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August 25th, 2009

Just about everyone except government bureaucrats has learned that decentralizing operations, facing stiff competition and staying up to speed with new technology makes you more efficient. Being more efficient in business, of course, leads to profitability, which translates to “staying in business.” CRE stays in business, of course, by helping other people get their own business done faster and better. Whether it’s setting you up with a Mackie 16 Channel mixer for your annual meeting, or producing that entire corporate event for you, we’re here with solutions.

Hollywood, being a pretty cutthroat business environment, is always seeking the better, faster, more efficient and effective solutions. In fact, the town is a veritable living laboratory of experimentation and progress. From the biggest board rooms to the lowest-rent lofts, the entertainment industry is full of technology early adopters, “idea people” and non-stop dreamers leveraging the newest tech to make the latest Shrek. Plenty of production pros rent Kona-card video-editing workstations from CRE when they need some extra muscle for a big project, while marketing mavens use our Audience Response Systems for focus groups and film feedback.

Below you will meet three people who are in the Movie Biz Tech Vanguard, which we would consider abbreviating MBTV except that Monsignor Bonner TV, a club at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, PA, already has that acronym. Anyway, let’s meet a few members of the Hollywood tech elite.

Steven Soderbergh, Director

Since dropping out of college and making sex, lies and videotape, Steven Soderbergh Steven Soderberghhas won awards while establishing himself as one of film’s frontline innovators. In 2005—eons ago in “tech time”—he shot Bubble, a murder mystery, on high-definition digital video and released it to theaters, TV and on DVD simultaneously. That wasn’t the only slap at standard industry practice, as he also eschewed professional actors and used locals from the Ohio-West Virginia border where the movie was made. Soderbergh is hooked up in myriad working relationships and supports tons of freelancers, who can rent the computers they need from CRE when he doubles their workloads with a single call.

Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

No one used to think of the big, old-line film studios as being early adopters, but one studio has been out front in recognizing the huge upside of DVDs and other digital delights. It’s Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Pictures LogoNow that the DVD cash cow is drying up, Warner has chosen Kevin Tsujihara to lead it into the next Land of Milk and Money. Tsujihara was promoted in 2007 to head video on demand, wireless, online operations, games, antipiracy initiatives and other leading-edge matters. Now president of all home entertainment operations, Tsujihara is mixing it up big-time by using state-of-the-art in-house digital departments as well as small specialty firms like GroundZero FX.

Robert Rodriguez, Director

Hollywood has really taken to Robert Rodriguez’s “new movie math.” For his first film in 1993, El Mariachi, he took $7,000, added a digital camera and came up with a total of over two million bucks in box office. Since then, he has made Desperado, the Spy Kids trilogy and Sin City, as well as the two-part Grindhouse with his pal, Quentin Tarantino. His cumulative box office over about 16 years totals $600 million or so. A real digital dynamo, Robert RodriguezRodriguez lives in Austin, TX, relies on broadband to stay in touch with creative folks around the country (including “the suits” in Tinseltown) and has helped convince Tarantino, once a “celluloid purist,” of the wonders of digital technology. Rodriguez is a known Mac Pro user, and is rumored to be working on a prequel to Sin City, shooting all the characters against a blue screen and then creating the sets afterwards with his crew of digital magicians and a copy of Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

Besides these high-profile professionals, there are thousands of artists, writers, designers, animators and even accountants using digital technology to keep the movie biz humming. If you’re an entertainment industry pro, and you need some extra processing power for your latest gig, complete the quick one-click rental quote form from CRE, call us toll-free at (877) 266-7725 or send an e-mail for a quick, comprehensive response.

May 28th, 2009

People’s need for entertainment – in the form of music and movies that are available via the Internet – is what has really driven the technological advances of the last 15 years or so. Entertainment Industry As soon as “You’ve got mail!” emanated from the first AOL user’s mailbox, the demand for more power, speed and goodies began growing at an incredible rate. The “content producers” have been rushing to keep up ever since.

The public’s thirst for music, movies and the rest also drove the development of the tools used to create it all. The stop-motion monsters of the early 1960’s required months of labor-intensive work, and building the set for 1963′s Cleopatra rivaled the construction of a new housing development. Today, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) would handle both assignments on a Macintosh or PC with a few powerful software programs.

Music has changed, too

The Macintosh was widely adopted by artists of all kinds immediately upon its introduction but PCs have closed much of that gap since. While a film editor could certainly run Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Sony’s Vegas on a MacBook or top PC laptop, most professionals want as much power as they can get. They also want a lot of screen real estate, too, so a fast PC or a Mac Pro rental is where it’s at for this work – especially with two or three 30″ Apple Cinema Display rentals or other big monitors to spread the work around.

Since the processing demands of audio recording are somewhat less than that of film and video editing, it is now common for audio engineers to do both studio and field recording with a high-end PC laptop or a MacBook model. With a USB microphone, there’s no need for a USB audio interface, although it would provide input channels for electronic keyboards, electric guitars or additional microphones. Pro Tools RentalsWith Cubase, Sonar or ProTools, the engineer will have unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, a rack of virtual signal processors and a complete mastering suite.

Computers as instruments

With software like Ableton Live and Serato Scratch, DJ’s have been mixing and mashing up music tracks for years now, on PCs and Macs alike. However, a properly outfitted desktop or laptop running Propellerhead Reason, Ableton Live or Digital Performer (the last is Mac-only) can take the stage with the band and bring a string section or trio of backup singers along. This is not a way to “lip sync” or play an unattended recorded part. Rather, someone has to “play” the computer at the appropriate times, key the correct patches and contribute like any other band member. It brings a new, exciting dimension to live music.

CRE Rentals knows how to outfit computers for whatever needs to be done. In addition to making PCs and Macs available to businesses for accounting overflow, conferences or in-house graphic design projects, CRE Rentals puts creative power in the hands of entertainment industry professionals as well. Whatever you need to get done – creatively, innovatively and immediately – we’re ready with the right computer rental, the right software and the right deal. Give us a call, whatever kind of help you need.

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