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March / 2008

Industry News
CSC Cyber Service Adds New Features, Functions

June Moran, longtime friend of the film & TV industry in Canada, is pictured recently during the Canadian International Air Show. June passed away in January of this year.
June Moran, longtime friend of the film & TV industry in Canada, is pictured recently during the Canadian International Air Show. June passed away in January of this year.
Friends Remember 'Friend of Community'

The family and friends of June K. Moran would like to let all her many friends and colleagues in the Canadian film and television industry know that June passed away on Friday January 25, 2008.

For 20 years June was bookings manager and organizer extraordinaire at Spence-Thomas Productions. She was also the most gifted event and party planner we ever knew. June was a major contributor to events in the early days of the Canadian Film Awards and also worked tirelessly with the Council of Canadian Filmmakers and the "Bessie" Awards.
June Moran, is pictured at the offices of Spence Thomas Audio Post in the 1980s.
June Moran, is pictured at the offices of Spence Thomas Audio Post in the 1980s.
June knew people all over the film and television industry through her work and her volunteer activities. She has stayed in contact with close friends but there are many others who may not have seen her for some time but will remember her fondly and with gratitude for her unfailing grace and amazing abilities. As do many of her friends, Emma Archer and Audrey Spence-Thomas remember that June was "an unsung hero and a friend of the community."



CSC Cyber-Service
Adds News Features, Function

Higher qualities and shorter addresses are part of recently announced upgrades and enhancements to the CSC website.

The Members' Demo Reel service, for example, has been revised to allow the streaming of any format, up to and including HD. The streams are accessible on any computer operating system, they do not require installation of a video software player, and they will play instantly without long loading times, describes CSC Publicity Director and webmaster Nikos Evdemon csc.

The screening process is even easier still, Evdemon describes, as he has setup the site so that shorter and more relevant URLs (specific website addresses) can be used.

"You don't need to use long addresses or add the extension .asp after the name," he notes. "Just use csc.ca/name - that's all you need now!"

As examples, Evdemon cited some current online Members D3mo Reels, and noted the new shorter and more direct address that can be used to access them, including Robert Bocking csc (www.csc.ca/Bocking); Philip Earnshaw csc (csc.ca/Earnshaw); Robert B. McLachlan csc, asc (csc.ca/McLachlan); and George A. Willis csc, sasc (csc.ca/Willis), among others.

"One of our members asked me at the AGM if it is possible to give to some one short address for streaming his Demo Reel directly, instead of long ones - and without having to go through a list of many other cinematographers listed together with his name," Evdemon relates. "I thought that is a great idea. Now members who have a Demo Reel can have their reel accessed directly by simply typing their name at the main site address: www.csc.ca/name. The name can be what ever the member wants and it works with caps or lower case."

With the upgrades to the system, Evdemon says he hopes that all members have one source for personal and professional information, as well as their Demo Reels, thus reducing overall needs for costly domain names, website administration and hosting servers.

Full Members and Associate Members will have access to the CSC Demo Reels with lengths from 30 seconds to 10 minutes total.

The Annual cost to members with CSC Demo Reels will be:
- $50 for up to 3 min video
- $75 for up to 6 min video
- $100 for up to 10 min video.

For best quality send your DVD Demo Reel or video files in deinterlaced .MOV or .AVI format, with H264 or Xvid/DiVX video codec and video bitrates no lower than 1MB (prefer higher). Other formats include: VOB, MPEG2, MPEG4 or MPG format.

Additional suggestions about what CSC members would like to see on the website are very welcome, Evdemon underscores, even necessary in order to continually improve the site. He urges any and all Full and Associate members who have not done so to send their demo reels for online posting.



Best Practices, Environmental Consultants for Film and TV Industry

Planet in Focus, the International Environmental Film & Video Festival and the Toronto Green Screen Initiative aims to create a set of sustainable best practices protocols leading to a certification program for the Toronto film and television industry, using a third party verification mechanism.

