The Magic of Prosthetic and Makeup Effects

Seen ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and wondered how did they manage to make Brad Pitt look over 60 years old? Or how did they manage to make those Ogres look so menacingly ugly in ‘The Lord of the Rings’? Well, Prosthetic and Makeup Effects is your answer.


A discipline of makeup, Prosthetic and Makeup effects utilizes various specialized materials and methods to create looks which cannot be achieved with the regular makeup techniques. This discipline requires painting and sculpting skills along with traditional makeup expertise. It is commonly used in film and TV productions.


Prosthetic and Makeup effects are used to make an actor look aged or young, to enhance/modify existing body part or add a completely new one, it can morph the face of an actor into that of an entirely different creature and much more. For an artist who is adequately skilled in this discipline sky is the limit when it comes to creating innovate yet believable look.

The process of applying this specialized form of makeup usually begins with creation of a mold or a cast. The makeup artist will sculpt a realistic model of the actors face or body part in question and this will serve as the base for the artist’s work. This process of creating a lifelike replica for prosthetic enhancement is called lifecasting and mold created is called a lifecast. These lifecasts are usually made of silicon rubber or prosthetic alginate. The materials used in creating this makeup have to be selected with care as they are worn by the actor on their skin, hence it has to also take the allergies of the actor into accord.

Once the lifecast is in place, the artist will start modifying its look depending on the character requirement. One can add wrinkles, wounds, skin aberrations, discoloration, deformity, specific texture etc. This is how in fantasy movies, the elves get their pointed ears or hobbits get their hairy large feet.

The process of applying prosthetic makeup can be a time consuming one if the character requirement is complex. For Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt had to undergo one of the most difficult and time-consuming makeup processes. His aged look was achieved with a blend of conventional visual effects coupled with makeup effects which at time took over 5 hours to complete.

One of the key factors in this art-form is making the makeup believable, and for this to happen the prosthetic appendages should blend seamlessly with the actor’s skin and body.


With the increasing use of visual effects in films, makeup artists work collaboratively with VFX technicians to get an enhanced and complete look for the characters. It works incredibly for the budget too, as prosthetics makeup can save huge chunk of money by doing effects that are within its sphere of possibility. Some of the best examples of this prosthetic and computer graphics marriage is the nose less look of Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, the zombie effects in the post apocalyptic television drama ‘Walking Dead’

VFX coupled with prosthetics can achieve looks makeup alone cannot.

Seminar by MILIND KAVDE, Film Director and ex-student of DA


December 15th saw Digital Academy – The Film School open their arms to welcome their beloved ex-student Milind Kavde, who now is a proud Producer and Director, to share his experience and knowledge with their students. His Marathi movie Yedyanchi Jatraa won the NBC Newsmakers Achievers Award for Best Film in 2012 and nominations for Zee Marathi and Maharashtracha Favorite Kon Awards. Not being the first movie that he’s worked on, 4 Idiots, a Marathi movie to be released next, was always first on his cards.

Bringing back his enthusiasm as a DA student, he first shared with the students how they can overcome issues when making a movie. “Be thorough with your subject, be clear with your vision!” quoted Milind Kavde. Talking about a situation he faced while shooting with Bharat Jadhav, he brought to the students’ notice how every Actor was asked to remain in the skin of the character they played.


Speaking about his journey as a Director, he recollects his struggle of six years before dealing with the cameras. He recollects how he got his first placement with B P Singh – CID through DA when he was into an office job, scripting and ideation. Here, he formed his base. He played second assistant to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, where his job dealt with all the nitty-gritties of the production unit. This was driven by his constant need of learning new things. Gradually, getting an opportunity to work as an assistant director with Girish Mallik gave his journey a new turn. He then launched his own company named Out Of The Box production.

Every day, there’s something new to learn for this young, fervent Filmmaker on the block. For him, going back to movies like Tintin and Avatar inspires his Filmmaking style. At times it’s all about the location that brings the rustic feel to the movie, which he discovered while shooting in Wye (Satara district of Maharashtra) for Yedyanchi Jatraa. In his opinion, that’s not it! With these kinds of locations becoming immensely popular through movies like Gangajal and Dabang, the benchmark set for him was pretty high.

