All posts by Scott A. Capestany

Dubs, Inc. – Digital Asset Management



For those of you who don’t know,
it’s called Digital Asset Management.

For those of you who do, you know it’s the digital equivalent of cleaning up production rooms, storage closets, filing cabinets, servers, hard drives, laptops, and basically every other communication an agency or company has ever released—then organizing it in a way so that even the most oblivious employee can find what they’re looking for in a matter of minutes.
For Dubs, Inc., it’s the next logical evolution of service. Dubs has been managing the physical creative assets of their clients for years. As the digital revolution progressed, more and more requests came down from those clients for a safe and secure digital storage solution that was both intuitive and accessible. So after a year and a half of research and development (and some long nights and weekends), they have arrived at an answer.
Dubs, Inc. Proxy is a new Digital Asset Management system that solves the problem of digital storage, but then goes beyond that to provide an über-organized bank of information that can be used as a library, a vault, a conduit, a communication channel, or even as a branding tool for the agency, company or entity that uses it.
Dubs, Inc. Proxy is a Cloud-based DAM that is fully hosted, completely customizable and accessible from anywhere there is an Internet connection. What this means to the agency producer (or their corporate counterpart) is that their company’s entire body of communications can be quickly accessed from basically anywhere in the world. So a new asset can be marked for storage from virtually anywhere, and an old asset can be quickly dug up from the depths in a matter of seconds. It also allows for the creation of dedicated “information vaults” from which certain departments or clients can access assets that only pertain to them. Using the customizable features of Dubs, Inc. Proxy, agencies and companies can brand the system and make it literally and visually their own. And finally by virtue of the fact that Dubs, Inc. Proxy is based in the Cloud, Dubs, Inc. is able to offer it at a price that won’t break the budget.
In the end, with agencies and corporations trying to sort out the hell that can be Digital Asset Management, Dubs, Inc. Proxy just might be the solution that offers them a little bit of heaven.

Washington Filmworks Fights Back

On the night of May 25, the 2011 legislative special session adjourned and it was revealed that a bill to renew the state’s production industry incentive program did not pass.

The bill—which would have extended the expiration date for the Washington Motion Picture Competitiveness Program from July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2017, and increased the program’s budget, among other things—died without ever being brought to the floor for a vote.
“This is devastating to our industry,” said Amy Lillard, executive director of Washington Filmworks (WF), shortly after the announcement was made. WF is the non-profit organization that handles film production support and incentives statewide.
“It’s so competitive out there,” she continued. “Forty-four states have incentives, and without an incentive, your state won’t even be considered for film production.”
Since its establishment in 2006, Washington’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program has created over $100 million in economic activity statewide, with more than 70 projects—films, television and commercials—receiving the incentive since 2007. According to a December 2010 report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), each dollar spent in Washington by the film industry was estimated to yield $1.99 in economic return.
Along with its report, the JLARC recommended to the Legislature that the bill be passed, with the following explanation: “Because the tax credit for contributions to the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is achieving the objective of maintaining Washington’s position as a competitive location for filming, the Legislature should continue this preference and re-examine the preference at a later date to determine its ongoing effectiveness in encouraging filming in Washington State.”

Though fruitless, the JLARC’s recommendation is a significant feather in the cap of the failed bill, officially named 2SSB 5539, which experienced its share of challenges prior to its death in the House.
After passing through the Senate with a 30 to 17 vote, the bill made its way to the House Ways & Means Committee. There, it was amended by Committee chair Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, who introduced an amendment to reduce the size of the program’s fund to $1.75 million per year from the proposed $3.5 million.
Two days later, when 5539 reached the House of Representatives, House Speaker Frank Chopp linked it to a housing and homelessness bill that needed to be passed in the Senate. The housing bill did not pass the Senate, effectively killing the production incentive bill as a result.
It is not clear why Chopp linked the two bills, and Media Inc.’s attempts to contact him for comment went unanswered. However, in an interview with Jordan Schrader, state government reporter for Tacoma’s News Tribune, Chopp said that the defeat of the tax breaks for film production, as well as newspapers and computer servers, was simple.
“There were a lot of concerns about giving tax breaks to any people,” he said, adding, “These things weren’t necessary for implementing the budget, so we ran out of time.”

