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Ticketmaster tests cyber selling in Chi

TICKETMASTER WILL announce today that it has signed a deal with Chicago Online, a service owned by Chicago Tribune and computer service American Online, for subscribers to order tickets to the Chicago Cubs using their PCs. After dialing up the service, selecting the seats and typing in the credit card number , the buyer can pick the tix up at the gate, or have them sent through the mail.

CEO Fred Rosen said, “Ticketmaster’s growth in the last decade has been driven by making things convenient. You have to be on all the technologies.”

Ticketmaster will likely do this nationally for more than just baseball. “This is the first step in a process,” Rosen added, but declined details. “We’ve had discussions with a number of companies.”

For example, another service on Chicago Online is a directory of events in the city. Eventually, customers could get concert and movie tickets at home.

AWAY FROM studio executives’ ears, there is a pulsating electronic underground linking Hollywood’s creative talents. Through a number of bulletin boards (BBS), writers, technicians and multimedia developers are clicking messages to each other via the personal computer.

For a while, the hottest bulletin board was for Writers Guild members. That BBS’ public forum, consisting largely of grousing among members, was unplugged last month due to legal concerns about the content. (There’s still the file library, private mail and announcements forum on-line.)

The shutdown has sent writers scrambling for other creative outlets. Stan Sheff, systems operations manager for the WGA, set up a Guild refuge forum through his own BBS, Brainex, at (310) 273-5234.

Most of the independent bulletin boards are pretty cheap, somewhere around $ 5 an hour for off-peak times, $ 10 for midday, plus a monthly charge. Computer users interested in tapping into various groups should sign up with one of the electronic on-line services through a modem, using a phone-line to talk to services. Look for on-line services like CompuServe, MCI-mail, or American Online.

Another addition to electronic Hollywood is Technet, created by sound engineer Caron Weidner last February. It’s designed to hook up technical professionals in the industry, especially women. Call the Institute for Global Communications at (415) 442-0220. After that, it’s a local call to use the service.

For those wanting to check into Silicon Valley, there’s the Well at (415) 332 -7404. To get into Internet, a worldwide computer network, try Netcom by dialing (310) 842-8835.

IBM IS LOSING its lead pilot on multimedia. Lucie Fjeldstad, 49, Big Blue’s general manager for the area, is taking early retirement as of May 31.

She was the architect of the IBM and Digital Domain deal, pairing the computer maker with Jim Cameron, Stan Winston and Scott Ross. That special-effects start-up won’t be affected by Fjeldstad’s departure.

“It’s a logical point to leave,” said an IBM exec. “She closed the Digital Domain deal. Lots of the multimedia work, in terms of the product line in every area of IBM, is in place.”

One reason for the departure, according to an insider, was the absence of the mega-deal. Fjeldstad’s bid to tie the knot with Time Warner to provide the switching system and storage for a digital superhighway was thrown over in favor of a bid from U S West (Daily Variety, May 18). U S West poured $ 2.5 billion into Time Warner’s coffers, far more than the $ 500 million IBM was reportedly willing to offer.

Another circumstance contributing to the downfall of an IBM-TW deal was the attitude of recently departed IBM chairman, John Akers, who was distracted by the downward spiral of his company. TW’s Jerry Levin met with Akers a couple of times. But nothing came of the talks. Without Akers’ full attention, Fjeldstad’s big deal couldn’t happen.

Fjeldstad’s lieutenant, Kathleen Earley, continues to represent IBM with Digital Domain. As for Fjeldstad, she can be seen riding horses on the Northern California range.

THERE MAY BE a faster way for editors to cut sound. Hollywood-based Soundelux has created the Advanced Data Encoding (ADE) system. According to co-founder Lon Bender and co-developer Kim Waugh, ADE is a significant leap ahead in post-production. For one, the system creates a computerized edit decision list from the picture editor’s workprint. This speeds the later process of finding the right sound take for the picture.

Currently, sound editors laboriously match a specific take of dialogue with the picture using a film code number and a code book containing the sound roll, scene and take number.

The ADE matches an Apple Macintosh with a modified audio film stock. The new stock carries the traditional dialogue and sound magnetic stripe, plus a narrower stripe loaded with a SMPTE time code — the industry standard for tracking film or sound — and computer data.

The time code assigns a single number to each picture frame, while the code book’s content is loaded into a Mac file.

All this information is pulled together on the audio film stock during the daily transfer process. In post-production, the sound stock’s data is transferred to a digital audio tape, or DAT. With the Mac’s file on a computer screen linked up to the DAT, editors simply punch in a picture frame number and swiftly locate the sound byte on the tape.

“We have the luxury of having all the takes at my fingertips,” said Dan Riche , a dialogue editor on Columbia’s “In the Line of Fire.” Disney has bought two, and is currently evaluating the system on a feature film.

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