Having received initial expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced consultants, project evaluators and coordinators made their first selects, and invited finalists to submit a full proposal at the end of February.
Individuals, firms, consortia, NGOs and research centres made proposals and recommendations for greening the film & television industry, including conducting baseline research to examine existing practices within the Toronto/Ontario industry (among all levels and forms of screen-based productions); creating a best practices Green Production Guide; and developing protocols and recommendations toward a Green Screen-Based Certification Program.
Further information and project proposal descriptions are available online, at www.planetinfocus.org.



Cinema Editors' Association
Debuts in Canada

The Canadian Cinema Editors (CCE) is a newly formed professional association representing the interests of Canadian picture editors.

The CCE is a non-profit organization, launched with the goal of improving the craft and profile of picture editing in television, film and new media. The association founders say they hope to bring well-earned respect to the art of editing, one which they see as an integral part of the storytelling process, but one that is often not discussed or worse, forgotten.

Paul Day, Roger Mattiussi and Paul Winestock are the founding directors of CCE. They say they hope to emulate similar organizations in the US, England, Australia and France, amongst others, who have served to promote their honoured members and to educate the general and filmmaking public about the craft.

During the formative stages of the new CCE, the founders were regularly in touch with other industry organizations, such as the CSC, where they received much guidance and advice.

Day described his vision for the association in a release announcing its launch: "I'd like to see the Canadian Cinema Editors bring together professional editors and assistants who feel excited about the craft and expose, educate and shed some light into the cutting room. All moving images are edited at some point. The manipulation of emotion is very powerful and addictive. Alone in the dark and 'playing' with images is, in my opinion, one of the best jobs in the world."

Mattiussi added that one of the principal goals of the CCE, as he sees it, "is to illuminate the aspects that constitute exceptional editing, not only to ourselves, but also to those who rely on us to help make their programs as memorable as possible. As an honour society, we will communicate with other professional disciplines within film, television and new media, as well as with people who wish to become editors, either through personal initiative or through formal educational institutions."

"In this era of You-Tube and home editing, it's more important than ever before to define the editor as not merely a person cutting pictures together but as an integral part of sculpting the pace, performance and story in a film," added Winestock. "We work with directors and producers intimately over periods of weeks and months to help them achieve the best story possible. Films such as Away From Her, Eastern Promises and
Fido could not have become successes without a trained editor who understands all aspects of editing."

For more information about the CCE, its goals, objectives and membership criteria, visit www.cceditors.ca.



Airstar Helps Heat Up February Freeze

CinequipWhite held its Annual Trade Show, known as the February Freeze, on an appropriately cold day in Toronto, inviting members from the CSC and the CICA to a concurrent joint meeting.

Attendees were treated to a pre-NAB look at some of the newest products and technology available for the entertainment and media production industry. February Freeze provides a great opportunity to talk with popular suppliers and see the latest in equipment innovations. As usual, a great flea market was held as part of the day's events, with lots of hot deals and 'gently used' equipment and accessories.

CinequipWhite's John Ferguson noted some of the latest announcements from prominent suppliers in the film, television, theatrical, broadcast & live entertainment industries, and also shared some news and described some upcoming events of interest to CSC and CICA members
CinequipWhite, for example, will host Steadicam Flyer Workshops in May, led by instructor Peter Abraham (other Steadicam Operators are invited as course assistants or guest lecturers). Each workshop class is limited to nine students, who are provided Steadicam systems and materials from The Tiffen Company as part of the course. Units used during the Flyer Workshops will be available for sale.
Also announced at the event is a new distribution partnership between William F. White (WFW) International and Airstar Canada.
Airstar's world-renowned space lighting balloons for film, television and special events are now available exclusively at WFW locations across Canada.

Units were on display at CinequipWhite's annual February Freeze showcase.

DOPs, gaffers and electricians were informed about the unit's quality of light, the quantity and the direction. Available with or without a reflector as round balloons, Tubes or elliptical balloons, they provide a uniform light over 360° with only one unit. As well, its texture creates a light source with few shadows.

The light's colour temp (tungsten light of 3,200°, HMI light of 6000°) can be adjusted with a colour corrector. A choice of power ratings, between 575kW and 36,000kW to light from 250 to 20,000m², is also available.

