July – August 2010

Country Focus


    As the post-production industry in Singapore reacts to the Media Development Authority’s stronger lead role, a new set of challenges and dynamics have emerged. Asia Image looks through the cutting room floor to find how the sector is adapting.… Read More


    Korea’s animation studios are now trying to make headway by fostering co-production deals with foreign partners, but doing so will not be easy. Asia Image finds out.… Read More

Production/ Post


    IBC: The content creation management delivery experience, held from 9-14 September in Amsterdam, is an exhibition featuring 1,300+ exhibitors. It’s also a conference that pioneers new technologies and business models. Asia Image previews some of the products that will be on display at IBC this year.… Read More

Feature Articles


    First Apple Color, now DaVinci Resolve - with these game changers, colour grading has never been more accessible to budding colourists.… Read More


    Asia Pacific cinema has a long and unique history, particularly in South East Asia, but today the process of filmmaking is no easier than it was in the past. But is it becoming easier for the region’s filmmakers to get the funding to make their films, and what finance options are open to them? Asia Image finds out.… Read More


    Underwater cinematographer David Reichert shares his experience in filming Oceans with Asia Image.… Read More


    At the Sydney Film Festival2010, a number ofdocumentaries were in therunning for this year’s FOXTELAustralian Documentary Prize, butthe prize went to The Snowman,directed by Juliet Lamont andproduced by Rachel Landers andDylan Blowen. The Snowman is a poignant storyabout the filmmaker’s searchfor the truth behind her father’smental collapse following a trip toAntarctica 30 years ago. The fi lm isa moving, memorable and inspiringfilm about the spirit of endurance inthe face of loss. The production was praised for theexceptional craft employed in itscamera work, animation and overallcomposition. The award came witha cash prize of A$10,000 sponsoredby broadcaster FOXTEL. The selection of documentariesat the Sydney Film Festival2010 proved to be a hit withscreenings sold out all for a rangeof productions of varying themes.The subjects explored include thedeviant life of a street artist in ExitThrough the Gift Shop, the arduousprocess of staging a full seasonof world class ballet in La Danse:Paris Opera Ballet and the price ofcapitalism and industry in Last Train Home. Award Winners The festival handed out the 2010Dendy Awards for Australian ShortFilms with the award for BestLive Action Short going to TheKiss directed by Ashlee Page andproduced by Sonya Humphrey. The winner of the RoubenMamoulian Award for Best Directorwent to Deeper Than Yesterday,directed by Ariel Kleiman andproduced by Anna Kojevnikov,Benjamin Gilovitz and SarahCyngler. The Yoram Gross Animation Awardwent to The Lost Thing, directed byShaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann,and produced by Sophie Byrne. Taika Waititi’s coming-of-age film,Boy, which has already broken NewZealand box office records; andAustralian director Adam Blaiklock’ssuspenseful debut feature, CaughtInside, emerged as winners of theShowtime Movie Channels AudienceAwards. The Most Dangerous Man inAmerica: Daniel Ellsberg and thePentagon Papers, directed by JudithEhrlich; and Bill CunninghamNew York, the portrait of the NewYork Times photojournalist, jointlywon the audience vote for BestDocumentary. Rounding off the award list is thefeature film Heartbeats directedby French-Canadian Xavier Dolan,which was chosen the winner of the2010 Sydney Film Prize. Screening direct from Un CertainRegard at the 63rd Cannes FilmFestival and making its Australianpremiere at the festival, Heartbeatsis written, produced and directed byDolan, and co-produced by DanielMorin and Carole Mondello. The jury also gave honourablementions to two films: How IEnded This Summer and Wastedon the Young. Australian producerJap Chapman, Hong Kong directorYonfan, Australian director ShirleyBarrett, Sundance Film Festivaldirector John Cooper and Britishdirector Lucy Walker formed thejury panel. Meanwhile, the SydneyFilm Festival Industry ConferenceDay 2010 closed with a paneldiscussion entitled InternationalFilm Festival Marketing. The panel featured John Cooper,director of the Sundance FilmFestival; Kathleen Drumm, headof marketing at Screen Australia;Ashley Luke, director of CreativePartnerships at Screen NSW andClare Stewart, festival directorof the Sydney Film Festival. Thepanel discussion centred on how tomarket a film to be included in aninternational film festival and howto promote it during a festival. Luke, a former sales agent, advisedfilmmakers to do thoroughbackground research whenapproached by a sales agent todetermine if they were right for thefi lm before signing on. “Work verystrongly with your sales agent whenmarketing your film,” he told theaudience. Another significant point raisedwas the importance of using goodphotograph to market a film. “Getgood photos... dramatic photos thatrepresent the film,” Cooper advised. All four panellists remarked they had been surprised at some of the photographs they received from budding filmmakers. “Think about where your photo is ending up,” Stewart added. Many in the audience weresurprised that several internationalfestivals would only programme afi lm if screened as a world premiere.Stewart, however, deconstructedthis myth, suggesting that if afestival regarded a film highly,it would be included in theprogramme regardless of ‘worldpremiere’ status. When asked how newcomers tothe festival circuit should projectthemselves at a film festival wheretheir film is playing, Cooper said, “The most important thing is beyourself. We’re (festival directors)vampires, we want fresh blood”.The Sydney Film Festival ran for twoweeks, ending on 14 June, screeninga selection of films from all overthe world that ran the gamutfrom cutting edge filmmakingand nostalgia films; to drama andcomedy, horror and children’sfantasy. … Read More

