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

Archive for January, 2013

Apple Announces New iPad with Twice the Space

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Apple® today announced a 128GB* version of the fourth generation iPad® with Retina® display. The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models provide twice the storage capacity of the 64GB models to hold even more valuable content including photos, documents, projects, presentations, books, movies, TV shows, music and apps.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and every day they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”

“Our AutoCAD WS app for iOS was designed to give customers seamless access to their designs anywhere, anytime,” said Amy Bunszel, vice president of AutoCAD products for Autodesk. “These files are often large and highly detailed so having the thin and light iPad with its Multitouch display, integrated camera and all-day battery life, is a real advantage for iPad users to view, edit and share their AutoCAD data.”

“The features and capabilities of iPad give us the ability to set a new standard for multitrack recording and editing on a mobile device,” said Rim Buntinas, WaveMachine Labs’ CEO. “Users of the Auria app can play 48 mono or stereo 24bit/96 kHz tracks simultaneously, record up to 24 of those tracks simultaneously, and also edit and mix with familiar tools. With its portability and all-day battery life, iPad has revolutionized recording for audio professionals allowing artists to record anywhere.”

“The bottom line for our customers is winning football games, and iPad running our GamePlan solution unquestionably helps players be as prepared as possible,” said Randall Fusee, Global Apptitude Co-Founder. “The iPad’s unbeatable combination of security, being thin and light, having an incredible Retina display and also being powerful enough to handle large amounts of data enables us to deliver a product that takes film study to a new level and ultimately gives our users the best opportunity to prepare, execute and win.”

The fourth generation iPad features a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime® HD camera, iOS 6.1 and ultrafast wireless performance**. iOS 6.1 includes support for additional LTE networks around the world***, and iTunes Match? subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud®.

iPad runs over 800,000 apps available on the App Store?, including more than 300,000 apps designed specifically for iPad, from a wide range of categories including books, games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. iPad also supports the more than 5,000 newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, and the more than 1.5 million books available on the iBookstore?.

Pricing & Availability
The new 128GB versions of the fourth generation iPad will be available starting Tuesday, February 5, in black or white, for a suggested retail price of $799 (US) for the iPad with Wi-Fi model and $929 (US) for the iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular model. All versions of the 128GB iPad will be sold through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

*1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
**Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.
*** Information about LTE carriers can be found at www.apple.com/ipad/LTE.

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Google Protects Users’ Emails From Police, Demands Search Warrants

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Google often comes under fire for its privacy practices, but the company also has at least one policy that’s surprisingly privacy-friendly.

This week, Google revealed that it doesn’t disclose email messages to law enforcement authorities unless they obtain search warrants. “Google requires an ECPA search warrant for contents of Gmail and other services based on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prevents unreasonable search and seizure,” a spokesperson says in an email to MediaPost.

Google will disclose some metadata, like IP addresses, with just a subpoena. Still, the stance against disclosing content is notable because the Electronic Communications Privacy Act doesn’t require search warrants for emails older than six months. Instead, when messages have been in storage longer than 180 days, ECPA only requires law enforcement authorities to get a subpoena — which is easier to obtain than a search warrant. That’s because judges can only sign search warrants if the authorities have probable cause to believe that a search will uncover evidence of a crime. But judges can sign subpoenas for any information that’s relevant to a pending matter.

Whether the government should need a search warrant for emails has been the subject of much controversy recently. In one high-profile case, a judge in New York last year required Twitter to comply with a subpoena for the tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester who had been charged with disorderly conduct. The judge rejected requests by Twitter and the protester to quash the subpoena, which was issued without any finding of probable cause.

Even more famously, former CIA Director David Petraeus resigned last year after law enforcement officials obtained emails that brought to light his affair with Paula Broadwell.

In November, a Senate panel cleared a bill that would revise federal law by banning the authorities from obtaining email messages without first convincing a judge to sign a search warrant. That proposal hasn’t gone anywhere and its fate is uncertain.

In the meantime, Google adopted the search-warrant standard without waiting for new laws.  A Google spokesperson declined to elaborate on exactly how the company has avoided legal repercussions. It’s possible that Google has gone to court to quash the subpoenas, but the company isn’t saying whether or not it has done so.

Even though Google’s move goes beyond what the ECPA requires, it’s worth noting that one federal appeals panel said the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures trumps ECPA. In that case, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the police must obtain a search warrant before they can legally access email messages.

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Sundance Institute and Women in Film in LA Study Examines Gender Gap in Indie Films

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

More women are working in independent film than in Hollywood, according to results of a new study shared today at a gathering of film and industry leaders at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The study marks the first collaboration between Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles to support independent female filmmakers. Conducted by communication professor Stacy Smith, along with researchers Katherine Pieper and Marc Choueiti, it is one of the first to examine gender disparity in American independent film.

“If you look at the data, they reveal an environment in which women are creating and exhibiting films in strong numbers, especially in documentaries. Why is this? First, Sundance Institute positions women to succeed. Second, female filmmakers support each other,” Smith said. “Sundance Institute believes that stories and characters told through film play an enormously influential role in determining audiences’ perceptions of themselves, one another and the world around us,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute.

