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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Remember The Old Times

Our memories are special and unique. It is always the right time to take a pause and rekindle.
 

Don't Let Them Fade Away

Your memories are priceless. We specialize in preserving, restoring, digitizing and archiving your memories for future generations to enjoy.
 

Fastest Turnarounds

VHS, 8mm film, photos, slides, conversions, uploads, transfers and all video, film and audio services at fast turnarounds for your convenience.
 

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When you choose Advanced Media, you choose to work with a company that works within the motion picture industry, featuring top-of-the-line equipment, knowledge and expertise.

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HD Has Arrived

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I wanted to write a little bit about the now fully emerged HD formats which are available to customers because for one, they may not be aware of them. The process of taking SD or Standard Definition video such as VHS or most tape formats you’re likely to have is known as upconverting. The real benefit of this is that everything is moving towards HD these days and if you’re going to have your footage digitized to a hard drive in order to preserve it or edit it, HD is probably the way to go. It is now very affordable and this service is becoming more and more popular among our clients who want HD files or Bluray discs which will play on your player at home and look amazing. There are actually 2 types of HD on the market. Consider that the main difference is resolution. The resolution for SD tapes such as Hi8, VHS and also DVD is 720×480. That’s a calculation of pixels in your frame with the 480 marking the height and the 720 as the width of the frame. With true HD, you’re getting 1920×1080, more than double the pixels and your video is going to look that much better. Plus, if you’re editing it together at home, you can place it on a HD timeline and cut it together with other HD footage. The other kind of HD which was first on the scene and is no longer very popular is known as 720 HD. That’s because the resolution is 1280×720. You’ll notice that it’s always a reference to the height or the smaller number in each case. So as long as you’re going to take the time to preserve your family history or your vacations or your ballet recital from 1986, why not stay current with HD? It’s just a little more cost but since it’s become so much more affordable in recent years I think you’ll find you’re getting your money’s worth. Also, you’ll never have to transfer that footage again because you’ll already have the best possible files.

The Importance of Preserving your Memories

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VHS to DVD Transfer Family

Party of my job at Advanced Media LLC is to help people to preserve their family heritage. The includes film transfers, VHS to DVD, audio cassette to CD and various tape formats to file such as Mini DV, HDV and even Betamax. From time to time the question does come up, “Why is it so important to preserve these old tapes?” For one, they are deteriorating. Most tapes have a shelf life of about 20 years if stored properly out of the elements. Film is more mysterious. It can last a very long time not but it to will succumb to the forces that degrade and distort it’s wonderful images. Also, DVD is not the only format to save these films to. If you go to an external hard drive, it’s even easier to make copies of a file and to back that up on your computer or another hard drive. It’s also very easy to share with family members who may be peppered throughout the country, the state or even the world. I often help people upload their prescious memories to websites such as vimeo and youtube in order to share them with those who were on the tape or with those who remember relatives who are no longer with us. It’s just a nice way to hand down the history of your family from one generation to the next. That way, when one person passes, the memories and the documents do not pass away with them. They are preserved for generations to come. The best way to do this, in my opinion is to create high quality files and to save them to a hard drive. Of course hard drives can also have their share of problems but if you have these priceless artifacts backed up in more than one place at all times, the odds of them ever getting lost is very limited. So please consider bringing in that old box of family history and get the family together to watch and to partake in the things that once were.