If there is one positive takeaway from the session, it is the strengthening of the state’s film community. Leading up to the session, the bill received unprecedented support from local production folks who participated in letter-writing campaigns and face-to-face meetings with legislators.
“Traditionally the industry hasn’t been politically active,” explained Lillard. “And while the outcome of this legislative session isn’t what we wanted, we are pleased with the great support we received from our production community. Every time we were in Olympia, we talked to legislators who said, ‘I’ve heard so much about your bill,’ which means our community really stepped up and vocally supported us. There’s a real sense of community here.”
Added Don Jensen, WF boardmember and president of Alpha Cine in Seattle, “We had a lot of support in both the House and the Senate, from legislators such as Senate majority leader Lisa Brown and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, among many others.
“A lot of people told us we had the votes. We just ran out of time.”

The bill’s demise has dealt a major blow to the local production community, which over the past five years has come to rely on the incentive program.
“As a community, the film incentive has helped create a thriving hub for film production,” said Jeanna Hofmeister, vice president and director of destination marketing at Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. “(Spokane production company) North By Northwest has produced several movies each year, providing jobs and economic development in the process. In fact, North by Northwest’s most recent production, River Sorrow, debuted at Cannes. That kind of recognition, both for an industry and for our community, is invaluable.”
Hofmeister noted that the bill’s defeat was especially difficult considering that it came on the heels of the demise of the state’s tourism office, which was also cut in the legislative session.
“It felt like a double whammy,” she said. “The tourism and film industries create billions of dollars in spending, and millions of dollars in tax relief for Washington’s residents.  It seems foolhardy to cut programs that generate thousands of jobs and that kind of revenue for our state.”
Though many in the local community remain confident that the industry will survive with or without an incentive program in place, it will be difficult to assuage the impact of the loss and also maintain the increase in business many have become accustomed to since the incentive’s initial passing in 2006.
“The incentive has given us access to an increased volume of high-profile national work, which has been good for my business,” said Peter Barnes, principal of local audio company Clatter&Din. “This additional national work has helped spread the word about Seattle’s talent pool, which, in turn, helps us all.”
Added Dave Peterson, president of Seattle’s Midlakes Insurance, “Over the last few years (the incentive) has helped us compete with big brokers in SoCal for insuring projects in Washington. I have been very satisfied to be a part of the program…
“Hopefully some day it will be resurrected.”

Lillard is optimistic that “some day” will be next year, when Washington Filmworks takes the bill back to the 2012 legislative session. The WF board is meeting periodically to strategize how to best do so, and plans thus far include a grassroots lobbying campaign.
“We’re seeing this as a delay, rather than a defeat,” said Lillard. “Our industry is so interesting in general. It takes time to explain how our industry works, and we’re going to spend time helping legislators understand. We aren’t an industry that fits in a nice box.”
“We need to work to build strong political support,” agreed Jensen. “We already have key supporters, but we just have to keep working to build that base. We have a good shot when we go next year.”
Lindsey Johnson, former production services manager at Washington Filmworks and current managing director at National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), said she hopes that the coming year will be used to “re-evaluate what is needed as far as an incentive and film office by working with the film community, legislators and business community to find what would be the most helpful to grow and support a sustainable industry.”
She added, “Maybe even create a new model that is innovative, competitive, and uniquely Washington State.”
In the meantime, it is business as usual at WF.
“We’re in no different shape financially than we would’ve been if it had passed,” said Jensen. “We raised funds in the first six months to keep us going just in case.”
Added Lillard, “From January to June of this year we raised $3.5 million, so we will continue to honor the commitments we’ve made to productions, and we will continue to service the community in a film office capacity—permitting, locations, infrastructure questions.”
With the money raised, WF recently awarded incentive packages to four separate productions coming to Washington.
“We are committed to Washington’s production industry,” Lillard continued. “And we are not going down without a fight.”

