RunawayTrain’s Last Call makes “Best Of” Screening 2011

Great news!! The Denver 48 Hr. Film Project results are in….Our short film, “Last Call,” has made the “Best of Screening 2011.” They judges chose the top 14 films out of all the entries and RunawayTrain Productions is in there.

“Best of” Denver Screening/Awards Ceremony
Friday, September 9th
7:30pm, $10 per ticket

RunawayTrain Productions completes new Network ID’s for PBS Kids Sprout

Natisha Walton, Vice President and Executive Producer at RunawayTrain Productions co-produced the winter season of network IDs for PBS Kids Sprout.

PBS KIDS SproutSM is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, for kids ages 2-5. It was created as a partnership among Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment, Public Broadcasting Service, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street®.

Shot on location in picturesque Breckinridge, Colorado, the heart of Colorado’s ski country, the pre production required weeks of location scouting, wardrobe, and casting.Says Walton: “Casting children can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. You really never know how child actors will react the day of the shoot. You use your best judgment, but in the back of your mind you know they could be in a great mood during casting and not want to perform once they are on set. In our case we were very fortunate.”

Sprout is the #1 Kids On Demand service for young children, generating over half a billion orders to date. Sprout provides 60 hours of VOD programming each month, including 10-15 hours of Spanish-language programming (Plaza Sésamo®, Angelina Ballerina™, Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™,  Olly El Submarino™).

The IDs are live action and involved nearly 40 crew and talent for 2 days, and were directed by Marianne Fernsler of Sprout.

The finished products are currently running on PBS Kids Sprout.  Look for it on your local cable listings.

RunawayTrain Productions garners Regional Emmy

As reported by The Brian Allmer Media Network:

http://brianallmerradionetwork.wordpress.com/

Western Dairy Association’s (WDA) board of directors, dairy farm families and staff members met with Smart Slice Pizza partners on July 19 to celebrate a five-year, farm-to-fork partnership that resulted in the creation of a “smart”, fresh, healthy, low-fat pizza offering that can be delivered hot to schools.

Celebrating Smart Slice Pizza Partnership

The collaboration began with St. Vrain Valley School District’s request for a healthier pizza made with low-fat commodity cheese meeting USDA’s strict standards. Dairy farm families through WDA and Dairy Management Inc. teamed up with Domino’s Pizza and Leprino Foods to formulate, pilot test and roll out a new pizza that is delivered fresh and hot to schools; uses low-fat commodity cheese; is cost, labor and energy efficient; supports local business; AND would be eaten by pizza’s toughest critics – school kids.

“The partnership’s project not only won the approval of USDA and St. Vrain School District’s food service team, it won the taste buds of students. The program is now rolling out via Domino’s new national program,” says Cindy Haren, WDA’s chief executive officer.

To make the project even more successful, WDA’s film and educational materials which were developed to educate food service, school and community leaders, and parents won the region’s top news broadcast award, a Heartland Emmy Award.

The specifics of the award:

Informational/Instructional Feature/Segment
“Pizza Day – A Win-Win For Everybody”

Takeda Entertainment, Inc., Denver

Scott Takeda, Director/Writer

Daniel Dvorak, Director of Photography

Brock Sherman, Art Director

Tami Anderson, Senior Producer

Erin Johnson, Creative Director

Visit Western Dairy Association and see the video:

http://westerndairyassociation.org/schools/pizza-at-school/

RunawayTrain Productions creates 3-D production suite

Due to the increased demand for 3-D content, RunawayTrain Productions in Denver, Colorado has set up a dedicated a 3-D post production environment, enabling real time convergence adjustment with active monitoring.

Fresh off a Regional Emmy Award for Art Direction and a special effects Best of Show in the 48 Hour Film Project, Creative Director Brock Sherman sees 3-D as RunawayTrain’s next big growth area. “We’ve had some early success and it seems to be gaining momentum” says Sherman.

RunawayTrain Productions’ first foray into 3-D post production began by crudely converging stereo video streams using common DVE positioning. Sherman recalls: “We understood the basic techniques needed to create stereomedia but the tools were pretty primitive back then, and a lot of it was trial and error, so honestly, we guessed a lot. The biggest drawback was not being able to see the adjustments in a real time environment.”

After contracting to produce 3-D content for AJA Video Systems and several other clients, RunawayTrain decided a commitment to better hardware and software was necessary. Sherman continues: “Today’s software tools make the process so much more precise and the availability and reduction in price of 3-D monitoring really allows us to fine tune the convergence point for the best effects.”

RunawayTrain purchased Cineform Neo 3D, Dashwood 3d Toolbox, and a Panasonic VIERA® monitor with active glasses allowing the designer, producer, and clients to participate in the process. “We’ve found 3-D is very subjective based on content, proximity to the screen, and individual tolerance, so we see more eyes in the post production process as a good thing”.

