The folks over at VMware’s Team Fusion link to this handy Lifehacker guide to trimming down Windows XP to the bare essentials. Obviously this is of interest to anybody running Windows on a Mac, particularly on a portable with limited hard drive space. So if you should find yourself needing to tread on the dark side (whether in Boot Camp, Parallels or Fusion), it’s worth a look. Besides, as I always say, the less Windows the better. It’s just a shame you have to build it yourself on a machine running Windows with the Windows utility nLite and can’t simply download a pre-built virtual machine.

A oft recurring question concerns managing multiple iTunes libraries, particularly keeping them in sync, whether for one user with two computers (e.g. laptop and desktop) or between multiple users with multiple machines (e.g. family members). It was with some interest, then, that I recently ran across Syncopation from Sonzea which promises to automate the process.

It will allow you either to clone a full library on two machines, or selectively sync your files (video as well as audio) via iTunes playlists or within the application itself. This could be very handy, for instance, if you want to keep an automatically updated subset of your music on your Mac portable with limited hard drive space.

Users of any of Adobe’s products (at least the current ones) will want to check out Adobe TV. With a smorgasbord of tutorials and informational videos on a broad range of topics, it has something for everyone.The content ranges from Photoshop tutorials from Layers Magazine to tips on dynamic media creation in Visual Communicator. Beginners and long-time users – be they web developers, graphic designers, video professionals, photographers, you name it – should be able to find something right up their alley… from down-to-earth Lightroom tutorials to the ridiculous (but informative) antics of Dr. Brown. The site is well organized and easy to navigate, and thankfully provides Youtube-style embed code for deep linking within the Flash site.

(Source:           Attracted by low overhead and enabled by fast computer networks, Western companies and entrepreneurs are setting up shops throughout South and East Asia, especially for high-tech production, undeterred by the weak dollar or global economic jitters.

And while that was supposed to spell disaster for U.S. jobs, in at least one case, it paradoxically has proved to be a boon to the home office.

Rhythm & Hues, the Oscar-winning f/x house (“The Golden Compass”), saw itself facing competition from companies and countries with big tax incentives. “We needed to figure out how to transform ourselves and become more of a global company,” says Prashant Buyyala, R&H’s head of international operations.

The Republic of Tea has signed a lease for 4,500 square feet at Hangar 5 at Hamilton Landing in Novato and hopes to move in within a couple of months.

Republic of Tea will join such Hamilton Landing tenants as Sony Imageworks, Visual Concepts Entertainment, Smith & Hawken and Birkenstock Distribution USA.

Disney Studios is developing a 3-D computer animation complex in 90,000 square feet at hangars 7 and 9, and is expected to move at the end of the year.

Three-dimensional movies have long gotten a bad rap. Sure, when the technology worked the pictures looked pretty good, but the process was cumbersome (those bulky glasses), and in feature-length films, many in the audience complained of headaches.

But that was the old 3-D technology. On Tuesday Disney announced that it would release nearly all of its future animated movies in 3-D, including several from its subsidiary Pixar (“Up,” “Toy Story 3″ and re-releases of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” and “Cars 2″). The move follows a similar announcement from Dreamworks.

At a time when Swedish movie animators are hot property in Hollywood, Linköping University (LiU) recently became the first place outside of the United States to be incorporated into Sony Imageworks’ academic network, IPAX.

While the university’s media technology students have worked with Sony before, this latest development is expected to open more doors.

“This is a huge opportunity for students in the fourth year of the masters programme. We will, for example, be able to travel to Hollywood as guest researchers or to do dissertation work”, said Anders Ynnerman, a professor in scientific visualization at LiU.

]Top visual effects studio The Orphanage has purchased its Film Master finishing system to extend its creative and workflow management services to include DI and colour grading.

With Film Master, The Orphanage is able to harness artistic talent more efficiently and eliminate re-work across the VFX and DI processes for both film and commercial work.

“The ‘Science’ of Special Effects: Aesthetic Approaches to Industry” Area 2008 Film & History Conference:    Call for Papers

October 30-November 2, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Second-Round Deadline: May 1, 2008

AREA: The “Science” of Special Effects: Aesthetic Approaches to Industry

This area examines the industrial, technological, theoretical, and aesthetic questions surrounding special-effects technologies. Presenters may investigate historical changes in special and visual effects, as in the gradual switch from physical to digital applications; they may focus on the use of visual effects in film or television texts that do not fit into typically spectacle-driven genres (i.e., effects in drama, comedy, and musical narratives instead of in action-adventure, science fiction, or fantasy); they may consider the theoretical implications of special/visual effects and technology on texts; or they may concentrate on neglected historical and aesthetic values of effects development.

(Source:         Yet another fun trip to Vancouver to tour through the VFX scene. Here’s an overview of what we saw.

Our first stop is at Technicolor. Chris, VFX Producer, took us into their conference room where we screened their latest demo reel and discussed some current industry gossip. Next he toured us through their facility with one highlight being a demo of their new digital intermediate Lustre suite. The Colorist showed us some of his recent color grading for the upcoming film based on the hit video game “Crysis.”

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