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COW Blogs : documentaries
River Blindness Introduction delivered on BluRay disc
By: walter biscardi on Nov 28, 2008 at 4:13:58 am

Biscardi Creative Media recently delivered an introductory project for an upcoming feature-length documentary about River Blindness disease. Produced by Gary Strieker and Cielo Productions, the project was a 10 minute overview of what the disease is and a brief look into some of the preventative measures being implemented by The Carter Center. The presentation, "The Crab and the Fly" was shot in 720p HD in multiple locations in Africa and Latin America over a two year period. Editorial was performed by Aaron R. Stewart and the final presentation was delivered on 1080i BluRay disc using BCM in-house BluRay authoring &...


Talking Heads
By: Mike Cohen on Nov 17, 2008 at 9:03:58 pm

Many video projects include one or more on-camera interviews those involved. Sometimes these interviews are run and gun like news, other times they are more organized, and sometimes a combination. Run and Gun Very often, an interview may be done between cases, either in an empty OR or ideally in a corridor, away from the hustle and bustle. Granted, in a busy hospital, hustle and bustle is just around every corner. The thing I like about a long corridor, is I can position the camera far enough from the subject so I can zoom in creating a shallow depth of...


On the Road with a Stranger
By: grinner hester on Oct 28, 2008 at 3:11:05 pm

The freeby gig. We've all done it. Most of the time we are not quite sure why we are doing as we do it and most of the time we are glad we did it later. Such was the case at Lucas School House, a music venue in St. Louis, MO. I was shooting a music video for friend Colin Gilmore of Austin Texas when in walked in the music industry's best known mystery… Beatle Bob. Beatle Bob is known as the guy who shows up at concerts all over the country and dances like a mad man. He has...


Assignment Earth Season One BluRays completed
By: walter biscardi on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:56:20 am

BCM has completed all BluRay disc production for Season One of "Assignment Earth," airing nationally on PBS stations. Assignment Earth covers environmental and wildlife stories from the front lines around the world. Lead by Producer Gary Strieker, the series has traveled to Mexico, Thailand, China and Africa in just the first season bringing back stunning 720p and 1080i High Definition footage. Artists Walter Biscardi, Jr. and Aaron Stewart teamed up to create the first 5 episodes on BluRay disc, bringing the full quality of the original shows to the home viewer. The entire series is being self-published at BCM's facility....


BCM completes Preeclampsia Fund Raiser
By: walter biscardi on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:50:12 am

BCM is proud to have recently completed a fund-raiser for the Preeclampsia Foundation. When we started this project, we honestly had no idea what Preeclampsia is or what it can do to pregnant women and/or their babies.   From the Preeclampsia Foundation website: Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Ultimately the condition can lead to death of the...


BluRay launches 3 documentaries for 2009
By: walter biscardi on Jul 24, 2008 at 8:23:43 am

I'm really happy to report publicly for the first time that we'll be providing all post production for 3 feature length documentaries that are currently destined for major film festivals and network HD broadcast in 2009 and 2010.   We can trace at least part of this announcement to our investment in BluRay and in-house self-publishing of the high definition discs. Yesterday a sample 9 minute version of the first of the three proposed documentaries was presented to the Carter Center here in Atlanta.   Among the people present were both hollywood executives and an executive of an international television...


Royalty Free Footage - Do your research, get the samples
By: walter biscardi on Jul 17, 2008 at 4:35:58 pm

We re working on a corporate documentary type of project that involves teenagers who lived through Hurricane Katrina. The project is all shot in high definition and of course, the producer was in the market for some news footage of the hurricane and its aftermath to help craft the story. Looking around the web we found with the most reasonably priced footage, about $450 for 19 minutes of the aftermath rescues and such. The description of the reel describes pretty much exactly what we were looking for with military personnel helping people, flooded streets, the mayor walking around, etc.......


Festival Laurels for your award-winning movie
By: Noah Kadner on Jun 27, 2008 at 2:08:39 pm

Ok so first you have to win some festival awards or at least be an official selection. Then you have to be on Windows. That said here's a very cool application that will make the creation of festival laurels for your movie's poster, DVD box, etc very simple. EZLeaves is a FREE application that allows to quickly and easily generate custom festival laurel leave images. Features include: Choose from four different laurel leave styles Use any system-defined font Export to JPG or BMP Define up to 10 lines of custom text Full control over the height and font settings of...


By: Shane Ross on Mar 19, 2008 at 12:31:06 am

Last week, on Thursday (March 13th for those who really want to know) we needed to output the rough cut of the first show and send it to the network. In actuality it was the SECOND show, but episode one was still being edited...but that s besides the point. So on Thursday I was pulled off my editing of a segment for show one (EP 101) and assigned to cut the tease for show two (102). Cut the tease ....sorry, that always makes me giggle a little.Anyway...this was the beginning of a series of missteps that caused a couple complications...


