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The Previsualization Society is founded.

Cross-Disciplinary Community to Focus on the Development of Previsualization

LOS ANGELES, CA (September 30, 2009) — The Previsualization Society, a non-profit, interdisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of previsualization (“previs”), was officially announced today. Founded by previs practitioners for those who produce or use previs, the Previsualization Society will build a community to maximize the current and future capabilities and contributions of the previs medium.

The Previsualization Society includes members from many different disciplines and markets, just as the previs process does, and is already comprised of a number of charter members from the motion picture industry. The Previsualization Society will focus on producing and publishing information and resources to promote effective previs through key activities such as promoting standards, education, workflow development and practical knowledge exchange. As inspired by the recently completed ASC-ADG-VES Joint Technology Subcommittee on Previsualization, co-chaired by David Morin and Ron Frankel, the organization will also provide a platform for ongoing interchange and learning between all contributors that engage with previs.

Previsualization is a “collaborative process that generates preliminary versions of shots or sequences, predominantly using 3D animation tools and a virtual environment. It enables filmmakers to visually explore creative ideas, plan technical solutions, and communicate a shared vision for efficient production.* By bridging and providing value to multiple creative collaborators and departments, previs has become a common practice and has the potential to empower all steps of the process as content production continues to evolve in the digital age. ”When I started my career in previs 15 years ago, I used to always have to explain why productions might need previs,” said Previsualization Society president Colin Green. “Now producers simply call saying ‘we need previs.’ Despite the popularity of the process, there are still many different views of what previs is, and how it should all work. The Previsualization Society will be a great way to bring expertise into a common forum for everyone to share.”

“When the previs committee delivered its final report last month, it was clear that a lot of work remained to be done,” David Morin remarked. “As a result, members of the committee decided to create a permanent organization dedicated to previsualization. In this brave new world of digital moviemaking, previsualization has the potential to do a lot more good than it already has. The Previsualization Society will develop that potential, and anyone interested to help should join!”

MEMBERSHIP & SPONSORSHIP

Membership in the Previsualization Society is open to previs professionals (previs supervisors and practitioners), associates (directors, producers, storyboard artists, cinematographers, art directors, production designers, editors, studio executives and other industry personnel) and academics (students and educators). General interest memberships will also be offered.

Founding members of the Previsualization Society are: David Dozoretz, Founder, Director and VFX Supervisor, Persistence of Vision (POV) Previs; Chris Edwards, CEO, The Third Floor; Ron Frankel, President and Founder, Proof; Colin Green, President and Founder, Pixel Liberation Front; Daniel Gregoire, Owner, Halon Entertainment; and Brian Pohl, CEO, POV Previs.

The charter membership of Previsualization Society currently includes directors, cinematographers, visual effects supervisors, production designers, storyboard artists, art directors, editors and technology developers, as well as previs artists and supervisors whose credits collectively span from pioneering previs on films like “Judge Dredd,” “Mission: Impossible,” the “Star Wars” prequels and “Minority Report” to recent blockbuster projects such as “Avatar,” “Star Trek,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Iron Man.”

“With the transformation of film production from step-by-step methodology into a nonlinear creative process, previs has become an essential ally to filmmakers,” said Alex McDowell, RDI, production designer and a Previsualization Society charter member. “In the ten years I’ve been working alongside previs practitioners in film, department after department have discovered the enormous benefit of plugging into the core of information and exploration that previs provides within a collaborative virtual workspace and at any scale of production.”

Beyond its highly useful function in the day to day,” McDowell added, “previs continues to allow an evolving dialogue to develop through the arc of production — between early creative development, through production and capture, and into the far reaches of post production — that helps to ensure the creative vision of directors and their teams reaches the audience intact.”

Funding for the Previsualization Society is provided through membership and sponsorship. The Previsualization Society is pleased to be working with strong supporters, including charter sponsor Autodesk®, a leading provider of media and entertainment technology. Autodesk products help push the bounds of entertainment creation from initial concept through to final delivery and include a family of 3D applications that are core tools for previs and pre-production of movies, commercials and video game cinematics.