Cover Story


    Televised sports is a lucrative business for broadcasters, with its multimilliondollar rights deals, revenues from TVCs and cross-promotion. A global audience hungry for more diversified content, faster delivery and better production value is just fuelling advances in broadcast technology – but can technology providers deliver? Asia Image finds out.… Read More


    I must confess – I’m not a sports fan. Before the 2010 FIFA WorldCup, much of what I knew about football I learned from a NickHornby book. This summer however, the World Cup was impossibleto ignore. Cross-promotion TVCs such as Coca-Cola’s History of Celebrationand Nike’s World Cup Robinho Ripple Spot underscore the dramaticchanges in production values over the years, while video-ondemand,live streaming, HD and 3D broadcasts show how thedelivery of sporting events has changed in the last four years. Entertainment value is what makes broadcasting thrive, andnothing is more entertaining, more lucrative and more captivatingthan live sports. The World Cup finals between Spain and theNetherlands attracted an estimated 700 million viewers worldwide– a hefty payback for investors. At IBC this year, Sports Day sessions will look at how newtechnologies could change the face of sports on television. Onthe sidelines of a football field, in the pit of a motor race orin a chopper following a regatta, broadcast technologies haveenhanced the viewing experience, capturing the drama, grace andskill from multiple angles and in crystal clarity. In the autobiographical Fever Pitch, Hornby measures his life infootball seasons. Aptly, it is during major sporting events such asthe World Cup and the Olympics when the latest technologies areput through their paces. Some make it to the next season, somefade into obscurity despite the pre-game hype. So will 3D bethe next standard for live sports broadcasts? Perhaps we should consult Paul the octopus. … Read More



    THE SKINNY The TVC introduces the Mahindra pick-up truck that transforms into a robot and makes everyday tasks easier and faster. The idea behind this is to emphasise how this Mahindra truck is more powerful in terms of the engine and more spacious compared to other competitive brands. The story begins with a shopkeeper who is waiting for someone to pick up the water containers. A giant shadow steps in and reveals that it is the Mahindra robot. Without hesitation, the robot picks up the water containers. After receiving the command from the shopkeeper, the robot starts to sprint towards the destination. It travels through all the sharp corners and uphills without showing any sign of slowing down. A competitive truck travels uphill, and the robot turns on his turbo boost and takes over the truck within a few seconds. Then it transforms into the Mahindra truck and reaches its destination. The ad was heavily inspired by the movie Transformers. After a series of conceptual developments, the team finally came up with a robot that carries its own identity and most importantly, it is designed based on all the elements from the Mahindra truck . This project was developed for the India market. THE PRODUCTION The project was shot in Lonavala, two hours from Bombay by car. According to the team, shooting on the road was dangerous, with approaching vehicles coming on and to make it worse, shooting was done on hillsides consisting of narrow and zigzag roads. Cameras used include 35mm and the Canon 5D (for plates for the robot reflection). 35mm was used because of the film quality and Canon 5D was used because it’s easy to handle in a moving car. The Canon 5D “is HD and we used it as a reflection plate, while the disadvantages are that it is 8 bits so that we can’t change much in grading but we don’t need to because we have a good DP who knows his stuff,” said VFX supervisor William Woo. The challenges of working on this TVC/project included the tight timeline, and also the challenge of transforming a truck into a robot. THE POST It took the team a total of two months for post production. Maya, Photoshop , Aftereffects , Combustion, Flint and Flame were utilised for the project. According to the team, one of the most memorable scenes was the shot where the robot was injecting the water containers into his shoulder slots. It was a challenging task to come up with a logical and at the same time coollooking concept for loading those containers onto its back. Several concepts were developed (for example slotting into the chest, directly into his back by bending his arm awkwardly, but were not accepted). The main VFX challenge include the shot where the robot transforms into the truck. That shot required a lot of heavy modeling, animation details, and realistic VFX timing in order to achieve the believable and convincing look of it. “The challenges were tackled pretty well with all the integrity and the passion from the team members by trying out countless times, the presentations that got feedback going back and forth to the agency for approval, or rendering time and time again, but without the thought of giving in,” explains the spokesperson. … Read More