Glazer’s Camera Hosts PhotoFest

Glazer’s second annual PhotoFest was held June 11 and 12 in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.
The annual festival featured 35 vendors and community partners, free classes and workshops, food trucks, and a once-yearly sale.
Vendors, including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Epson and Panasonic, were also joined by community partners Youth in Focus, Blue Earth Alliance, Reel Grrls, and Photo Center Northwest.
Saturday Night Live director of photography Alex Buono was Saturday’s keynote speaker. Buono spoke to a packed crowd of more than 250 people on the topic of Canon DSLR Filmmaking.
On Sunday, famed underwater photographer and Nikon enthusiast Scott Frier presented “Within the Coral Lace,” a collection of his photography.
“PhotoFest is a rewarding event to put together; we are able to bring together so many vendors to talk with customers and to support our annual sale,” said Glazer’s third-generation owner Rebecca Kaplan. “By offering free classes and lectures throughout the weekend, we were able to help our customers grow their skills and create an opportunity for the photo community to come together.”
The festival initially started as a celebration for Glazer’s 75th anniversary in 2009, but will continue every June.
For more information, visit

Behind the Scenes at Cine Rent West

Portland’s Cine Rent West has hosted an exciting mix of shoots and events so far this year. Familiar agencies combined with visits from new brands, different production companies and private events have filled the calendar with a nice blend of business, continuing to make 2011 a banner year for the studio.
In April, R2C Group visited the studio, shooting a direct response campaign for Dancing with the Stars’ new line of hair extensions. Kym Johnson, Australian ballroom dancer, model and celebrity, was on hand as the brand’s spokes-celebrity.
Shawn Johnson, who signed an endorsement deal with Nike this year, along with other Nike athletes, visited the studio in April. They were working on an internal piece promoting the Nike Training Club, a full body-training app designed by a trainer and inspired by world-class athletes.
In May, Opus Creative held a two-day shoot at the studio, shooting a very complex video for a local high-tech company. With over 20 pages of dialogue and a host of set and costume changes, the shoot went off without a hitch.
In early June, Jacob Pander and his company (Radius Films) shot a short film to be shown at the opening of “Allure of the Automobile,” the Portland Art Museum’s newest exhibit. The theme was similar to a James Bond film with fast cars, machine guns and good-looking actors.
Cine Rent West has become a popular event venue for both creative groups and non-profit organizations. Pro Photo Supply hosted two events with Vincent Versace at CRW last month. The first was titled “Almost Every Black & White Conversion Technique” and the second was “Controlling the Unconscious Eye: An Exploration of ExDR.” The events were well attended and received!
In June, the “Just a Field” campaign held a movie night—complete with hot dogs, popcorn and a screening of E.T.—at CRW to raise money to build a new soccer field at the nearby elementary school. The field is a memorial to a teacher who lost his battle with cancer in December. Community involvement is an integral part of the Cine Rent West philosophy.
Although CRW is primarily used as a production studio, the venue is also available for fundraising events, art showings, corporate seminars and private parties.
For more information, visit or

Film/Video Production Companies

Please view pages 61-70 of the digital edition of Media Inc. magazine for full contact information and list of services provided.

If you would like to be added to the Film/Video Production Companies list please email Katie Sauro at for a survey.

Northwest Film/Video Production Companies

@Large Films, Inc.; Portland, OR
503-287-5387; fax 503-287-5387

Adams Creative & Production Services; Des Moines, WA
206-824-6970; fax 206-824-7036

Allied Video Productions; Salem, OR
503-363-7301; fax 503-363-6477

B47 Studios; Seattle, WA

Bennett-Watt HD Productions, Inc.; Issaquah, WA
206-310-0181; fax 425-526-5851
BergWorks Media; Shoreline, WA

BigHouse Production; Seattle, WA
206-429-5111; fax 206-726-9499

BLANKEYE; Portland, OR

BLARE Productions; Seattle, WA
206-438-9788; fax 559-209-7463
Blu Room Advertising, LLC; Steilacoom, WA