“Previs wouldn’t be where it is today without the democratization of powerful digital tools that allow us to work at our best creatively and technically. The Previsualization Society is thrilled to welcome Autodesk as our first charter sponsor. Autodesk has been a pivotal provider of innovations with its 2D and 3D software,” said Daniel Gregoire, treasurer of the Previsualization Society.

Inquiries for membership in the Previsualization Society may be made through the Previsualization Society Website, www.previssociety.com. Applications submitted now will be considered for membership induction in January 2010. Also in January, the Previsualization Society expects to launch a purpose-built content site to be populated with public articles, professional forums, handbooks, tutorials, definitions, archives, real-world previs examples, databases and downloadable tools. The Web portal will also offer targeted advertising, promotional and continuing education opportunities.

The Previsualization Society is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with chapters in Europe, Latin America, Australasia and other regions around the world. Further details on membership and sponsorship are available at www.previssociety.com or by emailing [email protected].

*Source: Previs definition from the ASC-ADG-VES Joint Technology Subcommittee on Previsualization.

ABOUT THE PREVISUALIZATION SOCIETY

Formed in 2009, the Previsualization Society is a permanent non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and development of previsualization, or “previs,” for all who participate in or benefit from the previs process.

Members of the Previsualization Society are engaged with the production or use of previs around the world within such fields as feature film, television, commercials, games, visualization and architecture. Through a community that is as collaborative and interdisciplinary as previs itself, the Previsualization Society promotes effective applications, standards and practices, education and practical knowledge exchange and takes a leadership role in developing and articulating the capabilities of an evolving medium that is playing an integral role in how content is made. For additional information, please visit www.previssociety.com.

Uwe Boll and Tim League Fix The Falling Sky With Physical Violence

Is Independent film moribund? Karina Longworth deals with the future of independent film by looking at a boxing match with one of the worlds most infamous contemporary directors.

…The formula for a productive, engaging debate on the state of indie film? Take a festival founder and a controversial filmmaker, throw them in a boxing ring, and add a hundred or so hecklers and a lot of cheap booze. Also, a stars and stripes unitard wouldn’t hurt. And, voila — the circular indie film apocalypse conversation finally gets interesting.

On Monday evening, Fantastic Fest commandeered the South Austin Gym (conveniently located in the same mini-mall as the festival’s two key venues, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and the new Highball, a former Salvation Army store converted into a bar/bowling alley/event venue by Alamo mastermind Tim League) to throw a throwdown featuring battles of both “body and spirit” between various friends of the festival. The basic format seemed to change with every bout, but the basic concept was simple: the opponents would first take the stage to debate a given topic ostensibly of interest to the Fantastic masses, and a winner for the brains portion of the battle would be declared via audience applause. Then, each debater would step out from behind their podium, install a mouth guard, and box two rounds so that a champion could be declared based on brawn (or, more likely, luck). The first three rounds, featuring an assortment of online critics and Austin favorites were well received, but the main event was worth waiting for: League, the co-founder and guiding spirit of Fantastic Fest, vs much-maligned filmmaker and experienced boxer Uwe Boll. The debate topic: Independent film is dying and/or dead.

— Blog.Spout.com | Read The Full Article

Professional Audio Editing with Adobe Audition

By Kevin Reylek

Audition 3It feels like Adobe is fairly new to the audio editing game. While they’re the kings of photo editing, they’re not the first company you may think of when it comes to professional audio editing. However, they’ve been at it longer than you might think. With Audition 3, the latest version of their pro-level recording and editing software, Adobe puts themselves right at the front of the line for comprehensive features and ease of use.

Originally known as Cool Edit Pro, the software was purchased by Adobe in 2003 and developed into a complete professional tool. Audition offers recording, non-destructive editing and mixing features, and a wealth of other options.

