Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another festival for 'Flight of the Melvin'

Looks like we published our 2011 Wrap-Up a skosh too soon! We just got word that our sci-fi comedy adventure "Flight of the Melvin" has been accepted to its second film festival, the 2012 Sedona International Film Festival in beautiful Sedona, Arizona!

The 18th Annual Sedona International Film Festival runs February 18-26, 2012. We are so looking forward to being part of this event!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Wrap-Up!

Now that the year is winding down, it's time to take a look at everything we've accomplished in 2011 - and the list is rather impressive if we do say so ourselves!

The Year of "Fallout"
After having made its film festival premiere at the 2010 International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival, "Fallout" spent nearly all of 2011 on the festival circuit with appearances at Phoenix Film Festival, Los Angeles Film and Script Festival, Los Angeles Movie Awards, New Filmmakers LA, Action on Film, HollyShorts, Renovation Independent Fan Film Festival, Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, Atlanta Horror Film Festival, and Terror Film Festival.

"Fallout" also picked up 10 awards throughout the year, including: Semifinalist, Innovation in Motion and Video in Education (2011 Adobe Design Achievement Awards); Best Arizona Short (2011 Phoenix Film Festival); 3rd Place, Best Editing, and Best Digital Effects (2011 Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, Student Film category); Award of Excellence, Best Editing, Best Special Effects (2011 Los Angeles Movie Awards); Honorable Mention, Narrative Shorts Category (2011 Los Angeles Film & Script Festival); and Runner Up, Best Visual Effects (Short) (2011 Action on Film International Film Festival). Lastly, the Arizona Media Arts Center selected "Fallout" to be part of the AZ 100 INDIE FILM collection to celebrate the Arizona Centennial in February of 2012.

More Awards

"Extraordinary Colleagues" - our 48-hour challenge entry from July 2010 - took home "Best Directing" (for Professor Paul DeNigris) and "Best Editing" (for alum Ryan Luibrand) at the IFP/Phoenix "Beat the Clock" finals in April.

"Somewhere (dot dot dot)" - our 48-hour entry from January - was chosen by Cox Arizona to appear on their IFP/Phoenix showcase on "On Demand."

The UAT Team's film "Backup Plan" won both the "Creative Excellence" and "Technical Excellence" trophies in the Spring 2011 Inter-College 48-Hour Film Challenge, competing against teams from Scottsdale Community College and Grand Canyon University. Films were scored by a panel of industry judges.

In June, UAT Digital Cinematography Professor Webb Pickersgill and his team of UAT students Bryan Simcox, Wes Peterson, and Sean Walter picked up a 2011 Telly Award for their work on the book trailer for Devious by Lisa Jackson. That same group of students also won top honors in the "College Shorts" section of the Arizona Student Film Festival for their film "Tread Softly," beating out competitors from Collins College, Scottsdale Community College, University of Arizona, and Arizona State University.

In August, the UAT / Locked Horns / SWAT HD collaboration "Covet" won four awards at the IFP/Phoenix "Beat the Clock" event. The film, produced in just 48 hours over the weekend of July 15th through 17th, garnered the following awards: "Best Director" (for Professor Paul DeNigris), "Best Use of Line" (for our use of the mandated dialogue "As long as it's free..."), "Best Ensemble" (for our amazing cast), and "2nd Place Film."

In November, student Trevor Spotted Eagle took home the "Best Directing" trophy at the Inter-College 48 Hour Film Challenge hosted by Grand Canyon University. Watch the winning film, "The Taste of Lies," here.

Also in November, two UAT teams garnered awards in the IFP/Phoenix "Breakout Film Challenge." The team of Erica Faccone, Bryan Simcox, Wes Peterson, and Sean Walter produced the drama "Wish You Were Here," which took home the awards for "Best Use of Theme" and "5th Place Film." Meanwhile, the team of Trevor Spotted Eagle, Samantha Hammond, Jamil Abubakar, Caleb Evans, Ib Gillett, Jared Oppie, Tyler Dennis, Ariel Navarrette, and Paul Rosario, working under the supervision of Professor Paul DeNigris, produced the sci-fi thriller "Reset." Their film won awards for "Best Visual Effects" and "3rd Place Film."