Blue Plate Digital; Seattle, WA
206-388-0174; fax 206-299-3376

Bridge Productions Inc.; Woodinville, WA
206-499-8984; fax 425-487-9792

Capestany Films; Seattle, WA

Cesari Direct; Seattle, WA
206-282-1492; fax 206-284-1281

Cinemagic Studios; Portland, OR
503-233-2141; fax 503-233-0076

CineMonster, Inc.; Poulsbo, WA

Cinesaurus; Lynnwood, WA

Clatter&Din, Inc.; Seattle, WA
206-464-0520; fax 206-464-0702

CMD; Portland, OR & Seattle, WA
503-223-6794; fax 503-223-2430

Creative Media Alliance; Seattle, WA
206-709-1667; fax 206-838-1801

Dawson Media Group; Portland, OR
503-477-7462; fax 866-716-6087

Deep Sky Studios, LLC; Portland, OR

The Edge Creative; Seattle, WA

EMA Video Productions, Inc.; Portland, OR
Filmateria; Seattle, WA

Fraser Film Group; Southern OR

Funnelbox; Oregon City, OR

Galaxy Sailor Productions; Portland, OR

golightlyfilms, inc.; Portland, OR

GoodSide Studio; Seattle, WA

GP Creative Media; Seattle, WA

Hansen Belyea; Seattle, WA
206-682-4895; fax 206-922-3676

Heller Studios; Seattle, WA

House Creative Group; Seattle, WA

HouseSpecial; Portland, OR

Inflatable Film; Seattle, WA

Joma Films; Ashland, OR

Kontent Partners; Seattle, WA
206-722-2846; fax 323-446-7178

KTVA Productions; Portland, OR

Limbo Films; Portland, OR
503-228-0844; fax 503-228-0857

Lotus Motion Pictures; Medford, OR

Lyon Films; Lake Oswego, OR

Maddox Visual Productions; Jacksonville, OR

Martin Arts; Sammamish, WA

Media Agents Inc.; Seattle, WA
206-932-2030; fax 206-381-9600

Media Arts, Inc.; Redmond, WA

Mighty Media Studios; Bellevue, WA

Multimythic Media; Azalea, OR

n/fek/tious; Seattle, WA
206-956-0902; fax 206-624-3854

Odyssey Productions, Inc.; Beaverton, OR
503-223-3480; fax 503-223-3493

Pal Productions, Inc.; Seattle, WA

Persistent Image, Inc.; Langley, WA
360-321-8252; fax 360-321-8262

Pilot Rock Productions; Medford, OR
Playfish Media; Seattle, WA

Pro Voice Productions; Medford, OR
541-732-3095; fax 541-732-3095

Production Partners; Seattle, WA
206-441-3773; fax 206-443-5402

ProMotion Arts; Seattle, WA
206-938-0348; fax 206-493-2987

The Ranch Studios; Seattle, WA

Red Door Films/David Poulshock Productions; Portland, OR

red jet films; Seattle, WA
206-282-4534; fax 206-812-0768

Redstone Pictures; Seattle, WA
206-999-0490; fax 206-783-1535

Reel House Films; Ashland, OR

Rocket Pictures; Seattle, WA

John Sabella & Associates, Inc.; Port Townsend, WA
360-379-1668; fax 360-379-5148

Sights & Sounds Unlimited; Grants Pass, OR
541-476-8558; fax 541-476-8575

Spin Creative; Seattle, WA
206-686-1090; fax 206-686-1091

Spirit Media; Clackamas, OR
503-698-5540; fax 503-698-8408

Starfire Animation and VFX; Seattle, WA

Stevenson Advertising; Lynnwood, WA
425-787-9686; fax 425-787-9702

Studio 3, Inc.; Seattle, WA & Portland, OR
206-282-0939; fax 206-282-0413

Studio216 Inc.; Seattle, WA
Talk It Up Productions; Seattle, WA
360-815-3916; Seattle, WA

Urban Legend Productions; Seattle, WA

Victory Studios; Seattle, WA
206-282-1776; fax 206-282-3535

VODA Studios; Seattle, WA
206-441-8158; fax 866-626-8973

Wattsmedia, Inc.; Seattle, WA

White Rain Films; Seattle, WA
206-682-5417; fax 206-682-3038

Workhouse Creative; Seattle, WA

World Famous; Seattle, WA

XRATS Productions; Talent, OR

Yes And Video; Seattle, WA

Yoyostring Creative; Seattle, WA

Zupa Films LLC; Portland, OR
503-860-0921; fax 503-501-4849


Seattle Film Institute Holds Free Informational Meeting For Full Time Programs – Saturday, July 16, at 11 AM

The Seattle Film Institute offers professional certificates, undergraduate degree options and graduate degrees in all aspects of filmmaking. All SFI programs feature a hands-on education and practical experience that provide the groundwork for professional careers. Students receive a real world education from a faculty anchored by film industry professionals.

