The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (September 24 to 29) went on as planned in the wake of the terrorist attacks, attracting around 650 delegates. Attendees took time to acknowledge their grief – Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic Television paid tribute to colleagues killed on September 11 – but then focused on the primary reason behind their gathering.
This year, filmmakers’ increasing fondness for high definition was apparent. Notes Charlie Caillouet, the festival’s tech director, ‘About half the programs projected were from hd masters, much more than two years ago.’ In fact, all films screened in the main forum were projected in high def on Panasonic’s latest sxga projector with dlp chips. ‘We were equipped to deal with different aspect ratios and a wide range of [tape] formats, from VHS to HD D5. It’s the same challenge that DTV stations will be facing soon.’
SONY and Panasonic both exhibited their latest HD camcorders, which offer time lapse, slow motion, enhanced colorimetry, dynamic contrast range and more. Cameras and tripods were available to delegates for field-testing.
Another treat at Jackson Hole 2001 was the 5.1 surround sound mixes accompanying a number of hd mastered films, such as Spirit of Yosemite (winner, best non-broadcast). Delegates got advice aplenty from audio experts on creating their own 5.1 mixes. Said Steve Davis, Crawford House Audio Post, ‘It’s best to meet with sound designers early on to prepare for the mix and to gather much more ambient sound than needed for a stereo mix; 5.1 is not only for HDTV, it’s ideal for DVDs and standard DTV. Most $250-plus digital stereo systems can handle 5.1 Dolby audio.’
The fest introduced a pitch roundtable, which organizers deemed a success. Two 90-minute sessions were well-attended, attracting commissioning editors from major organizations such as NHK and National Geographic International. Festival director Lisa Sanford said, ‘The feedback was very positive on both ends and more than a few deals were launched. We plan to expand the pitch sessions in 2003.’