    THE SKINNY The concept for this commercial for Uby Kotex Platinum range of feminine hygiene products was to visually illustrate a connection between the Platinum vine as it lifts and supports the Platinum woman ending in a dramatic reveal of the Platinum Pack. Creative director Monty Noble and his team at The Brand Shop wanted to create a timeless, organic, elegant, mysterious and visually stunning TVC-a spot that appeals across the board to young and older women. A dream snatched from time where an unusual vine and glass crystals create stunning forms as they grow, supporting and lifting the Platinum woman upwards. The campaign targeted premium, upmarket late teens to middle aged women. THE PRODUCTION The TVC was shot in one day at the Film Australia Studios. We used Vision Research – Phantom HD high speed camera 100fps to 1500+ fps to shoot the TVC. We shot it in digital – 1000fps at 1920x1080 which comes out as a .cine file, which was later converted to DPX. Shooting it in the format we chose allowed us to do speed changes from 1000 fps to 100 fps and back again which gave the characters a floating, softer feel and the look we wanted. However, it was time consuming to manage and convert the huge amount of data involved. Working with the Phantom .cine files in a green screen /chroma key environment also provided challenges in how best to prepare and grade these files. We utilised both Glue Tools plug-in for Final Cut and Iridas raw based colour grading to help make the editorial process in Final Cut an easy work flow and Iridas to create various DPX grades and key passes for compositing. The shot where the female model’s hands and feet interact with the vines was very interesting. The director’s treatment and the agency’s direction meant a gentle caress had to be achieved. We had to make sure that it didn’t look like Jack and the Beanstalk which was harder than it appears. The background was matte painted with Particular and the stars were made to float around in a choreographed manner. We also created the dust around the model and matte painted most of the grass after having shot a small patch. The grass was also roto’d and graded for depth to create a big field feel. We were going for a 3D Platinum vine and crystal flower elements in a surreal, floating, rising environment. Engine collaborated creatively and technically with Director Marcelle Lunam from initial pitch and look development through to final delivery. We developed the crystal vine concept in a series of still images with Marcelle, VFX Supervisor Grant Everett and 3D Lead Nick Kaloterakis working closely together to bring the concept to life. In pre production Engine created a series of animated growing vines as R&D to identify the right “feel” and also give an indication of the amount of rigging controls needed. Engine developed the design and provided onset VFX Supervision, Editing, Raw Data handling and grading along with 3D animatics, 3D vine creation and animation through to carefully crafted and composited frames by 2D lead Kent Smith. THE POST The shoot was green screen with a model so 95% was achieved in post, which took about fi ve weeks. The 3D Platinum vine and crystal flower elements were created in Maya and rendered in Mental Ray. The background particle elements were created in Particular with compositing in Smoke. It was edited in Final Cut Pro. The wide shot was great and a real challenge. It had over 600 individual leaves and vines that Engine had to take care of. There was lots of fine hair to be keyed, clothing enhancements and cosmetic changes to the model including extending her fingernails and altering her skin. There were also complexities and subtleties in combining different textures to get the desired balance of metal, glass and tissue papers along with making sure everything looked metallic and light. There was lots of texturing and overlays and we had to make sure the look of the vines was metallic and not plastic, all the while creating a lightness within the frame to avoid it looking too heavy. We did lots of testing between 2D and 3D and worked very closely with the client and director to make sure the look was exactly right. … Read More

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