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Northern Lights Helps VOOM

New York's Northern Lights Post recently completed a series of image spots for Rainbow DBS' recently launched VOOM network, the inaugural provider of exclusively HD programming for the home entertainment market. In addition, the spots were so well received, that Northern Lights also recently completed editing four one-hour episodes of MOTOPIG, a mud-streaked, adrenaline-filled gameshow based in the world of motocross.

Offering 39 premium channels, including 21 brand-new stations geared to highly specialized tastes, VOOM is a subscription service that represents a highly significant home entertainment venture for Rainbow. In order to present a precise and proper image for each station, the company turned to proven entity NLP to ensure an innovative and unique brand for some of its most popular VOOM stations.

"Rainbow came to us shortly before the VOOM launch," says NLP HD editor Ross Shain. "Essentially, each channel would have a spot defining what that channel is all about. The spots were not only intended for on-air play, but also for press presentations where they would be viewed on a magnificent, high-end HD screen. With that in mind, we knew they all had to look extremely good, and that's what we do best here. Working closely with the Rainbow producers and the footage they provided to create spots for some wildly different channels."

The VOOM image spots created by NLP are a study in contrasts. PROMOTING GALLERY HD is a refined, sedate depiction of a visit to an art gallery within the comfort of one's own home. TREASURE HD looks at the diversity of collectors and collectibles while asking the obvious question, "Why do they collect?" and the always pertinent, "How much is it worth?" For its part, MONSTERS HD previews upcoming HD presentations of a marathon of Zombie and Hillbilly Horror movies promising to take the term "graphic violence" to a whole new level. Finally, WORLDSPORT HD and RUSH HD provide pulse-pounding promise for fans of European soccer and extreme sports.

"Rainbow provided us with some preliminary graphics for each channel," explains Shain. "In some cases we were asked to mimic the provided graphics, while in others, we created newer and flashier versions. These channels are brand new, so we had a tremendous opportunity to help establish each station's unique identity and brand, and to help the Rainbow team make some important choices. It was often challenging to shift gears from fast-paced sports to campy violence to elegant artistry, but that was all part of the fun."

All that fun turned into more work for Shain and his assistant, HD online editor Jerry Petitto. The extreme sports gameshow, MOTOPIG, is loosely based on the schoolyard basketball game PIG, in which players try and match one another's trick shots with each failed attempt adding another letter to the aforementioned word. Whoever spells PIG first is the loser. Airing on Rush HD, MOTOPIG adds some four riders, serious horsepower, big money and genuine threat to life and limb.

"We onlined four 60-minute episodes here, and they were offlined in Canada with producer Brian Sobie," explains Shain. "In terms of HD onlining, MOTOPIG is very dense with effects, including color correction, motion effects, graphics, transitions and so on. Jerry and I turned the whole thing around in about 10 days."

Indeed, one of the requests of the MOTOPIG producers was for a descriptive visual representation of some of the tricks about to be attempted. One trick, for instance, appropriately named "Dead Body" sees the rider launching into the air, hooking his feet beneath the handle bars, releasing his hands and leaning as far back as he can. One thing is certain, he will either resemble a dead body or become one.

"We came up with a look that would detail the upcoming trick without highlighting a particular rider," explains Shain.

The VOOM TV experience also proved an ideal project for Northern Light's new Avid|DS HD system. "We are one of the only companies cranking out HD work at the moment," says Shain. "Our Avid|DS HD can talk seamlessly with four Avid Media Composers, so we can start a project like VOOM in any room on any day before bringing it into the Avid|DS room for completion. It's a very powerful way of working."

"I was on-lining a project on the Avid DS system and was fortunate enough to work with editor Ross, who used to rep the product for Avid," adds producer Sobie. "His knowledge of the system and easy going manner made the project go extremely well considering our very tight deadlines."

Northern Lights Post ( was founded in 1995 by editors Mark Littman and David Gioiella. Since then the company has earned a reputation as a leading creative editorial/post production house thanks to its work for such top advertising agencies as Saatchi & Saatchi, J. Walter Thompson, Lowe and Ogilvy; and television networks Comedy Central, ESPN, Sci-Fi Channel, USA Network and Voom HD. In addition, the company has edited numerous long-form television shows, including MTV's CRIBS, and numerous VH1 specials.