February 29, 2012

Leap Day Feb 29- 2012 is a Leap Year

A leap year poem to remember it by

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.

2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. That's because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.

According to astrologers, those born under the sign of Pisces on February 29 have unusual talents and personalities reflecting their special status.
Most have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, but leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate in years that aren't leap years.

’Leap Day’ is February 29, which is an extra (intercalary) day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a common (normal) year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.

Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years in the Roman empire over 2000 years ago, but the Julian calendar had only one rule: any year evenly divisible by 4 would be a leap year. This lead to way too many leap years, but didn't get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar more than 1500 years later.

Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BCE (Before Common Era), Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore.

How do we calculate Leap Years?
In the Gregorian calendar 3 criteria must be met to be a leap year:
  • The year is evenly divisible by 4;
  • If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
  • The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.
This means that 2000 and 2400 are leap years, while 1800, 1900210022002300 and 2500 are NOT leap years. The year 2000 was somewhat special as it was the first instance when the third criterion was used in most parts of the world since the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar.

Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds (a tropical year) – to circle once around the Sun.

However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn't add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days.

Leap Years 2008 – 2032
February 29 – day of the week

Leap Year in other calendars

    February 28, 2012

    Panagbenga Festival Great Float Parade 2012

    Panagbenga Festival Grand Float parade in Baguio was really fun and enjoyable event ! Last Sunday’s floral floats parade, the highlight of the Panagbenga, drew thousands of local and foreign visitors who gathered along the parade route on Session and Harrison Roads as early as 6 a.m. Thousands have enjoyed seeing the beautiful floats  artistically-crafted variously-themed flower floats carrying blooms from La Trinidad, Benguet, or Davao, while some had been flown in from other places exclusively for the festival.

    Excitingly and happy people, dressed in colorful costumes,  bands, like the Saint Louis University band, Baguio City National High School (BCNHS) band,  and the band of the University of the Cordilleras have  interspersed among the 15 competing floats.

    This year’s theme is “Community Convergence for a Sustainable Tourism Growth.” Panagbenga is a Kankanaey term to mean blossoming of flowers.

    Panagbenga Flower Festival is really more fun in the Philippines! I really enjoyed the experience being there in the colorful, amazing and grand event. I really feel happy to capture the event in pictures to enjoy forever. 

    David Archuleta's OPM English album titled “Forevermore”

    The David Archuleta's OPM English album will be released this March.  “DAVID ARCHULETA… FOREVERMORE” is a collection of all original Filipino classic love songs written and composed by some of the Philippine’s renowned songwriters like Ogie Alcasid, Louie Ocampo, Jay Durias, Jimmy Antiporda, Cecil Azarcon, among others. The album isn’t just a special treat for his fans, but it is international idol David Archuleta’s way of paying homage to Filipino artists.
    “I wouldn’t say that I sound better than the original singers because the singers here are so amazing. But I would hope that I could pay tribute to them with this album,“ said he at the press conference for the album.

    “You just try to do your best so that people won’t bother comparing you to the original singer, so that people just connect to your performance and the song and what it’s about. As a singer your job is never to be compared to someone else. You just hope that you can give justice to the song and allow people to connect to.“

    “We recorded three songs in a day, not to mention Jimmy will also arrange the songs and right there and then we move on to the next song. It was really fast so I give big props to Jimmy and Jay for what they’re able to accomplish in such a short time,“ David said.
    The album will be released by IVORY Music & Video this March 2012.

    Album track list:
    • “Forevermore”       (Side A)
    • “Hold On”              (Side A)
    • “You Are My Song” (Martin Nievera),
    • “I’ll Never Go”       (Nexxus),
    •  ”Tell Me”              (Joey Albert),
    • “Reaching Out”      (Gary Valenciano)
    • “Rainbow”              (South Border)
    “These songs have universal appeal, as they “tend to be really heartfelt, emotional, and you can really sing them. I think my other fans would really enjoy listening to them as well.” - - - David Archuleta

    February 27, 2012

    Meryl Streep wins best actress Oscar for The Iron Lady

    Meryl Streep gets her third Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards. The actress was presented the gong for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Thirty three years after she grasped her first gold statuette, Meryl is the record-holder with 17 acting nominations.
    The Golden Lady of Hollywood earned her third honour for her performance of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. She won a supporting actress gong in 1979 and the top award in 1982 for Kramer Vs Kramer and Sophie's Choice respectively. She had lost 12 times in a row since then.
    Looking more golden lady than iron in a draped metallic gown, Meryl thanked her husband after opening with the self-deprecating statement statement. 