The elements of the movie need to be crafted, keeping in mind the viewer’s choice. And yes, when it comes to songs, sometimes they act as a break, so it becomes necessary for the audience. This 90-lakh-budget movie that went on to make profits of three crores, was completed in 27 days, including the first print marketing. He still recalls pitching this movie with just a two-page script and reminisces how it moved on to a 120-page solid draft.

When asked about difficulties he came across while making this movie, he said, “Being a comedy, it was easy because he enjoyed doing it.” Also, he got the signing amount, with just 2 pages in hand. What more could he have asked for at that point.


Difficulties grew with the huge number of people and the star cast, like bringing together Actors such as Vinay Apte and Mohan Joshi. Apart from this, being a newcomer was always the biggest challenge. However, he came to terms with the fact that if your script is in place and the character has something to give; even the veteran Actors will be willing to work with newcomers.

Bringing light to a sensitive practice while pitching the movie, he said, “If you make a movie keeping in mind a particular Actor, you need to pitch the movie both to the Producer and the Actor.” After all, the Actor needs his space in the movie and the Producer is out there to give him that. Once the Actor believes in the character of the movie, s/he starts to live that life.


Milind ended on a note about his experience as a student in DA. He beautifully put in words, how DA has been the Grammar for his Filmmaking language. With the exposure he got here, he just had to follow his heart and select the genre he enjoys most – comedy. He aptly quoted, “If you can’t enjoy, you can’t execute!” He believes, if you create noise in industry, the industry is there to absorb it. If you say you can, they believe you can!


Sound… Bigger than visuals for new age filmmakers

“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual,” says David Lynch. And anybody who has seen the ‘Lynchian’ handiworks of this Academy Award winning director would fervently agree.


Sound in films encompasses the dialogues, background score, ambiance sounds, music etc and is a very crucial component of storytelling. In many films, even before the visual has registered in our brains, we have already been introduced to the premise of the scene by the sound. All of us have jumped off our seats with creaking of doors in horror films or pressed our ears for those unsought footsteps of the killer in those Slasher films. That is the impact of sound in films. The sound conditions and color


Even for a movie like Avatar, which will be known in the history of cinema as a visual phenomenon, sound design played a huge role in making the world of Pandora believable. One of the biggest challenges for the sound team on the movie was creating sound effects that would match the brilliant imagery created by Weta Digital. Every creature and environment sound that was originally created or recorded using real animals and environmental elements had to be manipulated so as to make them sound unique to the world of Pandora.

Though most of the ‘sound script writing’ happens in post production, the process of sound design begins even before the film goes on floor. A sound designer should read the script of his film with sound in mind and try to imagine the sounds as he goes through the scenes. This helps in developing the acoustic landscape of the film. Although the complete sound scape cannot be developed with the script with this approach, you still get a starting point to build on as you go ahead with the shoot.

This initial design takes it full form with tremendous inputs from the atmosphere of the visuals, which either enhances your original idea or force you take a completely new direction. Also important is capturing the highest quality audio while shooting on location. The best way to ensure your film sounds professional is to get the best quality sound from the source.


The latest sound recording, mixing and reproduction technology has made it possible for filmmakers to have a greater dynamic range of sound. Now we can create soundtracks with more precision and intricacy. There is more control and one can do more in the cutting room. But this has brought in with it the risk of being too loud, which in some cases borders on being vulgar. And with so much control over detail, you need to work even more accurately than before and make sure all sound bites are aligned to the design you are aiming for. The true beauty of sound comes out when it is used with subtlety in perfect balance with the visuals.

Unfortunately, viewers might not notice when the sound design is good. However, poor sound rarely goes unnoticed. The trick is to use the sound as a character in the film and not noise.

RED Workshops for DA Students

Recently an introductory RED camera workshop was conducted by the RED India team, headed by RED India Managing Director Arjun Sablok. In 2006, when the RED One came out with the promise of capturing video signals as a continuous Raw, much like 24 analog still frames in full photographic resolution, Cinematographers all over the world reacted skeptically.

