REELSCREEN: News & Notes

EQUIPMENT EXPANSION. SMS Equipment Rentals acquired three Panasonic SDX900 camera packages “that are positioned under HD for people who can’t handle an HD budget,” says owner Man Sung Sun.

CORPORATE PIECE A WINNER. Film & Tape Works shot “a huge project in 24P” for Underwriters Labs that was delivered in 13 languages on DVD, said executive producer Adam Marton. UL’s Peter Sturgis produced and Bob Jacobs edited the 12-minute international sales and marketing piece on a $100,000 budget. FTW’s provided audio editing, visual effects, finishing and transfers. Their hard work was amply rewarded by winning a silver medal from the New York Festivals, where 15,000 entries poured in from 62 countries.

PANEL ON WAGE TAX CREDIT. The law firm of Holland & Knight holds a March 4 panel of legal and tax experts to tell producers the financial incentives that can be derived from the wage tax credit bill. Speakers: The firm’s Bob LaBate, Peter Strand, Rob Mintz, Kristen Fligel and Tom Kinasz. From the state: tax expert Paul Caselton, communications director Cheryle Jackson, and the IFO’s Brenda Sexton and Bob Hudgins. From 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the firm’s offices. Email to register. Registration limited to space.

TV ENGINEERS CONFERENCE. SMPTE experts converge on Chicago Feb. 26-28 for an Advancements in Motion Imaging Conference at the Fairmont Hotel. Saturday keynote speaker is Mark S. Richer, formerly PBS VP/engineering and currently president, the Advanced Television Systems Committee, established in 1982 to develop voluntary technical standards for digital television. Topics to be discussed include acquisition systems, film-electronic interface, quality measurement systems and distribution issues. Package pricing or visit individual sessions. See

NEW McDONALD’S STAR. McDonald’s has started shooting commercials with pro basketball star Yao Ming, who was signed to a multiyear endorsement deal that runs through the 2008 Olympics. Yao Ming, 23 and 7-feet-6, has an estimated income of $14.5 million from endorsement deals with Apple computers, Reebok and Visa. He’s the highest paid Chinese celebrity in that communist country.