    'When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America go, "Oh, no, why her again?" But whatever,' Streep said, laughing. 

    'I really understand I'll never be up here again. I really want to think all my colleagues, my friends. I look out here and I see my life before my eyes, my old friends, my new friends." 

    'Really, this is such a great honor but the think that counts the most with me is the friendship and the love and the sheer job we've shared making moves together,' said Streep.
    "The Artist" was named Best Picture, Jean Dujardin Best Actor and the Best Directing gong went to Michel Hazanavicius. With awards for best score and best costume design, it was  the Franco-American film's night. The veteran actor Christopher Plummer became the Academy's oldest winner taking the Best Supporting Actor laurels for, ironically enough, film Beginners.

    List of Oscars 2012 Winners: 
      Best Picture: "The Artist"
    Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
    Best Actress: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
    Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
    Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
    Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
    Cinematography: Hugo
    Art Direction: Hugo
    Costume Design: "The Artist"
    Makeup: The Iron Lady
    Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran.
    Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    Sound Editing: Hugo
    Sound Mixing: Hugo
    Documentary Feature: Undefeated
    Animated Feature Film: Rango
    Visual Effects: Hugo
    Original Score: "The Artist"
    Original Song: Man or Muppet from The Muppets
    Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
    Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
    Live Action Short Film: The Shore
    Documentary (short subject): Saving Face
    Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

    February 25, 2012

    Adele, the first artist to go Double Platinum on iTunes!

    Adele, after winning six Grammys and two Brits, has broken another record with her Grammy-winning album by snagging the title of the first artist to go double platinum on iTunes! Most of the top-selling bands in the world sell their music through iTunes, but it was Adele that became the first to break the double platinum sales plateau.

    Adele, passed up the 2 million download mark on the US iTunes store of songs including her hit record ’21′. The album simultaneously becomes the longest running #1 by any woman in Billboard history with 21 weeks at the top spot.

    The successful album has hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart 21 times and has sold 7 million copies in the United States and 18 million copies globally.

    The album has been certified 7x Platinum in the U.S. and has sold over 18 million copies worldwide. The album has over 16 million singles sold in the US alone, including 7x Platinum certified “Rolling in the Deep,” 4x Platinum certified    "Someone Like You"” 2x Platinum certified “Set Fire to the Rain” and Gold certified “Rumour Has It.”

    The singer underwent vocal surgery several months ago and thanked her doctors from the Grammy stage after tying Beyoncé for the most awards by a female artist in a year. She also tied Eric Clapton’s record for awards to a British artist.

    February 24, 2012

    Jennifer Aniston got her star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame!

    Jennifer Aniston is the first of the “Friends” actors to receive a star and described it as “surreal.” Aniston was joined by her Father John Aniston and boyfriend Justine Theroux who is also his co-star in the up-coming movie “Wanderlust” where their relationship started and bloomed.

    “I was born in  Sherman Oaks, California. I am a California girl through and through, and I’m sure this is always just sort of been in the back of my mind. It probably wasn’t even a dream, it was one of my wildest dreams. I don’t think that I ever even thought that this would be here, this day. So I am utterly humbled and grateful.”

    But she quashed any hopes of the idea and said: "I can't imagine how you would do it, unless you did it years from now."

    She added "I can't imagine what that would be. It's not normal. "Friends is in your living room; Friends is not in a movie theatre. It doesn't make sense to me. I think it would be going against its authentic self."

    Jen also took time to thank her waiting fans, signing autographs for them by the pavement star.

    26th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution

    We will commemorate the  26th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution tomorrow. To celebrate the very memorable day that hundreds of thousands of Filipinos flocked the streets to oust an abusive dictatorship and to fight for the freedom of our country. In February 1986, the People of the Philippines showed the world how to restore democracy peacefully and through democratic ways. The EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of 1986 was the series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines in 1983 to 1986.

    The methods used amounted to a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and electoral fraud. This case of nonviolent revolution led to the departure of President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of the country's democracy. It is also referred to as the Yellow Revolution due to the presence of yellow ribbons during the demonstrations and the arrival of Benigno Aquino, Jr.