Demo Reel: Length

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Other Formats

Demo reels vary from the very long, 10 minute reels spanning the entire career of a particular actor to a 30 second peak into the talents of an undiscovered star.  In my quest to create the ultimate demo reel, people are always asking me how much footage is too much and how much is not enough. For example, I had a client bring in a couple of clips in which he didn’t have more than one line and he wanted to put something together. As you can imagine, this was very difficult but we got a little reel together very quickly and it allowed him to at least get his name out there in cyberspace. The main thing is to start somewhere and build from there. The idea is that he will hopefully come back with another clip to add which will open the doors to future opportunities. The other side of the coin is an actor I worked with about a year ago. He has been working since the 80’s and things have tapered off for him as of late and he’s got a regular job now but he wanted to revamp his old reel to see if he could spark some interest. He had some good stuff but most of it was very grainy, having been transferred to VHS at some point but he had many good qualities and rolls that it was easy for me to showcase. We decided to put his best foot forward but in the end he refused to cut the final segment which was a 15 minute solo performance. The main rule is that you’ve got to leave them wanting more, rather than having had enough. Does it hurt his chances of getting cast on television? Perhaps it does because a casting director may see this and think, “Boy, that’s just not professional.” It would be clear to anyone that this was mainly for the vanity of the actor and I think it’s important to keep it short and sweet and get out with a bang!

Super 8 Film Transfers

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8mm Film

I handle a lot of film transfers to digital file as well as DVD. It turns out that there’s a lot of people out there who’s relatives got into the home movie craze early in the game. The first thing to figure out when you’re looking at having the footage transferred is, how much is this going to cost me? Most people have no idea. The figure out cost we have to figure out the amount of footage or minutes of footage. Most people have the little 3 inch diameter reels. These tend to be 4 minutes for super 8 and 5 minutes for regular 8mm film.  The larges reels are the 400 footers. These can hold up to 33 minutes of footage. There are also 200 foot reels and 300 foot reels which can be figured my multiples of the 50 foot reels. The next thing to figure out is if you want digital files or DVDs. If you’re just using the for home viewing, DVD is probably the way to go. If you want to add music or titles or put the footage in any particular order, then you’re going to want to edit. For editing, you’ll need the files. A file is a single, self-contained clip of the footage. It could be an hour long or a second long. The main idea is that you can edit with a file whereas a DVD requires an extra step in order to edit. Also, a DVD is signifigantly lower in quality to a file, which can be no loss at all.
Another thing that comes up all the times is, I hear people saying, “I don’t even know what’s on it,” or “I don’t even think the footage will look good. It’s so old.” If I’ve learned anything, it’s that old film footage is so much better than any old VHS or Hi8 tape you have laying around. The resolution is incredible. The amateur photographs of yesteryear also didn’t let the film run on and on and most are very careful to capture only the most important moments due to the fact that they only have a 5 minute reel. The psychology is different. In the 80s you could run a VHS tape for 8 hours and just turn it on and walk away. In the years of Super8 and regular 8, that simply wasn’t the case. Nearly all the most interesting footage I see on a daily basis is this old film footage which tends to keep really well, even if it’s not stored properly. The idea is to keep it out of the direct sunlight, heat or moisture.

Demo Editing: Funeral

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Photos

Death his part of life and when a loved one passes, often a commemorative video is a nice way to remember them. As an editor, I have done my fair share of memorial videos for those who have passed on. And even though I am clinical and precise with my keystrokes, many is the video that has tugged at my heart strings. A couple of years back I made the first one for a man who had lost his mother. The idea was to scan a bunch of old photos from decades ago and to put together a montage of photos with beautiful music from the era laid down underneath. We also added titles at the end and the beginning and it was used at her funeral. I did not attend but I felt as if I knew her by the time we were done with the edit. These videos tend to show how meaningful the small moments that make up our lives can be. I also had a friend pass away and some of my friends contributed video footage and I made a memorial video for him, which included photos as well as some video, which I chose to send through a heart wrenching slow motion filter. That one still makes me cry. For another woman, her mother liked to make a production of life and so too in death. We ended up making a one-hour document of the even. We filmed all of the eulogies and parting words from her friends and family. So perhaps death is not the end. Perhaps our loved ones can live on in our hearts and our minds and on the screens that display the moments that are not lost forever.

