Wild Berry HD Workshop in Anchorage

 
Evergreen's Pierre de Lespinois checks the focus on a shoulder mounted RED ONE.
Evergreen's Pierre de Lespinois checks the focus on a shoulder mounted RED ONE.
On Saturday, March 21st, filmmakers from around the state gathered at the Wild Berry Theater in Anchorage to examine the prospects of the future of filmmaking in Alaska. On the wood paneled floor between the darkened stage, where technical presentations would later be delivered, and the stadium style seats, where the premiere screening of Icy Killers would be viewed just before dinner, filmmakers moved about eagerly looking at the HD cameras that stood on tripods and offered glimpses of this future. Though the theater was dimly lit, the flashes from still cameras and the enthusiasm from those assembled did much to push into the shadows and reveal the details of a future that was both bright and accessible.

Filmmakers weren’t looking at cameras and representatives from LA in hopes of taking their talents to Hollywood. Instead, they were looking at a future where Hollywood’s dollars would come to Alaska.

Last year, Sen. Johnny Ellis drafted SB 230, which created the Alaska Film Production Incentive Program. The passage of that legislation encouraged the movement of these dollars into our economy. This recent gathering of local filmmakers stood as an example of the progress that has been made since the legislation was signed into law by Governor Palin in June of 2008.

RED ONE rig
RED ONE rig

The event was hosted by Evergreen Films, a company with roots in LA and recently transplanted to Alaska. Its intent was to give Alaskan filmmakers an opportunity to come out and play with the latest HD camera equipment. It succeeded as a demonstration of Evergreen’s commitment to the future of state wide filmmaking by partnering with Alaskan filmmakers, the Alaska Film Group, and the Alaska Film Office. This hands-on opportunity allowed the film community to come out and make those valuable connections that are necessary for the healthy and sustainable growth of a local industry.

On the floor, representatives from several companies answered questions and offered hand shakes that signified their intention of becoming partners in the Alaskan marketplace. The represented companies were Arri, Apple, Element Technica, Fujinon, Red, and Sony. These companies, with Apple being the only exception, set up brand new HD capture gear to be played with by all in attendance.

Filmmakers gathered at The Wild Berry Theater in Anchorage.
Filmmakers gathered at The Wild Berry Theater in Anchorage.

Throughout the day presentations were delivered. Ted, from Red, gave one on the 4K capture powers of the Red One and many of Red’s new cameras yet to be released. Keith, from Apple, talked about Apple’s commitment to providing codecs that allowed this new wave of HD footage to be worked on and rendered in a more easily managed file size. Patel, from Sony, demystified the technology that made the high performance capture of Sony’s brand new F35 a reality. Chuck, from Fujinon, clarified some of the questions about the future of Fujinon’s lenses as well as explaining the difference between a traditional cine zoom lens and an ENG style zoom lens.

These presentations were intended to educate the audience about the possibilities that exist in the rapidly emerging world of HD image capture. The remaining two companies were available for questions. Element Technica, a start up company specializing in building rigs and support software for HD 3D capture, demoed a rig mounted with two Red One cameras. Arri, a leader in the manufacturing of motion picture cameras, demoed some of their camera accessories.

Sony CineAlta F35. 
Sony CineAlta F35.
 After all the talk of image acquisition the time came for a demonstration that not only displayed the beauty of HD, but the reason for the entire event: all of the filmic potential that the state and its inhabitants, both animal and people, have to offer.

The lights went off and the future looked golden for the state’s film industry as Evergreen Films’ documentary, Icy Killers, projected onto the screen. The audience feasted on majestic mountain tops, salmon filled streams, leaping whales, and blood thirsty salmon sharks; all shot in glorious HD and all shot on our very own Alaskan backlot.