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Recent Blog Posts in December 2009

December 23, 2009
  Smoke on the Mac in LA - Day 2
Posted By Barry Goch


The next day, Key Code media held a "lunch and learn" Smoke on the Mac session that was well attended by some well know finishing artists looking to get a first hand look at the product.

The following day, Autodesk had a live seminar to showcase this new product. I posted it online yesterday:



Merry Christmas Everybody!!
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December 16, 2009
  Smoke on the Mac hits LA - Day 1
Posted By Barry Goch
Yesterday was the big day. Smoke on the Mac has finally arrived!! I went to two events yesterday and I'm leaving for a third in a few minutes.

Metro Video had a day long "Fiesta" to celebrate the release.

The big event came later in the day as ALT Systems hosted a Smoke on Mac event at the trendy Sky Bar on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA. The location was spectacular with poolside views of a glittering LA. It seemed like a who's who of LA post attended, with guests from Universal, Technicolor, and Hydraulx, among others.

Toward the end of the event, I finally got some hands-on time on the system and I found it to be just as responsive as their Linux version. Many guests, including yours truly, believe this is a major event for the post world with far reaching and long-term ramifications. Stay tuned for more...
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December 14, 2009
  FotoKem's nextLAB Open House 12-5-09
Posted By Barry Goch
Last weekend I attended the nextLAB open house at FotoKem in Burbank, CA. James Mathers, President of the Digital Cinema Society, organizes these outings about once a month and provides a great service to the community by doing so.

The group in attendance was so large (on a Saturday!) that it was split into two groups for each presentation. The group I was with first went into one of their Pablo DI rooms to hear a presentation from Tom Vice, V.P. Operations and Steve Beres, Director of Engineering. They stressed their commitment to making the transition to digital filmmaking as seamless as possible for filmmakers. They have invested in infrastructure and systems to enable them to service digital filmmakers as they have for many years traditional filmmakers. Mike Brodersen of nextLAB previewed their still in development onsite dailies/data management system. They finished this session with a kick-[censored] 3D demo reel featuring clips from "Kung Fu Panda", "Monsters vs. Aliens" among others.

The two groups then switched rooms and we headed into theater 3 to hear some great stories from Jonathan Smiles, DIT on "District 9". Instead of having a specific presentation, he opened himself up to audience questions while showing slides from his various adventures. He stressed the importance of proper camera prep, especially lens collimation, and proper RED camera ISO settings.

My main take-away from this event is to treat the digital filmmaking process with the same respect as traditional filmmaking. For example, treat your "digital negative" the same way you treat film negative, with great care.

The entire nextLAB presentation was "video taped" and will be posted on the DCS website in the near future.
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December 07, 2009
  The Foundry Throws Down - Tips for Transitioning from Flame to Nuke X
Posted By Barry Goch
Happy Monday my gentle readers! I just wanted to fill you in on an event I attended last week. As usual, I rushed across town to get to the event after work. Tip to all event planners: Don't have things start at 5:30pm!



I arrived at the Foundry's office to a standing room only crowd watching the end of Joe Farrell's (Digital Domain) presentation showing a shot breakdown from 2012. I only caught something about fluid simulations toward the end. Shame, because it looked amazing on the monitor.

I was really interested to hear the next presentation: Candice Scott of Zaboca FX, presentated "Transitioning from Flame to Nuke X: Merging Concepts." The presentation was geared towards Flame artists who were interested in doing work on Nuke X. She showed some basic differences in how Nuke handles pre-multiplied images in the keymix and merge nodes. She also showed off some features from the upcoming Nuke X release, such as a built-in 3D tracker and an improved paint system.

The impression I got from the presentation, and speaking to Ms. Scott afterwards, is similar to my previous posting about expanding one's skill set. In today's job market, one should be prepared to work on any platform. It's not the hammer that makes one a good carpenter, rather the skill in the tool's use that's important. Talent counts!
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December 02, 2009
  "Battlestar Galactica – Then and Now" and next week "3D Compositing" in LA
Posted By Barry Goch
Two weeks ago I attended a fabulous event put on the LA Chapter of Siggraph.  "Battlestar Galactica - Then and Now." It was a great evening of reminiscing about the old show, and showcasing the amazing visuals in the new. It was a treat to hear John Dykstra and Richard Edlund explain how they transitioned from making Star Wars to creating the visuals for Battlestar. They showed many stills from back in the day, but the highlight for me was seeing a rare behind-the-scenes home movie shot by Dennis Muren (now at ILM) of the model shop showing hundreds of model kits used to make the Galactica, Vipers, and the fleet.

Read more about it here:


The next event, in my opinion, is a must see:


Two master trainers who literally wrote books on the subject will be presenting that night, Steve Wright and Damian Allen. I've had classes with them both and I consider them experts in the field. Hope to see you there.

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December 02, 2009
  Happy Thanksgiving and a Reality Check
Posted By Barry Goch
I hope everyone had a great Holiday. I spent time with the family, but still found time to work too. I launched a new website, google group and wrote two tutorials for smoke-on-mac.com. And that's how it seems to be going nowadays. I'm moving at 1000 miles an hour either working, looking for work, or networking. Surprisingly, there are a ton of events to go to in LA in the next two weeks...

I feel for my friends that have to start looking for work now. I know of an editor who got laid-off last week, just before Thanksgiving, an audio mixer, and designer who were laid-off the week before. In my 10 years in post production, I've never seen it like this. It's been a challenging time for sure and I think of the quote James Mathers uses at the end of the Digital Cinema Society e-newsletter:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change." Charles Darwin

I agree with that 100%. Change is here so embrace it. Use your down time to learn a new software, new skill set. I became an Autodesk Smoke Certified Instructor this summer for example. It's never been so easy to learn with great online training from Lynda.com, Digital-Tutors, Ripple Training. High-End specialized training is also available from Escape Studios and FXPHD among others.

Finally, I want to give thanks to my past, present and future employers. And thanks to 20th Century Fox for holding a family screening of "Fantastic Mr. Fox" the day after Thanksgiving and to Focus Feature for sending me my first "screener". But most of all, I want to thank my family for their support. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.
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