Production stills from Pirates of Caribbean, and Man of the Year (in Toronto's Brookfield, formerly BCE, Place) show lighting balloons in use.
Production stills from Pirates of Caribbean, and Man of the Year (in Toronto's Brookfield, formerly BCE, Place) show lighting balloons in use.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized company
founder Pierre Chabert in 2003 with a Technical Achievement Academy Award® for his unique concepts and designs. Airstar balloons have worked on countless productions internationally including all three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Titanic, Mission Impossible 2, Cinderella Man and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Lighting balloons were also used on a recent Canadian production about Olympic swimmer Victor Davis. DoP Gerald Packer csc described his work on the film as involving three different balloons - all worked well - on his shoot.

Packer says he worked with Jerry Ciccoritti - "a great director and friend" - and quite enjoyed the production, especially while "in the pool". Shooting took place in Olympic-sized pools in Etobicoke - such as the Olympium and Gus Ryder facilities. Save for the fact the film screened in '08, Packer says he would have entered into this year's CSC Awards competition.

Photos courtesy of Airstar



Hot Docs Names New Board and Committee Members
Tom Perlmutter, Christine Shipman and Mark Starowicz were appointed to the Hot Docs Board of Directors.
Tom Perlmutter is the current Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Since joining in 2001, Perlmutter has been one of the organization's leading ambassadors at national and international levels and has steered the NFB through major technological advances in multiplatform production. Perlmutter also enjoyed a prestigious career in the Canadian film industry before joining the NFB. As founding head of documentaries at Barna-Alper Productions, he created and produced many award-winning features and series.

Christine Shipton is the Senior Vice President, Drama and Factual Content, for Canwest Broadcasting and has played a strong role in rebuilding the Canwest Canadian original slate for Global and E! Throughout her career, Shipton has been responsible for developing and overseeing noted Canadian programming, including Da Kink in My Hair, Due South and Cold Squad. Shipton has also held a variety of senior positions in such organizations as Blueprint Entertainment, W Network and Alliance Atlantis Television.

Mark Starowicz serves as the Executive Director of Documentary Programming at CBC and is an internationally in-demand writer and lecturer on the history and future of broadcast communications. Starowicz's passion for Canadian history and culture culminated in his monumental 32-hour documentary series, Canada: A People's History. Amongst the many awards and honours he's received - including eight Geminis - Starowicz was presented with the Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2006.

Tom Perlmutter, Christine Shipton and Mark Starowicz will assume seats left vacant by the departures of Jacques Bensimon, Michael Kennedy and Jerry McIntosh.

Additionally, Rudy Buttignol, chair of the Hot Docs International Advisory Committee (IAC), announced nine new members to the IAC. The IAC works with closely Hot Docs to promote the festival and conference internationally, and to provide Hot Docs with market intelligence from across the country and abroad to better shape its offerings. The new IAC members are: Claire Aguilar, Vice President of Programming, Independent Television Service (USA); Jacques Bensimon, Chairman, Cinématèque Québécois (Canada); Ryan Harrington, Head, The Gucci/Tribeca Documentary Fund (USA); Marijke Huijbregts, Commissioning Editor/Producer, AVRO (The Netherlands); Michael Kennedy, Executive Vice President, Executive VP, Film & Marketing, Cineplex Entertainment (Canada); Jason Meil, Senior VP - Original Programming and Acquisitions, Current TV (USA); Cara Mertes, Director, Documentary Film Program & Sundance Documentary Fund, The Sundance Institute (USA); Leena Pasenan, Director, European Documentary Network (Denmark); and Tom Quinn, Senior Vice President, Magnolia Pictures (USA).



Academy and Kodak Give
Cinematographers a Leg Up

Getting a leg up in the Canadian Film and Television industry is no small feat, making applied training opportunities such as the one provided through the National Apprenticeship Training Program (NATP), presented annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, all the more invaluable to film and television studies' graduates. The NATP's 12-week training period offers apprentices hands-on experience in their area of interest on a professional production set, as well as an honorarium.

Add to that corporate partners like Kodak Canada Entertainment Imaging, a longtime sponsor of the program, and the sky truly is the limit for the select few who are given the chance to implement their knowledge to real-world film and television production.