The first versions of this camera showed multiple problems, such as halting because of overheating. And it was normal for the camera, based on the wavelet compression method, by which one can get multiple proxies – low resolution copies of the same moving images – being recorded at the same time. With so many processes running at the same time, it was normal for the camera’s core processors to get overheated.

The complaining came mostly from the Indian Cinematographic circles where most cameramen were filmmakers, and at best dabblers in microprocessor field. Many of the early problems of white balancing, native camera sensitivity and overheating were solved with a major processor upgrade in 2010. With the Mysterium-X processor and specified fan speeds at specific shooting conditions, filmmakers could shoot undisturbed now. 2011 and 12 brought new camera models like Epic and Scarlet, with new modules and new firmware upgrades. Shooting at Redcode5 compression, with Redlog gamma and Redcolor 3, it became possible to give a true filmlook to the moving images.

In the workshop, Arjun demonstrated RED’s power, with promos of a few upcoming films like The Great Gatsby, Oz and Peter Jackson’s much anticipated Hobbit, which is releasing this Christmas. He clarified the mystery behind the much talked about RED workflow, and showed that all the goof ups came to be due to ignorance.

At the end of the two hour talk and demonstration, two latest RED cameras – an Epic and a Scarlet – were given to students for a hands-on experience.

RED Epic – Industry Standard, most robust camera available today, Records on 5K, with a highest frame rate of 300FPS at 8:1 compression.

RED Scarlet – A more affordable version of RED, with similar resolution as scarlet, but reduced functionality, like 30 FPS at 8:1 compression.

25 Free Digital Audio Editors You Should Know

25 Free Digital Audio Editors You Should Know

A digital audio editor is defined as a computer application for manipulating digital audio. As a multimedia creator, we normally use audio editor for recording audio, edit the duration and timeline, mix multiple sound tracks, apply simple effects for audio enhancement and create conversion between different audio file formats.

There are countless ways that digital audio editor can be used, and fortunately there are plenty of good and free digital audio editors out there to help you with your own implementation. So if you’re thinking to purchase a license for Adobe Audition, Cool Edit or Soundforge, hold that thought first. Not to say they aren’t cool, but it’s always wiser to tryout free applications before going to the pay deal.

25 free digital audio editors. Full list below !

Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It allows you to record live audio, converts tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. You also can cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together with Audacity. Built-in effects are given to remove static, hiss, hum or other constant background noises.

2.Power Sound Editor
Power Sound Editor Free is a visual audio editing and recording software solution, which supports many advanced and powerful operations with audio data.You can use Power Sound Editor Free to record your own music, voice, or other audio files, edit it, mix it with other audio or musical parts, add effects like Reverb, Chorus, and Echo, and burn it on a CD, post it on the World Wide Web or e-mail it.

mp3DirectCut is a fast and extensive audio editor and recorder for compressed mp3. You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files for audio editing. Using Cue sheets, pause detection or Auto cue you can easily divide long files.

4.Music Editor Free
Music Editor Free (MEF) is a multi-award winning music editor software tool. MEF helps you to record and edit music and sounds. It lets you make and edit music, voice and other audio recordings. When editing audio files you can cut, copy and paste parts of recordings and, if required, add effects like echo, amplification and noise reduction.

Wavosaur is a free sound editor, audio editor, wav editor software for editing, processing and recording sounds, wav and mp3 files. Wavosaur has all the features to edit audio (cut, copy, paste, etc.) produce music loops, analyze, record, batch convert. Wavosaur supports VST plugins, ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing. The program has no installer and doesn’t write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design.

6.Traverso DAW
Traverso DAW is a GPL licensed, cross platform multitrack audio recording and editing suite, with an innovative and easy to master User Interface. It’s suited for both the professional and home user, who needs a robust and solid DAW. Adding and removal of effects plugins, moving Audio Clips and creating new Tracks during playback are all perfectly safe, giving you instant feedback on your work!

Ardour is a digital audio workstation. You can use it to record, edit and mix multi-track audio. You can produce your own CDs, mix video soundtracks, or just experiment with new ideas about music and sound. Ardour capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal. If you’ve been looking for a tool similar to ProTools, Nuendo, Pyramix, or Sequoia, you might have found it.

