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Fox pumps PipeLine with fresh pic product

Cyberbiz brief

TRW’s Picture PipeLine has inked a deal with 20th Century Fox for the studio to use its secure broadband network and digital production tools during the production of the films “Behind Enemy Lines” and “The First $20 Million.”

Deal is a ringing endorsement from Fox for Picture PipeLine’s services, which currently competes with rivals WhamNet, Media.net and NeTune, among others. Idea is to digitally connect productions with the studio via a broadband connection, allowing producers to reduce costs and turnaround time.

For “Behind Enemy Lines,” starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson, Picture PipeLine will build a secure high-speed broadband network that will connect Fox visual effects senior veep Rich Thorne with seven Los Angeles-area locations: six f/x houses and the Fox studio lot.

Previously, Thorne had to travel to each location-sometimes several in a day-to approve work.

“Picture PipeLine has been a tremendous asset in time savings and interfacility communication,” said Thorne. “I am currently set up to monitor the visual f/x for two separate films. The effects are situated in Los Angeles and Canada with daily downloads from each facility. We have been able to increase the speed at which shots are finalized, thus putting us in a position to reduce the time it takes to complete the shots. Eventually this will hopefully save the studio money.”

Picture PipeLine prexy and chief operating officer Tom Gritzmacher said that up until now, most customers have been interested in using the company’s offerings to connect productions in New York, Canada or Australia with Los Angeles offices.

“$20 Million,” written by Jon Favreau and starring Jake Busey, will use Picture PipeLine’s secure encryption and file transfer technologies to connect production staff in Toronto with the Fox lot in Los Angeles, not only saving the film money on shipping but on travel-related expenses as well.

Company’s first client, NBC’s television drama “Third Watch,” uses Picture PipeLine to connect production offices in New York with NBC in Burbank. System was tested on Warners’ “The Perfect Storm,” which linked the production to f/x studio Industrial Light & Magic.

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