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Sundance 2004 - How Wire Image Captured the Film Festival 2004

Input, Upload, Outcome

Working side by side with sponsors equally supportive of the Festival’s goals and quality standards is another WireImage function. “We work with a group of sponsors who share our concern for creating an appropriate studio environment and contribute generously with products and services to entertain and engage the talent we photograph,” says Vespa.

Among them: Hewlett Packard, LG Electronics, Volkswagen of America, Inc., CESAR®, Stella Artois®, Turning Leaf Vineyards, Yahoo Movies, Diet Coke with Lime, Nintendo, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Safilo Group, Solstice Sunglass Boutique, Sirius Satellite Radio, Burton Snowboards, and Kahlua.

Equipment and workflow were critical issues for the operation’s success. Vespa used two Nikon D1X bodies, 35mm and 85mm Nikkor lenses, shooting NEF [Nikon’s RAW format], with 20 Lexar Media 512MB 40x CF cards. For lighting, he used two Profoto Acute 2R 1200 Packs, a beauty dish, and medium Chimera.

They corrected color in Nikon Capture, then exported files to Photoshop CS as 8 bit TIFF, RGB files. They downloaded to an HP laptop, outputting on an HP DesignJet 5500 series printer with HP paper and ink. The editing equipment was a combination of Apple/Mac G5 Dual Processor and G4, Alien Ware, PC laptops, and HP servers. Raw files were archived on the 6TB custom-built server in Vespa’s office; selects were stored on web servers.

An operation this size will have its share of technological challenges. Justin Kahn, co-founder and vice president of MediaVast, who served as senior editor at the Festival, says, “This year’s challenge was dealing with the high volume of NEF files coming from Jeff in the studio. Not only were we processing them for the site, but also printing posters, practically in real-time. An hour after some of the shoots, we had 42” x 30” posters of some of the images on display in the studio.”

Because WireImage operates in real-time, the portraits were uploaded onto for viewing almost instantly.

“In 10 days, we covered close to 700 events,” says Kahn. “We had 20 photographers and 16 editors going through the material, making sure it was available to the world almost as soon as the events were over.

Success for WireImage was measured in several ways. Smiling celebrities leaving the studio, sponsors pleased with tasteful photo placements, and downloads leading to coverage in Us, In Touch, People, The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo, and

Then, with just enough time to recharge, the WireImage team headed off the day the Festival ended, to the Golden Globe awards. Hi-end event photography at its finest.

WireImage: #1 Entertainment Wire Service in the U.S.

WireImage is a leading global digital photographic press agency and wire service. The company provides professionally licensed photography and assignment services to the world’s media on a real-time basis. Since its inception in 2001, New York-based WireImage has achieved #1 market share, becoming the largest entertainment photo wire service in the U.S., with satellite offices in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.

Jeff Vespa, co-founder and vice president, specializes in film festival photography, including Cannes, Sundance, Venice, and the Toronto Film Festival. His photos have appeared in People, Us Weekly, Glamour, Elle, Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Teen People, Rolling Stone, GQ, New York Daily News, London Daily Mail, Newsweek, TV Guide.