The categories are:
Best Documentary Series (Ian Herring, Tom Clifford, Maija Leivo and Liz Murray, producers)
Best Direction (Ian Herring)
Best Screenwriting (Nicole Tomlinson)
Best Cinematography (Sean F. White)
Best Picture Editing (Brian Mann)
Best Overall Sound (Adam Prescod with Don Mann, Greg Stewart and Angelo Nicoloyannis of Post Modern Sound)
Best Sound Editing (Don Mann, Christopher Cleator, and Rick Senechal of Post Modern Sound)
Congratulations to the Battle Castle team and to all the other nominees.
The 15th Leo Awards will take place on Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, B.C.
We were pleased to be invited to participate in the first 3D[FWD] Conference held last Friday at the Vancity Theatre. The conference kicked off the creation of the first Canadian branch of the International 3D Society and present insight into the 3D business for those foraging forward.
Here’s a short rundown on some of the speakers:
David Brenner, CEO of LA-based Principal Media outlined models of financing 3D productions. Principal claims to be the world’s largest distributor of 3D content. David was clear that it was difficult to fund exclusively 3D content. It was interesting that he recommended that producers pursue a 2D/3D model to create content, to serve both broadcast platforms as we did with our 3D Blowdown episode. David also shared information about an additional revenue stream through VOD apps by television manufacturers that could also generate revenue for even short form content. For anyone in possession of spectacular stereoscopic imagery of any length, this seems like a viable option.
David also provided projections for the penetration of 3D televisions. It is estimated that by 2016, 50% of American homes will have 3D-ready sets. Panasonic has already announced that 90% of the televisions it is already producing are 3D capable.
After the coffee break, there was a great panel discussion entitled “Telling Your Story in 3D.” Moderated by Buzz Hays, founder of True Image Company. The panel included Adam May from Vision3, Joshua Hollander out of Pixar and Robert Neuman of Disney Animation Studios. They shared beautiful samples of their work and lots of discussion about the practical implications of working in 3D both in live action and animation. For me, the greatest part was the reassurance that everyone, regardless of the size of their budgets or the depth of corporate support, has been working things out. Building as we are on a century-old tradition of cinema, it was reassuring to learn that we’re all still learning to master the language of 3D. The exciting part for the audience is that 3D is only going to get better and better as we move through this rapid experimental stage.
After lunch, Parallax Film’s Ian Herring teamed up with James Cowan of Finale Editworks to discuss the reality of producing the 3D content in Vancouver. Readers of our blog will remember the challenges we encountered producing a 3D episode of our Blowdown series.
The session presented by Vancouver based Gener8 was a real eye opener for us. We’ve always had a negative knee jerk reaction about 2D-to-3D conversion, arguing that poor conversions reflected badly on the industry. However, Gener8 made a strong argument for the service they provide. While some movies are entirely converted, Gener8 has also worked on a number of films that were shot native 3D, but pick ups were in 2D, sometimes for reasons of costs. Mark Lasoff and Colin Jenken also argued that given the complexity of some sequences, combining live action 3D, computer generate imagery (CGI) and visual effects, it may be almost impossible to shoot these sequences in 3D and have the components come together successfully. Conversion is viable option.
It was a treat to hear Hugh Murray speak about IMAX’s experiences with 3D. Dating back into the 1980s, IMAX provided many people with their first exposure to 3D films. The technological challenges have been immense, as they not only developed camera systems but also the theatre venues in which the films could be shown. Samples from their recent 3D space films seemed to capture the aspirational aspects of both the voyages of discovery and the visual media with a nod to IMAX’s Canadian roots.
James Stewart of Geneva Film Co shared some of his work producing commercials for companies like Telus and this classic moment from the Honeymooners:
James provided us all with the talking points to sell our media form, reminding us all that if 3D is a fad, it is a 227.27 BILLION dollar fad, that is growing at 15% per year.
The last official presentation of the day was Grant Anderson of the Sony 3D Technology Centre. He presented a series of three case studies in which they shot existing or new projects using 3D cameras. Overall, he found that they were able to get their crews up to speed with a day or two of training, with only modest increases to the labour required for the shoot, usually three extra bodies.
