Thursday, August 30, 2012

Delivering to a Distributor

We just yesterday shipped off deliverables to Image Entertainment, the distribution company that will be handling the recent film I directed, The Solomon Bunch. It occurred to me that some may be interested in what a distribution company requires, since it is always good to know before you start what will be needed in the end. Of course, different companies have different requirements, and the requirements are also different when delivering for theatrical release than for DVD/VOD (as was the case with this one). Still, it may help to know the list we fulfilled for Image...

   • HD master of the feature in the original aspect ratio
   • HD master of the feature in 16:9 anamorphic (1.78 aspect ratio)
   • SD down conversion in original ratio enhanced for 16:9 anamorphic
   • SD pan & scan version in 4:3 ratio (this was not a lot of fun)
   • HD master of the trailer and bonus features
   • Viewable DVD's of each of the above for their reviewers

   • 4-Channel audio built into each of the above masters (1/2 Stereo, 3/4 Music & Effects Mix)
   • Dialog, Music and Effects stems as stand-alone stereo files
   • 5.1 Multi-channel surround file
   • All original music cues as stand-alone files
   • Playable audio CD containing all music cues for their reviewers

   • Pop-on closed captions in the formats of .cap, .scc and .txt

Each of the master video files also had to include "textless elements at the tail." This means that any segment of the movie or trailer that included text (credits, location descriptions, etc.) had to be included at the end of the film as "clean" clips. When they do foreign language versions of the film, they will now be able to do new titles in place of the English. Also, with the sound DM&E files, they have the option to drop the dialog altogether in favor of a new language or they can simply duck the dialog track to a much lower level so as not to compete with the translation. This can be done without harming the music and effects levels, which they have as distinct "stems" (def: a sub-mixdown of all tracks in a particular category). What they were not interested in was any of the editing or mixing files from Final Cut/Avid/Nuendo, etc. The locked picture is all they required.

What I have listed here is the mastering deliverables only. There were also Creative and Legal deliverables. Creative included artwork, photos, logos, press reviews and quotes, etc. Legal included proof of ownership of all aspects of the film and story, copyright registrations, production contracts with cast, creatives, crew and locations, tax forms for the corporation and a certificate of E&O insurance (which is quite expensive, by the way).

Click the "Film Directing" link at right for more about what we learned on this film.

Storytelling Through Composition

In considering ways to make my blog as helpful and effective as possible, I think I have found a solution. I should just forward my domain to Shane Hurlbut's blog. I have mentioned his posts often, and I will reiterate that any videographer or DP should visit Shane's blog often. It is amazing how much insight he shares on things that are often closely guarded by the DP's who are the best in the business. This particular set of posts does not necessarily have any new revelations, but it does point out and illustrate some foundational things that we all need to learn and/or be reminded of. It also may introduce you to some new terms you are not familiar with (granted, some are Shane's own creations). The waister, choker, doinker and dirty over are all great tools to use in storytelling. And John Fording is a great way to naturally get to a closeup. Read to learn more.

Storytelling Through Composition Part I
Storytelling Through Compostition Part II

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Trillion Frames Per Second!

For all of you who can't wait to get your hands on the new Sony FS-700 camera, here's a little rain on your parade. While you are shooting all of the amazing things that happen in slow-motion at 960 frames per second, someone else is shooting footage at 1,000,000,000,000 frames per second--and capturing light in motion. This new trillion fps camera is amazing, and captures images in such extreme slow-motion that it would take an entire year to watch a bullet travel the length of this Coke bottle. I doubt we will see this camera in the B&H catalog any time soon, but this video is well worth the few minutes it will take to watch it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunset Jazz at Chastain

Shot video on Saturday night for a concert event at Chastain Park in Atlanta. The 7,000-seat amphitheater was sold out for the concert, which featured a number of the country's top jazz artists, including legendary saxaphone player David Sanborn teamed up with Brian Culbertson for an amazing performance (pictured here).

I can't post any of the video I shot since I do not own it (this pict is from my iPhone), but here is a link to one of Culbertson's videos.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Congrats to the Bates!

I am excited for my friends, the Gil Bates family, who this week had their first show on TLC. Many people know them already from their regular appearances over the years on the Duggar's show, 19 Kids and Counting. They are a great family and I have enjoyed working with one of their talented family members, Erin, as producer in the recording studio (TLC taped one of our sessions, but I am sure I was not pretty enough to make the cut). Check out their show each week at 9pm Eastern on the TLC network. You can purchase Erin's CDs on their personal website.

The Aspire Network

Shot a promo earlier this week for the  brand new Aspire Network. This is an Atlanta-based cable/satellite network that has only been on the air for a month or two. Magic Johnson is the owner of the network and the target audience is African-American families. They are currently airing popular shows of the past such as The Cosby Show, but are beginning production on new shows that are uplifting and inspirational.

Monday, August 13, 2012


The GoPro is literally making a splash at this hilarious event in Germany. Check out the video shot entirely on the HD Hero2 camera. I recently finished shooting some new footage for a youth camp promotional video using this camera. I was very pleased with how it turned out. The shots cut together pretty well with the rest of the shots, which were mostly Canon 7D/60D--with a few Sony EX1 shots thrown in. You can watch that one here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Greg Howlett Concert

I spent the last week working as the recording engineer on a new concert video for pianist Greg Howlett. The production was amazing with fantastic stage and lighting design by Chad Landers and video direction by Kim White. We recorded to Nuendo during an early taping and then the sold-out live concert on Friday night at the Gwinett County Civic Auditorium in Atlanta. With pre-recorded Nashville orchestra and choir combined with the live singers and orchestra, we will be mixing nearly 100 tracks of audio on several songs. Fun! For those who are interested, we used Neumann TLM-103s on the piano (Greg loves the mellow sound of these), Neumann KM 100 series mics on the orchestra, Sennheiser MKH 50s on choir, Tram lavalier on the fiddle and mixed with the sound from the pickup, AKG C414 on the upright bass, various EV mics on kick, snare and toms, Shure SM 81 on hi-hat and AT 4033s overhead. For the audience surround mics we used a pair of Neumann KM-150s and four earthworks TC-30s. The handheld vocal mics were Shure Beta 87s. Outboard gear included preamps from Avalon, API, Trident, and Symmetrix. Look for the one-hour television special sometime in 2013.