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Cache Creek, color grading and naked puppets...

Well, the summer heat seems to be slowly giving way to Fall. If you're like us, you couldn't be happier.

With the arrival of Fall, it means returning to the always entertaining Cache Creek Casino with the incredible team from B&P Advertising. This year we continued with the concept of oversized numbers and words to convey to the players in Northern California that Cache Creek Casino offers the best odds and betting options of any other property in the area. This year we utilized the power of the RED Dragon. This camera gave us the most diversity for rich colors, incredible detail and the HDR function. We even shot a couple scenes in 6K! Just a couple though. The 6K gave us a tremendous amount of information and the ability to really move around the frame. But man, those files are huge! We are super happy with the final spots and we will be sharing them very soon. They are going through final color as I type.

Speaking of color, I'd really like to take a moment to talk about our color services. Its funny to me that less than 10 years ago a spot would not be finished till it received some love from a colorist. Now, before you get all up in arms, I'm not saying this still doesn't happen. It does. It just doesn't happen too often. In my opinion, the "looks good to me" has carried over from on-set video village to the edit suite. Clients are happy with the results of a super simple "best light" look. Now, I get it to a certain extent but diving into a project and really utilizing Di Vinci Resolve is amazing. The footage will look incredible and on top of that you have the ability to help design the message and tone by exploring Resolve. It could be as simple as a subtle vignette to help the viewer focus on a point of interest, or it could be cleaning up someone's complexion or a bloodshot eye. How about creating layers and textures from the mass amounts of information collected from set? What I am trying to say- I think we have lost sight of a very important part of the process. There is no reason we should not be making everything we deliver as perfect as possible. I know. I know exactly what you are saying, "Chris, you want us to spend more money!" Well of course I do, that's why we are here. But so do you. You as the client want to make more money too. It's how we do things. But all I am saying in this situation is to explore what can be done by color grading your final product. Here is a little secret: when you're not looking, we color grade all our projects- every single one of them.  We want everything we do to look incredible. Normally, we bring the DP back into the session and have them work with the colorist. This insures the image is following a direction from the person who designed it. It has worked out really well and clients have really seen the benefit. So, when it comes time for your next project, please keep in mind the time to really work the color. It will make a difference. And if you have any questions about Di Vinci Resolve please let us know.

8 years ago, we produced a commercial spot for Southern Nevada Health District called "Flu TV." The spot featured a gaggle of sock puppets listening to a marionette puppet Doctor talk about the benefits of using a tissue, so as not to spread germs. It was one of the best experiences of my professional career. Puppets are awesome! I was lucky enough to keep in touch with most of the puppeteers. One in particular, his name is Scott Land. Scott was an LA based puppeteer, but he and his shop are now here in Las Vegas. Scott is an incredible talent, who is a true master of his craft. We were fortunate enough to be allowed into Scott's shop to shoot a short little doc on Scott and his craft. The video will be posted very soon. As Scott and I chatted during the shoot, we riffed ideas back and forth on how we could work together again. All I can say is this... some cool ideas are now being developed and we are excited about the opportunity. The video is available on our YOUTUBE channel. http://youtu.be/RlKfKA0tXW8

Well, that's it for now. Of course, there are other things but for right now this should hold you over till the next post. Please keep in mind, we are totally down for any questions you might have. All you need to do is reach out and ask. 

Talk to you soon,

Chris

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NASCAR, Mac Pro and a Movie in the home stretch....

We've been spending a lot of time out at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I'll be the first one to tell you, I don't have a clue about racing cars. I don't. But now, I have a huge appreciation for the entire sport of auto racing. SMP Vegas spent 3 days at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400, and just recently 2 more days prepping and shooting driving interiors. I was amazed at the precision, skill, determination and safety on display on every level. From the mechanics to the drivers and everyone in between, these groups of professionals are a lesson in effective teamwork. They are all there for the love of their sport, and are open to introducing people to their world.