Updating your Demo Reel

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The Web Surfer

I edit demo reels on a daily basis for actors and actresses in the Hollywood area and I’ve been doing it for a few years now. A common question that performers want to know, is how often should I be updating my demo reel? There are several answers but the best one is probably a simple, every six months. Why is that? It seems quite often, right? The fact is, that in this fast paced environment, the glamour and the glitz, one thing truly holds sway and that commodity is called “current.” Casting directors want fresh talent. Directors want the next big thing and there is constant turn over in the business of entertainment and it’s up to the entertainers to keep their video resume current. This could also mean updating your reel every time you have new footage. By all means, there’s no need to update a reel if you don’t have anything new, unless a manager or Producer or somebody requests a re-cut of your material based on the part you’re auditioning for. In fact, this happens quite often. I also do a lot of reels designed for a specific roll or for audition tapes that need to be sent across the country. In the modern age, air travel is expensive and we help people every day get their faces on a screen in front of powerful people who have the ability to bring an actor out of obscurity and into the public eye.

Demo Reel Editing: Montage

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EDITING

I help a ton of actors with their demo reel editing and sometimes the question of Montage comes up. In fact recently, a beautiful young starlet came into my office with some really amazing footage. She had a bunch of poetic imagery and a song. In fact she had it all planned out and when we put it to the test, we came up with something really like a tone poem. Sure it was only about the first 20 seconds of her reel but it ended up like a commercial for a mysterious perfume. Another actor I worked with was all about action and guns and manly muscle. We put down some heavy riffing guitar based music and cut together about 30 seconds of good old fashioned ass kicking imagery at the beginning of his reel. The footage spanned his entire career and it was quite impressive. Most actors don’t want to do this kind of montage sequence because they really want to just get down to brass tax and start showing that they can deliver lines with power and grace. In the end, there’s no wrong way to structure the reel. The main thing is to keep it interesting. Of course you’ll watch your reel over and over again but the question is, will anybody else? That’s why it’s important to keep it creative, keep it fresh and keep it moving.

Video Sharing

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The Emailer
 

As a video editor with Advanced Media LLC for the past 3 years I have had many clients wanting to share their videos with friends, family and business associates. In this modern world, there are many ways to do this now. I feel that the best solution in most cases is to upload your content to a website. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, sites like Vimeo and Youtube will host your video and you can set them to private if you wish to control who views them. The reason that this is probably the best way to share is due to file size limitations set on emails. Most email services such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail have a strict 25MB limit on attachments. That means your video will have to be resized and reformatted in order to fit. This has the effect of diminishing the quality of your video. With Vimeo and Youtube, the limits are set at a much more reasonable amount of data. Also, you can still email the video by simply cutting and pasting the link into the body of your email. It’s very easy and free for the most part to sign up for either of these sites. The other option would be a website like yousendit.com or dropbox. These sites do generally cost money and the upload and download times can be lengthy depending on the size of the file. In many professional cases, these do tend to be the best solution so I wouldn’t rule them out but for most of my clients, uploading to a website is the answer to sharing your video with others.

DVD Duplication

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As the Office Manager of a media company in Hollywood, one of my jobs is to help people with DVD duplication. The first thing to understand about the process is that a duplicate will look exactly like the original. No content is added or removed from the disc at all. Therefore this process does not involve editing and that’s why it tends to be a very affordable service. I just put the master in the top of the duplicating tower and load the blank DVDs underneath. The tower does the rest. We also use inkjet printable discs so I can print any text a customer wants right on the disc. There are no labels to attaché or to peel. We can also print an image on the disc with some very high quality results. The only drawback to using ink can be if you want to use a full color image to cover the entire disc. In this case, I can recommend thermal printing which involves heat to print on the disc. These thermal prints tend to have a more durable finish. The ink can smear if it gets wet where as the thermal will not. Also, the thermal disc has a more shiny finish which some people prefer. Thermal printing is only offered for orders of 100 or more because the process of creating the label is labor intensive. Some people also request large quantities of 1000 or more DVDs or CDs. The process we use is completely different in this case. Rather than duplicating the discs, we would replicate the discs. Replication is how consumer DVDs that you would get of a professionally made disc are made. The process involves the creation of a glass master and it only works for orders of 1000 or more. This process also dramatically reduces the price of each disc.