In all his recommendations included:
- Plan 3D aspects (including depth cues) ahead of time.
- Understand how to shoot for the 3D screen the audience will watch on.
- Quick set up and calibration, checked throughout the day and
- Know what good 3D looks like and don’t leave with out it.
The results of the white paper on 3D at 2D Economics is available here.
Special thanks to everybody who made this conference happen. The day flew by and they did an excellent job bringing together a varied group with plenty of insight. A special mention goes out to the tech people who made it possible for all the speakers to share their 3D content with the audience at the Vancity Theatre.
Parallax Film Productions is proud to announce that its most recent project, "Battle Castle," has been nominated for the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards (formerly known as the Geminis) in the category of Best History or Biography Program or Series. Congratulations to the entire "Battle Castle" team who made this project such a tremendous success.
The Canadian Screen Awards: Television and Digital Media Show is scheduled for presentation Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
White Rock, BC – Parallax Film Productions a multiplatform storyteller and film producer announced today that it will be a Sponsor of the 2013 3D[FWD] Conference cohosted by Emily Carr University’s S3D Research Centre and the International 3D Society. 3D[FWD] takes place January 24 and 25, 2013, at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver, BC.
"3D[FWD] is thrilled to announce that Parallax Film Productions has come on board as a Gold Sponsor for our upcoming conference in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada," says conference organizer Alan Goldman. "Parallax has been pioneering S3D technology locally for years and we are so excited that they are bringing this innovative spirit to 3D[FWD]."
"Parallax remains committed to promoting 3D technology," according to Ian Herring, President of Parallax Film Productions. "Our mandate is to combine exciting visual formats with great story-telling and we are betting 3D production will flourish as exhibitors and consumers adopt this exciting format. We’re proud to promote the development of 3D talent right here in our hometown."
About Parallax Film Productions Inc.
Parallax is a British Columbia based film and new media production company. Blending spectacular cinematography with high-end recreations, CGI and visual effects, Parallax brings to life epic stories and unforgettable engineering through "Ancient Megastructures," "Blowdown" and most recently, "Battle Castle." Parallax projects include 3D and motion comics as well as television documentaries for National Geographic, History Television Canada and Discovery Channel.
Happening in Vancouver, BC, Canada January 24th & 25th, 2013, 3D[FWD] is an event that brings together business leaders from a cross-section of industries to explore the impact of 3D technology. Content producers, advertising agencies, and businesses alike will gather to explore emerging 3D concepts and tools.
3D[FWD] is brought to you by the SD3 Centre at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the International 3D Society and the National Research Council (NRC).
For more information about Parallax:
Visit our website: www.parallaxfilm.com or contact Maija Leivo: maija(at)parallaxfilm.com or via 604-531-2244.
For more information about 3D[FWD]:
Visit their website: http://3dsociety.ca
MEDIA ADVISORY: New 2013 US series "Battle Castle" begins airing on PBS
KTCA - Minneapolis Thursday, January 10, 2013
KRSC – Claremore, OK Tuesday, January 22, 2013
WLPB - Louisiana Saturday, February 11, 2013
TBA: check local listings:
KERA - Dallas
KQED – San Francisco
KRMA - Denver
KRSC – Claremore, OK
KUON – Nebraska Network
WGTV – Georgia Network
WYCC – Chicago
“Battle Castle” Lays Siege On-Air and Online
A hit in the UK and Canada, the popular series picked up by PBS for American viewers
VANCOUVER January 8, 2013 – Parallax Film Productions has done everything in its considerable power to push the boundaries of Real TV with their series “Battle Castle,” the featuresque documentary that will begin airing in the states this week on PBS. The show is an interactive, trans-medieval journey into castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends. Hosted by UK celebrity Dan Snow, the show takes its viewers over six one-hour timeslots to Syria, France, Spain, Wales, Poland and England delving into the stories of six fascinating castles: Crac des Chevaliers, Chateau Gâillard, Dover, Conwy, Malbork, and Malaga.