Being a ProTools-using Mac guy, I hadn’t used this software since its Cool Edit Pro days. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use. Unlike ProTools, Audition does not require any special hardware to be connected to your computer in order to operate. I plugged in my Blue Snowflake USB mic and was up and running right away without having to change any settings. Those already familiar with ProTools or any other similar audio software will have no trouble jumping right into Audition, which is what I did.

The multitrack interface is quite intuitive, and offers a standard layout for arming your recording, selecting the solo function, muting, etc. The waveform view is easy to read, and each track can have its own input source, allowing you to connect mics, turntables, cassette decks, and other audio sources without having to reconfigure a patch bay. To go along with all of these input devices, Audition also offers a batch processing tool to convert various file types to a single format, allowing you to quickly bring in a variety of pre-existing audio files.

The Multitrack View
The Multitrack View

In addition to the multitrack view, the software also offers a single-track view, where you can get up close and personal with your audio. Not only can you work in waveform view to slice and dice your files, but you can also use the very cool spectral display to seek out and destroy unwanted noises. A lasso tool, healing brush, and other tools within the spectral display let you select and wipe out particular frequencies, leaving the audio you want to keep sounding untouched and natural.

Spectral View of a Track
Spectral View of a Track

If sound design and music creation are your forte, Audition has you covered as well. The included Loopology music tracks let you make soundtracks and music beds quickly and easily, while a number of preconfigured presets let you create movie-quality sound effects.

When it comes time to export your audio, Audition offers practically every file type you may desire. I particularly liked the ability to convert to MP3 files, which took mere seconds. Anyone who’s had to edit and mix some lengthy audio programs, only to have to wait for a real-time bounce to WAV, and then having to use a piece of add-on software to convert to MP3 will certainly appreciate the ability to send files off as MP3s right from the Audition file menu.

Audition isn’t just designed for musicians and broadcast engineers. It also packs in video tools for use in video broadcast pre-production, or for video post-production. Audition works with Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, allowing you to open an audio track from a video that you’re working on in Premiere Pro, master it in Audition, and have your changes automatically saved within Premiere Pro. Audition supports AVI, QuickTime, and WMV video formats and can sync audio and video with SMPTE time code. The Loopology music software that I mentioned earlier also has video-specific advantages, such as being able to synchronize a loop to hit a precise video moment, or to shrink the overall audio bed to match the length of a video without having to re-edit.

Audition's Mixing Engine
Audition’s Mixing Engine

One caveat of the software is that it’s Windows-only. However, it is designed to take advantage of the 64-bit technology in Windows Vista, and I found it to work smoothly and quickly. I was able to borrow a 17″ Toshiba Satellite laptop in order to test the software. Installation was quick and easy, and I was up and running in no time.

If you’re already operating a Windows system, and especially if you’re using any of the other programs in the Adobe CS4 suite, then Audition is certainly a great choice to meet your editing needs. Whether you’re an aspiring voiceover artist or musician who’s working with a simple mic setup in a home studio, or a professional broadcast engineer working in a high-tech studio, Audition has the tools you need to record, edit, mix, and master all of your audio files. For me, the standard and intuitive layout, ability to work with a variety of audio sources right out of the box, and built-in MP3 export capabilities are worth the price of admission alone.

8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

by Noah T. Lukeman

‘The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn’t thought about. At that moment he’s alive and you leave it to him.’

–Graham Greene

Plot does not magically appear with the creation of a character; Frankenstein’s monster might open his eyes, but until he gets up from the table and DOES something, there is little basis for a plot. Plot comes with your characters taking action; with their interaction with others; with their traits being applied to imagined scenarios.

A few issues to consider:

PERCEPTION AND REACTION

Two men stand in line at a bank at 2:50PM.

The first, anticipating the long lines before closing, has brought a book to read and waits contentedly. He looks up from time to time, sees the tellers are working as hard as they can, that they are at the end of a long day, and feels sympathy for them. He thinks of how, when it’s his turn, he’ll apologize for keeping them late, compliment them on their work and show his gratitude before leaving.