    President Benigno Aquino III will lead the morning celebration of the Edsa People Power Revolution at the People Power Monument in Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue (Edsa) that will include flag-raising ceremony and Salubungan on Edsa. Expected to join him are Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Fidel Ramos, Ochoa, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Metro Manila mayors and EPPC commissioners.

    In the afternoon, Mr. Aquino will be in Trece Martires to turn over 21,000 houses to soldiers. According to the EPPC, this event is symbolic of the partnership of the military and civilians during the Edsa Revolution.
    The President is also scheduled to unveil the statue of Jaime Cardinal Sin in Manila, one of the major figures during the Edsa Revolution in February 1986. Activities will be spearheaded by the EDSA People Power Commission and Pilipinas Natin.
    Its theme, “Edsa 26: Anong Taya Mo Para Sa Pilipinas Natin?” is a call to action for all Filipinos to participate in nation-building while the activities will highlight the spirit of volunteerism and bayanihan.



    A summer long musical theatre workshops that incorporate and integrate the children’s singing, dancing and acting abilities through intensive training and appropriate application on performing arts.

    ‘TheCampArt’ is one of the best molding grounds to hone talents, boost confidence, to explore creativity and to develop a relevant notion of observation to different characters and personalities. This guarantees the worth of interaction among children in a very fun and unique way of acting exercises and theater games.

    Duration: SUMMER 2012 - April 10 to May 20, 2012

    TheCampArt presents Hansel & Gretel: A Children’s Musical

    Kids Acts Philippines Inc. (KAPI) is proud to present the upcoming production of the world’s famous classic children’s tale entitled Hansel & Gretel, A Children’s Musical, Direction, Script and Lyrics by Luigi Nacario and Music by Eugene Belbis.

    The musical play will feature the promising child actors who are scholars of the group’s musical theater school called “TheCampArt”. It will be held on February 25, 2012 at St. Cecilia’s Hall, St. Scholastica’s College, Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila with a Matinee Show at 3 pm and a Gala Night at 6 pm.

    Ticket prices start at P350. For inquiries and reservations please call TicketWorld at 891.9999 or KidsActs Box Office at 750-1551.

    HANSEL AND GRETEL, A Children’s Musical

    Next to a great forest there lived a poor woodcutter with his wife and his two children. The boy’s name was Hansel and the girl’s name was Gretel. One evening of a famine time, the parents talk about how their kids could survive during the worst season. They both agreed to let them wander into the woods to gather food and stay in the heart of the forest until the starvation is over. Not considering the danger that they may encounter in the forest, the kids obeyed their parents' request. They gathered white and shining pebbles to be dropped on the path to guide their way back home after the famine. In the heart of the forest, they rested and slept under a huge tree to pass the cold night. In the middle of their sleep the Fire Fairy and her Fire Dancers appeared. They bestowed comfort in the dark and gave warmth in biting cold for a sound slumber. The morning came with an inviting heat of the sun and the roaring of wild animals circling around them with a horrible effort of devouring them. But to their surprise, all the wild animals are friendly that they showed the way going to a cottage for them to spend days until the terrible season is through. The kids took the way that the animals had shown to them.  They walked hard and long, until they reached a Wonderful Land of Forest Fairies. The tired and hungry kids asked for food from the queen of the fairyland, the Earth Fairy. To their dismay, the Earth Fairy warned them that eating the fairies’ food will cause an enchanting misery on them. They will never go back home again and will live in the fairyland forever if they take even a little taste of it. The two insisted to look for the cottage instead. The Earth Fairy told them that the pixies will show the way for them and both hurriedly went to the Pixy Land where the pixies lived. Pixies were mischievous, nasty and guided a wrong way to strangers. But with the words of the Earth Fairy, they could not disobey her command. The playful pixies brought Hansel and Gretel to the insect garden where at its center was the mysterious cottage of the old woman. The insect were the caretakers of the garden and knew the best way to get near of the cottage. Terrified yet persistent, the kids made their way to the mysterious abode of the wicked old woman. To their amazement, they discovered that the house was made of cakes and candies. They helped themselves to a good meal before going inside the delicious hut. Hansel ate a piece of the roof and Gretel ate from the window. On a few bites of their treat, the old woman appeared and with a plea from the children to stay in her cottage she wickedly welcomed the two. She forcibly locked Hansel inside a big steel cage and made Gretel her slave. Though against Gretel’s will, she obeyed the old woman for the safety of his brother. She did all the chores, helped cook and bake everyday and the most hurtful part of all was feeding and fattening her brother to be consumed by the witch. Many days had passed by that in one morning, the old woman announced that she will slaughter and boil Hansel as her luscious and finest meal of the day. She asked Gretel to boil water and set a fire on the oven but she refused to do so since she didn’t know how and haven’t tried to prepare the oven. The old woman furiously showed Gretel how. She opened the oven door wide enough to fit a person. She bent her half body inside the oven to set a fire on it. Opportunity came to Gretel’s mind, she thought of the chance to free themselves from the old woman’s custody. Gretel pushed and locked her inside the oven with a small chance of saving her wicked life. She hurriedly unlocked Hansel from the cage. They took the precious stones out from the treasure chest of the witch as their mark along the way like shining pebbles. They ran and got out of the witch-woods under a stormy sky until they ended up in the land of flying fairies. Air Fairy and the sylphs cleared the weather for the two kids and guided them to the right path. Hansel and Gretel went to the border of the air fairies’ land. The border was the mining hills of the dwarfs. In the working place of the little men, they didn’t see any path leading to somewhere. A gnome revealed the pathway full of glittering stones, that at the end of it was the water of life. They followed the glittering road until they ended up near the bank of the large body of water. The two were anxious of how they will get to their village when there was no boat, no walk way or bridge leading to the other side of the lake. The Water Fairy appeared and called the large duck to smoothly carry them to the other side of the water. Hansel and Gretel climbed up on the back of white beautiful bird as the nymphs and the Water Fairy led the way. They safely reached the far end of the lake, jumped down from the duck’s back, gratefully said goodbye to the fairies and ran happily to their village. At their house, they found their parents who were alive standing in front of the door as if waiting for their loved ones to come home. In spite of the series of events happened, they spent their time happily than ever as a complete family again.