It was a hustle weekend for the Kobalt 400. We shot everything we could, utilizing our Black Magic Cinema Camera and a Canon C100 with an assortment of compact primes and a cinema zoom lens. We were given complete access to the garages, the pits, the track and most of the drivers. At first, it was bit overwhelming, but it quickly turned into "a kid in the candy store" day. We couldn't get enough of the atmosphere and the excitement. It was amazing and a highlight for the team at SMP. The footage we captured is amazing. 

Mr. Jesse Johnson doing his thing. He is one of the most valuable, hardest working guys we work with.

Mr. Jesse Johnson doing his thing. He is one of the most valuable, hardest working guys we work with.

Weeks later, we returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a series of interior shots. We needed to get the action and rush of being in a NASCAR. With a lot of help from our friends at the Richard Petty Driving experience, we rigged a car with the Black Magic Cinema Camera and a Canon 14 mm cinema prime lens. Once we tested the rig, it was off to the track with our hero camera car and a handful of additional race cars. The drivers hit the track and gave us an assortment of passes, follows and leads. For good measure, we strapped on a couple GoPros. It was an amazing day. To the folks at B&P Advertising, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and The Richard Petty Driving Experience... thank you for all of your help, your guidance and the opportunity. I can now say, I not only understand the sport... I am a fan.

The Black Magic is secure and ready for business.

As I type, the team is setting up our new Mac Pros and building out the new systems. SMP Vegas will be introducing the new systems within the next couple weeks. Our video and audio boxes are all being updated. We are excited for this update and excited for our clients to experience a new level of service. This update will allow the team to take advantage of working across multiple platforms. These systems will be faster and give SMP Vegas the opportunity to make the client experience more freeing, and ultimately create a better final product. We are beyond excited.

SMP Vegas has been working on a feature length documentary for the past couple months and the finish line is in sight. Craig and the director have been crafting this wonderful film and it gets better and better with each day. Soon the film will be heading in for the original score, an audio mix, sound design, color grading and final output. We are thrilled to be involved with this project. Working on this film has been a great experience for all of us here at SMP Vegas. The feature length film experience is a true test of patience and endurance.

And finally, all of us at SMP Vegas want to give a huge congratulations and shout out to the team at Light Forge Studios for the release of their newest film,  Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West. Show your support for local filmmakers and get behind this film.  http://www.popovichmovie.com.

Till next time. 

Chris

  

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A brief catch up...

SMP Vegas is really excited about a handful of things happening.

First thing, The documentary- Craig is deep into cutting a feature length film. We will be rolling out more information pretty soon and from what I hear there could be some footage to preview really soon too. Also associated with the doc, we will be welcoming Jared Mander, the DP of the film, for a visit and an interview about the film. Jared is a gifted and talented DP, who brings tons of experience to this project.

Next, we said good-bye to Chris Sekerek, who moved to California to follow his dream of becoming the first hydroponic farmer of the hybrid avacado-lime-cilantro fruit. Crack it open and instant guacamole. He seems to believe in it. We wish him the best.  To fill his place, we've hired a new addition to the team. His name is Ib Gillett. Ib comes to us from Arizona, where he was cutting Harlem Globetrotter spots and working on his After Effects skills. We are excited to have Ib as part of the team.

Finally, SMP Vegas is upgrading all its work stations to the new Mac Pros. We will be upgrading the facility across the board. This upgrade will benefit the production process as a whole. There is nothing better than getting new gear. It will be like opening an avocado and realizing it's already guacamole. Huh, Little Chris might be on to something.

And to throw this out there, with NAB coming up... What are you excited about seeing or learning about? Let us know... We're curious. Send us your thoughts or links to info@smpvegas.com

Anyway, be good and stay tuned. 

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We're working on a documentary...

Hey all- We are extremely happy to announce a new project at SMP Vegas. It is a feature length documentary titled "Semi Colon." We are working with L to the Highest Power Productions on this project. This film is going to be an emotional ride with a young woman and her family as they deal with the young woman's severe case of Crohn's Disease. This story focuses on her strength and determination to educate herself and others about Crohn's Disease. We will be following her fight as her doctors and family help her battle the disease. This project has brought together an incredible team of video professionals, animators,  doctors and a director with a focused vision. SMP Vegas is proud to be a part of the team. I'll continue to post updates about this project and ways for you to be involved and meet the people behind the scenes. Stay in touch for more updates. You will fall in love with this girl's personality and strength... she is a true inspiration.

