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The Revenant‘s Martín Hernández Becomes Creative Sound Director at Cinematic Media

Mexico City’s Cinematic Media is entering audio post in a big way with the construction of six identical sound editorial and mixing stages outfitted with Avid Pro Tools systems and Dolby Atmos certification.

The work is being overseen by supervising sound editor Martín Hernández, a two-time Oscar nominee for his work on The Revenant and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), who joins Cinematic Media as creative sound director. The new stages are expected to be finished in July, but production has already begun on television series set for release later in 2019, Cinematic Media said.

Martín Hernández

Martín Hernández

Cinematic Media, which opened in Mexico City’s GGM Studios production complex last year, is riding a wave of new interest in production for the Latin American television market. As one example, Netflix recently said it will open a Mexico City office in 2019 and plans to produce more than 50 original projects and co-productions in Mexico this year and next.

“Productions happening now in Mexico are pushing boundaries in terms of storytelling, writing, acting and directing, bringing the market into the mainstream,” Hernández said in a prepared statement. “Our aim is to bring world class post-production work done here. We are drawing on our experience and pulling together the resources needed to accomplish that goal.”

The six studios are being outfitted identically — Avid S6 and S3 control surfaces, Pro Tools workstations, JBL monitors and Atmos-ready Focusrite RedNet interfaces — so that productions can move into different rooms as schedules demand without worrying about using different equipment in each suite.

Cinematic Media:


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Apple Ships Its First Eight-Core MacBook Pro

Apple today released a new version of its 15-inch MacBook Pro (MBP) with an eight-core processor, which it called its fastest notebook computer ever, doubling the performance of its fastest quad-core 15-inch system.

The entire MBP line is being refreshed with new models loaded with eighth- and ninth-generation Intel Core processors. The 15-inch model is now available with Turbo Boost speeds reaching 5.0 GHz, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro can be had with quad-core processors and Turbo Boost up to 4.7 GHz.

Citing examples of speed gains in the new systems, Apple said the eight-core MBP can render 3D scenes twice as fast using Maya and Arnold and apply “complex edits and filters” up to 75% faster in Photoshop compared to the four-core 15-inch version. The new MBP can also edit up to 11 simultaneous 4K multicam streams in Final Cut Pro X, Apple said.

The MBP comes with a Retina display that puts out 500 nits of brightness, supports P3 color and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Apple is also promoting the MBP’s ability to hook up with up to two 5K displays or up to four external GPUs (for example, Blackmagic Design’s eGPU and eGPU Pro, which Apple carries at its retail stores and online).

Apple didn’t mention it in the official press release, but the new MBPs also feature a revised keyboard design that may help address complaints about the keyboard’s “butterfly” mechanism and its responsiveness. A new Keyboard Service Program has been instituted to address problems existing users have been having with keyboards on MacBooks dating back as far as 2015.

The 13-inch and 15-inch MBPs start at $1,799 and $2,399, respectively, with the eight-core version running $2,799. That’s only the start, of course — a generously configured MBP with the fastest eight-core CPU, 32 GB of RAM and Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics will run you $3,749.

Apple MacBook Pro:


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“I Am Easy to Find” – A Film by Mike Mills/An Album by The National

This short film, dense with beauty and feeling, was released as a companion piece to The National’s new album, I Am Easy to Find. Written and directed by 20th Century Women director Mike Mills, and starring Alicia Vikander, the film is not intended as a music video. It and the album it accompanies are instead described by Mills himself as “playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other.” A version of the film with director’s commentary is available on YouTube, as is a version with commentary by The National frontman Matt Berninger. The black-and-white cinematography is by Daniel Voldheim; Aaron Beckum was the editor.


4AD Presents
An MJZ Production

“I Am Easy to Find”

Alicia Vikander
The National

Written and Directed by Mike Mills

Cinematography by Daniel Voldheim
Production Design by Victoria Morris
Costume Design by Danielle Kays
Edited by Aaron Beckum
Music Mix by Jonathan Low
Sound Design and Re-recording Mix by Zach Seivers
Produced by Geoff Linville
Produced by Emma Wilcockson and David Zander
Executive Produced by Youree Henley
Casting by Good People Casting


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Cineworks Rental Inventory Going Up for Auction in June

With the retirement of owner Deborah Maxwell, the complete inventory of North Hollywood rental company Cineworks is going up for auction next month, according to Tiger Group, which will manage the auction.

Inventory that will be sold off include a large assortment of HMI and tungsten LED fixtures from manufacturers including Arri, Kino Flo, Mole Richardson, K5600, Litepanels, Chimera and Astera, as well as electrical and grip carts, dollies, low-mileage trucks, generators and other production equipment, Tiger Group said.