The second, needing to be somewhere else by 3:00PM, stands on the line fidgeting, fuming and complaining to anyone he can find. He glares at the tellers. He sees them as privileged, getting to sit comfortably under air conditioning on this boiling day and call it a day by 3PM. He sees them as lazy, stupid, too incompetent to count money efficiently and hasten their customers off the line -— in fact, he’s sure that they are deliberately stretching out their customers, so as to not have to deal with as many people and perhaps to even shut down the bank before he personally can get his turn. He catches one looking back at him and is now positive they are all doing this just to spite him. Knowing he is being publicly made a fool of, he is now indignant, furious. He thinks of how he’ll chastise them when it’s his turn; really let them have it before he leaves.

In actuality, these two men are in the exact same circumstance. It is their PERCEPTIONS OF and REACTIONS TO the circumstance that differ.

Ultimately, events and circumstance are not half as important as how characters perceive and react to them. Before you put your characters into your story (where events and other characters are constantly changing), you must first get a handle on how your character might perceive and react to the world around him. You must keep this in mind constantly as you go. For instance, characters can perceive themselves as acting one way when, in fact, they are acting another. It is not uncommon in life for people to feel as if they are acting kindly while all the while treating other people harshly. The abusive boss, or abusive spouse, will not consider himself abusive, for if he did he wouldn’t be able to live with himself; or, he might have a glimmer of his own abusiveness, but he might justify it to himself (i.e. the worker deserved it). Indeed, a discrepancy between a character’s inner dialogue and his actions is a powerful tool to show a character out of touch with himself.

Of course, a character’s perception becomes a thousand times more relevant —- can indeed define the entire work -— if he happens to be the narrator or viewpoint character.

THROUGH OTHERS’ EYES

In the opening scene of ‘The Godfather,’ the character of Don Corleone is established without his doing or saying a thing. He sits behind a master desk, in a room of quietly devoted supporters, while across from him a man pleads for help and forgiveness. We get to know Don Corleone simply by watching THE WAY OTHERS TREAT HIM.

Conversely, in ‘Revenge of the Nerds,’ the college ensemble shows us how the nerds are thought of. Yet, despite this, we grow to like and sympathize with the nerds; moreover, we grow to dislike the ensemble that treats them like nerds and to learn that it is the people casting the stigma -— not the stigmatized -— that we should dislike. This principle -— how others are thought of -— is the crux of this film (used, in this case, for comic effect). In most cases, though, the endearing of a stigmatized character to us is used for dramatic, even tragic effect, in works such as ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ or ‘Slingblade.’

Sadly enough, consciously or not, we often look to see how people are treated by others to take our cue on how we should treat them. If we enter a room where everyone is bowing to a king, we will probably do the same; if we enter a town where people are keeping their distance from a mumbling, village outcast, we will probably do the same. This is what can make for a ‘mob mentality,’ where, if caught up in an angry, impassioned mob, you will likely allow yourself to become caught up in their cause, even if you are barely sure what it is.

This insidious human trait can rear its head in much less extreme, everyday situations, and often does: let’s say it is your first day in a new school or office, and you observe everyone avoiding or mocking a certain person; you, likely, will avoid him, too, if for no other reason than not to be associated with him. Conversely, you will also take cues on whom to respect, and might look to become closer to such a person, if for no other reason than others might then respect you, too. When you are more comfortable, and have been around the new environment for a while, you might take a step back from the mass consciousness and make decisions for yourself, even if they go against the grain, and decide the universal weirdo is not weird after all, and perhaps even befriend him. But on that first day, overwhelmed with people to meet, you make instant decisions as the only possible way to make distinctions. You are vulnerable to the perceptions of the masses.