Join SFI for an informational meeting about their Professional Certificate programs, Undergraduate Degree options and Graduate Degree programs on Saturday, July 16, at 11 AM.

This is a great opportunity to see the school, meet faculty members and other prospective students and get all your questions about SFI’s programs – including financial aid and scholarship information – answered. SFI is located at 1709 23rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122. To reserve your spot, RSVP by phone (206-568-4387) or e-mail (Chris Blanchett,
Communications Director
). For more information visit:

Changes in Physical Media Generate a “Paragon” of Success

I find it interesting that when someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them that I’m in the media manufacturing business, they seem to be sad for me, and some, I think, even feel sorry for me. The prevailing attitude about physical media is that the technology is all but dead, gone the way of the 8-track tape, killed by downloads and streaming media. Heck, if I was on the outside looking in, I would feel sorry for me, too. I’m not suggesting that the media business has not changed. On the contrary, it’s actually changed quite dramatically in a very short period of time, but that is good news—the changes have actually benefited Paragon. Let me explain.

When I started in the disc business in 1994 our initial focus was on creating CD masters for replication. The process for creating a “Gold” master was complicated and expensive and not a lot of companies had the skill set or resources to do it in-house, so we were able to carve out a nice little niche. When the price of recordable media and drives dropped, we started duplicating small quantity orders for our clients. Then came the big time—we received our first order for 50 CD-Rs from a software company called Wall Data. That’s when we knew we had a new business direction.
That was essentially the beginning of what would become our core business model for the next 17 years—short run, quick turn media duplication runs. As time progressed we added new capabilities to match the growing demand for short runs. In 1998 we added DVD duplication, and in 2000 we added digital printing for short run custom printed disc packaging. (Since the installation of our first digital press we’ve added or upgraded an additional five digital presses. I like to tell people we are the best, award-winning digital printer you’ve never heard of.) In 2006 we added one of the first digital disc presses installed in the world for decorating short run discs, and just this last year we installed a new 6 color off-set disc press to provide the best quality disc printing in the Northwest.
I know you are asking what all this has to do with the changes in the disc industry and how these changes are “benefiting” Paragon, so I’ll jump right into that. All of our investments and experience over the last 17 years has made us an industry leader in short run media production, and the dramatic changes we are experiencing in the media industry are feeding right into our core competency. Gone are the 100,000-piece orders, replaced with 500-disc runs. The size of orders is shrinking but the number of orders is actually on the rise. Since these industry changes are trending toward short runs with quicker turns, Paragon is actually seeing an uptick in business.
In 2010 we produced over 3 million duplicated discs, 100 discs at a time. Actually, that is not true—I mention that for dramatic sake—our average order is 800 units. But that brings up the point that I want to make next: The future and what it holds for Paragon.
As we have seen over the last few years, the size of the orders have fallen but the volume of orders has actually increased—our clients are ordering less discs at a time but more frequently, and we expect this trend to continue.  To meet this continuing trend, Paragon has aggressively been investing in innovative new technologies to fully automate our production workflow. This enables our clients to order one-off packaged CDs and DVDs for Web fulfillment, Web-enabled pay-per-use video download and streaming services, and customized, on-demand DVD authoring. Our one-off packaged media services are truly a zero inventory model in which the manufacturing process is triggered once an order has been received. When the order is placed for the product, the disc is produced and decorated and the packaging printed in a fully automated workflow. In bringing to bear the latest in digital workflow technology we are able to effectively produce one packaged disc at a time, saving our clients the expense of inventory.
Our most innovative solution is our customized, on-demand DVD authoring tool. Our clients’ customers can now pick and choose episodic video segments online via a Web portal. Once the end user has selected the video segments they are interested in, their personalized DVD content is authored on the fly. The tool incorporates the end user’s personalized and targeted information into the menu assets, the disc decoration and the disc packaging. It’s a fantastic evolution of the DVD experience.
The key to the success and the longevity of physical media comes down to return on investment, and in the case of content distribution, physical media is king. The studios protect their DVD and BD release dates because it generates their largest return, and independent producers rely on physical media to drive a majority of their revenue stream. The physical media business is here to stay for a long time, albeit in smaller run sizes.