Lighting fixtures from Cineworks’ inventory.
Tiger Group

“After many years of providing top-notch service to the film, video, and still community, Ms. Maxwell is ready to enjoy new adventures, and we are proud to be chosen to assist in selling all of this high quality gear,” said Jonathan Holiday, director of business development of Tiger’s commercial and industrial division, in a prepared statement. “This auction presents an extraordinary opportunity to acquire equipment from a dependable rental company that has serviced so many productions.”

Bidding in the online auction starts at 9 a.m. PT on June 4 and closes at 10 a.m. PT on June 11 at A preview of the gear up for auction will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT on June 10 at Cineworks’ 8125 Lankershim Blvd. headquarters.

Tiger Cineworks Auction:


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New Plug-in Takes Photoshop Drawings from 2D to 3D in Maya

Montréal animation studio E.D. Films has created a bridge between Photoshop and Maya with PSD to 3D, a new plug-in that converts layered 2D Photoshop drawings into 3D Maya scenes.

PSD to 3D was developed in-house by E.D. Films as an alternative to an existing Photoshop-to-After Effects workflow that artists found cumbersome. With PSD to 3D, Photoshop documents are automatically converted to meshes for use in Maya — imagine a layered PSD transformed into a series of cardboard cutouts that can be manipulated in Maya’s 3D workspace.

“An illustrated look is hard to replicate in 3D, even if you know the software,” said E.D. Films Creative and Technical Director Daniel Gies. “With PSD to 3D, every line and brushstroke is passed onto the 3D meshes so artists can bring a unique look to their animations.”

An alternative workflow for more advanced 3D artists (available in a “Pro” version of the plug-in) allows the use of Photoshop’s pen tool or imported shape objects to create vector layer masks that determine how a drawing’s geometry is defined when it becomes an object in Maya. Once the file has been opened in Maya, meshes can be given a finer edit using tools in Maya or Photoshop; an artist’s preference may depend on their comfort level with the software or the specific way a drawing is being used.

Once a mesh is committed, Maya’s more powerful toolset — including sculpting, physics and cloth simulation as well as cameras and lighting — is available to manipulate the scene. For ease of use, the plug-in adds a line of buttons near the top of Maya’s interface identifying some of the most important functions for basic 3D workflow. And, at that point, it’s possible to bring the scene back into After Effects, for users who are more familiar with that environment, or, for a more advanced animation process, to begin rigging it directly in Maya.

Watch the demo video, below, to see how it works:

PSD to 3D Lite sells for $18.61 ($25 Canadian), and PSD to 3D Pro costs $55.83 ($75 Canadian). Both versions are available at a reduced rate until June 3, 2019: $14.89 ($20 Canadian) for the Lite version and $44.66 ($60 Canadian) for Pro. They are on sale in the E.D. Films online store.

E.D. Films:


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Conrad Clemson Joins EditShare as CEO; Company Takes Majority Investment from ParkerGale Capital

EditShare said today that private equity firm ParkerGale Capital has taken a majority investment in the company, with veteran Cisco executive Conrad Clemson joining as EditShare’s new CEO.

Company founders Andy Liebman and Tara Montford will remain the company’s largest individual shareholders, EditShare said, remaining in leadership positions as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP, Business Development, respectively.

EditShare executive headshots

Conrad Clemson will lead the company as CEO, while founders Andy Liebman and Tara Montford stay on in key roles.

Chicago-based ParkerGale specializes in funding accelerated growth at small, U.S. based-technology companies — a seeming good fit for EditShare. The company was founded in 2003 when Liebman, a working editor, developed its original offering as a collaborative storage solution for his team’s use on a specific television project. “With ParkerGale’s infusion of capital, EditShare will be able to execute much faster on the many more incredible product and workflow ideas we have for all of our customers,” said Liebman in a prepared statement.

Clemson has filled a number of leadership roles at Cisco, including VP and SVP positions in its service provider video software and solutions business. Before Cisco, he was CEO of BNI Video, which Cisco acquired in 2011. He had served earlier as senior director of engineering at Motorola and as SVP of technical operations at Broadbus, which sold to Motorola in 2006. He’s also been EVP of engineering at Gotham Networks and VP of engineering at Lucent Technologies.

“Andy founded EditShare in 2003 when he needed a more flexible and affordable solution for media sharing. His invention of high-performance network-attached storage for editing transformed the industry in a way others weren’t imagining at that time,” Clemson said in a statement. “With this investment, the EditShare team will be even better positioned to continue to deliver transformative solutions to an industry that is in greater demand for it now more than ever.”

EditShare’s product line includes video capture and playout servers, high-performance shared storage built around the EFS file system, its FLow production media asset management system, and the Lightworks editing platform. Recently, the company has made a push into automated QC and IMF workflow, thanks in part to its acquisition of QC specialist Quales in 2017.



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Lil Nas X: Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

It took a while, but Lil Nas X finally got the music video his audacious trap-country megahit “Old Town Road” deserves, with a roster of cameo appearances including Chris Rock, Diplo and Vince Staples. It’s directed by Calmatic.