Rosegarden is a well-rounded audio and MIDI sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition and editing environment. Rosegarden is an easy-to-learn, attractive application that runs on Linux, ideal for composers, musicians, music students, and small studio or home recording environments.

Hydrogen is an advanced drum machine for GNU/Linux. It’s main goal is to bring professional yet simple and intuitive pattern-based drum programming.

10.WavePad Sound Editor
WavePad Sound Editor lets you make and edit music, voice and other audio recordings. When editing audio files you can cut, copy and paste parts of recordings and, if required, add effects like echo, amplification and noise reduction. WavePad works as a wav editor or mp3 editor but it also supports a number of other file formats including vox, gsm, real audio, au, aif, flac, ogg and more.

11.Sound Engine
SoundEngine is the best tool for personal use, because it enables you to easily edit a wave data while it has many functions required for a mastering process.

12.Expstudio Audio Editor
Expstudio Audio Editor is a visual music file editor that has many different options and a multiple functionality to edit your music files like editing text files. With a given audio data it can perform many different operations such as displaying a waveform image of an audio file, filtering, applying various audio effects, format conversion and more.

13.DJ Audio Editor
DJ Audio Editor is easy-to-use and well-organized audio application which allows you to perform various operations with audio data. You can create and edit audio files professionally, also displaying a waveform image of audio file makes your work faster.

Eisenkraut is a cross-platform audio file editor. It requires Java 1.4+ and SuperCollider 3. It supports multi-channel and multi-mono files and floating-point encoding. An OSC scripting interface and experimental sonagramme functionality are provided.

15.FREE WAVE MP3 Editor
Free Wave MP3 Editor is a sound editor program for Windows. This software lets you make and edit voice and other audio recordings. You can cut, copy and paste parts of recording and, if required, add effects like echo, amplification and noise reduction.

16.Kangas Sound Editor
Fun Kangaroo-themed program that allows the user to create music and sound effects. It uses a system of frequency ratios for pitch control, rather than conventional music notation and equal temperament. It allows instruments, both musical and percussion, to be created.

Ecawave is a simple graphical audio file editor. The user-interface is based on Qt libraries, while almost all audio functionality is taken directly from ecasound libraries. As ecawave is designed for editing large audio files, all processing is done direct-to-disk. Simple waveform caching is used to speed-up file operations. Ecawave supports all audio file formats and effect algorithms provided by ecasound libraries. This includes JACK, ALSA, OSS, aRts, over 20 file formats, over 30 effect types, LADSPA plugins and multi-operator effect presets.

18.Audiobook Cutter
Audiobook Cutter splits your MP3 audio books and podcasts in a fast and user friendly way. The split files can easily be used on mobile MP3 players because of their small-size. Their duration allows smooth navigation through the book. The split points are determined automatically based on silence detection.

Jokosher is a simple yet powerful multi-track studio. With it you can create and record music, podcasts and more, all from an integrated simple environment.

LMMS is a free cross-platform alternative to commercial programs like FL Studio, which allow you to produce music with your computer. This includes the creation of melodies and beats, the synthesis and mixing of sounds, and arranging of samples. You can have fun with your MIDI-keyboard and much more; all in a user-friendly and modern interface.

Mp3Splt-project is a utility to split mp3 and ogg files selecting a begin and an end time position, without decoding. It’s very useful to split large mp3/ogg to make smaller files or to split entire albums to obtain original tracks. If you want to split an album, you can select split points and filenames manually or you can get them automatically from CDDB (internet or a local file) or from .cue files. Supports also automatic silence split, that can be used also to adjust cddb/cue splitpoints. You can extract tracks from Mp3Wrap or AlbumWrap files in few seconds.


Qtractor is an Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application written in C++ with the Qt4 framework. Target platform is Linux, where the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) for audio, and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for MIDI, are the main infrastructures to evolve as a fairly-featured Linux desktop audio workstation GUI, specially dedicated to the personal home-studio.

ReZound aims to be a stable, open source, and graphical audio file editor primarily for.