RunawayTrain Productions participates in Albuquerque 48 Hour Film Project

48 Hour Film Project

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours.

The internationally recognized contest format created in 2001 involves a crazy idea: to try to make a film in 48 hours. The big question back then was: “Would films made in only 48 hours even be watch able?” The answer was a resounding yes, and now eight years later and with more than 150 competitions having taken place around the world, it is amazing to consider the success of the Project.

This summer, Brock Sherman, creative director at RunawayTrain Productions, in Denver, Colorado teamed up with Scott Takeda of Takeda Entertainment, Inc. to try their luck at this exceptionally challenging event held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sherman explains: “On Friday night, you get a character, a prop, a line of dialog and a genre, all to include in your movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. When complete, they show it to the public at a local theater, usually in the next week. It’s a challenge and a lot of pressure, but we feel we’re up to it”.

The 48 Hour Film Project’s mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on “doing” instead of “talking.” Last year nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in in 76 cities.

Check back with us to see how RunawayTrain Productions did ….. and the final video.

http://www.48hourfilm.com/albuquerque/

RunawayTrain creates 3-D trade show display for AJA Video Systems

3-D isn’t  just for the movies…

If you’ve seen James Cameron’s Avatar, you realize what 3-D effects can add to the visual experience. But 3-D production is just for the movies right?

Not anymore.

Brock Sherman, Creative Director with RunawayTrain Productions is working with AJA Video Systems to create a 3-D video presentation for AJA’s trade show booth at NAB

(National Association of Broadcasters) convention April 12-15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Combining high definition footage shot on RED with custom animation created by RunawayTrain Productions AJA hopes to create a show stopper on the trade floor and increase the buzz about their new video production products.

“We have been working with AJA Video Systems for a couple of years now”, says creative director Brock Sherman, “They like the style of our 2-D motion graphics work, and they’ve had us create both marketing and training presentations for them. This year, they wanted to make a real splash at NAB and what better way than incorporating the hot new technology of 3-D.”

As marketers search for more eye catching visuals, and 3-D display technology becomes more affordable, (SHARP is advertising a sub $1000 3-D ready portable DLP projector) applications for 3-D content will infiltrate the corporate space. “We think this technology has some legs” says Sherman, “so we committed some brain cells into developing a workflow for 3-D content production using mostly our existing production tools”.

RunawayTrain Productions believes the investment will pay off and even though the AJA trade show project is a closely guarded work in progress, AJA is thrilled with the direction and excited for the impact it will generate. You can see it for yourself at NAB, April 12-15th at the convention center in Las Vegas.

Has Google Speech Recognition Come of Age?

closed caption on youTube

Automatic Closed Captioning

Until now, if you are hearing impaired or speak a foreign language, you’ve been cheated out on the nearly twenty hours of riveting viral video that is uploaded each minute to our beloved YouTube. Ok, maybe not all the content is that riveting, but credit Google for introducing state of the art technology so the hearing impaired and non-native language speakers can share in the magic of “The evolution of dance” and “Achmed the Dead Terrorist” videos….

“A core part of YouTube’s DNA is access to content,” said Hunter Walk, the product team lead for YouTube. “From day one, that’s what we were hoping to do with video.”

Denver Colorado’s RunawayTrain Productions is working with clients both public and private to integrate this new technology into new projects destined for YouTube. RunawayTrain not only believes this feature will allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign and hearing impaired audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them. After all, a complete set of subtitles is the same as a transcript of the video. And you can upload subtitles for as many languages as you want.

For the viewers, most YouTube videos now include a “CC” button that, if pressed, will automatically generate the closed-captioning technology. Google’s speech-recognition technology processes the main audio track and generates the text on top of the video picture. As you can guess, this leading edge technology isn’t always perfect but it is a quantum step in communication, as well as a leg up for marketers.

Videos with captions display this small logo at the bottom of the player:  If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player.

Adding captions to videos involves uploading a closed caption file using the “Captions and Subtitles” menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, you may have to upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption.

Users can also edit and assist in the transcription. Any text editor can edit the machine transcription, Google executives said, and then re-upload it for others to use.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/t/captions_about

Runaway Train helps launch 3D TV

Golf’s Masters Tournament to Be Broadcast in 3D

March 15 (Bloomberg) — Comcast Corp. will broadcast next month’s Masters Tournament in 3-D on a special dedicated channel, marking a first for golf and capitalizing on the growing popularity of the format spurred by films like “Avatar.” Comcast, the largest U.S. cable-television provider, will assist with production and provide 3-D distribution of the tournament, golf’s first of four annual majors, the company said on its Comcast Voices blog. RunawayTrain Productions is working on a promo video announcing the channel to be shown on Comcast’s OnDemand product.

