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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

Panavision Moves Into Another Era

In a major move for the most storied manufacturer of traditional film, Woodland Hills-based Panavision Inc. has received its first order for its new Genesis HD video camera. The camera has been selected to photograph Warner Bros Pictures’ highly anticipated feature “Superman Returns,” directed by Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects”). Panavision executives expect this new camera to trigger a massive increase of the use of digital cameras in feature films. Currently, most television programs shoot with digital cameras, but the film industry has been slow to adapt the technology. “It’s going to change the entire industry. This particular camera is unlike any other HD digital camera in the marketplace. This is essentially a film camera that shoots with HD tape,” Bob Harvey, Panavision’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, said. The Genesis camera was developed over a three-year period as a collaborative effort between Panavision and Sony. Panavision, introduced the Genesis at Cinegear 2004 as a prototype. Nine months later, “Superman Returns,” has eight Genesis cameras on set for the main unit, second unit and the visual effects unit. Three more are currently in use on a sequence being shot in the Los Angeles area. Harvey anticipates that the new camera represents another sign of digital cameras being integrated into the company’s focus. “This certainly represents the future of filmmaking. I see the future as being both digital and film,” Harvey said. “Certain films lend themselves to being shot this way, while other films will continue to be shot on film. Being a supplier of what we hope is the best equipment in the world, we need to be in both arenas.” Telemundo Campaign Burbank-based Spanish language television station Telemundo 52-KVEA has launched the largest and most expensive advertising campaign in its Los Angeles history, a public relations blitz estimated at costing upwards of $1 million. The campaign entitled, “Tu Eres Telemundo Haz el click,” features everyday Los Angeles Latinos in its citywide campaign which includes TV and radio sports, billboards, bus shelters, ads on the sides of buses, and other forms of media. “We wanted to highlight how colorful and incredible our demographic is in the Los Angeles community,” Betty Gower, the vice president of station group marketing for Telemundo, said. “The campaign lets us showcase them in a positive light. We see it as a celebration of our audience.” The campaign which began in the middle of April is expected to last for much of the year and is a vast contrast to the advertising campaigns of previous years that had primarily only occurred during sweeps periods. Gower said that the promotion has been successful in pushing not just individual Telemundo programs, but the entire slate of shows. In order to get the word out, the network has canvassed the Los Angeles area, interacting with over 500,000 people at stops like the Cinco de Mayo Festival at Whittier Narrows, the Gibson Amphitheater and the Pico Rivera Swap Meet. “It’s a pretty comprehensive plan. We want to be out in the community every week. It’s a very unique experience and we’ve been getting tons of people involved. It’s been really cool,” Ginger Zumaeta, the station’s vice president of advertising and promotion, said. Mickey Mouse Mobile Robert Iger had previously stated that one of his goals as new CEO of the Walt Disney Company was to utilize new technologies to broaden the company’s scope. He clearly wasn’t lying, as the firm has not only expanded its reach in the video game arena, but now it has announced a large-scale leap into the mobile phone business. Partnering with telecommunications giant Sprint, the North Hollywood-based Walt Disney Internet Group will begin offering a comprehensive mobile service, including wireless voice service, Disney-themed handsets and a package of features and applications aimed towards the family market. Disney originally got its feet wet in the mobile phone arena in 2000, with the launch of Disney branded content, including graphics ring tones, games and utilities, on NTT DoCoMo in Japan. Additionally, Disney’s ESPN unit announced in 2004 that it would launch the first United States wireless phone service specifically targeted to sports fans. But this latest move represents a head-on leap into the telecommunications market. David Miller, an analyst with Sanders, Morris, and Harris, believes that Disney’s move is a logical extension of their earlier moves, as well as a sign of Iger’s vision for the future of the entertainment behemoth. “(Iger) made embracing new technologies a part of his overall campaign to nail down the CEO job. Certainly with 92 million households out there with a cell phone, that bodes well for the instant distribution of pay-per-view media, and Disney wants to take advantage of it,” Miller said. “It’s an extension of a successful service they already have with ESPN, where people use their cell phones to download sports information. Disney is taking that program and forcing it upstream towards families, which is their bread and butter audience.” Disney will be responsible for all product development, marketing customer relations, billing and other operations. Accordingly, the company announced a new management unit to run this new facet of the company. The team will be led by George Grobar, a 10-year Disney veteran, who will lead the venture as senior vice president and general manager of Disney Mobile. Disney will have competition in the family-themed cell phone market, most notably from El Segundo-based Mattel Inc., which plans to introduce a Barbie-themed phone shortly. Nonetheless, Miller expects the company to find success in its latest endeavor. “I think they’ll be successful with it. I’m not sure if it will do anything to their stock in the short term, but it certainly fits into their long-term plan,” Miller said. Staff Reporter Jeff Weiss can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at jweiss@sfvbj.com

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