Chris Lamb is president of Paragon Media in Seattle. Visit for more information.

The Post Revolution

I have been working with film and video production in one way or another since 1974. Two partners (Gerry Cook and Chris Venne) and I spent many years making documentaries and television commercials in Spokane in the mid- to late-‘70s. We would work in small format (1/2” open reel) video and 35mm film (for the television commercials).

Around 1981 we started making Corporate Information programs, as the market for documentary projects significantly diminished with the election of Ronald Reagan! It was at that same time that video tools started to become more and more useful, and complicated. Where we used to edit video by putting two video tape recorders on a table and rolling each one back five seconds from the “in point” of an edit—and then very adeptly starting both of them at the same time, while running a stop watch, and being sure to push the “edit” button at exactly the right spot—we started to see computers that would do all of that for us. (In the early days, the computers worked about as well as our error-prone manual approach to editing.)
Around this time, a fellow named Rich Woltjer showed up in Spokane wanting to know what we were up to, and how production could be going on “over here.” He was developing a way to catalogue and categorize all media production going on in the State of Washington. We gave him our information and looked forward to being involved in a very early version of networking. And having contact with the “West Side.”
By the early ‘80s we had become “Pinnacle Productions” and started to draw significant clients from the west side of the state, including Boeing, banks, insurance companies, even Rainier Beer for a “down market” remake of the “Running of the Rainiers.”
A talented and growing group of artists and production people joined Pinnacle in our corporate production and special effects group. Our reach was national (we created opens for Monday Night Football and NBC Nightly News) and the content was wonderfully creative. We mostly had great fun, and got a lot of satisfaction out of creating high quality work.
This level of production required increasingly sophisticated equipment, and our own production couldn’t keep it busy enough, so it was finally decided to move this very talented group of people and skills to Seattle (the company was owned by Cowles Publishing Company in Spokane), and open a brand new production and post production facility in the Belltown area. The idea was to service other clients as well as our own efforts. Seattle and Los Angeles people joined the team from Spokane, and a very capable post production facility was created. The effects and corporate production group were also part of the mix.
By the time we opened in Seattle, Rich Woltjer’s project was now called Media Inc. and was a monthly newspaper that featured a big story about the opening of Pinnacle Productions’ new facility in the early fall of 1990. (See Cover to Cover, page 80). The facility was carefully designed to provide the very best equipment and people in a perfect environment for film transfer, complex editing, and special effects creation. Clients came from around the region and the U.S.
Pinnacle provided all kinds of technical and creative services over the next 10 years, providing production and post production services for many Seattle projects. We hosted the infamous Frugal Gourmet production on our stages for two years, and were involved in editing and developing special effects for Bill Nye the Science Guy. Nike came to town almost weekly from Portland to transfer and color correct film. Most of the local bands going national in the mid-‘90s music videos were worked on in various parts of the facility. And about 50 very talented and dedicated people worked there.
I left Pinnacle in 1997, 23 years after I helped start it. I moved on to work for a few years in the dot com industry, developing ways to stream video on demand and participating in Seattle’s version of the “Dutch Tulip Bubble.” I then moved to Alpha Cine, Seattle’s highly regarded motion picture lab, where I am approaching my 10th year working with independent filmmakers from all over the U.S., and another wonderfully talented group of people.
And during this time, Media Inc., now under the leadership of Jim Baker, has played a significant role in reporting on and developing the industry in the State of Washington. Without Jim and Media Inc.’s support and leadership, the effort to develop film incentives and promote production in the State of Washington would certainly have been more difficult.

