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April 2016

Linda Romanello
Authored Articles
Special Report: Drones
Published: April 7, 2016

Last summer we spoke with Holger Voss, VFX supervisor at Cinesite,  about the visual effects work his studio completed for the opening sequence of the then soon-to-be-released disaster film San Andreas. The scene called for the Cinesite team to create a cliff, which didn’t actually exist, alongside a road where a car and driver would tumble over the edge as the first tremors of an earthquake began. According to Voss, the production team used a crane to capture footage of a real cliff on which Cinesite based the CG version, but he commented that a drone, equipped with a camera, would have been “very beneficial,” as it would have been able to reach areas the crane just couldn’t, giving the VFX team more comprehensive data to work with to complete the scene.

Primetime: SyFy's 'The Magicians'
Published: March 10, 2016

Based on the best-selling trilogy by novelist Lev Grossman, Syfy’s new same-titled TV series, The Magicians, is centered around a group of students who are studying magic at the secret academy of Brakebills University in upstate New York. Each episode finds main character Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and friends facing new and dangerous threats they never imagined could be real, all while experimenting and honing their newfound skills. With storylines that include magical spells, secret worlds, and encounters with creepy beings from beyond, you can bet that showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara rely on a good amount of visual effects to literally create TV magic. For that, the production team turned to FuseFX in Vancouver (where the series is shot) as its sole VFX vendor. Here, Jason Dowdeswell, head of production and VFX supervisor at FuseFX Vancouver, speaks with  Post about the new series and some of its unique challenges.
Business: Big Block Media carves out a place of its own
Published: February 11, 2016

Big Block Media (www.bigblockla.com), the Santa Monica-based digital production studio, announced late last year that it would be leaving its roughly 8,200-square-foot space to move into its recently purchased 11,400-square-foot studio at the new Elevon at Campus El Segundo. Elevon describes itself as an innovative office environment where buyers include prominent media, entertainment, and tech firms that have relocated from Santa Monica and purchased their own space.
Filmmaking: Christian Ditter - 'How To Be Single'
Published: February 11, 2016

Filmmaker Christian Ditter is a Munich-based writer and director who last year directed his first English-language film, the romantic comedy, Love, Rosie that opened internationally in October 2014 and in the US in February 2015. But this month, the director makes his US/Hollywood debut with the Warner Bros. film, How To Be Single, starring Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann. 
Editing: 'The Revenant'
Published: January 19, 2016

Film editor Stephen Mirrione, who won an Oscar for Best Film Editing for Traffic in 2000, has been working with Academy Award-winning director (Birdman) Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu since  Amores Perros in 2000. The two have gone on to complete a series of critically-noted films, such as  21 Grams, Babel, Biutifuland, in 2014,  Birdman. Most recently, Mirrione joined Inarritu for a most highly ambitious project,  The Revenant, which was shot (on an Arri Alexa 65 large-format camera) chronologically and relied solely on the sun and firelight, bringing in no artificial lighting. The film, which tells the tale of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a frontiersman in the 1820s and his brutal story of survival in the American wilderness, brought both cast and crew on location to wintry Calgary, where they faced bitterly cold temperatures, limited daylight hours where the window of opportunity for shots was brief and extremely high pressure, and an unpredictable environment. 
Oscars: Nominee Lon Bender on The Revenant's sound design
Published: January 15, 2016

BEVERLY HILLS — Lon Bender was up earlier than usual on January 14th, to be on-site at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills by 5:30am. That’s when the 88th Annual Academy Awards nominees were announced and Bender, sound designer/supervising sound editor at Hollywood’s Formosa Group and for Alejandro G. Inarritu’s critically acclaimed film, The Revenant, was named among them. Already a two-time Oscar nominee for his sound work on  Drive and  Blood Diamond, and an Oscar winner for 1996’s  Braveheart, Bender received the nod this year, along with co-supervisor Martin Hernandez, for best Sound Editing. Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek also all received nominations for Sound Mixing for the film, which received acknowledgments in an astounding 12 categories, including Directing for Inarritu and Best Picture.
Editing: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Published: January 11, 2016

LOS ANGELES — While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on the January cover of  Post, featuring Jennifer Walden’s extensive interview with the film’s post sound crew from Skywalker Sound, director JJ Abrams’ award-winning editors Maryann Brandon, ACE, and Mary Jo Markey, ACE, both of whom have worked with Abrams on  Alias, Mission Impossible 3, Super 8, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Markey on  Felicity, spoke with us here about cutting the newest  Star Wars blockbuster, which has currently grossed more than $812M thus far.
Primetime: Fox's 'The X-Files'
Published: January 7, 2016

From the first few notes of its eerie signature theme to the irrefutable chemistry between its two stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (portraying Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, respectively) and the satisfyingly creepy alien-based storylines, Fox’s The X-Files has built quite the fan base since its premiere on September 10, 1993 to its finale in 2002 (and two major film releases in 1998 and 2008). Created and executive produced by Chris Carter, the show’s premise was centered around two FBI agents, Mulder and Scully, who investigated paranormal activity, which included alien conspiracies within the US government and life-threatening and career-ending risks. Now it’s 2016, and guess who’s back?
Edit This: Universal Pictures' 'Krampus'
Published: December 18, 2015

Universal Pictures’ Krampus is an alternative Christmas story that’s more parts horror than holiday. The film, starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette, and directed by Michael Dougherty, is about a boy who has a bad Christmas and ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home (I would definitely classify that as a “bad Christmas!”). What the studio is describing as a “Christmas-themed horror comedy” had a surprisingly successful opening weekend at the box office, scoring $16M (surpassing its $15M production budget), and has grossed, to date, over $30M. Here, Post speaks with film editor John Axelrad about his work on the holiday horror film.
Women Behind the Lens: Kat Candler
Published: December 17, 2015

Screenwriter/director Kat Candler is ending her year on a high note. The award-winning filmmaker has screened movies at Sundance, SXSW, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Houston Museum of Modern Art, The National Institutes of Health and on PBS, including the 2014 Sundance Film Festival feature Hellion (starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis). Most recently, she wrote and directed the short film,  The Rusted for Ron Howard and Canon’s Project Imagination, starring  Hunger Games’ co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Jena Malone. The 20-minute short film, which premiered to a studio audience (while also streamed online) at the AOL studios in New York in October, was based on Florida college student Mark Mukherjee’s winning trailer (chosen by Howard and Hutcherson out of 1,300 submissions) for Canon’s Project Imagination: The Trailer consumer contest. 
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