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River Blindness Introduction delivered on BluRay disc

Biscardi Creative Media recently delivered an introductory project for an upcoming feature-length documentary about River Blindness disease. Produced by Gary Strieker and Cielo Productions, the project was a 10 minute overview of what the disease is and a brief look into some of the preventative measures being implemented by The Carter Center.

The presentation, "The Crab and the Fly" was shot in 720p HD in multiple locations in Africa and Latin America over a two year period. Editorial was performed by Aaron R. Stewart and the final presentation was delivered on 1080i BluRay disc using BCM in-house BluRay authoring & publishing tools.

The feature length documentary is scheduled for completion by mid to late 2009. 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Nov 28, 2008 at 4:13:58 am editing, hd, documentaries, apple, final cut pro, bluray, hd dvd

Assignment Earth Season One BluRays completed

BCM has completed all BluRay disc production for Season One of "Assignment Earth," airing nationally on PBS stations.

Assignment Earth covers environmental and wildlife stories from the front lines around the world. Lead by Producer Gary Strieker, the series has traveled to Mexico, Thailand, China and Africa in just the first season bringing back stunning 720p and 1080i High Definition footage. Artists Walter Biscardi, Jr. and Aaron Stewart teamed up to create the first 5 episodes on BluRay disc, bringing the full quality of the original shows to the home viewer.

The entire series is being self-published at BCM's facility.

Tools used: Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, DoStudio, Panasonic BluRay replicator, FlexWriter IV Printer.



Posted by: walter biscardi on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:56:20 am hd, documentaries, apple, bluray, hd dvd, environment

BCM completes Preeclampsia Fund Raiser

BCM is proud to have recently completed a fund-raiser for the Preeclampsia Foundation. When we started this project, we honestly had no idea what Preeclampsia is or what it can do to pregnant women and/or their babies.

 From the Preeclampsia Foundation website: "Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine."

Ultimately the condition can lead to death of the mother and/or the baby in some circumstances. Editor Aaron Stewart and Artist Walter Biscardi, Jr. worked with Producers Pat Etheridge and Cindy Beckler to create the 24 minute feature presentation and an 8 minute preview. The preview version was featured at a major fundraiser in Washington, D.C. with 500 copies of the feature presentation given to the audience.

To learn more about Preeclampsia visit http://www.preeclampsia.org/index.asp

 Tools used: Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, DVD Studio Pro.



Posted by: walter biscardi on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:50:12 am editing, documentaries, apple, final cut pro, health care

BluRay launches 3 documentaries for 2009

I'm really happy to report publicly for the first time that we'll be providing all post production for 3 feature length documentaries that are currently destined for major film festivals and network HD broadcast in 2009 and 2010.   We can trace at least part of this announcement to our investment in BluRay and in-house self-publishing of the high definition discs.

Yesterday a sample 9 minute version of the first of the three proposed documentaries was presented to the Carter Center here in Atlanta.   Among the people present were both hollywood executives and an executive of an international television network and most importantly, President Jimmy Carter.  It has been Mr. Carter's mission to eradicate major diseases to impoverished areas of the world and in this particular presentation, the story was Guinea worm and its debilitating effect on people, especially the very young.   I'm going to be very honest and say that for the first week I had a very difficult time cutting the piece and had to walk out of the suite multiple times a day to get away from the screams of the little girl who serves as the primary focus of this presentation.  It was a natural sound story told through the stories of the man who oversees the eradication program for the Carter Center and the volunteers on the ground.  All in all, it presents a very powerful emotional punch.

In order to present the project properly, we authored and created a BluRay disc and the production company purchased a Panasonic DLP HD projector for the event.  Actually that part is kind of cool because now we have full access to a large format DLP HD projector anytime we need one.    In addition to the presentation disc, we duplicated 20 BluRay and 30 DVD copies for all the board and associated personnel to take home.  All packaged in proper DVD and BluRay cases with full four color sleeves designed in Photoshop and printed on our own laser printer.  The discs themselves were printed on our new FlexWriter IV DVD duplicator / printer.

The fact that we were able to deliver and present the project on BluRay made an immediate impression before the viewing even began.  At the conclusion of the presentation, the accolades for both the story and technical quality of the presentation were overwhelming.   We will most likely debut at least one of the documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival and it is very likely that all three documentaries will appear on a major international H.D. network in 2009 or 2010.  The narrator will be a major hollywood star or potentially several stars, talks are already underway.

What we were able to accomplish by not only jumping in to the BluRay authoring realm, but also the duplication and finishing was to allow our client to look incredibly good in front of a very demanding audience.  It's because of this ability to not only tell the story on screen, but deliver it in the highest possible quality anytime, anywhere, that we were granted the offer to be a part of these three documentaries and essentially have one edit suite already fully booked for 2009.

BluRay self-publishing is here and it works.

Equipment used:

Apple Final Cut Pro, AJA Kona 3, Apple Compressor 3, Adobe Encore CS3, FastMac BluRay Burner, Panasonic BluRay Duplicator, FlexWriter IV DVD Printer, HP LaserJet 3000 Printer .

 

 

 




Royalty Free Footage - Do your research, get the samples

We're working on a corporate documentary type of project that involves teenagers who lived through Hurricane Katrina. The project is all shot in high definition and of course, the producer was in the market for some news footage of the hurricane and its aftermath to help craft the story.