Don Jensen is president of Alpha Cine in Seattle. Visit for more information.

30 Years of Northwest Production

Thirty years of Media Inc.! Wow, it’s been a while. As I recall, the magazine began life as POV. I began working in film in Seattle in 1974, so I had 6-plus years of experience by 1981! There are only a handful of us working today who were working in Washington back then. Off the top of my head, Conrad Denke, Don Jensen, Bob Marts, Bobby Beaumont (or back then, Gribble). Not many others.

In 1981, we were renting Arriflex 2C and Cinema Products CP16 cameras. I was still operating out of my house on Capitol Hill. Our only competition in the region was Glazer’s… back when they were on 3rd Avenue, near The Bon Marche. In 1981, most serious production companies owned some kind of 16mm (not Super 16) camera, but few owned 35mm and many didn’t own a sync sound 16mm package. Two exceptions I recall were Pal Productions and Filmsmiths, who each had a 35mm camera. Kaye-Smith was the hot production company in town. Down in Portland, Homer Groening (Matt’s dad) owned an Arri 2B, which he sometimes lent to up-and-coming filmmakers.

In addition to renting my cameras and working as an AC, I worked on video shoots but they were usually shot with Ikegami 79 or Sony 300 cameras and recorded onto 1” Sony reel-to-reel tape. Or we worked with Loy and Bonnie Norrix’s truck. Betacam hadn’t come to market (any market, as we were the first, with Phil Mudgett and his new company Modular Video) yet. 
There weren’t any serious lighting and grip companies back then. Bob Beaumont and Bill Baum each had a bread truck lighting and grip package. Mike Van Ackeren had a small truck. But no one had a 5-ton package.
Those were exciting times in the Pacific Northwest. Crews moved between Seattle, Portland and Spokane as the jobs dictated. Most of our work was either commercials or industrials. Sometimes there were national commercials or industrials, particularly with Boeing airplanes or our great locations. There were a few local features happening, as well as a few coming in from L.A. I’d worked as 2nd AC on Joyride back in 1976 (Eugene Mazzola was the PM), and then as 1st AC on Bruce Wilson’s Doubles in 1977. In 1981 (that is 30 years ago!), I was still working as a 1st and hadn’t moved up to DP… that change occurred in 1982.
There were three film labs in the region… Alpha Cine and Forde in Seattle and Technifilm in Portland. And telecine was a brand new art, with the first system in the region a Bosch at Alpha Cine, and then one at Telemation. Much of our telecine work went to Salt Lake City or Vancouver.
Thirty years ago, we still had “The Motion Picture Seminar of the Northwest,” which had just changed (or was about to change) its name to “The Film and Video Seminar of the Northwest.” Alpha Cine drove the seminar and what a gem it was for the region. In this case, by “region” I mean Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Seminar brought together hundreds of filmmakers, crew, and vendors for a two-plus-day event in Seattle. It had begun in 1967 and ran until 1985. It was educational and fun, as well as a chance to meet people like James Wong Howe, Robert Wise, Vilmos Zigmund, and many other
And about 30 years ago, both the Oregon Media Production Association and the Washington Film and Video Association were formed. The OMPA is still vibrant today, but the WFVA folded after about 10 to 12 years. Associations are tough to keep running!
Thirty years of changes. Changes in technology, style, crew sizes, union/non-union, types of work originating in the market or coming into the market. What hasn’t changed? But we’re still here, still renting, still selling and now manufacturing gear!

Marty Oppenheimer is managing director of Oppenheimer Cine Rental and Oppenheimer Camera Products.

Washington Film

By Paul Nevius, Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

The red light of the Space Needle blinking against a starry backdrop, the snow-dusted peaks of the Cascades, the sun-baked highways winding through rolling desert hills, the endless shades of green in the rainforests. Few other places in the United States can match the diversity of Washington State. Boasting some of the nation’s most dramatic scenery, ranging from waves pounding on rocky beaches to the world famous Seattle skyline, Washington has always been a prime location for film scouts.