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Holy Cow! There are balls everywhere!

That's right folks! There were balls everywhere- Tennis balls. SMP Vegas was happy to have Bally Technologies (formerly ShuffleMaster) return to update their Table Master game series. This time in Mandarin. I even learned a bit of Mandarin, check it out- English- Tick-Toc. Mandarin- Bing-Bong. Consider yourself educated and you're welcome. The crew at SMP Vegas spent some serious time prepping for this project. The quick run down on this- One dealer on camera delivering over 500 lines of dialog, over 100 actions to camera, all over the course of two days. For the models, it was an exercise in patience and control. Imagine holding the same smile for 16 hours. For the crew, it was keeping a keen eye on the details of hair, makeup, wardrobe and lighting. This is the 4th time we have collaborated with the team at Bally Technologies and every time gets better and better. A huge thank you goes out to them. Here are a couple images from the shoot. 

The set up changed with each model and between the lines, eye-lines and motions. The girls had a ton to do.

The set up changed with each model and between the lines, eye-lines and motions. The girls had a ton to do.

it kinda looks like torture. Oh and hey, there's Natalie our hair and make up artist.

it kinda looks like torture. Oh and hey, there's Natalie our hair and make up artist.

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Every end leads to a beginning...

2013 is just about over and the new year is waiting to begin. At SMP Vegas, we are excited for the new year. I mean, who wouldn't be... our job is about making people feel something about what they are seeing, hearing and/or both. It's pretty cool.

This past year presented us with some great projects with great people. We are all very thankful to our clients-- each and everyone-- for their hard work and trust.  And we know, some things aren't very exciting to look at and somethings are a bit annoying to listen to, but we always find the good. We love every second, of every minute, of what we do. We make sure that whatever it is we do, we put in the extra effort to make it the best it can be. This is our craft and our passion.

Every member of the SMP Vegas team puts in their all-- Craig's magical color tweaks and attention to every detail; Matt's passion for solid design and art direction; Lil Chris' growth into a seasoned editor; Kevin's rock solid reliability as Vegas' premier audio producer and Amanda's continued patience and organization that makes SMP function smoothly. I am so proud of this team of professionals and can't thank them enough.

And now, as we head into 2014, we will take on new challenges and goals. We look forward to continuing our existing relationships and tackling some new ones. This year is going to be an interesting one... I promise.

Happy New Year!

Chris

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Beer, whiskey, local bands and a new camera...

The month of May has proven to be an interesting month. We welcomed Jarrod Oram to the team. Jarrod is our Senior Producer. He brings a great energy, work ethic and knowledge to the team. We are super happy to have him with us. Another great thing about Jarrod, he celebrates and sulks over baked goods... and he shares. Hopefully, it will be all about celebrating. Feel free to shoot Jarrod an e-mail- jarrod@smpvegas.com. And stay tuned for his posts on our SMP Vegas facebook page.  

We worked with a cool piece of equipment this month. It is the Tyler Mount Mini Gyro. This little sucker basically absorbs the vibrations of a vehicle or aircraft to create a smooth ride for the camera. It was a lot of fun to use and it made our shoot for R+W Advertising smooth. The mount is available through Sundance Helicopters- ask for Tom.

Recently, we have been drinking some fine craft beers and sampling whiskey. It's kinda research for an couple up coming projects. We'll have more to come on this project real soon.

We also just finished producing an episode of Sessions: Las Vegas, a local music show promoting the local music scene. The episode we shot is with The Clydesdale. These guys are super talented and a lot of fun. Sessions: Las Vegas will be airing on Vegas TV- KTUD Channel very soon.

And finally, we received our Blackmagic Cinema Camera. We've shot a couple things on the camera and it is proving to be a very powerful tool. It has a great look when it is paired with the right lens. It can also capture big beautiful images at 2.5k. We will continue to play with the camera and start sharing images. 

