DIGITAL FANTASIA? There’s a lot of buzz among the studios about Quantel’s Domino. The $ 3 million combination film scanner/printer and digital workbench was snapped up by Cinema Research Corp. and quickly tried out on Columbia’s “Striking Distance” and a trailer for Disney’s Western “Tombstone.”
In the Bruce Willis starrer “Distance,” CRC took Sarah Jessica Parker out of a sound-stage sequence and dropped her into another scene on a river in Pittsburgh. In the trailer, a different sky was composited into a shot, and a jerky camera motion was smoothed out by lining up 350 of 401 frames with reference points in the scene.
Reportedly, Disney is contemplating running “Fantasia” through the Domino, to do touch up, remove dirt and color correction before its rerelease in 1995. (It appears the studio went to Varitel to do a restoration of the tape version and was pleased with the results.) CRC wouldn’t comment, but the only player in town could be Kodak’s Cinesite, which won’t utter a word either.
Kodak, however, digitized and restored almost 120,000 frames of “Snow White,” which will be rereleased July 2 under the code-name Cauldron Project.
Another buyer of a Domino could be Technicolor Labs. Both companies are owned by Britain’s Carlton Communications Plc. Clearly, this would push the lab into new markets.
FOX HAS TAKEN the wraps off its digital restoration project for the old Movietone News reels, which is costing an estimated $ 5 million. As noted here Oct. 22, Fox is restoring 40 million to 45 million feet out of the 60 million feet of film from 1919 to 1963.
According to David Ferrara, marketing vice president for Fox News, “all this will be available through a database for feature films, documentaries.” Ken Burns is using it for his upcoming documentary on baseball.
To make a search easier, CD-ROMs could be pressed for the database, with sample footage. With modified Kodak digital scanners running 24 hours, seven days a week, the project will be finished in 1994. Next? “The possibility is certainly there to convert all of our features,” says Ferrara.
AFTER CHANGING the name of Warner New Media, you’d expect new personnel. True to form: Randy Achee has been hired as a vice president and head of new business development at the newly named Time Warner Interactive Group.
Meanwhile, former WNM head Stan Cornyn is toying with the idea of using the name Charlie as his interactive CD label under the Media Vision banner. It makes sense because that was what he christened his ideal multimedia player.
SONY CORP. IS moving ahead with its so-called location-based entertainment project for its New York Lincoln Square building. One room is devoted to a 3-D film for Imax that’s being supervised by Andrew Gellis. Another portion of the floor is a three-room configuration for simulation rides, one of which is likely to be based on “Last Action Hero.” Bidders in Hollywood include a handful of the top F/X houses. Yet another room’s fate is still unknown.
Running the show for Sony Pictures is New Technologies president Mitchell Cannold. With the appointment of Mickey Schulhof to manage both software and hardware in the U.S., Cannold was recently elevated to a corporate title as well. This appears to give him broader purview with the Sony hardware side.
VIRGIN IS LOOKING for someone to run its burgeoning interactive media group. According to Martin Alper, president and CEO of Costa Mesa’s Virgin Games, the position would be chief operating officer of Virgin Interactive Entertainment. “It’s a commitment by us to the category,” he says. The unit is already hard at work with interactive games from Disney’s “Aladdin” and Warner’s “Demolition Man” for both 3D0 and Sega CD players. Blue-screen shots of “Demo”-stars Sly Stallone and Wesley Snipes start soon.
THE FIRST MULTIMEDIA title from Ion, an L.A. developer, has caused quite a stir. Praised as a possible music label for the 21st century by industry pundits at the newsletter Digital Media, Ion was founded by Ty Roberts of software-maker Light Source Inc., graphic artist Lou Beach, music producer John Greenberg and Ann Greenberg, former head of marketing for Ed Pressman.
The first disc for the Macintosh is of David Bowie’s “Black Tie White Noise.” There’s 25 minutes of video and five tracks to watch. Players can switch back and forth between the tracks as they play at the bottom of the monitor, with the selection appearing on a larger window midscreen.
The title will get a big boost when it’s bundled with Apple’s new Power CD player for the Mac. “This is the prototype of interactive MTV,” says Roberts.
Well, the title has already caused a ripple among those who were involved in the original video for MTV.
Propaganda’s exec in charge of interactive media, Jonathan Wiedemann, would have liked to have seen a credit for Satellite Films’ Mark Romanek, who directed the video. All the source material — 9 1/2 hours of tape — was crafted by Romanek.
John Greenberg is working on a credit line. And now, Ion and Propaganda may team up on a future project.
SOMETIMES WE CAN’T help using old data. Herewith a correction: The Technet line has changed its contact number to 213-713-WIRE. It is free to those with MCI Mail, CompuServe or Applelink accounts. For the record, it was started by members of the Audio Engineers Society in 1990, not just Caron Weidner.