Demo Reels – Length vs. Quality

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As the demo reel editor at Advanced Media LLC, I encounter a great number of actors and actresses concerned with putting the best possible version of themselves out there in order to get highly sought after parts in television and film. Last night I was working with a new client who had quite a bit of material from various tv shows and movies. In fact, there was too much footage and we wanted to get this thing in under 4 minutes if possible. I think the idea here is that in all likelihood, a casting director is going to spend as little time as possible with each reel in order to comb through the many possible candidates. So in order to keep the reel short enough, we came up with the solution of just cutting short scenes and including mostly dialogue and close up shots. This had the effect of showcasing a number of different looks and characters. It also show how the actor has been in a lot of quality shows. He’s versatile, opening him up for more possible roles in the long run. Also, I think we have to understand that the casting directors are most likely very good at what they do, otherwise they would be out of work. Ultimately, the decision is out of our hands and it is our job to simply shed a little light on your unique talents as a performer.

Subtitling and Captioning Services

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Besides Media Transferring and Video Production, Advanced Media has a sister company that specializes in post-production services called HD Creative Services. Post-production services deals with many things such as Tape Dubbing, PAL to NTSC Transfers, Coloration, Subtitling/Captioning, Editing, and much more.  We work with many high profile companies like Millennial Films and MTV.  Just another way how we strive to be your one stop shop for all your Media Service needs.  For more info on Subtitling and Captioning visit our sister site.

Recent Subtitling Projects:

Recently we added subtitles to a feature length Japanese Anime.  The client provides us with the feature and a script with the time codes.  We used the latest software to ensure accuracy and a quick turnaround to make sure the client got what they wanted in no time at all.  We also recently added broadcast captions to several EPKs for feature films.  Recent projects included: The Descendants, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and Shame.  We believe that adding captions because everyone has the right to be informed and entertained.

Why you should Give us a Call:

Because we do so many PAL to NTSC and NTSC to PAL transfers many foreign companies come to us for their subtitling needs.  Subtitling is very important in marketing and sometimes mandatory in showing your project to various areas of the world and so we take accuracy and friendly services as high priorities.  Contact us if you would like a free quote.

The Rise of Streaming Video

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What_We_Do

What_We_Do

 

Not too long ago, DVDs were on top of the Digital world. They provided a way to watch a movie digitally; meaning higher quality, a feature that allowed you to pick a chapter of a movie (removing the need for rewinding and fast forwarding a VHS tape), and more durability. The introducing on TV seasons on Box sets just increased the popularity of DVD. Sales of said box sets even brought back several canceled TV shows that broadcasters thought had no audience (i.e. Family Guy, Futurama, etc.). It revolutionized the industry because it offered instant content to consumers (Don’t tell me that you didn’t enjoy that weekend you spend watching the entire first season of ‘Lost’.)

Then Blu Ray arrived that increased the quality of features and TV shows. It looked like Discs were here to stay. However, DVDs are actually dying. The rise of Netflix and Hulu shows that digital and streaming video is the new way to watch/store movies and TV shows. The best way to get into this digital evolution is to transfer obsolete media, such as VHS Tapes, Beta, Film, Mini DV, etc onto a Digital Format or Hard Drive. It’s also very easy to upload said footage onto the Internet so you can share it in the various formats. So say you have a demo reel on disc, you should get it transferred to a up-loadable format so that casting agents can have instant access to your reel. Click Here to see how we can help you with transferring your tapes/films/discs to Digital Format.