So, that's it for now. And in the wise words of my 4 year old... don't forget to brush your hair and change your underwear! 

See ya soon.

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What we've been up to...

What's happening everyone...

A lot has been going on here at SMP Vegas. We've had a busy month or so. Between new spots for VEGAS.COM, some animation projects and our normal work load, it's been an exciting time. Let's start with our animation project.

We worked with MARZ and Co. for their client Aristocrat Technology. The task was to create a buffalo charging through an open space while along the way leaping, running and ducking in and out of different mobile devices. The buffalo ran past a laptop, through a tablet, then into a smart phone and finally settled into a gaming cabinet. Craig took the lead on this project and jumped into Cinema 4D. With the help of Turbo Squid, Craig found the right buffalo for the project. From there, he created the frame and skeleton to create a weighted structure. After some tweaks and a crazy amount of manipulations, the buffalo came to life. Then came the actual animation of the running buffalo. Craig end up using a series of stills created for a penny movie machine from the early 1900's as his guide - old became new. Matt jumped in on the buffalo project to assist in creating the space and the devices for the buffalo to interact with. It was an incredible exercise in teamwork and the new tech we have here at SMP Vegas. In the end, everything came together and the presentation video was a hit. Craig, Matt and Kevin did an awesome job. We'll be posting the video very soon for everyone to see.

We also produced a series of spots for The Geary Company and their client Golden Gaming. We shot in Glaziers Food Market overnight and had a great time with the cast and crew. The spots hit the market in high frequency and we are very proud to be a part of Golden Gaming's roll out for their rewards program.

On the production side,  we discovered the Canon series of CS cameras. While we wait for our Blackmagic Cinema camera, we have been renting and working with the CS100 and CS300. Partner these with a set of Zeiss Compact Prime lens and wow! These are amazing cameras that capture a fantastic image and will not break the bank. We used the CS300 on the latest VEGAS.COM commercial.

The VEGAS.COM  spots were shot on green screen and placed our lovely host Denise Pernula in a series of Vegas locations. It's a fun concept and it looks great.

As we begin to roll towards the summer, SMP Vegas is excited about a handful of great projects on the books. So stay tuned, we'll keep you posted. We also will be adding onto the team... I can't say too much but pretty soon we will be making the announcement. 

That's it for now. Talk to you soon.

Chris

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The Studio is done!

We are complete! The office and edit portion of the SMP Vegas is in full swing with clients coming and going. And now, the studio space is complete. The cyc is done. The lighting hung. We've even done our first webcast with Nevada State Bank from the studio. We've posted some pictures in the gallery section of the site. Check them out. 

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We moved!

Yep, that's right folks... we moved. Sun Media Productions is now located in Henderson.

Life is about change and change is good and in our case... change is great. Let's be honest, we never really fit at the location on Procyon. There were way too many memories of other people and situations. Plus, we literally did not fit. It was like getting hand-me-downs that were a bit worn and too big... it was a struggle to find an individual identity... there was always, "didn't this used to be..." or "I remember when." I know we all grew tired of the constant stroll down memory lane. Plus, most of the time it was not very positive. Well, we are now done with it all.

Sun Media Productions is now SMP Vegas. Our parent company, Greenspun Media Group, offered us the perfect opportunity to expand our services and open a brand new shop. And it is brand new. Construction started on November 23rd and was completed on the 29th. We moved in on the 30th and opened back up for business on December 3rd. It was like ripping a Band-Aid off... done before you knew it with a slight sensation of shock. New rooms, new furniture, new paint, new gear, a NEW STUDIO (still under construction)  but there is one big carry over from the old building... the talent.  

Our team has never been better. We are a unified group of creators. We love what we do and always strive to push the creative. In the next couple weeks, we will be making a handful of announcements- new technology, new services and a couple surprises. Also, this blog will serve as a sounding post, for the whole gang. We will keep you all up to date and let you know what we have going on. This is a new and exciting journey.  We all hope you will come along and play a part in making a creative and entertaining mark on the world. Yes, I said world. We will see you soon.

Chris

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