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Thomson's Grass Valley Viper Debuts in Major Motion Picture

Viper FilmStream Camera System used in Collateral from DreamWorks (August 17, 2004)

Supporting a film-industry first?the seamless blending of analog film stocks, high-definition (HD) video, and digital cinematography in a major motion picture?Thomson, the world leader in integrated solutions (technologies, equipment, and services) to the entertainment and media industries, today detailed the role that its Grass Valley Viper FilmStream Camera System played in Collateral, the latest release from DreamWorks. Starring Tom Cruise, the movie opened last weekend on thousands of screens across the U.S. to positive reviews and secured the number one position at the box office.

Shot almost entirely at night and on location in downtown Los Angeles, Collateral is the story of a hit man (Cruise) who hijacks a cab and forces the driver (Jamie Foxx) to traverse the citys streets, transporting him from job to job until law-enforcement agents begin to pursue the vehicle. Award-winning director/producer Michael Mann (Ali, The Insider, Last of the Mohicans) utilized a unique blend of 35MM film cameras from Panavision, Sonys CineAlta HD camera, and the 4:4:4 RGB output of the Grass Valley Viper camera to support his creative vision for Collateral, one that captures the personality of the city at night. It is the first major studio production and release to use this multi-media approach featuring the superior capabilities of the Viper FilmStream Camera System.

?What I like about the Viper is that it sees colors, it sees things in a different way, said Mann. ?People are reaching for more expressive ways to visualize and have emotional impact. Thats what it all comes down to, the emotional impact with which we tell a story.

The Viper FilmStream Camera System can capture the full range of information a scene has to offer, from ambient environments such as those in Collateral to high-intensity lighting scenes. Because this information is captured digitally?and is uncompromised by any video signal processing?directors have the maximum latitude in the field and in post production to create the exact look they want. This information-capturing ability also enables the cinematographer to meet whatever environmental or technical demands their projects require.

?The use of the Viper as our primary camera (on Collateral) was based largely around the fact that we were shooting in 2.37:1 widescreen format. With other HD systems, you have to crop the image to get that format, but with the Viper, they squeeze the image, so you can use the full resolution, and that was important for us. The difference we found with that came when we did film out tests?that is where the Viper really held up, said Dion Beebe, director of photography for Collateral along with Paul Cameron.

"With help from Thomson and the (rental house Plus 8 Digital, Burbank), the Viper evolved during the course of this production to become more ergonomic and easy to use, to the point where it became our primary camera. At this point, I do see (the Viper) as a valid tool for making movies. The technology has arrived. Its here. It has proven it can work--it's a viable format, said Beebe.

About the Viper FilmStream Camera
The Viper FilmStream Camera System is the only digital cinematography camera available today that is designed from the ground up to capture every detail needed for brilliant, uncompromised, uncompressed output. With three 9.2 million pixel Frame Transfer CCDs capturing 1920x1080 resolution, the Viper FilmStream camera system delivers an RGB 4:4:4 10-bit log output?uncompromised by electronic camera signal processing?to a field recorder. Part of the Grass Valley FilmStream workflow, the Viper FilmStream camera delivers its output directly into the post-production process for finishing.

About Thomson
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: S) is the leading provider of technology and service solutions for integrated entertainment and media companies. By capitalizing on and expanding its leadership positions at the intersection of entertainment, media and technology, Thomson provides end-to-end solutions to content creators, video network operators, manufacturers and retailers through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, THOMSON and RCA brands. For more information:

Thomson's Video Network Solutions division develops video and film technologies, products and services sold to all major Hollywood studios, all major television, satellite, and cable broadcasters under the Technicolor and Grass Valley brand-names for the delivery of analog and digital entertainment. The division also includes Thomson's Broadband Access Products Business, which develops technologies and products for broadband and telecommunication networks to deliver digital entertainment and data to consumers and businesses.

For information about Grass Valley products from Thomson please visit


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Related Keywords:Grass Valley, Viper, Thomson, digital cinematography, FilmStream Camera System, Collateral, DreamWorks, Michael Mann, Panavision, Sony, CineAlta HD, cinematographer, Dion Beebe, Paul Cameron, Plus 8 Digital,


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