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LaserPacific Announces New Digital Mastering Focus and Team


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#1 Sue Smith

Sue Smith
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Posted 14 November 2008 - 12:12 PM

LaserPacific Media Corporation has announced the formation of a new team and business unit to focus on digital motion picture mastering and ?re-mastering.? With this expanded capability, LaserPacific CEO Brian Burr also announced the appointment of Ron Burdett as general manager of the mastering unit, and Lou Levinson as the supervising colorist ? mastering, among others.

Burr asserted that the company has added some of the industry?s most capable and accomplished operations and creative talent to its team. ?There is no doubt that Ron Burdett brings incredible perspective and experience to the task of creating motion picture masters with more than 25 years as a post production industry pioneer,? he says. ?Ron literally helped invent the mastering business.

?Having a world-class talent such as Lou Levinson lead our creative efforts allows us to keep the needs and viewpoint of the creative community firmly in our sights. While technology will be an important component of our service delivery, and we certainly intend to bring our unique color management and innovation legacy to this space, having an expert such as Lou guide our creative hand as we make technology decisions will truly put the focus on our customer?s product.?

LaserPacific?s entry to this business compliments its already fully-staffed and integrated digital intermediate, home video delivery and motion picture trailer operations, and anticipates the industry?s current focus on re-mastering for Blu-ray and the creation of other high-quality digital masters. In explaining the strategy behind the expansion of LaserPacific?s mastering capabilities, President Leon Silverman says, ?LaserPacific is fully engaged and ready to meet the coming challenge of helping to prepare motion picture libraries for the era of digital file-based deliveries and to create suitable masters for new digital distribution opportunities. To that end, we have expanded our team to include some of the industry?s most-seasoned and accomplished operations and creative talent as we continue to build out infrastructure and capability to meet the demand.?

Burdett, who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Post Alliance, is known for the leadership roles he has played in post production for more than 25 years. As founder and owner of Sunset Digital, he helped to create the modern motion picture mastering and restoration industry infrastructure. He also led efforts to create digital authoring and encoding facilities for DVD and other new digital media as well as building one of the industry?s first digital cinema mastering environments. ?To be part of LaserPacific with its history of technical excellence and innovation, backed by Kodak which is so important to our industry, is a great career highlight,? says Burdett. ?We are building a team with capabilities that are second to none, and to have someone of the caliber and talent of Lou Levinson to lead our creative efforts is powerful.?

Levinson, the world-famous colorist?s colorist, received an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. He has distinguished himself over his career as someone whose creative eye and point of view has helped to guide the likes of directors Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson, cinematographers Vittorio Storaro, AIC, ASC, Janusz Kaminski, Allen Daviau, ASC, and many others as they created digital masters of their cinematic images. His considerable credits include digital masters for such important, culturally iconic motion pictures as Apocalypse Now, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Schindler?s List, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and many others. Levinson has played a number of important leadership roles within the industry including helping to create the Standard Test Evaluation Materials (SteM), which served as the definitive reference for the evaluation of digital cinema systems and standards. In addition, Levinson chairs the Digital Intermediate Sub-Committee of the American Society of Cinematographers Technology Committee where he plays a pivotal role. His contributions to what has become the de-facto industry color metadata system, the ASC CDL (Color Decision List), are widely acknowledged.

?I am honored and excited to join LaserPacific and to help them create a team and a creative/technology point of view at this very important time in our industry,? Levinson says. ?The film-based images of our industry need to be prepared for new digital technologies and I am proud to help LaserPacific and Kodak ensure that those images are true to their creative intent and represented in the highest possible quality.?

Additionally, LaserPacific has also brought on important members to this new unit, including mastering colorist Tom Forletta, who has 13 years of mastering experience specializing in both motion picture and television titles such as digital restoration on titles such as Remains of the Day, Bugsy and the digital re-mastering of the original Star Trek television series adds another level of depth to this growing team. Forletta joins such seasoned colorists as LaserPacific?s senior digital intermediate colorists Dave Cole and Mike Sowa, who will participate in the mastering operations. Cole?s credits include Lord of the Rings and King Kong; Sowa provided his mastering skills on Brokeback Mountain, Pleasantville and the Austin Powers series. Sowa is a protégée of Levinson, whom he worked alongside at the industry-pioneering High Definition Center at Universal Studios.

Also joining the expanded new unit is veteran quality assurance specialist Fred Johannsen and David Houck, who will head mastering client services. Johannsen comes to LaserPacific with significant experience in quality control and total quality management, specifically geared to the QC of master and element deliveries for many post facilities over the past 10 years. Houck has 20 years of post production experience and has looked after mastering clients and motion picture library servicing work for many of the major Hollywood studios.

Burr, who in addition to his role as CEO of the company also oversees company operations as the company?s chief operation officer, sums up LaserPacific?s aggressive mastering moves when he says, ?It should be apparent by the team we are building and the infrastructure we are creating that we intend to be a significant, world-class player in the mastering and ?re-mastering? business. As a Kodak company, it is essential for us to play a leadership role in preserving our film heritage for the future.?
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