Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for August, 2012

Universal Seeks New Talent for its Music Video for the Upcoming “Pitch Perfect”

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Universal Pictures announced today that it has begun the search for new talent to appear in “Starships,” the official music video for Pitch Perfect, the studio’s upcoming musical comedy that hits theaters on October 5.  With the chance to join the film’s cast and Internet music sensation Mike Tompkins in the video, amateur musicians and dancers are encouraged to submit their best vocals; signature moves; beatbox; and/or guitar, bass, synth and back-up sounds to accompany this cover of Nicki Minaj’s worldwide smash.

With multiple options for participation, fans may submit their entries at www.pitchperfectmovie.com/musicvideo.  Those selected for the project will have their video showcased on both the Blu-ray DVD of Pitch Perfect and Tomkins’ YouTube channel, which currently has more than 550,000 subscribers.

“Pitch Perfect celebrates everyone out there who is following his or her true passion,” said the film’s director, Jason Moore.  “Mike Tompkins embodies passion for music, and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with him on this project.  I can’t wait to watch the undiscovered talent that I know we’ll find.”

“When Universal approached me with the idea to make a video for Pitch Perfect, I knew it would be a fun partnership,” noted Tompkins.  “Making music has driven me since I was a kid, and I know there are many others out there who love it as much as I do.  I’m looking forward to seeing what we are able to create together.”

This is the first time Tompkins has collaborated with filmmakers, talent and a studio on the official music video for a movie.  Tompkins, represented by Maker Studios—a next-generation talent-first music company—is best known for creating his own unique twist on music covers using only his voice and mouth.  As his popularity rose, he was noticed by some of the biggest names in entertainment and has since collaborated as a producer and writer with Timbaland and been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s TODAY show and PerezHilton.com, among others.  Tompkins and Alana Da Fonseca arranged this new a cappella version of “Starships,” which was written by Nicki Minaj, RedOne, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub and Wayne Hector.

All submissions must be received by August 22, 2012.  Please visit www.pitchperfectmovie.com/musicvideo for entry details and terms and conditions.

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Disney Animation Launches Open Source BRDF Explorer

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) is making its breakthrough BRDF Explorer available to the industry through a new open source site (github.com/wdas/brdf), it was announced August 7, 2012, at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles by Brent Burley, the project’s principal engineer from WDAS software group. Burley, who gave a presentation at Tuesday’s conference on Disney’s proprietary approach to creating physically-based BRDFs (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function, the mathematical description of how a surface reflects light), created the BRDF Explorer with his Disney colleagues Greg Nichols and Jared Johnson. He is a key player on the software team managed by Dan Candela, director of technology for WDAS.

Disney’s BRDF Explorer is an advanced physically-based shading and rendering toolset that evaluates BRDFs (a four-dimensional function that defines how light is reflected at an opaque surface) and how they compare to real life. It is capable of exploring the MERL 100 (Mitsubishi’s set of empirically measured data) and MIT CSAIL data sets, along with programmatic BRDF functions that can be defined by the user.

Said Burley, “We developed the BRDF Explorer to gain an intuition about the large number of BRDF models that have been developed over the years, to understand how well they fit real-world materials, and more importantly, see where they fall short. During this process, we discovered new ways to view the BRDF data more intuitively and holistically, and gained insights that allowed us to develop a robust new model. Somewhat surprisingly, our artists have also found this to be a very useful tool for crafting materials. We are happy to contribute this back to the graphics community and are excited to see what new BRDF innovations this tool will inspire.”

Peter Shirley, renowned principal research scientist at NVIDIA Research and adjunct professor for the School of Computing at University of Utah, added, “I have been doing research related to BRDFs for over 20 years, and yet I immediately learned new basic things from the output of this viewer. Often the key to scientific insight is getting the right picture, and this viewer accomplishes exactly that. It will become a staple in my own work.”

Naty Hoffman, vice president of technology at 2K and a pioneer in advancing realistic graphics in games and film, said, “The Disney BRDF Explorer is an excellent tool for analyzing, researching, developing and tuning BRDFs. I am sure that it will prove immensely useful for improving CG realism in film and games, as well as helping advance research in this important area.”

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