A career retrospective on the design work of Pablo Ferro, created to accommodate our feature articles.

Part 1 and Part 2


Film Titles:

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Woman of Straw (1964)
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966)
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Bullitt (1968)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Citizens Band [aka Handle with Care] (1977)
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
No Way Out (1987)
Beetle Juice (1988)
Married to the Mob (1988)
Pump Up the Volume (1990)
Darkman (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
American Heart (1992)
Philadelphia (1993)
To Die For (1995)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Men in Black (1997)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Secretary (2002)


Dr. Strangelove (1964)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Zardoz (1974)

Commercials and Promos (1960s):

Burlington Mills
Campbell’s Soup
Canada Dry
Channel 13
Singer Industrial
State Farm Insurance
World War 1

Love this film work.


Post Atomic Horror episode 171, kicking off DS9 season 3 with “The Search,” is available now! Click!

While you’re waiting for Episode 004 of The Optical, please enjoy this complimentary episode of the Post Atomic Horror podcast, which marks the start of their Deep Space Nine season 3 coverage!


Post Atomic Horror episode 171, kicking off DS9 season 3 with “The Search,” is available now! Click!

While you’re waiting for Episode 004 of The Optical, please enjoy this complimentary episode of the Post Atomic Horror podcast, which marks the start of their Deep Space Nine season 3 coverage!

Who wants to watch Hal Hickel from ILM talking about animation and PACIFIC RIM for 20 minutes?

I do! I do!

(via @tvaziri)



Rise of the Patent Troll by Kirby Ferguson of ‘Everything Is a Remix’

This isn’t VFX, but it is related to the future of film.

Have you not seen the rest of Everything is a Remix? Go, go, go!

NAB Day 2

I’m going to have to follow up a little more in depth on some of this NAB stuff when I’m not about to die from exhaustion (Do you know how big these halls are at the Las Vegas Convention Center? They are HA-YUUUGE.), but just to keep you updated on what I saw today:

Capturing and Recreating a High Dynamic Range Cinema Experience talked about a HDR (or rather, EDR, the ‘E’ being for ‘Extended’ — Dolby’s name for it) workflow for finishing the short film, Telescope. I embedded the film, just above, but you may want to go over to YouTube for the full 4K (or UltraHD, as they’re now calling it) experience.

Gravity Gravitas featured a great discussion about the making of Gravity with Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, cinematographer, Steve Scott, Senior Supervising Digital Colorist, Skip Lievsay, Supervising Sound Editor, and Harry Bardak, CG Sequence Supervisor. It was moderated by Davis S. Cohen, Senior Editor at Variety — but more importantly to me, former writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and writer of Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters. Several good quotes from this session that I’ll bring you soon.

Looking in the Crystal Ball: What’s Next? - Part 2 featured a crazy amazing description of 3D light field cinema presentation from Tibor Balogh of Holografika, and some interesting world-building information on Minority Report, Man of Steel, and Upside Down from Alex McDowell, appropriately enough, director of the USC World Building Media Lab.

Last was a bus trip out to the Cinemark Century 16 South Point for a demonstration of Barco’s new 4K 6P Laser Alchemy Projector and Escape, their new 3-screen presentation format. What we were shown was a work in progress, and at the moment, I’m intrigued, but not yet impressed. Despite my quip on Twitter, it’s not exactly a re-invention of Cinerama, though it does feature three projectors, and screens in a surrounding layout.

I’d like to digest that a bit more, I think — but as I say, I am intrigued. More details about that and all of these soon.

Episode 004 Coming Next Week

I haven’t forgotten about the next episode of The Optical podcast! …but while I’m at NAB, it’s a little crazy to try to do both. It’s all recorded and I’ve got my sights on having the podcast edited and released by next Monday, April 14th sometime next week. We’ve got some really cool stuff in store, including an experimental Radiolab-style heavily-edited piece (If only I were half as good as those guys).

In the meantime, I’ll continue to post interesting film/VFX tech tidbits to the blog from NAB, and this morning, there’s a session with some of the folks who made Gravity, so hopefully there will be tasty morsels to share.