Findings include:

  • Of U.S. films selected for the Sundance Film Festival from 2002 to 2012, 29.8 percent of filmmakers (directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors) were women.
  • Women were half as likely to be directors of narrative films than documentaries (16.9 percent vs. 34.5 percent).
  • Female directors of Sundance Film Festival movies exceeded those of the top 100 box office films: 23.9 percent of directors at the Sundance Film Festival from 2002 to 2012 were women, compared to 4.4 percent of directors across the top 100 box office films each year from 2002 to 2012 who were women.
  • Across 1,100 top-grossing movies of the past 10 years, 41.5 percent of female directors had been supported by the Sundance Institute.
  • When compared to films directed by men, those directed by women feature more female filmmakers behind the camera (writers, producers, cinematographers and editors). This is true in both narratives (21-percent increase) and documentaries (24-percent increase).
  • Across all behind-the-camera positions, women were most likely to be producers. As the prestige of the producing post increased, the percentage of female participation decreased. This trend was observed in both narrative and documentary filmmaking. Fewer than one third of all narrative producers but just over 40 percent of associate producers were women. In documentaries, 42.5 percent of producers and 59.5 percent of associate producers were women.
  • Five major areas were identified as hampering women’s career development in film: gendered financial barriers (43.1 percent); male-dominated industry networking (39.2 percent); stereotyping on set (15.7 percent); work and family balance (19.6 percent); and exclusionary hiring decisions (13.7 percent).
  • Opportunities exist to improve the situation for women in independent film. Individuals mentioned three key ways to change the status quo: mentoring and encouragement for early career women (36.7 percent); improving access to finance (26.5 percent); and raising awareness of the problem (20.4 percent).

The first initiative of the Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles collaboration, which began last January, was to create a mentorship program, matching 17 Sundance Institute-supported female directors and producers with leaders in the field. They also convened meetings in New York and Los Angeles last fall with leading organizations working on gender in media.

For more info, go to http://blog.uscannenberg.org/?p=4934

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Consumer Review Said to Be THE Most Powerful Purchase Influence

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

According to a new study released by Weber Shadwick, consumers pay more attention to other consumers’ reviews when making electronics purchases. It’s become more important than traditional editorial types of reviews. Not surprising and my guess is that many of those reviews are coming through social media and bloggers. Here’s more:
According to a just released study from Weber Shandwick with KRC Research, the majority consumer electronics purchasers are inspired by a consumer review when selecting which brand to purchase. The average buyer consults 11 consumer reviews on the path to purchase.

Bradford Williams, president of Weber Shandwick’s North American Technology Practice, commented that “… the study sheds new light on… shoppers use of user reviews… (and) traditional editorial reviews in the purchase process… consumer reviewers are… the most powerful force…  savvy marketers  listen to, manage and… harness their considerable might… “

Williams noted that while consumer electronics buyers pay more attention to other consumers’ reviews than editorial reviews, by a margin of more than three to one, they are concerned about the authenticity of consumer reviews (80%), leading them to conduct considerable analysis before making their decision.

Key findings from the report:

  • Buyers invest deliberate effort into making a well-informed decision, conducting multiple activities to gather opinions, reading an average of 11 consumer reviews, evaluating review authenticity and demonstrating tolerance for negative reviews.
  • 88% of consumers say they are somewhat or very knowledgeable about consumer electronics, yet still consult reviews, consumer and/or professional, when looking to make a purchase.
  • Consumers pay more attention to consumer reviews (77%) than professional critic reviews (23%). The gap between consumer and professional reviews closes noticeably for more advanced technologies like tablets and computers.
  • In consumer reviews, the most helpful ones are those that seem fair and reasonable, are well-written, and contain statistics, specifications and technical data. Surprisingly, named (vs. anonymous) reviews are not as important as these other elements in consumers’ minds.
  • Shoppers trust consumer reviews on Amazon.com (84%) and BestBuy.com (75%) the most, topping Consumer Reports (72%). Consumers show no apparent discomfort in getting their research from a seller of the products they’re considering.

For more information about the study and to access the executive summary, go here.

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Monday, January 7th, 2013

Warner Bros. Pictures has formed a feature animation creative consortium, marking a new and innovative approach to the establishment of a diverse and far-reaching animation slate.  The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

The mission of the new think tank is to help develop and produce high-end animated motion pictures, with the goal of releasing one feature per year under the Warner Bros. Pictures banner.  The select team of accomplished filmmakers will collaborate with the Studio to frame and guide a variety of projects from start to finish.

The artists who will be involved in Warner Bros.’ new feature animation venture are: John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” “Cats & Dogs”); Nicholas Stoller (“The Muppets”); Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”); and Jared Stern (“Mr. Popper’s Penguins”).

The filmmakers will work both individually and collectively, supporting one another artistically in the making of the films.  They will not be exclusive to the Studio’s animated film productions; rather they will also continue to write and direct live-action movies.  This new endeavor reflects Warner Bros.’ ongoing commitment to being a filmmaker friendly studio, which invites and fosters original projects, continually expanding the entertainment scope of its slate.
In making the announcement, Robinov stated, “Warner Bros. has an extraordinary legacy in the world of animation, including some of the most enduring characters in cinema history.  Looking to the future, we have now gathered some of the best and brightest talents in the industry to help us grow and broaden that legacy.  Drawing upon their imaginations and inspiration, the Studio will produce a slate of new and original animated films that are sure to delight audiences of all ages.”

The first feature in the pipeline is the upcoming 3D animated adventure “The LEGO Movie,” being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller from their own screenplay.  Bringing the globally popular LEGO construction toys to the big screen for the first time, the film is being produced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee and stars the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Morgan Freeman.  The animation is largely being accomplished at Australia’s Animal Logic.  A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, “The LEGO Movie” is slated for release on February 7, 2014.

Among the other projects being developed are: “Storks,” conceived and being written by Nicholas Stoller and to be directed by Oscar® nominee Doug Sweetland (PIXAR short “Presto”); and “Smallfoot,” to be written by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, from an original idea by Sergio Pablos (“Despicable Me”), who is also set to direct.  The films are being targeted for release in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The development of animated features will be overseen at Warner Bros. by Courtenay Valenti, Chris deFaria and Greg Silverman.  Overall look, character design and the story reel process will be housed in Burbank; however the Studio will look to partner with established animation studios for production of the films.

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