Kodak Canada in particular awards its apprenticeship to a student whose focus is cinematography. In 2007, the Kodak Canada Cinematography Apprentice designation was bestowed on Martin Dudzik, a graduate of the Capilano College Motion Picture Production Program. Upon being notified that he had been accepted into the NATP, Martin says it's "hard to believe you've been accepted into a program as great as this [one]."

"The NATP program is great for young filmmakers who would love to volunteer their time on set [but] can't commit free time for financial reasons," he adds.

Martin's apprenticeship placement was on the set of an independent feature film titled, The Taken, directed by Richard Valentine, where he shot second unit photography.

Of Kodak Canada's involvement in the Academy's NATP initiative, Johanna Gravelle, Country Manager, Kodak Canada Entertainment Imaging, says, "Kodak has been a strong supporter of the NATP since its inception."

"Helping to develop the talent of the emerging filmmakers, through the experience of established industry professionals, paves the way for a brighter future in Canadian Film and Television," she explains.

The NATP, which was begun in 1984 and remains the Academy's most successful professional development program to date, has recently increased its profile with the addition of the NATP 'Wall of Fame', where the careers of outstanding apprentices from previous years are brought into the spotlight.

Thomas Wallner, award-winning writer and director, is a graduate of the National Apprenticeship Training Program (NATP), 1991-92.
Thomas Wallner, award-winning writer and director, is a graduate of the National Apprenticeship Training Program (NATP), 1991-92.
About the historical perspective the 'Wall of Fame' has brought to the NATP, Sara Morton, new CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, comments that, "the achievements of our graduates are a testament to the positive impact of the NATP program, made possible thanks to the generous support of Canadian Heritage, Kodak Canada, Newfoundland & Labrador Film Development Corporation, New Brunswick Film, Film Nova Scotia, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation."

Many NATP alumni, such as David Morton, Thomas Wallner, and David McCallum, have gone on to win or be nominated for the Academy's Genie and Prix Gémeaux/Gemini Awards, giving the program yet another reason to celebrate the accomplishments of promising filmmakers. Wallner, for example, is a Gemini-award winning writer (for the TV series Beethoven's Hair). story submitted by Nicole Novakovics



New NFB Appointments
Marc Rousseau and Jerome S. Zwicker have been appointed as members of the National Film Board of Canada, and Cindy Witten has taken up her new post as Director General of NFB English Program
Witten assumed her new duties in late February, bringing to the NFB a long and successful track record in factual content programming.
Vice President of Content at History Television since 2005, Witten previously served as Vice President of Original Production for History Television, BBC Canada and National Geographic Channel Canada from 2002 to 2005, and production executive for Lifestyle/Factual at HGTV Canada, Life Network and History Television from 1998 to 2002.
"I'm excited by current directions at the NFB. It's an incredible opportunity to work in one of the world's great cultural institutions at a moment when it is clearly setting the pace for innovation in socially relevant documentary, animation and digital content," said Witten.
At the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Witten was senior producer of Big Life With Daniel Richler at CBC Newsworld from 1996 to 1998, and director/journalist at The National from 1991 to 1998. She began her television career as Current Affairs director/news producer at CBC Toronto from 1987 to 1991.
She has also served on the Industry Board for the World Congress of History Producers, the Hot Docs International Advisory Council and the Advisory Board for the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival. Witten has an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a BA in Political Science, University of Waterloo.
"What impressed me about Cindy's career has been her willingness to recognize talent and take creative risks," noted Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). "We're at a point of great creative renewal for the institution-crowned this week with our 5th Oscar nomination in five years-both in traditional and digital media. Cindy brings the right skill set of energy, drive and risk-taking to keep the NFB at the cutting edge of innovative media making."
Marc Rousseau graduated from Concordia University with a bachelor of arts in economics and finance. He has 15 years experience in management and finance and more than 20 years in planning. Rousseau is currently a partner with LVR Capital, a financial consulting firm.