Thanks for standing by!

Christie Demo of Six-Primary 3D Laser Projector at NAB

I’m attending the National Association of Broadcasters convention both for my day job, and for The Optical. The day job has to come first (they paid! …though the fine folks at NAB later provided me with a press pass for the podcast), but when I can, I’m popping into some sessions relating more to cinema technology. After I got out of a session for producers on rights, licenses and releases (thrilling!) I popped over, slightly late, for a session entitled “Laser Illuminated Projectors: What’s New and When Will They Arrive?

The Panel

The “when will they arrive?” question seems to be “later this year”, and as far as “what’s new,” folks from Barco and NEC had already spoken before I got to the session at the start of Dr. Don Shaw’s talk about the problems facing 3D in cinema projection.

Now, I’ve worked on several 3D television shows (for 3net), and I can’t say I’m a big fan of the technology in general. It usually looks pretty crappy, especially in a home setting, because… well all sorts of reasons that are beyond the scope of The Optical’s focus. Suffice it to say I’ve online edited a number of shows, and I’m well versed in what good 3D and bad 3D look like, and all of the trouble it takes to try to view it on a consumer device.

In a proper movie theater, the presentation is certainly a lot better, but still leaves a lot to be desired. The projection is almost always too dark, there’s ghosting (seeing part of one eye’s image in the other eye), polarized light requires a silver screen that creates hot spots in the brightness of the image, and in some systems (IMAAAAAAX!) just tilting your head can cause the image separation to break down.

On top of that, in almost all existing 3D systems, you never see both images simultaneously — the image is constantly flickering back and forth between the left and right eye images, using your brain’s persistence of vision to fill in the blanks. Sure, that’s how movies work at a base level, but something about the flickering being staggered between the eyes can also be an issue with fatigue and headaches for viewers.

I can’t speak to Barco and NEC’s solutions first-hand, but Christie’s solution seems to have solved almost all of these problems. They use the Dolby 3D system, which seems to produce the least ghosting out of all current 3D technologies, and it doesn’t require a silver screen, since the light isn’t polarized.

Dolby 3D projects full-color images for the left and right eyes. The projection uses two slightly different sets of primary colors. The audience wears passive 3D glasses with complementary filters precisely tuned to match the filters in the projector, ensuring that each eye sees the correct image.

Normally this would be projected with a rotating filter wheel in front of a regular Xenon bulb, flickering back and forth between the left and right eye images, but in Christie’s system, the images are projected simultaneously with two sets of primary-color lasers. This also means no filtering is needed on the projection side, meaning more of the light produced actually gets to your eyes.

They gave us a demo of the system with a 5-minute chunk of Avatar (even under the old projection methods, the best-produced 3D content I’ve ever seen), the trailers for Frozen and an HFR trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

I have to say, it’s the cleanest, brightest 3D I’ve ever seen, on the screen. I don’t usually get headaches from 3D, but I can always tell that the experience is a little bit off. Here, it was clear as could be, bright, and just felt better to my brain in a way that I’m not sure I could quantify. The HFR stuff still feels weird to me, but on the screen it was technically flawless.

The Glasses

Inside my glasses was another issue altogether. The Dolby 3D glasses are filtered with material that is somewhat reflective. They look like two silvery lenses with slightly different color tints when you look through them. The light from the projection bounced around inside the glasses, reflecting light from my face back onto the inside surface of the lens. In effect, this resulted in a halo of silvery light around the edge of the lenses that, while not nearly strong enough to wash out the brilliant laser image, certainly was distracting. I’m a glasses-wearer, and perhaps that made the reflectance worse than usual, with more distance between the 3D lenses and my face.

If they can solve this issue with the glasses, though, that will be one killer way to watch a film.

Official behind-the-scenes video covering the Star Wars effects shoots that you can read about in Cinefex 2 & 3

Grab Issues 2 and 3 on the Cinefex iPad app, and read along with our Empire Strikes Back podcast episode!

(via @cinefexclassic)