However, with the business of filmmaking changing to reflect today’s economic climate, it will be Washington’s ability to offer competitive incentives and support to productions that will continue to foster motion pictures in our state.
In 1930, legendary movie star Clark Gable came to Mt. Baker, Washington, to film The Call of the Wild. For over 80 years Washington has played host to stars from all eras of filmmaking, from Elvis Presley to John Wayne, Tom Hanks to Matthew Broderick, Johnny Depp to Sylvester Stallone. To recognize some of the remarkable and memorable works that have been made in Washington, we reflect back on the last three decades of Washington film.

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) – Widely considered to be one of the best films of 1982, An Officer and a Gentleman was one of the pictures that catapulted Richard Gere into the realm of stardom and earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to Louis Gossett, Jr., the first African American to win an Oscar in that category.

WarGames (1983) – A true Cold War time capsule starring Matthew Broderick, WarGames was one of the first films to address the now-cliché movie trope of the “super-computer run amok,” as well as helping introduce the word “hacker” to the common lexicon and inspiring generations of high schoolers to try and change their report cards with their PC.

On the set of Singles

Singles (1992) – Set against the landscape of early ‘90s grunge rock Seattle, Singles was the first of many films targeted at the twentysomethings known as “Generation X.” While commercially and critically successful, the film was partially eclipsed by a soundtrack featuring Seattle-area musicians such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. After the film’s release, an attempt was made to turn the movie into a TV series and when director Cameron Crowe balked at the notion, the company proceeded with the idea, changed elements and characters, with the result eventually becoming the NBC sitcom Friends.


The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992) – A film with tremendous influence on pop culture, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle enjoyed a place at number one on the box office charts for four consecutive weeks, had a massive impact on American pop-culture and brought actress Rebecca De Mornay to the Hollywood A-list with her chilling portrayal.

Benny & Joon (1993) – A love story about two eccentric individuals, Benny & Joon was another critically acclaimed performance by a rising star named Johnny Depp, who brilliantly channeled silent film comedians Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – Known by many as Seattle’s signature film, featuring locations from Alki Beach to iconic views of the Space Needle, Sleepless in Seattle featured performances by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan that set the standard for romantic comedies to this day. As a testament to this film’s lasting impact on the city, Sleepless in Seattle merchandise is still sold almost two decades after the film’s release.

Assassins (1995) – Written by the Wachowski Brothers, directed by Richard Donner and starring Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas, Assassins was a high-budget action thriller that showcased the two leads jockeying to kill each other across Seattle.
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) – Receiving industry-wide acclaim for its cinematography, Snow Falling on Cedars highlights the Japanese-American population of Seattle’s struggle against prejudice in the time before, during, and following WWII.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – A late ‘90s teen adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew was America’s first introduction to the late Heath Ledger and a breakout role for the young actor.

The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising (2008) – A true home-grown gem, this low-budget indie featuring a cast and crew drawn entirely from Washington State has developed a loyal cult following and boasts fans all over the globe, showing the ability of Washington filmmakers to rise above limitations like budget and reach a broad audience.

World’s Greatest Dad (2009) – Directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwaite and starring Robin Williams, this dark comedy shows Seattle’s versatility as an “Anywhere, USA” location, and was a smash-hit at Sundance.

On the set of World's Greatest Dad

The Details (2009) – With a star-studded cast, The Details is a story about raccoons destroying a yard, but the story of how the production overcame difficulties in financing is equally incredible. Debuting at Sundance, The Details was quickly bought for distribution by the Weinstein Brothers, becoming one of the most popular films at the festival.

Despite the boom of feature films made in the ‘90s, Washington has seen a decline in features in the past decade. A rapidly changing economic climate and the rise of state film incentives all over the country has created a highly competitive film industry where the bottom line trumps locations. These changes have seen Seattle- and Washington-set films such as Battle in Seattle, Twilight, and Love Actually going to Vancouver, BC, or Oregon.
With the bottom line now more important than ever, Washington’s filmmaking future seems uncertain and will rely on the willingness of state politicians to renew the motion picture incentives that drive the state film industry. More than bringing Hollywood to Washington, these incentives speak to cultivating the caliber of creative talent that has existed here for over 80 years and helping write a new chapter in the history of Washington Film.

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