…And The Fat Lady Sings

Posted on Feb 16, 2008

From the NYTimes:

HD DVD, the beloved format of Toshiba and three Hollywood studios, died Friday after a brief illness. The cause of death was determined to be the decision by Wal-Mart to stock only high-definition DVDs and players using the Blu-ray format.

The announcement by Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer of DVDs, that it would stop selling the discs and machines in June when supplies are depleted comes after decisions this week by Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer, to promote Blu-ray as its preferred format and Netflix, the DVD-rental service, to stock only Blu-ray movies, phasing out HD DVD by the end of this year.Last year, Target, one of the top sellers of electronics, discontinued selling HD DVD players in its stores, but continued to sell them online.“The fat lady has sung,” said Rob Enderle, a technology industry analyst in Silicon Valley. “Wal-Mart is the biggest player in the DVD market. If it says HD DVD is done, you can take that as a fact.”

Michael at the beginning of this year:

Blu ray is just better. HD will die a slow death. It’s what I predicted a year ago. Now with Warner’s down for the count with Blu Ray. That makes it easier for Wal-Mart to push Blu Ray. And whatever Wal-Mart pushes – wins.

Verizon Taps High-Octane Filmmaker Michael Bay for New FiOS Advertising Campaign

Posted on Feb 14, 2008

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Celebrated filmmaker Michael Bay will be the first celebrity featured in a new advertising campaign for Verizon FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. Themed “This is FiOS; This is Big,” the new campaign — created for Verizon by McCann Erickson, New York — showcases the groundbreaking services delivered over Verizon’s advanced fiber-optic network straight to customers’ homes.

“Michael Bay is a larger-than-life figure because he’s a powerful game-changer,” said John Wimsatt, senior vice president of marketing for Verizon Telecom. “Verizon FiOS is the best and first choice for home entertainment because the power of our fiber-optic network delivers the best picture quality, fastest Internet and most-innovative interactive services. Michael Bay is the perfect choice to help portray the big, powerful experiences that FiOS creates in home entertainment and broadband.”

Bay — who is famous for directing cutting-edge, high-octane blockbusters like “Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Bad Boys” and “Armageddon” — stars in an action-packed, 30-second TV spot for Verizon FiOS Internet service that begins airing Sunday (Feb. 17). In the ad, Bay deftly spoofs his own super-charged Hollywood persona as he blows up things throughout a super-contemporary home to show how Verizon “blows away” cable Internet service with upload and download speeds that are up to 25 times faster. While a Verizon technician installs FiOS Internet service in the home, Bay uses a remote detonator to blow up a barbecue grill and swimming pool. He also shows off his pet cat — a Bengal tiger — and a 20-foot-tall Transformer to underscore how “awesome” — a word he continuously repeats — he finds the Verizon fiber-optic technology.

Source: PRNewswire.

Michael Bay Speaks On Blu-ray

Posted on Feb 14, 2008

Michael Bay Relishes Blu-ray’s Victories

Author: FRED TOPEL

TransformersWhen Paramount Home Entertainment decided to support HD DVD exclusively, Michael Bay was vocally opposed. Since the decision came just as his Transformers would debut on high-definition home video, Bay threatened to back out of the sequel.

He took back his drastic comments and is hard at work developing Transformers 2, but now that Blu-ray is the format that is gaining momentum, Bay cannot help but remind us he told us so.

“Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone,” Bay said at the Visual Effects Society’s sixth annual award show, where he presented the award for animated character in a motion picture. “I was very vocal about it. I knew HD [DVD] was not going to make it.”

With HD DVD being edged out of competition by sheer volume of product moving to Blu-ray, Bay is all but gloating.

“Am I thrilled? It really wasn’t my fight, but remember what I said in the press? I was kind of saying HD [DVD]’s going to lose,” he said. “No one believed me.”

Many of Bay’s films were produced by studios that have supported Blu-ray from the beginning. The Rock is already available on Blu-ray from Buena Vista Home Entertainment (now Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment), with Pearl Harbor and Armageddon possibly on the way. Sony’s Columbia owns the “Bad Boys” films.

Bay personally supervises his Blu-ray transfers and says he loves his preferred format.

“It’s just sharper,” he said. “It’s just [that] the tools are better. I just think it’s closer to what it should look like.”

Should Armageddon make it to Blu-ray, there may be even more work in store. Original materials were destroyed.

“Believe it or not, we have to remaster Armageddon,” he said. “The Armageddon [master] was burned in a fire apparently, so we’ve got to re-master the whole movie.”

With many of Bay’s films 10 years old or more, it is possible that Blu-ray editions will reveal flaws just by bringing them into sharper focus.

“I’m sure that’s going to be apparent, probably in Armageddon,” he said.

The Rock, Bay’s second film after Bad Boys, was released in 1996. The Blu-ray edition appears grainy in certain shots, but Bay likes it that way. He uses it as an artistic choice, even in his more recent film.

“Yeah, there’s some grain, pushing film, shooting at night,” he said. “There’s actually some grain in Transformers. We pushed it just a little too much. I don’t mind grain. Grain has a vibe.”

Source: homemediamagazine.com

Transformers Wins 4 Awards At The VES

Posted on Feb 12, 2008

Click here to view the complete list of winners at the Visual Effects Society awards.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

“Transformers” on Sunday won four Visual Effects Society Awards, including the top prize for outstanding visual effects in a visual effects-driven film.

In addition to the top award, “Transformers” won trophies for single visual effect of the year, for its desert highway sequence; models and miniatures; and compositing. Collecting the top prize were Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Russell Earl and Scott Benza.

Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture

“Transformers”
Scott Farrar
Shari Hanson
Russell Earl
Scott Benza

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year

“Transformers” (Desert highway sequence)
Scott Farrar
Shari Hanson
Shawn Kelly
Michael Jamieson

Models or Miniatures in a Motion Picture

“Transformers”
Dave Fogler
Ron Woodall
Alex Jaeger
Brian Gernand

Compositing in a Motion Picture

“Transformers”
Pat Tubach
Beth D’Amato
Todd Vaziri
Mike Conte