Sweep is an audio editor and live playback tool for GNU/Linux, BSD and compatible systems. It supports many music and voice formats including WAV, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis, Speex and MP3, with multichannel editing and LADSPA effects plugins.

WaveSurfer is an Open Source tool for sound visualization and manipulation. It has been designed to suit both novice and advanced users. WaveSurfer has a simple and logical user interface that provides functionality in an intuitive way and which can be adapted to different tasks.

Methods and styles of Acting

Acting is an art of storytelling by gesture and body movement combined with conversation between enacting people. It can also be portrayed by characters in running audio visuals in a universal accepted format. There are several visual formats of storytelling such as theatre, Films, TV series and the most glorified among them is storytelling. It originated in India- The street theatres of India Nautanki’s. These groups displayed the various Indian folklores and great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata in a semi dance musical form on street theatre moving from city to city, state to state all across India. Various Indian dance forms are also very famous internationally in portraying characters when enacting on stage. It’s all about gestural presentation of emotions in its own unique format accompanied by music and lighting to glorify the emotions. Be it about war or love story, an epic or village folklore, we had it all in India. But with modernization taking place, the theatre evolved with Shakespeare’s work laying the real foundation of the art of modern acting techniques. There were several other artists/actors who invented their own form of acting which was later so successful that today they comprise of the most glorified and sought after actors of the century.

The most successful of all was Constantin Stanislavski whose technique were influenced and developed by Lee Strasberg as a method known as Methodic Acting, classic example being Al Pacino..

Let us now see the various techniques of acting invented by various great artists…

Acting Techniques by Shakespeare.

Shakespeare has a body of work that is by far one of the most difficult acting styles to pull off successfully, it is also one of the most sort after and a serious thespians dream. Attempting to learn ‘Old English’ is comparable to learning a foreign language and remembering your lines is terribly difficult, especially lengthy monologues. However there are a few acting techniques for Shakespeare that will help ease the complexity of your role.

Firstly watch the film of the play, that you have been cast in and make extensive notes. Delivery, pronunciation and projection needs to be practiced frequently. Think about just how old the play is and how different society was in Shakespearean times. Think about the plays content, message and your characters purpose to the play and the feelings your character would be experiencing. Spend some time learning old English, knowing what you are saying will bring with it conviction rather than just reeling of a few memorized words meaninglessly. Practice in front of a mirror; check your posture, breathing and reaction stance.

Method Acting

Method acting involves adopting the lifestyle, habits or traits that are a reflection of the character you are trying to portray. Immersing yourself heavily into your characters mindset, will enable you to understand their motives or actions and gain a better understanding of how they feel. As a result you portray them with greater accuracy; many successful actors and actresses have adopted this particular method and as a result gained awards and praise for performances using method acting.


Constantin Stanislavski influenced the acting world so greatly that most modern acting techniques stem from Stanislavskian approaches. Stanislavski acting involves analyzing the script and segmenting it. Looking at what method a character resorts to, to overcome obstacles and reach their objectives. Which of the three path’s of action would they pursue, would they give up when faced with an obstacle, find a way to solve their problem or carry on regardless of their plight? His emphasis was on realism and accurate reflection of reality by using exercises like the ‘magic if’ what would you do if this happened to you and why do you think your character would act in this way.

Brecht Acting Techniques.

The Brechtian approach includes acting formats such as stereotypes, using placards, ensemble and montage. Bertolt Brecht was the father of epic theatre; his goal was to influence the audience into thinking about society and encouraging change within it. He placed great emphasis on gesture for the demonstration of emotion. He believed message was superior to character, the story and situation itself to be more important than the personal challenges within the situation. Brechtian theatre demonstrates and allows for various acting styles to co-exist.

Artaud Acting Techniques.

Artaud thought very differently to Brecht, his thinking placed heavy emphasis on invoking deep routed feelings through acting. He believed the theatre was about action and the element of surprise. His theatre of cruelty approach, of which he is better associated with, takes acting to the subconscious level, using painful memories and strong feelings to invoke strong emotion. Antonin Artaud thought less of words and more of profound impact. Whereas Brecht wanted the audience to go out and change society Artaud wanted them shaken to their soul and to look within and make Changes within themselves.