Parallax Film founder and the Executive Producer and Director of “Battle Castle,” Ian Herring and his business partner and Series Producer, Maija Leivo brought in London-based Ballista Media Inc. to co-produce the TV broadcast series while the convergent media component was co-produced by Agentic Communication Inc. in collaboration with Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York-based transmedia company that has worked on projects including “TRON,” “Transformers," and “Avatar.” The result is an interactive documentary experience which includes a high-concept website, episodic motion comics and a browser-based adventure game.
Dr. Paul Sturtevant from the UK, an expert in media and the medieval period, has this to say about the series: “Battle Castle takes the classical documentary format, including elements like a historian presenter, location shooting, re-enactments, living history and CGI reconstructions, but adds to it a layer of Hollywood-style drama in the form of bloody battle scenes and a soaring musical score. This balance, between gripping your audience and teaching them, is difficult to get right. Battle Castle does this well.”
Peter Konieczny, Medieval Historian and Co-Founder of Medievalists.net agrees: “Viewers will get a real understanding of how powerfully impressive these massive castles were in the Middle Ages. It’s like medieval eye candy!”
Parallax Film Productions, the company that famously sank an aircraft carrier, imploded a sports stadium in 3D and deconstructed Machu Picchu all for the sake of their viewers, spent five years meticulously putting together each integral aspect of “Battle Castle.” In the end they had infused their documentary series with major feature film qualities.
In order to choose the castles to be featured, Parallax had to select six out of thousands from all across Europe and the Middle East. “Each castle had to have a visionary designer and builder behind it,” explains Herring. “The castle had to have been tested through a siege and it had to relate to history-changing events.”
“We were specifically looking at castles and not forts or fortresses because we wanted to harken to the Age of Castles and highlight the ingenuity of an individual visionary,” adds Leivo, herself a Master of Arts in History. “These visionaries became characters through which we told the story of the castles. As such we feature legendary figures like Ferdinand and Isabella, Richard the Lionheart and Edward I of England.”
Each of the castles also represent a technological pinnacle of the age—a time when new ideas were tried and implemented in the bloody arms race of the Middle Ages. But it was not just enough for someone to build these amazing castles, Parallax also wanted to have the castle face the ultimate test by siege to see how the castles held up against an attacking force. Finally, each of the castles had to be recognized as having played a role in the outcome of history, symbolizing the rise-and-fall of empires. “For instance,” says Leivo, “the fall of Chateau Gaillard represents the collapse of England’s power on the continent and the rise of modern France. Similarly, when Malbork Castle holds out against Polish forces, the established power of Teutonic Knights continues for almost another half century.”
Once the castles were selected, Parallax Films wanted to bring all of these aspects of the castles together and make it into something that translated to more than a documentary. “There were six key elements that were needed to bring these stories into cohesiveness,” says Herring. “Pieces-to-Camera, segments shot on location with Dan as the story-teller; Host Experiential, whereby Dan goes to various locals such as Guedelon, France and Caerphilly, Wales to have hands-on experiences with medieval machines, tools and weapons. B-Roll of the Castles; this is the stuff that is going to make people interested in the place. It's accessible. It's a real place; it’s tangible.” Herring continues, “The last three are CGI, whereby we take the viewer back in time to show what we think it actually would have looked like back in the day; VFX which included Green Screen shots of our actors within context of the castle as well as establishing large fight scenes. This we did to augment the Practical Recreations, our sixth key element, which is when we film our actors, establishing our main characters and playing out the battle scenes. This material is what we use to set the stakes, build and pay-off the drama.”
All of these elements to the series were then seamlessly stitched together by the writers and blended with Sound FX and music. Parallax Films included over 265 VFX shots into the show across six episodes making “Battle Castle” an extraordinary documentary series.
“By producing Battle Castle as a blue chip-style documentary series we were basically looking to do a drama disguised as a doc,” explains Leivo.
With today’s growing popularity of medieval-themed shows such as HBO’s current TV hit “Game of Thrones” and the recent feature from Pixar, “Brave,” the only difference in “Battle Castle” is in the fact that its story is not fantasy, it’s real.
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