    Animated Short “Tangled Ever After” With “Beauty and the Beast” 3D

    Walt Disney Pictures has announced that "Tangled Ever After," the short film follow-up to their 2010 hit animated feature “Tangled” will be an added attraction to “Beauty and the Beast” 3D when it opened in the Philippines  February 22.

    By popular demand, directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard are bringing back some of Disney’s most beloved characters when "Tangled Ever After" picks up where "Tangled" left off. The Kingdom is in a festive mood as everyone gathers for the royal wedding of Rapunzel and Flynn. However, when Pascal and Maximus, as flower chameleon and ring bearer, respectively, lose the gold bands, a frenzied search and recovery mission gets underway. As the desperate duo tries to find the rings before anyone discovers that they’re missing, they leave behind a trail of comical chaos that includes flying lanterns, a flock of doves, a wine barrel barricade and a very sticky finale. Will Maximus and Pascal save the day and make it to the church in time? And will they ever get Flynn’s nose right?
    "Tangled Ever After" is the perfect accompaniment to "Beauty and the Beast", which is returning to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D and introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. “Beauty and the Beast” was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning Oscars for Best Song, by the renowned Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and Best Original Score (Menken).

    “Beauty and the Beast” 3D is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures

    February 23, 2012

    Cyndi Lauper, coming back to Manila!

    Cyndi Lauper, the original pop superstar is coming back to Manila on March 17, 2012, 6pm to perform and be back in 80's at  Smart Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City. Let's sing, dance and reminisce on her hit songs like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Money Changes Everything, She-Bop, True Colors, Time After Time and lots more!

    Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress. Cyndi Lauper was one of the biggest stars of the early MTV era, selling five million copies of her debut album, She's So Unusual, as well as scoring a string of four Top Ten hits from the record, including the major hits "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time."  She's one of the most distinctive images of the early '80s because of her girlish voice and gleefully appearance. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album. The Top 5 hits "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "She Bop", "All Through the Night" and number-one single "Time After Time" became some of the most important and influential singles of the 80s.

    Ticket Prices:
    Patron A – P 5,500
    Paton B – P5,000
    Lower VIP – P4,500
    Lower Box – P4,000
    Upper Box A – P2,500
    Upper Box B – P1250
    Gen Ad – P750
    Call Ticketnet at 911-5555 or visit your nearest TICKETNET outlets in all SM Dept. Stores.

    Apl.de.ap solo album to feature Bruno Mars, Charice

    Apl.de.ap is working on his solo album, which will count with the participation of  Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Fil-Am    Bruno Mars, International pop star Charice  and Filipino Youtube discovery Arjohn Gilbert.

