Avatar – This Changes Everything

December 21, 2009 at 11:57 pm | Posted in Movies, Review | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Consumers, film buffs, home theatre aficionados; take note. You can bet Hollywood has. James Cameron has produced a “game-changer”. Yes, he also wrote it and directed it – but all in all its more of a production.

What’s a game-changer? Star Wars IV A New Hope (the first, original one was). Jurassic Park was. The Abyss (also a Cameron film) was to a limited extent – the extent that there was a lot of cool stuff filmed underwater. Star wars changed the game with never-before-seen visual FX (light sabers and blasters come to mind) and created a standard for audio presentation (now known as THX) unlike anything the world had heard before. Jurassic Park did it with lifelike dinosaurs that scared the **** outta you and ushered in a new audio era (known as DTS) among other things.

Avatar does it with…3D. Not your normal 3D. Revolutionary 3D. Game changing 3D. Believable 3D. Real-D, IMAX 3D, Dolby 3D…it’s available worldwide in a number of 3D formats…take your pick. Each has ins and outs…but behind them all lies a revolutionary camera system developed by Sony at the request of Cameron. Its not a film camera – but an HD video camera on steroids. It can use video standards, or film standards for how many frames per second it can capture. It’s light and mobile and can be mounted just about anywhere. It fits on a Steadicam mount. It has two lenses that can move independently like human eyes. It films in 3D. I don’t know all the specs but suffice it to say after seeing Avatar tonight (in Real D)…IT KICKS ASS.

There’s other ultra-cool tech that Cameron developed/employed here like real-time viewing of green screen stuff, where the actors are being filmed with green screens and he can see them in the virtual world onscreen as he films it. There is the cool underwater photography he is so good at. There are CGI worlds created that only he could visualize (or artists could draw because they have seen his underwater documentaries) containing amazing bioluminescent flora and fauna.

Apparently, James also knows when to say when. After all, he’s writing, directing, and producing – all while revolutionizing…sometimes you gotta delegate. Need a creature designed to meet your vision? Call Stan Winston Studios. Need excellent audio? Skywalker Sound is the place, they can master in Dolby and/or DTS. Need visual FX that are game-changing? Yep. Industrial Light & Magic. Got a few other things like makeup, design, models, weapons and such that need some awesome creation and detailing? WETA.  Wanna show your 3D creation to as many people as possible?, Turn to RealD. Need to show it to cinephiles REALLY REALLY BIG…let IMAX handle that. No stone is left unturned. All the bases are covered.

Look for my reviews on the optical tech behind this shortly. Then we will cover audio stuff, if anyone cares. I’m sorry to say I didn’t catch who was behind craft services during this…you’ll have to look elsewhere.

In the meantime – just remember – all the 3D formats are propietary – so don’t bother to bring along the glasses from the last film to your next viewing…I know Avatar has a “green message” behind it all – but it apparently does not trickle down to eyewear.

U2 Getting Intimate With Glendale Arizona

October 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Concert, Photography, Review, Rock, Social Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever tried to be intimate? With a stadium full of people? U2 has.

U2 Intimate Superstructure

U2 Intimate Superstructure

What does it take to get intimate with 50,000+ people simultaneously? Well, as far as I can tell…a whole lot of cash. Way more cash than getting intimate with one or two people for sure. I’m talking the kind of cash even a supergroup like U2 needs to round up a corporate sponsor like Blackberry for.

Once you have that kind of cash you can go about calling up someone like Willie Williams and asking him to come up with some ideas on how to go about it. In this case, it apparently only took him one idea according to the guys over at Live Design.

I’m not going to get into the exacting specs of just how they pull this amazing feat of intimacy off, but here’s a quick list of some of the many things involved and you can follow the links if you have a burning curiosity for all things “concert tech” or an extra $ 50 mil burning a hole in your pocket.

  • Audio – Incredible 15 zone system Clair i-5 – Yes it goes to 11.
  • Lighting – Nope. Not what you think. No Vari-lites here. These are Bad Boys from the guys over at PRG. There’s a lot of them.
  • Spotlights – Coupla dozen for sure
  • Video – Insane, Custom-designed LED job by the guys over at Barco. Yes it moves. Yes it’s ginormous. Follow the links if you wanna know just how amazingly crazy this thing is.
  • Cameras – Robotic Moving Awe-inspiring setup from the guys at Telemetrics
  • Massive Superstructure Stage Rig – Bono calls it a UFO. See the show to find out why. Suffice it to say this rig is the key to pulling off the intimacy-on-a-grand-scale concept. Its big, heavy, expensive and they had to build 3 of them.
  • Band. Oh yeah – Insert supergroup into the middle of all that technology and Bam! Instant rock concert.

So, there you have a quick breakdown of how to get intimate with a bunch of people at one time. Once you have all the pieces in place the only thing that can stand in your way are traffic problems and social media-ites that like to complain about $20 parking costs.

So, as I close – you are probably asking yourself – did U2 actually pull off getting intimate with an entire city? Look at the pics on their photo page and you tell me. Keep in mind, these shots were from the upper level of the stadium. Intimate enough?

Creed & Staind Hit Jobing.com

October 1, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Concert, Rock, Tickets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m all for “rock with a positive message” as long as it’s done by a band like Creed, rather than say Stryper. Not that I have anything against 80’s hair bands in bumblebee spandex outfits…wait…I do if they are Stryper. Just saying. But I digress…

Lo-Pro opened the show, and apparently played a 19 minute set. We walked in as they were playing their last notes…so can’t really comment on those guys. I can comment on the fact that draft beers were $10.25. That is just ridiculous.

Aaron Lewis and Johnny April - Staind

Aaron Lewis and Johnny April - Staind

It wasn’t long before Staind took the stage and rocked the house. The lighting designer and soundguy were spot on! Great show both audibly and visibly. Rather than a giant video screen they opted for a seven panel display from pixled from what I gather around the net. Technically and artistically the band was definitely at the top of their game. Of course, they played all of their hits including the ones I didn’t even realize were theirs!

Scott Stapp & Mark Tremonti

Scott Stapp & Mark Tremonti

Creed put on a rock show. Yes. With fire and pyro and sound system turned up to a hair past 11. I know it was a hair past because there were some moments during the loudest passages that took the system just past its limit and you could tell. Everyone knows you never go past 11. Those moments were few, and for the most part the show was great. You gotta love a tour that includes excellent video screen with awesome imagery, Varilites on suspended elevators and explosives. You just can’t go wrong with explosives and fire.

Did I mention they had fire that we could feel from the back of the arena? Well they did. Brings a whole new dimension to entertainment. In fact some movies have tried to pull off this “4th Dimension” experience with puffs of cold air or rumbling seats. They failed. Why? Because they didn’t use fire! Apparently flames are the key to bringing some of that onstage energy into the crowd. Who knew?

The drawback to random, giant bursts of flame is that they are random and therefore, hard to capture adequately with a still camera. Varilites, giant video screens and elevators aren’t. Check the concert photos page for some of the shots I managed to grab.

Oh! a shout out to @Stang5_0 who asked me to go because he had some tickets from @JobingArenaGirl. Thanks so much!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: