Article published in Dropline.biz on May 1, 2006
“Living Landscape Art”
By Dino M. Zaffina
Ever since the advent of Plasma and LCD televisions, homes and offices have 42 inch and 50 inch horizontal pieces of glass hanging from their wall or sitting on the floor. These televisions provide a gorgeous picture when they are “on,” whether it is standard television, DVDs or VHS, or a High Definition signal. But, when the television is “off” what are you left with? Answer: A large dark black hole.
This is the same dilemma that Randy Gomez and his wife were faced with after they remodeled their family room and hung a plasma television over their mantle. Fortunately, Randy is the President of Camera Support, a camera operator in the motion picture and television industry for over 20 years, and has a background in art.
You are probably thinking what does this have to do with the “black hole”? A lot! Gomez and Camera Support’s Chief Executive Officer, Gary Taillon created a subsidiary company HDwindow, and developed a product by the same name. “HDwindow” is a product that is designed for a 16:9 HD plasma or LCD television. The purpose behind this product is to provide “Living Landscape Art Designed for Your High Definition 16:9 Display.”
HDwindow’s parent company rents high definition cameras. Randy had an idea of shooting beautiful landscapes with a locked off camera (i.e., not panning or tilting), so the picture was more like art. Yet, the subject of the picture would be moving (e.g., leaves swaying in the wind). “It is all about composition,” said Randy. “You can compose a shot and make it look like art, especially landscape art.” He further explained, “The images are moving within the frame, not the frame itself. I wanted the images to be anti-TV.” While HDwindow was developing the product, the game show Wheel of Fortune approached Camera Support with an idea to put images behind the contestants. The producers wanted HD images, but they did not want the images to move or at minimum very subtle movement. Randy’s first thought was “this is too good to be true.” He informed the producers that he had created a product called “HDwindow” for plasma and LCD screens and it certainly could apply to what they were trying to accomplish.
Randy said, “It was kind of different because I had to put three contestants in front of the image that was running on the television screens. I needed to shoot images that would not look as if they were growing out of the individuals’ heads. I had to make sure that the image did not look weird with a person in front of it. Those images were designed somewhat different than the living landscape art that is currently on the market by HDwindow. Some of the same images that we shot worked for both.”
HDwindow has a huge HD library of images from various locations in the United States and around the world, and is creating more volumes for consumers to pick from.
Volume One was specifically shot in Hawaii on O’ahu and the Big Island; that became “HDwindow – Hawaii” which is currently selling on HDwindow.com and Amazon.com for only $29.95 plus shipping. The next one scheduled for production is the “Great South West” featuring The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Sedona, and other incredibly beautiful sights in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and California. The one after that is Alaska. All volumes will have images with a running time of approximately one hour. The images run in two minute intervals, followed by a 10 second transition shot, to another two minute interval.
“HDwindow” comes with two discs, both shot in High Definition 720p at 60 frames per second and edited on Final Cut Pro and outputted to 1080i. “We chose 60 frames because we wanted this to look as real as possible. A lot of people shoot 24p to make it look like film. We did not even want to shoot it in 30p because it looks like video. With 60 framed per second there is so much information and color captured and played back at 60 is hyper real. That is what we were looking for,” said Gomez.
For the standard definition disc HDwindow down converts to NTSC, and they offer it in a widescreen anamorphic version. On that version they have added a viewing option. The first option is a classic frame and a mat, the second option is a contemporary frame, and the third option is a full frame, so the consumer can chose how they want to view their images. Also, the mat in the classic frame changes color to enhance the colors of the image that you are viewing.
This disc is played on a standard DVD machine. A menu provides the options to choose what frame the viewer wants. Moreover, there are two options for the sound that accompanies the image which is in 5.1 surround sound. You can choose either music or natural sound (e.g., waves crashing, birds chirping).
The other disc is where the images can be viewed in HD. It is a Windows Media HD disc and thus, it is a PC format. There are certain requirements to play this disc, (1) Windows XP and (2) an Intel 2.4GHz processor or equivalent, with 256 MBs of RAM.
Randy explained, “Many people who have plasma televisions are interfacing to a PC at home. Some have a little shuttle PC (a little box) these are a nice addition to the television. If you have a plasma television on the wall or somewhere else in your room and you want to do a quick Internet search, you can turn on your PC and see your information on the plasma because it is just like any other display. This is the great thing about the technology. Most people are just interested in seeing HDTV, but they do not realize that it is also a nice big display for their computer. The televisions have a VGA input right to the screen or it has a DVI; everything that you need to hook your computer up to the screen if you wanted to.”
Randy continues, “To see it in HD you use the second disc played in your PC, so that it can be viewed in true HD. It has a menu so that you can select surround sound or natural sound, but it does not have the same frame options. The images are viewed in full screen.”
“HDwindow” is an excellent supplement to any plasma or LCD television. It can be used to entertain company during a quiet gathering or party at someone’s home or in an office waiting room.
Hotels have been looking at “HDwindow” as a tool to provide the local sites to their guests. The images that are shot by “HDwindow” (e.g., in Hawaii) can have graphics added explaining where the images were taken and an interactive map can be added for the hotel guests to find the locations, and to know how far from the hotel these places are.
Randy Gomez has taken the concept of “HDwindow” and has expanded it to include options for businesses. Randy and his son Nick Gomez have created another product called “High Def Designs.”
Camera Support is a Panasonic dealer. They sell plasma and LCD televisions on the commercial level with custom content for those displays. “For example, if you are in the restaurant business and you want your menu up on the big screen or to tell customers who is playing at your restaurant, ‘High Def Designs’ will come in an shoot all this for the business,” Randy said.
He further stated, “If you are in a high end doctor or plastic surgeon’s office. There are always people waiting in the lobby to see the physician. We bring in a combination of ‘HDwindow’ so it provides a tranquil environment and maybe an interview with the doctor about a particular procedure that the doctor performs (e.g., eye lift or a chin implant). The images can show some before and after shots, and then go back to ‘HDwindow.’”
“High Def Designs” is not only for doctors. It can be beneficial to all types of businesses with a commercial site where they have people who walk in to their establishment to conduct business. This is a great way for them to show the public their brand. Whether they are providing a service to the public, such as a doctor or carpenter, or a business that produces a product such as a bottling company or car manufacturer. High Def Designs will shoot the process. The finish product will be in a DVD loop with “HDwindow” integrated, if the business does not always want their service or product being displayed. “High Def Designs” is also great for a store window while the business is open or closed. Plasma screens will catch someone’s attention. This is called “Resale TV.”
Articles Written or Co-Authored by Dino M. Zaffina
© 2022 Dino M. Zaffina. All rights reserved.