Jerome S. Zwicker is currently the president, CEO, and major shareholder of Thorndale International. He has been on the boards and committees of many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and the Toronto Blue Jays B'nai Brith Day, as chair and founder.



4K Event Screens Film of the Future

The future of 4k is here! Proof arrived in the form of a new short film by noted director Peter Jackson, and it received its Canadian premiere during a two-day presentation for Film, Television and Advertising industry professionals to expand their knowledge of new concepts and techniques in digital media.

The latest of a number of industry events on new trends in digital cinematography, DJ Woods Productions, in association with Ryerson University and Post DNA Productions, assembled a group of leading edge companies and individuals to showcase new 4k cinematic cameras and 4k digital imagery.

Among the many attendees at the event was George A Willis sasc, csc, the current Vice-President of the CSC. Reached after the event, Willis said he "was pleased to see a big turnout and hope that the CSC will be able to get that kind of attendance in the future. The one thought that I am left with now more than ever before is that the time has come to recognize the fact that 'digital cinema' is moving ahead at an incredible pace and that we, as cinematographers or director's of photography need to recognize and embrace the new technologies.

The first day saw attendees gather at Theatre D Royal Cinema in downtown Toronto, where Peter Jackson's short Crossing the Line was screened. It was shot with the Red One 4k camera (and while a true 4k projector was not available, some of the benefits of this new format's detailed imagery and broad image latitude were visible.
Also in the spotlight was a Red camera itself, described by camera technician and manufacturer's rep Marc-André Ferguson, as well as local DOP Gregor Hagey, who has worked with and reported on the Red camera (please see CSC NEWS, December 2007 edition).

Of course, the new 4k technology puts demands not only on cinematographers and camera operators, but also - if not more so - on post production supervisors, editors and DITs (digital intermediate technicians). Describing some of the new post processes were local Final Cut Pro Users group rep David Battistella, who described the FCP workflow with R3D files and wrappers filled with valuable metadata.

Tony Cacciarelli demonstrated the Assimilate - Scratch component of the 4k workflow, as did Tony Fox of DVS (Clipster 4k & Cine 4K). Technicolor's Brian Reid described 4k workflows and 35mm Arri 4k scanners for theatrical release prints. AJA Video Systems' Chris Chahley described his company's Kona 3 2K workflow and Io HD on-set applications, while Paul Hearty described the Cinegrid, with its long-haul transmission capabilities for high-quality digital media over high-speed photonic networks.

Supernal Entertainment's Digital Cinema Initiative was comprehensively described by Jay Spencer, while Mark Northeast from Quantel added his company's perspective on and solutions for the 4k workflow. He also mentioned Stereoscopic 3D techniques, and announced further industry events that will be held across Canada on 4k related topics.

Red One is not the only 4k acquisition tool available, of course, and so the Dalsa Camera was also described during the first day's agenda, with company rep Lucian Ion presenting clips from LeVar Burton's new film, Tempting Hyenas, shot with the Dalsa 4k camera and work flow.

Ken Davis, Toronto-based producer and co-organizer of the event, presented samples of a 4k image manipulation and its capabilities in commercial and television applications.

Dalsa camera technician Lucian Ion shares a laugh with one of the many attendees at a recent 4k digital camera and production workflow event in Toronto.
Dalsa camera technician Lucian Ion shares a laugh with one of the many attendees at a recent 4k digital camera and production workflow event in Toronto.
The second day of the event was hosted by Ryerson University and the Rogers Communications Centre, where additional screenings were held. As well, table top demonstration areas were set-up, where attendees could get hands-on with cameras, editing systems and related 4k technology. The event wrapped up with a short panel discussion, which explored both the plusses and minuses of using and embracing a new techno logy like 4k digital cinema.

There is no one answer, the panel agreed, as to why 4k, and why now? The need for higher resolution imagery, that could then be easily re-purposed across major delivery platforms, was seen as one big plus. The 'horsepower of metadata' was also described as a positive, as archival information, digital and IP copy protections and more could be embedded in the 4k data stream.

Challenges to the industry, its established workflows and its established crew positions, were cited as among the major hurdles to be overcome. 4k is here now, the panel reinforced, but it did not arrive empty-handed.

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