplanetary production from dailies to color grade. Services included a customized workflow for dailies, editorial and VFX support, conform, and a color pipeline that incorporated all camera formats (film and file based) while adhering to critical studio guidelines. Working collaboratively with key creatives – including director Rian Johnson; cinematographer Steve Yedlin, ASC; producer Ram Bergman; Lucasfilm’s Head of Post Production Pippa Anderson; and Lucasfilm’s Director of Post Production Mike Blanchard – the post process allowed them to operate with speed and flexibility while enabling maximum creative freedom served by the technology. The filmmakers behind The Last Jedi had an ambitious vision for the second installment in the sequel trilogy. FotoKem was engaged prior to the beginning of principal photography, and devised an intricate workflow tailored to accommodate the goals of production. A remote post production facility was assembled near-set in London where film technician Simone Appleby expertly operated two real-time film scanners, digitizing up to 15,000 feet a day of 35mm footage at slightly above 4K resolution. Supported by a highly secure network, FotoKem nextLAB® systems ingested the digitized film and file-based camera footage, providing “scan-once instant access” to everything, and creating a singular workflow for every unit’s footage. By the end of production, over one petabyte of data was managed by FotoKem’s nextLAB®, enabling the filmmakers, visual effects teams, editors, and studio executives to securely and easily share large volumes of assets for any part of the workflow. Johnson said, “For me, it’s simple – FotoKem helped me tell the story I was hoping to tell. They invented solutions and made it easy for us to work the way we wanted to work.” Bergman added, “I worked with FotoKem previously and knew their capabilities. This project clearly required a high level of support to handle global locations with multiple units and production partners. We had a lot of requirements at this scale to create a consistent workflow for all the teams utilizing the footage, from production viewing dailies to the specific editorial deliverables, visual effects plates, marketing, and finishing, with no delays or security concerns.” Before shooting began, Yedlin worked with FotoKem’s film and digital lab to create specialized scanner profiles and custom Look Up Tables (LUTs). FotoKem implemented the algorithms devised by Yedlin into their nextLAB® software to obtain a seamless match between digital footage and film scans. Yedlin also received full-resolution stills which served as a communication funnel for color and quality control checks. This color workflow was devised in collaboration with FotoKem color scientist Joseph Slomka, and executed by nextLAB® software developer Eric Cameron and dailies colorist Jon Rocke, who were on site throughout the entire production. “With the knowledge of an HDR deliverable, we set to work to make sure the look captured on set matched the vision of the filmmakers and was carried throughout the workflow for the ultimate control of color from camera to screen,” noted Slomka. Yedlin observed, “As cinematographers, we work hard to create looks, and FotoKem made it possible for me to take control of each step in the process and know exactly what was happening. The color science support I received made true image control a realized concept.” Calibrated 4K monitoring and the high availability SAN on site managed by nextLAB® created a world where visual effects and editorial could instantly access full fidelity footage during and after production. Through the nextLAB® interface, these teams could procure footage, pull shots as needed, and maintain exact color and metadata integration between any step. For the color grade, FotoKem colorist Walter Volpatto fine-tuned raw images, as well as those from ILM, with Johnson and Yedlin using the color and imaging pipeline established from day one. FotoKem also set up remote grading suites at Skywalker Sound and Disney so the teams could work during the sound mix, and later grading for HDR and other specialty theatrical deliverables. “The film emulation LUT that Steve (Yedlin) created carried nuances he wanted in the final image and he was mindful of this while shooting, lighting both the film and digital scenes so that minimal manipulation was required in the color grade,” Volpatto explained. “Steve’s mastery of lighting for both formats, as well as his extensive understanding of color science, helped to make the blended footage look more cohesive.” Volpatto also oversaw the HDR pass and IMAX® versions. Ultimately, multiple deliverables were created by FotoKem including standard DCP, HDR10, Dolby Vision™, HLG, 3D (in standard, stereo Dolby and 2D Dolby HDR), and home video formats. FotoKem worked with IMAX to align the color science pipeline with their Xenon and laser DCPs and 15-perf 70mm prints as well. Mike Brodersen, FotoKem’s Chief Strategy Officer, said, “Our incredible team’s objective from the beginning of this project was to provide a process for the creatives to flourish, without worrying about the technology. It’s not every day that we would ship scanners to remote locations and integrate a real-time post environment that would rival many permanent installations. Our approach combined decades of film and digital expertise, intense artistry, and exceptional post production workflow knowledge. We are honored that they entrusted us in this endeavor and grateful to be part of this iconic project.”