    Apl.de.ap gave this announcement during an interview at San Miguel Corporation, in Ortigas Center, where he formally signed a contract of sponsorship with the brand San Miguel Beer.

    The deal will have apl appearing in an SMB Pale Pilsen TV commercial with TV host/actress Kris Aquino.

    The agreement includes Apl’s appearance at a television advertisement, and besides, SMB and San Miguel Foundation will make a partnership with Apl at his project. Apl’s project aims to build 10.000 classrooms for Philippine poor children (We Can Be Anything).

    Apl.de.ap comes back to the US on Sunday, but it’s expected that he will come back to Philippines to work at his solo album.

    Check this out and enjoy this video.

    WeCanBeAnything is an education advocacy campaign, born of a partnership between the Apl.de.Ap Foundation (AdAF) and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF).

The campaign was conceived after apl.de.ap (a.k.a. Allan Pineda), the Filipino-American member of the world-famous Black Eyed Peas, expressed his desire to help improve the education situation in the Philippines.

    Black Eyed Peas - The Apl Song

    Lapit mga kaibigan at makinig kayo
    Ako’y may dala-dalang, balita galing sa bayan ko
    Nais kong ipamahagi ang mga kwento
    Ang mga pangyayaring nagaganap
    Sa lupang pinangako

    [English Translation:]
    (Come closer my friends and everyone listen
    I brought news from my homeland
    I’ll tell you how we live and what goes on
    From my beloved homeland.)

    Every place got a ghetto this is my version
    Check it out…
    Listen closely yo, I got a story to tell
    A version of my ghetto where life felt for real
    Some would call it hell but to me it was heaven
    God gave me the grace, amazin’ ways of living
    How would you feel if you had to catch your meal?
    Build a hut to live and to eat and chill in.
    Having to pump the water outta the ground
    The way we put it down utilizing what is around
    Like land for farming, river for fishing
    Everyone helpin’ each other whenever they can
    We makin’ it happen, from nothin’ to somethin’
    That’s how we be survivin’ back in my homeland


    Yo, its been a while but…
    I been back home to my homeland, (check it out) to see what’s going on
    Man it feels good to be back at home
    And it’s been a decade, on the journey all alone
    I was fourteen when I first left Philippines
    I’ve been away half my life, but it felt like a day
    To be next to my mom with her home cooked meal
    Meant I felt complete, my emotions I feel!
    Now life has changed for me in the U.S
    But back at home man, life was a mess…
    I guess sometimes life’s stresses gets you down
    On your knees, oh brother I wish I could have helped you out…

    February 22, 2012

    "Titanic 3D" Experience it like never before

    Directed by James Cameron, the original release of Titanic remained the highest-grossing film of all time for 12 years, until Avatar (also directed by Cameron) surpassed its record in 2010.
    The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Cal Hockley (Rose's fiancé)

    This 1997 blockbuster film Titanic is coming back to theaters on April 6, 2012 in 3D.

    84 years later a 100-year-old woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater tells the story to her granddaughter Lizzy Calvert, Brock Lovett, Lewis Bodine, Bobby Buell, and Anatoly Mikailavich on the Keldysh about her life set in April 10th 1912, on a ship called Titanic when young Rose boards the departing ship with the upper-class passengers and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater, and her fiancé, Caledon 'Cal' Hockley. Meanwhile, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson and his best friend Fabrizio De Rossi win third-class tickets to the ship in a game. And she explains the whole story from departure until the death of Titanic on its first and last voyage April 15th, 1912 at 2:20 in the morning. 

    ‘Beauty and the Beast’ 3D

    One of the most popular and enduring romantic adventures the world has ever known became one of the most ambitious and entertaining animated motion pictures ever brought to the screen with Walt DisneyPictures’ 30th full-length animated feature, ”Beauty and the Beast” which is coming to Philippine theaters for the first time in 3D.

    This classic fairy tale about a beautiful young girl and her encounter with an enchanted beast has long fascinated and intrigued storytellers, filmmakers and their audiences. Through the artistry and imagination of the Disney creative team, an inspired song score by two Academy Award winning songwriters and the contributions of an enormously talented vocal ensemble, this age-old fantasy took on exciting new dimensions that are only possible through the magic of animation.

