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PP-IO Film & Lightning Media Deal

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By Henry TurnerLightning Media, iO Film and USA Video Interactive Corp. (USVO) have partnered to create what they call the Total Solutions Package, offering independent filmmakers a one-stop shop for postproduction, digital intermediate and antipiracy security needs. It was introduced during the Nov 3–10 American Film Market in Santa Monica.Stephen Buchsbaum, CEO of Lightning Media, sees the Total Solutions Package as a means for indie filmmakers to find an easier way to obtain a full spectrum of post services. The company is well known for its duplication and input/output services for HD and standard-def productions. But Buchsbaum became increasingly aware of a need to handle additional post services.“Clients asked for services that we weren’t able to provide; for example, [watermarking],” he says. “Clients were talking about anti-piracy, so we came up with a solution by partnering with MediaSentinel and USVO. If the client needs to go to the film format, then we go to iO. Basically what we’re trying to do is make it easy for filmmakers to deliver their products to film festivals, for theatrical release, and keep the security there with the watermark.”Pointing out that lower- or medium-budget filmmakers have ample reason to get scared away by the larger companies, Buchsbaum emphasizes the strong customer service base that is integral to the Total Solution Package. Postproduction advisors and specialists are on hand to answer questions and discuss project specifications in detail, and pricing is created on a project-to-project basis, allowing the filmmaker to keep within his budget. “We work with each filmmaker on an individual basis, and we let him know he is not a second-class citizen.”iO Film has established its reputation providing digital intermediate services to indie filmmakers. “We attract the independents because we’re known for being a more hands-on company,” says Tim Krubsack, president of iO Film. “We’re able to spend more time with the clients and walk them through the digital intermediate process.” At iO, films are scanned, color-corrected, put through the DI processes, and visual effects shots are created. After the content is put back onto film, HD masters are created from the original 2K files. The masters are then sent to Lightning to create the conversions and dupes: the Digibeta master, PALdigi, NTSC, VHS, or whatever the client needs. During that process the MediaSentinel watermark is put onto all the dupes, explains Krubsack.Edwin Molina, president and CEO of USVA, describes MediaSentinel as an anti-piracy deterrence technology, in which a unique watermark is put on each duplicated copy of a film.“You’ve got techies out there who can break into almost anything,” says Molina. “So why not figure out how to put a forensic tracker on it like a DNA, and tell them that this film has a watermark on it, and every film is going to have a different watermark—a different fingerprint, so to speak, like every human being on this planet.” While MediaSentinel does not prevent theft, it offers a method by which theft can be readily identified.iO recently purchased a 26,000 square foot building at Sunset and Cahuenga in Hollywood. It plans to move its present facilities into the new space in Spring 2005, where bigger and better digital intermediate services will be provided, among other things. Lightning Media is located just a few blocks away on Highland Ave. USVO’s MediaSentinel package is available at Lightning—making Total Solutions a one-stop shop (or two stops, a couple blocks from each other) for indie filmmakers.

Written by Henry Turner

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