  3. Have to admit I'm interested in how this is coming along, even though I'm not a Star Wars fan. Greig Fraser is supposed to shoot this with the 1.25x Ultra Panavision 70 anamorphics rebuilt for The Hateful Eight. He's also shooting on film, and the Alexa 65. So are the lenses being used on 65mm, or on the Alexa 65? Will the ratio be 2.75:1? Is he shooting anything on 35 (like Episode 8 is)? Anybody heard more about it?
  4. Collector's Edition Available Now LOS ANGELES (Feb. 3, 2016) - The force is strong with American Cinematographer's just-released February issue, which goes behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to provide an in-depth look at the making of the record-breaking box-office blockbuster. The magazine was granted special access to the production during filming at Pinewood Studios and conducted comprehensive interviews with the filmmakers, including cinematographer Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC; director J.J. Abrams; Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy; and several of the show's key department heads. The special collector's edition is illustrated with a trove of exclusive production stills, behind-the-scenes photos and concept art from the film. "American Cinematographer prides itself on bringing the best and most detailed behind-the-scenes information to our readers, and thanks to our great relationship with Disney, Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams, we were allowed to visit an otherwise closed set," says Stephen Pizzello, the magazine's editor-in-chief and publisher. "Contributing writer Noah Kadner and I were privileged to observe the Star Wars team up close, and the experience provided us with invaluable insights. Our best writers covered all aspects of the production, resulting in an issue that is second to none in terms of in-depth reportage." In addition to covering the work of Mindel, Abrams and Kennedy, the issue offers Kadner's first-person account of the magazine's set visit; coverage of the movie's second-unit cinematography; a piece that examines the project's concept art and the collaboration between co-production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford; and comprehensive Q&As with visual-effects supervisor Roger Guyett and Industrial Light & Magic supervisor Pat Tubach, who coordinated effects work by ILM's San Francisco, Vancouver and Singapore facilities. The magazine's Production Slate section is devoted entirely to managing editor Jon Witmer's coverage of the hugely popular animated series Star Wars Rebels, which provides a detailed look at the work of CG lighting and effects supervisor Joel Aron, lighting concept artist Christopher Voy, colorist Sean Wells, and supervising director Dave Filoni. "American Cinematographer has been taking readers on a unique journey behind the scenes of the Star Wars saga from the very beginning, having offered a detailed look at the making of the original trilogy, the Special Editions and the prequels," says Witmer. "We're thrilled to return to that galaxy far, far away at this incredibly exciting time, when new stories and stunning imagery are being crafted in live action and animation, for screens both big and small." Additionally, the issue's Short Takes section offers a historical look at the production and recent restoration of the short film Black Angel, which played in theaters with The Empire Strikes Back during that film's initial release in the U.K. The short was directed by Roger Christian, who had served as set decorator on the original Star Wars, and became one of the very first credits for cinematographer Roger Pratt, BSC. As an added bonus to fans of the franchise, American Cinematographer's back page spotlights director of photography Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS, who is currently in production on the upcoming feature Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The magazine is also offering extended versions of the Abrams and Kennedy interviews online. The February 2016 issue of American Cinematographer is now available for purchase at newsstands and online in the American Cinematographer Store. For more information on American Cinematographer and its parent company, the American Society of Cinematographers, visit the magazine's website, theasc.com, or follow the publication on Facebook and Twitter (@AmericanCine).
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