Looking around the web we found buyoutfootage.com with the most reasonably priced footage, about $450 for 19 minutes of the aftermath rescues and such. The description of the reel describes pretty much exactly what we were looking for with military personnel helping people, flooded streets, the mayor walking around, etc.... It's available on BetaSP so we naturally assumed it would all be clean, good quality footage. Being on a quick turnaround schedule, we simply ordered the master without getting the sample DVD.

That was a bad decision. When we received the tape, a lot of the footage looked like it had been captured at a very low resolution or it had been through about 5 or 6 generations of dubs. Most of it is very soft, again, like bad transfers along the way.

So I called buyoutfootage.com and it was explained to me that all of the footage is from the Department of Defense and it was all dubbed from the original sources at an Air Force Base.As there's no way to know what types of cameras the various folks were shooting with, the quality varies from very good to really really poor. That fact is not mentioned in the synopsis.

Synopsis: The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 storm, which made landfall on the morning of August 29, 2005. Aerial views of the flooding in New Orleans and helicopter rescue of people trapped by the floodwaters.

Scenes of people being removed from a freeway overpass by helicopter, and aerial view of the Super Dome. People waiting at the airport. Short scene of President Bush and Mayor Ray Nagin walking toward camera. Shows devastation of homes along the Gulf Coast.

In fact I was told I was the first one to complain about the quality of the footage and that there are "DV folks" and then there are "video connoisseurs." I guess I fall into the later and the DV folks don't know the difference in quality? Regardless, approx. 80% of the footage is far below what I could consider full quality video and really should not be sold to anyone without an explicit note in the description along the lines of "This footage was shot by Department of Defense personnel using consumer and professional cameras. Video quality varies widely."

The person on the phone told me I really should have ordered the DVD Sample disc (for $35) before ordering the footage. Yes, we will definitely do that in the future. To be absolutely fair here, the folks at buyout footage were very pleasant to speak to the phone and they did do a makegood offer so that we will have enough images to make this project work.

So for those of you seeking out royalty free and low cost footage, especially of major events, be sure to:

1 - Ask how the footage was obtained.

2 - Ask what the quality of the footage is. (Is it first generation? What cameras / format was it shot on?)

3 - Order the preview DVD where available.

 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 17, 2008 at 4:35:58 pmComments (1) editing, documentaries, indie film

Jonathan Demme's "Man from Plains" Premieres, BCM provides assist

SUGAR HILL, GA9/8/2007 Jonathan Demme's new documentary, Man From Plains, about former President Jimmy Carter had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 7th, 2007. The film received a two minute standing ovation and will next be presented at the Toronto Film Festival with the Carters in attendance on Monday, September 10th. The film is an intimate two-hour portrayal of the 39th President set against the backdrop of Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid book tour. Biscardi Creative Media, located just outside Atlanta, Georgia provided extensive production support for this project working with Producer Gary Strieker, The Carter Center and Demme's production team at PostWorks in New York. BCM turned around hours of archival material in both standard definition and high definition. "We're honored to have been a small part of this very important project about a man who has been such a champion of human rights and health issues," said Walter Biscardi, Jr., Principal, Biscardi Creative Media. "It was a bit hectic here with four different formats of material and literally hundreds of hours of footage to sift through, but with guidance from Demme's team, Gary Strieker, our team was able to turn around all the footage to make the deadline. We wish the film much success as it moves forward and look forward to future projects with The Carter Center." The film has been picked up by Sony Classic Pictures and is slated for release in October. For more information about “Man from Plains:”http://www.sonyclassics.com/jimmycartermanfromplains/index.html For more information about Biscardi Creative Media:http://www.biscardicreative.com For more information about The Carter Center:http://www.cartercenter.org/homepage.html


Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 8, 2007 at 4:11:30 am editing, hd, movies, documentaries, apple, final cut pro

Quicktime Player now reads Timecode

As Chi-Ho Lee noted on the Final Cut Pro forum today, Quicktime 7.1.6 has been released in anticipation of Final Cut Studio 2 and you can now read timecode in the Quicktime Player. Wow! Finally! Not sure why it took so long, but here's the proof.

If you click on the running time you now get a drop down box which gives you three choices of the Standard Running Time, Timecode and Frame Number.

Here's the clip now showing the original timecode off the camera tape. VERY cool and now anyone with Quicktime Player can accurately see timecodes without the need to burn in TC windows. Thank you Apple!




Walter Biscardi's NAB 2007 Schedule

Well folks, NAB 2007 is upon us and I hope to be able to meet some of you. So if you're going to Las Vegas, here is where you'll definitely find me!

Sunday April 15 - Apple Event AM, Panasonic Event PM

Monday April 16 - AJA Booth all day, Booth SL6113 directly across from Apple.

Tuesday April 17 - AJA Booth AM, Booth SL6113.

Creative Cow booth PM, Booth SL2626. Between Adobe and Grass Valley

(on your right as you walk to the Apple booth.)

Wednesday, April 18 - Presenting "HD Finishing in Final Cut Pro" as part of the Post Production sessions.

3:30 - 4:45pm, Room N259. I'll be showing some of our production workflow for the Food Network program, Good Eats.

I'll also be at a few of the evening events, but not really sure where, so if you see me, be sure to say hi!






Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.

 




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