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A52 Ups Its Color Game with Paul Yacono, Daniel de Vue, and Dedicated, HDR-Ready Studio Space

In a nod to the increasing demand for top-shelf color services in the era of peak TV — especially from the 4K-friendly and HDR-hungry likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime — Santa Monica VFX studio A52 has launched a new color-grading and finishing department, A52 Color.

Colorists Paul Yacono and Daniel de Vue will be operating out of a newly built, color-centric space at the studio run by Executive Producer Thatcher Peterson, formerly of The Mill in Los Angeles. The studio has two Baselight grading suites with Dolby Vision certification for HDR. Grading services are offered internationally on a remote basis.

Paul Yacono and Daniel de Vue

Paul Yacono (left) and Daniel de Vue

“Color has been an offering within A52 with Paul Yacono for over half a decade, so it’s already an established part of the culture here,” said Peterson in a prepared statement. “And with Daniel joining us from London, the distinction of a52 Color to become a separate entity thrusts our services and superstar talent into its own spotlight.”

Yacono’s tenure at A52 has included such high-profile projects as Netflix’s House of Cards, the title sequence for Game of Thrones, and spots for Target, Nike, Toyota and Prada.

De Vue, meanwhile, joined A52 late last year after a three-year tenure at Glassworks in London. He’s worked with directors including Wally Pfister, Martin Werner and Andreas Nilsson and with brands including Principal Financial, Vans, Mercedes and Xbox.

A52 Color:


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Hecho Studios Names Briony McCarthy President

Los Angeles creative studio Hecho Studios said Briony McCarthy has joined the leadership team of Hecho Studios as president of the company.

McCarthy will head the company along with Chief Content Officer Tom Dunlap and ECD Gui Borchert, Hecho said.

Before moving to Hecho earlier this year, McCarthy had spent 10 years at PHD New York, where she began as strategy director in 2008. She became president of PHD in April 2014.

Portrait of Hecho Studios leadership team

Briony McCarthy (right), Gui Borchert (seated), and Tom Dunlap (standing).

“Briony’s business acumen combined with her strategic media experience completes our vision for Hecho Studios,” said Dunlap in a prepared statement. “The combination of Gui as creator, myself as maker, and Briony as activator is already having a massive impact on our company and our product. Together we’re developing Hecho’s narrative, and we’re all looking forward to what this next chapter has in store.”

Hecho Studios’ client roster for brand work includes CBS, Google Adobe, Syfy and NBCUniversal. Hecho said a number of feature film, TV and streaming projects are in development for a dedicated original content division.

Hecho Studios:



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After Earnings Release, Nvidia Execs Say Real-Time Ray Tracing is the Future

Despite some tough questions from investors yesterday, Nvidia exceeded expectations in reporting its Q1 earnings, which were down dramatically compared to last year — but not down quite as far as forecasts indicated. The company reported revenue of $2.2 billion for the quarter, down 31% from the previous year.

The company declined to offer guidance for the remainder of the year, citing uncertainty in the key data-center market. But in pro visualization, the still-healthy sector of its business that includes VFX, the company said the near future is bright.

Pro visualization revenue was up 6% compared to the same period last year, climbing to $266 million. A category of “emerging applications” that includes AI, VR and AR, contributed about 38% of that revenue, according to EVP and CFO Colette Kress, who said oil and gas, public sector, and manufacturing markets were “areas of strength” in the pro visualization sector.

Kress also emphasized the success to date of the company’s RTX platform for real-time GPU-accelerated ray tracing in gaming and VFX. “At GTC, we announced that the world’s top 3D application providers have adopted Nvidia RTX in their product releases set for later this year including Adobe, Autodesk, Chaos Group, Dassault [Systèmes] and Pixar,” she noted. “With this rich software ecosystem, Nvidia RTX is transforming the 3D market. For example, Pixar is using Nvidia RTX ray-tracing on its upcoming films. Weta Digital is using it for upcoming Disney projects and Siemens NX Ray Traced Studio users will be able to generate rendered images up to four times faster in their product design workflows.”

Nvidia President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang underscored the message later in the call, responding to a question about its expectations for the videogame market in the fourth quarter.

“The leadership position that we’ve taken has turned into a movement that has turned next-generation gaming ray-tracing into a standard,” he said. “Almost every single game platform will have to have ray tracing. Some of them already announced it, and the partnerships that we’ve developed are fantastic.”

The progress of real-time ray-tracing technology is of keen interest to content creators who are already integrating tools from the games industry, such as Unreal Engine, into new pipelines for interactive visualization and VFX work, as well as VFX and animation studios looking at rendering their work using GPU-accelerated ray-tracing techniques.

In closing remarks, Huang identified real-time ray tracing, along with accelerated computing/AI computing and robotics, as one of the company’s three growth strategies: “It’s now clear that ray tracing is the future of gaming and digital design.”



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