Meisner Technique.

Sanford Meisner’s technique is predominately placed on self, circumstances and affect on and reaction to others. Repetitive dialogues are used as an exercise; these enable actors to play on action and reaction, depending on how the line is delivered at that moment. It’s about considering the characters objective, reading tone and body language. Meisner’s cause and effect type teaching helps the actor to attune themselves to the community of the performance, who is friend and who is foe. What is the catalyst of change and how as a character you deal with change and the chain reaction that follows it?

Methods and Styles of Script Writing

SCRIPT WRITING is the art of writing audio visuals in a universally accepted word format, even before starting to shoot (any form of audio visual media product). This art is more glorified for movies, however it is also used for other audio visual products such as TV serials, Ads, Documentaries etc.

Emergence of scriptwriting started way back in Greek cultures where theatrical drama was very predominant for regular entertainment of the royals. This was further amplified by Shakespeare. His famous plays ROMEO and JULIET, HAMLET and OTHELLO are considered to be work of masterpieces of all times which laid the foundation for today’s art of story writing. With the emergence of TV and films it was possible for entrepreneurs and film makers to make running audio visuals on films captured by camera and lighting technology and showed to the audience as a complete story or film.

Once this was made possible the next attempt was to make films of different styles incorporating the already known favourite stories. These were already known to people in the form of legends, plays and novels. Thus modern scriptwriting came into existence. With the emergence of modern technology and techniques it was possible to make films based on fiction which only one could imagine before. Bringing extra terrestrials and alien worlds to earthlings was now possible and was an instant success story. Thus genre started playing an important role in scriptwriting as choice was made available to the people and audiences’ choice started playing a major role in selection of movies to be made. Nonetheless the basic foundation of all films or audio visual remains the same..STORY TELLING..

Scriptwriting consists of three main components collectively

1.STORY (the whole story)
2.SCREENPLAY (story distributed in scenes by scene description)
3.DIALOGUES (the conversation in the scenes)

Stating these components in place one knows exactly where to begin from. A story can be adapted from a novel, an incident, a legend, a wild imagination, a personal experience or any source that can initiate excitement or probability of the audience. It starts with an idea or what we generally refer to as concept. The story idea or the main incidence which initiates or carries the story ahead is called as the plot.

Being a story telling medium it has got to go through the ups and downs of incidents, got to have obstacles, fights, wars, romance, evil and good people etc. So here we start giving them conventional technical names such as Characters is for people, type of story is genre and most importantly the happenings/incidents are scenes as it’s a running format.

Technically, scriptwriting is divided into three phases which the story comprises of called as the 3 ACT STRUCTURE..

Act 1 consists of the conflict set up (30 mins). ACT 2 (60 mins) consists of the protagonist facing the problem and ACT 3 (30 mins) consists of the protagonist culminating the problem. Totally, 120 mins or 2 hrs.(there are many more minute details involved).

The writer should start of with a clear mind, acknowledging who the story is about, as the story has to be told in that perspective. Every story will have a start and an end, so the character should go through a series of incidents after which he will change as a person. The logic behind is that when a person goes through certain experiences in his/her life, he changes as a person. Simple references being educated people becoming gangsters, good and law abiding police officers becoming tainted etc. The duration of the story is limited but the span of time however can be moderated as per the story, revolving around a life time, few years, few months, one day etc. The character who the story is about is called the protagonist ,the villain or the person who plays the opposing character to the protagonist is called the antagonist. The fight of the protagonist in the story is called as the conflict. It is this conflict that gives the story more weight-age, more legitimacy, more endurance, as more severe the conflict more effort the protagonist has to put to win and more laudable is the effort WHICH DEFINES HEROISM !!

Sometimes there are stories which have the protagonist face more than one major conflict so there are multiple plots. Any such additional conflict that the story might have is called the sub plot or sub plots. This is the basic three act structure in brief. There are intense technicalities involved in Screen Writing which requires great effort and continuous writing to better oneself.
If the writer himself is the director then the screenplay might change in technicality. Here he goes an extra mile to enhance the camera angles and other pointers. At the end it all ultimately depends on technician to technician, project by project.

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