Other Projects

In March, TEDxPhoenix published the speaker videos that had been produced by UAT DV students during the tail end of 2010. Another team of students is currently finishing the editing on the TEDxPhoenix 2011 speaker videos, which should be published early in 2012.

In April, a crack team of UAT students and alumni assisted Professor Paul DeNigris in shooting his Master's Thesis film, "Parallax," a 24-minute Iraq War drama. Post-production continued throughout the remainder of the year and has just been completed. Film festival submissions have just begun. Watch a short behind-the-scenes montage here.

Also completed this year was the family-friendly sci-fi adventure "Flight of the Melvin," an 8-minute comedic romp about a 14-year-old geek who builds his own jetpack and soars into the middle of an alien invasion. "Flight of the Melvin" will be making its film festival premiere at the Santa Clarita Film Festival in January.

Currently in pre-production is the eagerly anticipated "Red Sand: A Mass Effect Fan Film," currently being developed by the DV Production Studio classes. Principle photography on "Red Sand" begins in January and will star the man behind the iconic voice of Commander Shepard, Mark Meer. Set on Mars, "Red Sand" chronicles the early days of the "Mass Effect" videogame universe and the discovery of the alien technology which makes the games possible. Here's a quick look at some test composites, turning the empty lot to the east of UAT into the surface of Mars:

Congratulations to everyone involved in the many successes UAT Digital Video has achieved this year! And here's to an even better 2012!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'Flight of the Melvin' to make film festival debut in Santa Clarita Valley

We are excited to announce the first film festival appearance of our sci-fi comedy "Flight of the Melvin" - at the 2012 Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival, January 5th through 8th, in Newhall, California!

From the film festival's website:

Once again we will continue to focus on films appropriate for all ages, both feature-length and short format, with professional, college and high school submission categories and special rates for students.

"Flight of the Melvin" couldn't be a better fit for this festival! Here's the synopsis: "14-year-old space geek Melvin is constantly being nagged by his mom to 'clean the danged birdcage.' Finally having had enough, Melvin gathers some spare parts and builds himself a jetpack to fly away. A few moments into his first successful flight, Melvin finds himself in the middle of an alien invasion that only he can stop! Produced by the students and faculty of the University of Advancing Technology Digital Video Program, 'Flight of the Melvin' is a light-hearted sci-fi comedy adventure for the whole family!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What is Color Sampling?

Any time a new camera is introduced to the market, one of the key specs that gets bandied about is "color sampling." Is it 4:4:4? 4:2:2? 4:1:1?

What do all these numbers mean, and how do they relate to how our images look? Here's a simple explanation with good diagrams for comparison, written by Graeme Nattress, published courtesy of Larry Jordan and Associates.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Inspiration: Stargate Studios' 'XXIT' Shot with the Canon C300

Test videos shot with Canon's new "Cinema EOS" C300 system are starting to hit the web, but none are as closely aligned with the type of filmmaking we do at UAT as this one. Produced by VFX house Stargate Studios, "XXIT" is a 12-minute film that channels a bit of Blade Runner while also showing the extreme range of the C300's capabilities.

The "making of" video below is not only a great primer for shooting on a "virtual backlot," but is also an in-depth look at the many features Canon included in their first Cinema EOS offering.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pixiq: 'Everything About Camera Lenses'

What's the most important part of your camera? The body or the lens? Author and photographer Haje Jan Kamps argues that it's the glass, and we're inclined to agree. His article on covers the fundamentals of how lenses work, and discusses apertures, depth of field, focal length, and much more. Mandatory reading for you cinematographers!