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”.

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“Stack like a Pro”

RunawayTrain Productions in Denver, Colorado has just completed work on an instructional DVD for SPEED STACKS, “the leader in sport stacking” located in Englewood, Colorado.

SPEED STACKS realized that to build awareness and interest in the sport they needed a comprehensive strategy. Educating new users was critical to their success so they called on RunawayTrain Productions in Denver, Colorado to create an instructional DVD.  The DVD features a hands-on demonstration of stacking techniques from the most basic to those used by world record holders. RunawayTrain added motion graphic animation, instructor interviews, and scenes of student “speed stackers” to create a comprehensive and compelling marketing tool.

We’ll be the first to admit that the thought of “stacking a bunch of plastic cups in a PE class sounds downright silly—much the same as it did when in 1891, Professor James Naismith suggested we throw a ball into a peach basket on the side of a barn.  But just look how far the game of BASKETBALL has come today!

This “game” of stacking cups has its origins in a youth recreation center in southern California back in the early 1980s. Stacking has recently gained credibility in the fitness community as a viable addition to youth fitness.

President and Founder of SPEED STACKS, Bob Fox, describes the response to speed stacking in the educational community: “There are two things we hear time and time again from physical educators: “My students absolutely LOVE Sport Stacking” and “This is one of the best, if not THE best, units in my PE curriculum.”

University studies on students involved in Sport Stacking have shown improvement in hand-eye coordination and reaction time; increased activation of both sides of the brain; improvement in reading comprehension skills; and energy expenditure similar to other activities commonly taught in physical education classes today.

Part of SPEED STACKS’s business model is to sell stacking equipment, but they go well beyond a simple shopping cart model. Their website gives information to stackers about starting a club or finding existing clubs. They inform teachers and community leaders on the benefits of the sport. They operate an equipment loaner program. They publish a calendar of tournament events, and most recently started the PE4life/Speed Stacks Sport Pack Grant Program for underprivileged children.

get your “stack-on”  at http://www.speedstacks.com/

Speed Stacks Founder: Bob Fox

Speed Stacks Founder: Bob Fox

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

RunawayTrainTV Goes Live!

Ever wanted your own corporate TV channel? Maybe you create an information channel that builds credibility for your industry while enhancing your brand? Maybe you create a corporate identity channel for employee recognition and morale?  The technology is ready and the time is now. RunawayTrain Productions in a partnership with livestream.com has created RunawayTrainTV for its clients, and we can help you create your own branded network as well. Check it out at    http://www.livestream.com/runawaytraintv We realized long ago that traditional television and radio are expensive to maintain, highly regulated, and target too broad a demographic for most corporate, or community uses. As viewers get more sophisticated they seek out entertainment on the internet that is relevant to their interests rather than simply accepting what broadcasters provide. For years, we have been searching for a cost effective way to provide effective, highly stylized content to specific target audiences in a traditional broadcast model. Utilizing the state of the art platform and broadband distribution network at livestream.com, RunawayTrain Productions is now creating unique private and public media networks that incorporate live action, video on demand, animation, and social media connections to Facebook and Twitter. Large corporate entities like IBM , CSPAN, USAToday, and CondeNast, use it, but also smaller, entities like The Women’s Conference, Hear it First Christian Music, and The International Surfing Association support channels as a way to reach their audiences and develop advertising revenue streams. RunawayTrain Productions will work with you to create a professional looking graphics package, develop video on demand content and even stream live events. Everything you need to enhance your brand, engage your target audience and control your message.

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.

Western Dairy Association video created by RunawayTrain Productions

This Project for the Western Dairy Association takes a whimsical strategy on promoting the dairy industry.

Western Dairy Association – “Cow Caregivers, Earth Caretakers”

 The Western Dairy Association wanted to produce a creative and informative marketing piece to raise awareness and enrich the image of dairy farmers in the state of Colorado.  The result was a warm and engaging animated video that garnered regional Emmy and National Telly top honors for design.

 RunawayTrain Productions used a book metaphor to chapter Western Dairy’s key concepts of family ownership, the ethical treatment of animals, and environmental stewardship through sustainability.  The design involved creation of a 3D book with turning pages as transitions. The 3D elements were created using 3D Studio Max and added to the final composite using Adobe After Effects.

 Interviews with dairy farmers were shot using RunawayTrain’s Sony-EX3 camera on the Comcast Media Center’s soundstage in Denver Colorado.  The set backgrounds were painted with a chroma key greenscreen allowing for later replacement with animated backgrounds. Carefully designed dolly and zooms were utilized to create segment transitions.

 In the post production process, award winning creative director Brock Sherman created still image cutouts from captured images and stock footage using Adobe Photoshop. Images were selected to reinforce themes of nutrient rich milk, family pride, care for animals, sustainability, integrity, and Americana. In the final composite all these elements were chroma keyed, motion tracked with camera moves, and treated with various filters to create a warm, engaging presentation that is consistent with the Western Dairy Associations overall marketing values.

 The Western Dairy Association’s “Cow Caregivers, Earth Caretakers” won both Regional Emmy and National Telly awards for excellence. The video was pressed to DVD for a direct mail campaign, occupies a prominent place in all WDA trade shows, and is featured on the Western Dairy Association website.  Western Dairy Association has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the video, and plans are already underway for next year’s project.