By: Shane Ross on Mar 11, 2008 at 10:50:07 pm

The official title of the History Channel Series I am working on is STRANGE HISTORY. The stories will mainly deal with taboos, cultural and sexual, and strange cultural practices from around the world. There, now you know.The first week there I was working on one of the rental systems. Because my computer hadn t come in yet and because they didn t play on renting my system for a few weeks yet. Now, this rental system was a bit lacking. Sure, it had the Octo Mac 3.0Ghz and a LARGE Mackie Mixer (that you would find on an Avid system)...


By: Shane Ross on Mar 6, 2008 at 11:22:20 pm

Last December I was asked to edit a trailer for a documentary.  This trailer would be used to solicit finishing funds.  And while they couldn t pay much, they could pay.  Since I wasn t doing anything in January and halfway thru Febuary, I took the job.  The client asked how they should deal with the payment  I said that I would like half up front, and half when I deliver the final.  That sounded fine to them, so I received half the payment and the tapes to begin editing.I worked on the project for about 3 weeks, and delivered...


By: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:54:16 am

A couple posts ago I pointed out the great PSA Indie Fever that Scott Simmons of the EditBlog made.In what seems like perfect timing, I found myself watching a great short documentary on IFC on Monday called Failure . I stumbled on this by accident. My wife and I always watch the Henry Rollins Show and before I could change the channel, I saw the lead in to this documentary. I watched it...and it was hilarious. It was a documentary all about this guys attempt to make an independent film. In short, it was a disaster...and from the scenes he...


By: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:47:40 am

Do you feel driven to making Independant Films? Do you watch art house films...and actually LIKE them? Then you might have INDIE FEVER. Indie Fever is a crippling addiction that effects people nationwide...heck, GLOBALLY. But don t worry, there is help. The first step is to admit you have a problem. Once you do that, then please visit the Indie Fever website to find out how you can get help.And you better not miss the Indie Fever PSA. Please spare yourself and your loved ones from further pain and misery from your independent filmmaking addiction.(Thanks to Scott Simmons of the...


Media Managing to Smaller Sizes
By: Shane Ross on Jan 28, 2008 at 7:26:13 am

Until this weekend I have avoided the Media Manager, which has been dubbed the media mangler for good reason. In the past, when you used the Media Manager to do anything, it would produce varying results....none of them the correct ones. It still has issues with SPEED CHANGES, but that is because actual media isn t made. But other than that, its reputation has improved.So, here I am working on a project, that documentary trailer that was shot HDV and that I captured as ProRes and DVCPRO HD. I settled on editing it using the DVCPRO HD captures, because I...


By: Shane Ross on Nov 15, 2007 at 10:06:40 pm

I saved posting the airdate until the time was close.  Well, it is close.  And it will air THREE times very close to one you will be sure to catch it. a href= action=detail target=_blank Andrew Jackson. /a Sunday, November 18  08:00 PMMonday, November 19 12:00 AM (that s right...MIDNIGHT)Saturday, November 24 05:00 PM Not sure if these are Eastern or Pacific times...there have been times when it was set to air at 8PM and I find that it is on a 8PM eastern, 5PM Pacific.  But then it re-aired later that night.Anyway, this is my third History...


The CAN-DO Sri Lankan tsunami documentary trailer
By: Paul Escandon on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:46:08 am

Most of you who know me are very familiar with this project that I am working on, but for those of you who don’t, here is a link.. I invested A LOT of my time into this project. I traveled to Sri Lanka with Eric Klein and James Sicignano in early 2005 to document the tsunami that happened in December 2004 - and spent countless hours, with the help of Eric Klein and Matt Bieler, cutting this trailer for a movie that we are still in the process of making. Here is the direct page link:


By: Shane Ross on Sep 15, 2007 at 8:36:02 am

I saw something when we were setting up at IBC that I wanted to mention.  Because it directly relates to something that I do on all the shows that I work on.At one booth I saw the face of the host of a Discovery Channel show I worked on...a series really.  It was a freeze frame image of this host with burned in time code and no background, so I couldn t tell which show it was from.  They were busy setting up, so I didn t have a chance to ask the guys (and gal) what it was right...


That whole white background thing
By: Tim Wilson on Sep 13, 2007 at 3:27:46 am

It s not even a background, really. It s pretty explicitly the absence of a background. Even lighting, no shadows, almost adrift. Not in a bad way. Stephen Smith did a great job of covering this in the May-June issue of Creative COW Magazine, including why it s best to use chroma keys to acheive the look. The most frequent place you re seeing it these days is the I m a Mac ads. If you cast your mind back a little further, you might recall the same look in the Apple switch campaign. As an Oscar-maniac, I hope you...


Jonathan Demme's "Man from Plains" Premieres, BCM provides assist
By: walter biscardi on Sep 8, 2007 at 4:11:30 am

SUGAR HILL, GA9/8/2007 Jonathan Demme s new documentary, Man From Plains , about former President Jimmy Carter had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 7th, 2007. The film received a two minute standing ovation and will next be presented at the Toronto Film Festival with the Carters in attendance on Monday, September 10th. The film is an intimate two-hour portrayal of the 39th President set against the backdrop of Carter s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid book tour. Biscardi Creative Media, located just outside Atlanta, Georgia provided extensive production support for this project working with Producer Gary...


