Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Interview - FTTW

A good friend of mine, Jason Giacopelli, did an interview with me over at Faster Than the World, a collaborative website with various writers coming in every day. The writers on FTTW come from all over the world and talk about many different subjects. This interviewed focused on "The Struggling Indy Filmmaker".

You can ready the article here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"The Twenty-Third Letter" - Pitch-Reel Finished

Starway Pictures is proud to announce that "The Twenty-Third Letter" Pitch-Reel is finished.

Friday, November 10, 2006

David Stump, ASC and RED

There is a battle going on over whether film is still superior to digital acquisition. Well, in all honestly film is actually a lot better than today's most sophisticated digital cinema cameras. It's still better than the Viper Filmstream camera (Collateral, Miami Vice, Zodiac), still better than the Panavision Genesis (Fly Boys, Superman Returns, Click), still better than the ARRI D20 (some major commercial spots). How much better? That's a subjective judgment. Some say film still has more stops of latitude (12-15 stops as opposed to 9). Some say film still has much better resolution and color fidelity (4K versus 1080p).

But all that could change in a few months. The brilliant folks in Irvine, CA have been building the ultimate digital cinema camera, the RED ONE. We've mentioned it before. It's a 4.5K (like film) camera using a S35mm chip (like the Genesis) that records RAW (like todays D-SLR still cameras and the Viper). Team RED has displayed 4K footage to select audiences in Amsterdam, Warner Bros. and reservation holders at the DuArt Theater in LA. And everyone's been astonished with the quality of the footage. Peter Jackson and James Cameron are also reservation holders.

But it's when you get a quote like this, from David Stump, a member of the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) and also the chair of the Digital Camera subcommittee for the ASC, who is well regarded as a technical authority on all things film and digital:

"The RED Mysterium sensor has finally pushed digital acquisition past the timeless 35mm film barrier in resolution and clean color fidelity."

That's major.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Evan Almighty" Trailer is Online

The trailer for "Evan Almighty" starring our boy, Johnny Simmons, is available today.

You can view the trailer here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Endeavor Independent

So it appears the Endeavor talent agency has picked the head of Endeavor Independent, a new arm of Endeavor specifically for packaging independent (that would be with a capital "I") film, Graham Taylor.

You might think, "This is an odd posting." Well, you're right. But the article in Variety got me thinking. There's a huge difference between what Hollywood deems Independent Cinema and what true independent cinema really is.

Here's a quote from the article:

"Recently announced Endeavor Independent projects include James Cameron's high-def 3-D film "Sanctum," which he is co-writing and producing; writer-director Zak Penn's ensemble comedy "The Grand"; and Stuart Townsend's "The Battle in Seattle," an ensemble political drama starring Charlize Theron and Ray Liotta.

Taylor also has secured financing for films including Richard Gere starrer "The Flock," from Bauer Martinez Studios; Jake Paltrow's Penelope Cruz starrer "The Good Night," from Inferno Entertainment; and the Kevin Bacon-Andy Garcia starrer "The Air That I Breathe," from Nala Films."

So you got that guys? Endeavor's idea of "independent film" is James Cameron, Zak Penn, Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Richard Gere, Kevin Bacon and Andy Garcia.

Good luck getting them to consider your no-name horror film project.

Friday, November 03, 2006

HD-DVD vs BluRay

I've been asked many times what my opinion is about the competing high definition video discs. There are two competing formats: HD-DVD and BluRay Disc. HD-DVD has been created and is backed by the original DVD consortium of manufacturers. BluRay is being created by Sony and will be the primary format used on the PlayStation 3.

There are many folks who believe that Sony has the advantage because of the upcoming PS3 game console. But I don't agree.

While I have no crystal ball with regard to this matter, I do have some feelings about which format will prevail.

1. HD is already a well recognized brand. Most consumers know it means High-Definition. DVD is one of the most recognizable brands in the history of consumer electronics. Therefore, it isn't a stretch to assume that John Smith consumer will instantly recognize that HD-DVD is a "High-Definition Digital Video Disc". On the flip side, John Smith consumer has to be educated as to what exactly is BluRay. I think that's an uphill battle for Sony.

2. HD-DVD players, while a little buggy, have already made it to the market. They're a bit pricey at around $500.

3. BluRay players have been delayed multiple times and are still not available for purchase. They're astronimically priced at $999.

4. Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles are already sold out and they haven't even been released yet. So getting your hands on one will take a while until the gamer fanatics get theirs. So, you're looking at March or April until the regular consumer can own one. And the question still begs: do PlayStation owners really use their consoles to play movies?

5. HD-DVD titles have a slight edge over BluRay titles.

The DVD Wars

Canon's New 6X Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Canon is releasing this week their new 6X wide angle zoom lens for the XLH1 HD camera. We had a chance to look at the lens at HD EXPO in Universal City last night and we have to say that we were extremely impressed with the quality. The focus servo is still a little spongey, but the amazing edge-to-edge, corner-to-corner clarity impressed us. This is definitely going to be added to our staple of lenses we have collected for our HD system.

The 6X lens has a focal length of 3.4-20.4mm and is an "L" series lens. Anyone who uses professional Canon equipment will recognize that the "L" insignia signifies that you're buying Canon's best glass.