    The “Beauty and the Beast” story is indeed “a tale as old as time” with variations on the central theme going as far back as Greek mythology. In 1550, Italian author Giovan Straparalo wrote the first account of the story as it is generally known. The tale grew in popularity during the 18th century with books by French authors Madam Le Prince De Beaumont and Madame Gabrielle di Villeneuve. In 1946, acclaimed French director Jean Cocteau used cinematic imagery and lyrical expression to bring this story imaginatively to the big screen (“La Belle et la Bete”).

    “Doing your own version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is as much a tradition as is the story itself,” says producer Don Hahn. “Part of the fun is that each generation and culture adapts this story to be its own. The themes––you can’t judge a book by its cover, and beauty is only skin deep–– are as relevant today as ever.”

    Screenwriter Linda Woolverton agrees, “The lessons of this story are truly timeless, especially for kids growing up today. It tells them to look beyond the surface and beyond materialism and that what is in their hearts and souls are the things that really matter.”

    The release of “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D comes at a time when both the art of animation and the 3D process are enjoying their greatest popularity.    

    Through the magic of Disney and the leaps in modern computer animation technology developed at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, a team of artists, under the guidance of stereographer Robert Neuman, found a way to breathe more dimensional life into “Beauty and the Beast” by turning it into an eye-popping 3D experience.

    Numerous and dramatic challenges awaited Neuman and his team. In discussing the complications of making “Beauty and the Beast” into a 3D film, Neuman emphasizes that because there was no dimensional reality in which to put a second camera, he and his team had to invent a brand new set of computer tools that would allow the filmmakers to sculpt depth into the existing images and thereby create a second eye in order for the 3D to be achieved.

    “In making a live-action film a director could simply add a second camera to get thesecond eye view,” Neuman says of the task that he and his team faced. He explains that the 3D conversion technique they came up with – pixel displacement – enables the artists to take each image and create a “depth map” that corresponds to that image. “The depth map is simply a grayscale image that allows our artists to sculpt out a relief map – the depth map – of the image. We’re then able to take that, apply it to the original image and displace the pixels to create a second eye view,” he says.

    All of the filmmakers and artists who have been involved with the 3D transformation of “Beauty and the Beast” are in unanimous agreement that they take pride in being part of the great legacy of this iconic film. As stereographer Robert Neuman says, “It’s amazing to be able to take these great movies like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Lion King’ and give audiences a new way to see them again. Even if they’re seeing it for the first time, or the one-hundredth time, this is a whole new experience for audiences.”

    The computer gives the filmmakers total control over that illusion. Objects that are close up, such as Belle and the Beast dancing, can create a very intimate environment, as though the audience is sitting right there in the scene. Or if a spectacular shot is required, perhaps of the countryside with Maurice going off to sell his inventions, that epic shot is given a more gentle treatment of 3D. Many factors are at play and the story is enhanced by that 3D decision-making. Stereographers like Robert are crucial to the process.

    Take for example the famous ballroom sequence. Although spectacular in its original form, Neuman and his team of artists were able to enhance what was already one of animation’s most memorable scenes. “We use 3D to support the storytelling narrative,” Neuman says. “Like any other aspect of film, such as the music score, 3D is used to enhance big emotional moments and to help build up to the emotional climax. For those big moments we expand the 3D. We put more of the three-dimensional effects into it. For the ballroom scene it was vital to have the right sense of scale. We had to show the grandeur, the majesty of this ballroom. The key to it was to enforce the sense of perception of scale.”

    Neuman further explains that the “Be Our Guest” number was especially suited to 3D. “Although it was a bigger challenge than the ballroom sequence because there were shots that had hundreds of levels and every level of artwork requires dimensionalizing, if you look at the original staging, the way the things are blocked and choreographed, you see that it already has a sense of dimensionality.”

    The filmmakers agree that the techniques that enabled them to create “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D is so new that this could not have been done just five years ago. “The first time we ever did a dimensionalization was on ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’” Don Hahn says. “It was hard, very labor-intensive work. The results however were great, but it took a long time and was very expensive. It still takes a long time and it’s very expensive!” Hahn says.

    “Beauty and the Beast” was the first hand-drawn film to be dimensionalized into 3D. Disney is the leader in the new technology and regardless of how sophisticated it is, as Hahn says, “It’s important for people to know that it’s not as simple as pushing a button or putting a quarter in a machine and a 3D movies out. It’s all about great artists like Robert Neuman and his crew who must make important creative decisions.”

    Opening February 22 across the Philippines, “Beauty and the Beast” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.


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