Art for Art's Sake?
By: Julia Camenisch on Jul 17, 2007 at 12:47:56 pm

Talking to a fellow media professional recently, and they commented that the type of art they prefer to do now is simply for artistic expression rather than for communication. And that got me thinking about what the role of art in our (often) very utilitarian profession is and should be. I guess I default towards art only being a worthwhile investment when it clearly communicates. And yet I m beginning to feel that there may be value to self-expression that doesn t have as its primary goal communication. Exploring and discoveirng - that s how our craft is honed, and...


Video VS Still Images
By: Jacki Schklar on Jul 4, 2007 at 8:33:53 am

I have been thinking about this for a couple of years. My background is over ten years of still photography experience and only a couple in video/multimedia. After seeing all the assorted multimedia applications with so many bells and whistles, this kid with the camera , who had never put it down, did just that.  I moved from Tennessee to Maine and enrolled in a video/multimedia production Associates program because I felt behind and limited in technologies, which I was. Began an internship with a CBS affiliate two weeks into it. Was hired after my first semester. Hardly touched a still camera in Maine. Very...


Videojournalism - the first 5 rules
By: Peter Ralph on May 24, 2007 at 3:42:45 pm

1. Be in the right place at the right time aka The Zapruder Rule . If you can stay on the right side of this rule you can ignore many of the others. However much TV photographers howl there is a compelling logic to the notion that for breaking news coverage the quantity of camera crews you field can often be as important as the quality. 2. If your pictures aren t good enough, you re not close enough - Robert Capa. This has metaphorical as well as literal significance for journalists. The more immersed you are in the subject...

digital photography

Doc that inspires me, #2
By: Julia Camenisch on May 15, 2007 at 11:42:48 am

First, watch the trailer . Want to do a Cinema Verité project? Spend an evening watching Lost Boys of Sudan first. The film follows several Sudanese young men as they leave their homeland and try to start life anew in the US. You almost never feel the intrusion of the camera, and the interviews are so organic and natural, it seems as though the subject is just talking to himself or a good friend, not to a producer. I d love to watch another Making Of for this film - something specifically dealing with the techniques used to keep the...


Great rights resources
By: Tim Wilson on May 13, 2007 at 5:58:59 am

Since the issues surrounding rights and fair use come up at The COW all the dang time, from various perspectives, here are some of my very favorite web resources. The Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center has a heavily scholarly orientation, maybe moreso than you ll find useful. But the coverage here is certainly exhaustive.One of the coolest things about it is a free, digitized version of Stanford s Lawrence Lessig, called Free Culture. He s been a pioneer on rights in the electronic age from pretty much the beginning, and has fought vigorously against the rapidly diminishing rights that...


Quicktime Player now reads Timecode
By: walter biscardi on May 1, 2007 at 3:57:15 pm

As Chi-Ho Lee noted on the Final Cut Pro forum today, Quicktime 7.1.6 has been released in anticipation of Final Cut Studio 2 and you can now read timecode in the Quicktime Player. Wow! Finally! Not sure why it took so long, but here s the proof. If you click on the running time you now get a drop down box which gives you three choices of the Standard Running Time, Timecode and Frame Number. Here s the clip now showing the original timecode off the camera tape. VERY cool and now anyone with Quicktime Player can accurately see timecodes...

after effects

Storytelling with Real Life
By: Julia Camenisch on May 1, 2007 at 12:29:26 pm

Life is stranger than fiction, or so they say. And even though my day to day existence doesn't contain much fodder for prize winning television, there are many true stories out there that make for riveting viewing. If the term "documentary" makes you yawn, you might need to shed your preconceived notions of picture slideshows. This genre is full of creativity and artistic expression. In fact, I'd say that watching documentaries is one of the best ways to learn the elusive art of storytelling. So before you go to Blockbuster for yet another Hollywood crafted fable, take a few minutes...


Walter Biscardi's NAB 2007 Schedule
By: walter biscardi on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:25:41 pm

Well folks, NAB 2007 is upon us and I hope to be able to meet some of you. So if you re going to Las Vegas, here is where you ll definitely find me! Sunday April 15 - Apple Event AM, Panasonic Event PM Monday April 16 - AJA Booth all day, Booth SL6113 directly across from Apple. Tuesday April 17 - AJA Booth AM, Booth SL6113. Creative Cow booth PM, Booth SL2626. Between Adobe and Grass Valley (on your right as you walk to the Apple booth.) Wednesday, April 18 - Presenting HD Finishing in Final Cut Pro as...

after effects

"First Post!"
By: Paul Escandon on Apr 6, 2007 at 9:15:49 am

Well here it goes, my first post on yet another new blog... Thank you, thank you. Please stop your applause. No, seriously. Okay.. While I ve started many blogs in the last 5 years with only a couple remaining (pretty much just personal/family type blogs) I m always a little hesitant to go all out with a new one - but having a blog on Creative Cow was really appealing to me since I have never had a blog primarily devoted to the industry I currently work in and my professional interests - and those are editing, motion graphics, directing, production,...


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