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Stephanie Prange is the editor in chief of Home Media Magazine. The Yale University graduate joined what was then Video Store Magazine in 1993 and was instrumental in transitioning the publication into a tabloid newsweekly. She spearheaded the publication’s reviews section, as well as aggressive coverage of the home video sales market. She also helped launch the magazine’s Web site in 1996. In her position as editor-in-chief since 2006, she has spearheaded the launch of such projects as the daily blast, transmitted via email each day to readers, and Agent DVD, a consumer publication aimed at genre enthusiasts who attend Comic-Con International in San Diego. She has freelanced for The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and parenting publications. She has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California.


Steph Sums It Up
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17 Nov, 2017

DEG Honors Innovative Women


In a month that saw such depressing news about women’s plight in Hollywood (and indeed in many other arenas), it was gratifying to attend an event inspired by one of the most brilliant women to ever grace the screen. Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr not only starred in such film classics as Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat, but she was also a lifelong inventor who pioneered “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for technology utilized by the cell phones we carry daily, among other things.

To honor her, DEG: The Digital Entertainment group created an award to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders, and Nov. 15 in Santa Monica, Calif., the group presented the inaugural Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Geena Davis. Davis is the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which works to dramatically increase the percentage of female characters and reduce gender stereotyping in media targeting children 11 and under.

“She was just so extraordinary and so incredible that I can hardly even begin to fill her shoes, so I am extremely humbled and grateful for this award. What an honor!” Davis said of Lamarr. “She was a pioneer and a patriot and a heroine.”

She noted that “technology has become a huge part of my institute’s success.”

The institute is using data analysis developed at the University of Southern California and funded by Google to quantify the disparity in treatment of females and males in children’s entertainment.

“I am very confident in predicting that the percentage of female characters in TV and movies made for kids will dramatically improve within just a few years,” she said.

The DEG also recognized three scholarship recipients with the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology: Johanna Baumann of the University of Michigan; Carolyn DiLoreto of USC and Cherylynn Lima of Smith College.

Nominations are now open for the 2018 awards.


27 May, 2016

Will High Dynamic Range Attract Film Fans?


I’ve been in this business long enough to see many iterations of increased home entertainment quality (as in more visually and audibly stunning) content trotted out by the content owners. DVD was a revelation. Then Blu-ray Disc upped the ante. Dolby and DTS added to the effect, as did better and better TV screens and 3D viewing.

I’ve never, however, been able to discern quite so clearly the difference that I have seen between an HD presentation and an Ultra HD presentation with high dynamic range. When you see the two side-by-side it is truly a leap ahead. Obviously, 3D was a great leap forward, but it required glasses and (sometimes) gave viewers a headache. HDR is different. As colorist Tim Stippen on the Deadpool 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (with HDR) put it, “I think this is the wave of the future because you’re seeing more of what the camera captured.”

Seeing more of what the camera captured is putting home entertainment quality on the right track in my book. That puts the viewer in the shoes of the director, cinematographer, actors and other filmmakers. It brings the viewer closer to the content.

“I truly thought it was the best-looking version of the movie by far,” Deadpool director Tim Miller said at the presentation on the Fox lot in May.

And that’s what the home entertainment business has been striving for, at least in recent years — the best-looking version — for home entertainment libraries, and for posterity.

I was once at an event at CES in which director Oliver Stone exhorted movie fans to collect hard copies (discs) of their favorite movies because those copies will become rare in the digital future and will be of the best quality.

The best quality version of content is, and will always be, what defines home entertainment collections. And I think 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc with HDR fits that bill.


19 Mar, 2010

Fess Parker: A Class Act

Fess Parker
Fess Parker

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to interview many stars from the golden years of Hollywood, and they exhibit a class that you often don’t see in the Hollywood set anymore.

In June 2006, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fess Parker, star of the “Davy Crockett” and “Daniel Boone” series. Sadly, he passed away March 18.

Parker gleefully recalled the title tune from the “Daniel Boone” series, joining former co-star Ed Ames.

“Daniel Boone was a man. He was a BIG man,” they belted in announcing the video release of the series.

Parker had invited stars of the series, a cadre of press members and fans to his Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., to celebrate and kick off “Boone” on DVD. We visited with his family and took a tour of his vineyard.

Parker was delighted to help preserve the series for fans on disc, and like so many of the classic film and TV stars, relished promoting his work.

It was a pleasant experience, and one I will never forget — like the day in 1994 I interviewed Gene Kelly, since passed, and listened to him gleefully grouse about “the suits” at the studios who had given him such a hard time (meanwhile he was sharing more than half his day with a group of reporters just to push the release of That’s Entertainment III on home video). At the same event, I met Cyd Charisse, another legend since passed, who looked as glamorous that day as when she first graced the screen dancing with Kelly.

They will all be sorely missed.