‘ER’ uses Red camera for final episodes

The popular medical TV episodic ER is winding down after a 15-year run. But it’s going out with a bang: after the entire run was filmed on 4-perf 35mm, the last seven episodes were shot with the Red camera. The decision to go Red was not taken lightly. “When I first came on the show five years ago, I was really surprised,” says associate producer Dieter Ismagil. “The post workflow was from 1994. The dailies were standard-def and our final conform was the cut negative. We were the only show on TV to be color-timing off the cut negative. Everyone else was doing HD dailies and tape-to-tape color-correction.”

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Digital Effects Tour of Dreamworks ‘Monsters vs Aliens’

Virginia Madsen loves a good ‘Haunting’

Trim, outgoing and adorned with wavy golden locks, Virginia Madsen doesn't seem to have changed much physically over the 25 years she has spent before the cameras. The obvious difference is in the perspective that comes with having seen plenty of hilltops and valleys. But as she has shown in recent films -- as an earthy waitress in "Sideways," a vixen in "The Number 23" and, now, a mother facing a supernatural onslaught in " The Haunting in Connecticut," which opens Friday -- and as becomes equally clear in conversation, she has pieces of all those roles inside her.

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Will digital distribution be the savior of independent film?

By almost any measure, Seth Caplan is a thriving indie producer. His feature debut, the wistful romance "In Search of a Midnight Kiss," was released last year by IFC and won an Independent Spirit Award. Caplan has since moved on to producing "The 2 Bobs," a comedy directed by longtime "Smallville" writer Tim McCanlies.

Yet for all his success, Caplan has made money on only one project: "Flatland: The Movie," a playful, 30-minute animated featurette based on Edwin Abbot's cult novella about math and dimensions. The film has never been to a film festival and wouldn't know a movie theater if one fell on its (2-D) head.

Instead, the producer and his partners Jeffrey Travis and Dano Johnson have sold "Flatland" mainly via Web streams and, to a lesser extent, on DVD, marketing it not with splashy print or television spots but with well-placed Google Ad Sense plugs. Since debuting online in fall 2006, Caplan says it has generated twice the profit of "Kiss" despite grossing a quarter of the revenue.

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IMDb to Add Web Series Category, So What’s a Web Series?

Amazon-owned IMDb, the mega-database for all things entertainment, has been skirting the issue for a while, but this week let out hints that it will finally be adding a new category for original web series and one-off web videos. Veteran web series creator Casey McKinnon (Galacticast) reports on her blog with news out of Austin’s SXSW Interactive conference that IMDb founder and managing director Col Needham states that the company is in fact preparing to add the separate categories for online content.

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NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY: ‘Quantum of Solace’

CHECK OUT THE 'QUANTUM OF SOLACE' DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience Tries to Turn a Porn Star Legit

Has the sinking economy driven Steven Soderbergh to direct pornos? Not quite, though his latest non-studio feature, The Girlfriend Experience, traverses Manhattan's high-end escort industry, anchored by a lead performance from sleepy-eyed adult film starlet Sasha Grey. Shot last October with the fancy new RED camera that could replace film altogether, Soderbergh's $1.7 million digital drama is his second film after Bubble to employ non-pros (apart from screen veteran Grey), all engaging in what the director calls "structured improv."

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Director Cary Fukunaga’s Runaway Train

Following an explosion at Sundance where Cary Joji Fukunaga picked up prizes for best direction and cinematography, "Sin Nombre" came to theaters this weekend almost as if it were propelled there by the sheer force of its buzz. (At Sundance, Fukunaga described the ease with which he sold the story to Focus Features in a video interview with IFC News.)

The film tells of Casper (Edgar Flores), a disgraced gang member who hops a train headed to the States in an attempt to get away from his former crew. When he saves Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) from an attack among the hundreds of would-be immigrants lining the roof of the train, the two go on the run together. But love isn't in the air for Casper and Paulina, only flying bullets, and the gritty thriller becomes a refreshing blast of no holds barred filmmaking that seems to stem directly from Fukunaga's fortitude, a personality trait that likely came in handy for the NYU grad as he researched the film by traveling on the same trains in Mexico and witnessing horrors that eventually made it into the script.

Fukunaga recently brought the film to SXSW, where he took the time to talk about the perils of expanding a short film into a full-length feature and shooting on a moving train.

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The Actuality Behind TV’s Popular Reality Shows

Average families are now the focus of some of television's most popular reality shows. They aren't rock stars looking for love or celebutants; they are families who've opened up their homes to show the world just how they live.

"We are pretty much committed to telling it as it is, as raw and open as we [possibly] can," said Matt Roloff, whose family stars in TLC's Little People Big World." "We didn't think of it as entertainment. We just thought of it as a mission to educate people about dwarfism."

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INTERVIEW: The cast and crew on the making of ‘I Love You, Man’


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