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HOLLYWOOD—June 7, 2013—Hollywood Center Studios (www.HollywoodCenter.com), the iconic studio in the heart of Hollywood, has forged a new alliance with shooting and visual effects company Engine Room (www.EngineRoomHollywood.com), headquartered on the HCS Lot. The strategic relationship provides Engine Room live action clients with exclusive rates on lot services for in-studio stage rental, production offices, and grip and lighting services.

Engine Room offers a unique production partnership to clients. With a turnkey shooting unit that’s ready-to-roll, it provides an extensive menu of production services including cinematography, casting, talent, crew, art, equipment and large scale stages.  Creative directors and producers of all types love the simplicity and fluid collaborative experience of working with ER.

Hollywood Center Studios,  located in Hollywood’s Media District, hosts a dozen sound stages and more than 200,000 square feet of production office and other ancillary production space. The studio has a cinematic history spanning nearly a century, but has kept pace with technological changes.  The studio has three dedicated, coved, green-screen stages with enhanced virtual technology, as well as two large, dedicated, coved, white-cyc stages primarily servicing the commercial production industry.  From this exceptional location, Engine Room has crafted high-end production, visual effects and post solutions for feature films, episodic television, network promotion and commercial clients over the last seven years.

“We love being part of the HCS family,” says cinematographer Dan Schmit, owner of Engine Room.  “The studio lot is an inspiring mix of classic Hollywood and modern technology. We share a passion for shooting talent and bringing stories to life, and we have also contributed to the development of the HCS permanent green screen stages. This new alliance takes our relationship deeper, matching our creative and execution capabilities with Hollywood Center Studios’ premiere offerings, all for the benefit of our clients.”

“Having Engine Room at Hollywood Center Studios has been a perfect fit,” according to Jerry Cole, Director of Virtual and Broadcast Services at HCS. “As the industry forges new roads into digital storytelling, we’ve expanded and developed the palette of resources and facilities while maintaining the magic of the classic Hollywood production studio. We see the alliance with Engine Room as an opportunity to welcome even more of the industry into this one of a kind environment.”

HCS has added motion capture to its largest green screen facility, Stage 12, which, according to Schmit, “provides the hardware front-end required for the some of the more serious VFX production we specialize in.”  But not all Engine Room/Hollywood Center Studio shoots are focused on technology, many productions are straight talent and/or product shoots that involve interior studio sets.

With all these elements in place an Engine Room/Hollywood Center Studios shoot can be ramped up within hours.  “Our location at Hollywood Center Studios gives our clients a powerful homefield advantage making smooth running productions and, of course spectacular on-camera results,” Schmit says.


“Is it the cruelest sport of all, or the sweet science? It’s both!” – Jim Lampley

HBO Creative Directors and Writer/Producer Justin Joseph, teamed up with Engine Room to design and edit their 2012 Boxing Yearender. It was a great year in boxing and this compelling two minute image spot dramatically showcases the best championship bouts and biggest upsets.

Produced in-house at Engine Room in Hollywood, Creative Directors Dan Schmit and Michael Caplan along with editor Ian Shulman worked closely with Joseph to choose and finesse the most exciting moments in the season. The project required sifting through hours of dramatic boxing highlights from the 2012 season to find the choicest most dramatic moments to be included in the piece.

On the graphic side, ER lead designer Todd Ingalls added a luminous layer of type based graphics that enhance the edit into a seamless two minute overview of the what many would argue is the world’s most dramatic sport.

The Discovery Channel directive was to present larger than life ideas for the new show open of their flagship series Curiosity, and that is exactly what Engine Room came up with. Through a combination of unusual type design and visual effects, the team defined a series of prestigious landscapes, cityscapes and other distant locations to place huge iconic letters that together spell out the Curiosity show title. From a polar ice field, to a deep water ocean trench, to the launch of the Mars explorer and beyond, each individual letter is presented in its own geographic location, as if they naturally belong in the environments.

The background images themselves were produced using a combination of stock footage, custom environmental creations and visual effects compositing. Still photographs were brought to life with multi-plane camera movement and simulated physical effects. Some beautiful digital matte painting work was contributed by artist Ron Crabb, while Engine Room lead designer Todd Ingalls coalesced all the letters together into a specular galactic logo resolve.

Needless to say Discovery Channel is thrilled with the final result for their ambitious hit series, which premiered October 7th.

Engine Room recently completed production of the second season of innovative 3D and Live Action race graphics with Gary Hartley and his Fox Sports Graphics team for this season’s NASCAR on FOX. Each week this Spring ER produced a series of custom animation CG sequences utilizing photo-real race footage in support of a weekly pre-race tease that recaps the thrills, spills and upsets from the previous week’s NASCAR race. These teases were script-to-air on a five-day schedule and included a full package of driver bumps and additional supporting graphics for the FOX On-Air team to utilize during their weekly broadcasts.

Creative talent was the key in both designing and executing this high profile project, and for that ER leaned on its own Dave Piedra to spearhead the creative effort. Joined this year by CG artist Zeth Dubois, Engine Room utilized Mach Studio animation software for the first time. The 3D software package was a very good match due to the level of CG finishing required on a very tight schedule. At the season’s start ER creative director, Dan Schmit once again joined Hartley traveling to the legendary Daytona Raceway to shoot the competing NASCAR drivers for integration into the package. With these key assets in place, the ER home team, headed by EP Michael Caplan, began production and within a week the first tease was complete and airing ahead of the Daytona 500 broadcast. The season continued from there on a weekly basis for the run of the FOX Sports 14 week NASCAR broadcasting season.