All You Need to Know about VHS Transfers

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I transfer VHS on a daily basis at Advanced Media LLC in Hollywood and you can bet I’ve seen the world from the vantage of my office. I’ve been to Thailand recently without paying for air fair. The year was 1990 something and the weather was fine. But that’s another story.  You probably have a box or two of old VHS footage and you may want to transfer that to DVD or to a file so you can edit the footage but you may need a little information to help you make a good decision. After all, it costs money and there’s no need to waste your resources. The main question is, “What’s the purpose of this transfer?” If your answer is, “To watch it on DVD because I threw out my old VHS player long ago,” then you should simply drop these tapes off with a professional to have the simple transfers completed. This method is cheap and easy and everything on your tapes will be preserved in DVD format which works on your computer at home as well as your DVD player. However, if you wish to cut out some of the bad bits and to omit relatives and friends or moments you do not wish to relive, then you want a file. A file is a single, self-contained version of your material that can be manipulated, cut and edited very easily. DVDs require an additional step if you wish to edit them for which you’ll need the appropriate software, the knowledge of the process to operate it and a bit of patience because in the digital world, things are not as easy as one would hope. Strange occurrences are often unexplained and that is generally why people let us deal with the headache of creating files and DVDs. Not to mention we can save you a lot of time and frustration. The other big advantage, is quality. A file can preserve the footage better with no-loss formats such as uncompressed and very little loss codecs such as  Prores. Remember, a DVD is compressed and while it may not look any different to the untrained eye, it really is altered for the worse. After you have the file safely stored on your removable hard drive, you can plug it into your computer at home or in the editing bay and easily manipulate the footage, adding music, titles and cutting our anything boring or mundane. And when you’re done, bring it to a family gathering and watch the smiling faces. Nothing brings a joy like truly reliving our past triumphs and sharing that with the people we care about.

For more information check out our other site HERE.

PAL to NTSC Transfers Explained

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Most people have no idea what PAL or NTSC formats are or refer to and that’s why I’m writing this article. As the Office Manager of Advanced Media LLC in Hollywood, I get a chance to meet with people from all over the world to discuss their media. It turns out that media from foreign countries does not play in our DVD players in the US and the need arises to view this footage here and that’s how people end up here. Just recently, a couple from India came in with wedding footage shot in PAL format which is standard in India and in many parts of the world and they wanted to cut together a DVD which could be viewed in India as well as here in the US.

The process of converting the 25 frames per second PAL to the 29.97 frames per second NTSC is quite involved and I won’t bore you with the technical details. In the end I cut the footage on a PAL timeline and used a special hardware component called a Teranex Converter to create the NTSC version. The Teranex gives the highest quality possible. Another gentleman came in with a DVD he ordered from England. He was surprised to find out that it didn’t play in his player and because it was simply for home use, I was able to do a very simple form of the PAL to NTSC DVD transfer in which I play the disc in one machine, run it through a converting device and run that into a DVD recorder. The quality is not quite as good as the original but it’s certainly just fine for viewing at home. Most people opt for this very inexpensive transfer over the Teranex, however, anyone wanting to broadcast their media on television or to display a film in a theatrical setting should opt for the high quality hardware solution. For more information on our Post-production Services click HERE.

EPK and Trailer Services

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EDITING

EPKs and trailers are an invaluable marketing tools for your video, film, web series, etc.  They are important for creating buzz for your project as well as tease the audience into wanting to see your work without having to reveal too much.

EPKs show behind the scenes clips and interviews of the people who are involved with your project.  When people see how much fun or the process of what went into the your project they will be interested in seeing it.  We recently worked on EPKs for the feature films: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Shame, and The Decendants.

Trailers showcase the best and also teases the audience.  Trailers are extremely important for marketing your film, Sadly these days with so much projects and ads out there, you only have about 3 minutes to catch a person’s attention.  At a Film Market for example, buyers have to be constantly moving around looking for the next big hit.  They only have time to watch a trailer here and there and if they are interested in your trailer then they will watch your film.

Advanced Media Provides Trailer and EPK Services.  We have worked on several Feature Films including:  Stone, Leaves of Grass, White Elephant, Labor Pains, The Expendables and many others!  We are an LA based One-stop-shop for Video production and post-production services.  Check out our other services HERE

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