Subscribers who have a 3-D-enabled TV or personal computer will be able to watch two hours of 3-D coverage a day on Comcast’s Masters channel when the tournament airs next month, The effort marks the first live 3-D broadcast of a major sporting event on TV. CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, which share coverage of the tournament, will continue to broadcast in 2-D, said Steve Ethun, a spokesman for Augusta National Golf Club. The U.S. PGA Tour, the world’s largest golf circuit, experimented with 3-D production at the Sony Open in January. The 3-D feed wasn’t available to viewers at the time. Sony Corp. will sponsor and provide the technology and on-course cameras for the Masters 3-D broadcast, tournament officials said in a press release.

Comcast is joining a growing list of companies that are ramping up 3-D offerings as consumer demand for the technology grows. ESPN plans to start a 3-D channel in June. Discovery Communications Inc., Sony and Imax Corp. have said they’re creating a venture to introduce a channel in 2011. DirecTV said it’s embracing the technology and has plans to introduce three 3-D channels in June.“We’ve been experimenting with different holes and camera angles, and so far the test footage looks fantastic,” Derek Harrar, Comcast’s senior vice president of video, said in an interview.

U.S. box-office sales set a record last year, boosted by the 3-D epic “Avatar,” the highest-grossing movie of all time. “Alice in Wonderland,” the 3-D version of Lewis Carroll’s tale, topped the box office the past two weeks, bringing in $208.6 million in ticket sales for Disney.

Sony, Samsung Electronics Co. and Panasonic Corp. are introducing 3-D TVs this year. The portion of U.S. households that will have a 3-D television set in four years will rise to 45 percent from 3 percent this year, according to U.K.-based research firm Futuresource Consulting.

Cable Faxies Award Finalists

Cable Faxie Awards

Excellence in Marketing and PR

RunawayTrain Productions in Denver, Colorado has been selected as a finalist for in the Cable FAXIES Awards in the category of Video: Use of Video or Moving Image International Media Distribution’s  2009 NCTA re-brand video. You can check out the video here:

http://www.imediadistribution.com/aboutus/

International Media Distribution (formerly International Networks), has been a leading provider of in-language and multi-ethnic programming in the United States for over a decade. IMD represents 28 TV channels that offer in-language programming from a variety of international sources. International Media Distribution is a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation and a division of Comcast International Media Group.

The video was conceptualized as a re-brand image piece that featured scenes from international networks in the IMD product offering. Comprised of stock footage, music and motion graphics it was cross promoted on multiple networks and increased awareness about the entire product line.

International Media distribution and RunawayTrain Productions are up against some big players in the competition such as ESPN, Motorola/Garfield Group, The Big Ten Network, and GPON Always On Demand. The award will be given during the Cable FAXIES Awards luncheon on April 28 at the Grand Hyatt in NYC. There will also be coverage of each finalist in a special mid-day issue of Cable FAX Daily on that day.

General Motors – “The All New GM” turns to RunawayTrain Productions

General Motors – “The All New GM” video produced by RunawayTrain Productions

2009 was tough on the auto industry and for General Motors it was no different, but when most auto manufacturer’s got conservative in 2009, GM was busy renovating dealerships, improving product, systems, and procedures. The executives at GM know the future was bright but they wanted to let the dealer base know it, so GM turned to RunawayTrain Productions in Denver, Colorado. GM wanted to create a series of video presentations that would rekindle the feelings of optimism and pride in the company, while clearly illustrating recent milestones and vision for the future.

The opening piece titled “The All New GM” highlights the themes of the campaign.  New products,new look, new clientele, new facilities, new commitment, and new spirit. GM wanted to hear from a broad cross section of employees, see high quality shots of renovated dealerships, and package it with contemporary graphics and music to create a feeling of momentum.

RunawayTrain Productions shot in multiple locations across the United States to capture a variety of recently remodeled dealerships, interviewing corporate executives, dealership managers, as well as sales and service employees. By crafting interview questions around GM’s key bullet points RunawayTrain was able to create a variety of video pieces ranging from short attention grabbers to longer, more detailed presentations.  GM liked this approach for several reasons. Economically, the modular nature of the productions gave them lots of presentation options for a reasonable budget.  By designing a campaign wide graphics package, that could be easily adapted to existing running footage, they enhanced their brand direction with a consistent graphic look that appears on many platforms, and many viewers.

The creative community also recognized the success of the production by awarding RunawayTrain Productions two Telly awards which honor the very best in film and television. Check out this and other video projects by RunawayTrain Productions on youtube, vimeo, and vodpod.