The same holds true for your readers, who are all at once introduced to an entire cast of characters. They need to make decisions, and they look to take cues. Lesser writers might shove these cues down readers’ throats and outright tell them what opinions to form. Better writers will introduce us to a new character by dramatizing how others act toward him. Show B, C and D taunting A in the schoolyard. Show B, C and D coming to A for advice. Show B, C and D asking A for protection. This is one preferred method, since it allows readers to come to their own conclusions, and also leaves room for interpretation and ambiguity.

The way a character is treated by others is also an opportunity to teach us not just about our character, but also about the people doing the treating -—indeed, sometimes this is the very point. If characters A, B and C surround character D in the schoolyard, the point might be to show that D is the type that gets picked on -— or it might be to show that A, B and C are bullies.

EXERCISES

Setting up Circumstance
~~ Make a list of 10 things that might elicit a reaction from your character. For instance, if he can’t swim, place him on a small, rickety boat; if he hates loud people, force him to wait in a bar with five loud customers behind him; if he is a jealous type, have him show up to a party to find his wife dancing with someone else; if he is a dog lover, have someone give him a puppy for his birthday. Choose 10 different circumstances -— negative or positive -— that will set this character up for a peak experience.

~~ Now think of how each of these circumstances can be the core of a scene.

~~ Now choose 10 more circumstances that will set him up for a peak experience -— but are also in line with the overall theme of the work.

~~ Now think of how each of these circumstances can be the core of a scene that can help further the overall work.

Character Action List
~~ Ultimately, we must judge our characters by their actions. The character that spends 400 pages thinking of how he hates everyone, but, with his sole action, helps an old lady cross the street, must be judged favorably. Conversely, the man who thinks of everyone with love for 400 pages, but, with his sole action, picks someone’s pocket, must be judged negatively. Ironically, though, you’ll often find that, based on the sheer amount of time the reader spends in a character’s thoughts, he will probably still walk away with a judgment based on the thoughts, not the action.

~~ Go through the work and make a concrete list of all of a character’s positive and negative actions. Which side of the list weighs heavier? Are you surprised to find a discrepancy between his thoughts, feelings, beliefs and his actions? How big is the discrepancy? How can we judge this person based on his actions? Is this what you’d expected? Should you employ changes to make this character more of who you want him to be? Or should you step back and simply realize that this character is someone other than whom you’d thought him to be?

Noah Lukeman is the author of the best-selling ‘The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile,’ already part of the curriculum in many universities, and of the recently published ‘The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life,’ a selection of the Writers Digest Book Club and already a national bestseller. He was creator of PrePub.com, one of the first publishing rights websites, which eventually became the ‘Booktracker’ division of Inside.com. He is President of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd, which he founded in 1996.

Source with permission: The Writers Store

Will Brain Scans Replace Test Screenings?

Film producer Peter Katz has used fMRI brain scans to measure scariness of horror movies. He teamed up with researchers to scan brain activity of subject viewing his film. Data from scan gives real-time view of what’s going on inside the brain. He wants to use brain scans to make better, more enjoyable movies.

You can read more on CNN.com: “Brain scans gauge horror flick fear factor

Freelance Negotiations In The Real World

Saw this on the Pro Tools blog. Sadly sometimes things are funny because they’re true. Can you relate?

VIA: zeorge497

Produced by Scofield Editorial, Inc.

Casting Agency: Artistic Enterprises
Casting Director: Michelle Moore

Video Store Customer: David Meek
Video Store Clerk: Nick Krcek
Restaurant Customer (Male): Andy Guerdan
Restaurant Customer (Female): Andrea Gregory
Server: Landon Mitchell
Chef: Ron Pinkney
Hair Stylist: Chris Cones
Salon Patron: Anna Martinez

Additional Crew:
Lighting Director: Luke Amos
Camera Assist/Best Boy/Boom Op: Benjamin Dewhurst
Location Audio/Mix: Ben Ericsen

Special Thanks to:
Earshot Audio Post
Mass Ave Video
Marco’s Restaurant & Lounge
Secrets Nail & Hair Salon

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