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TV & Film

Art vs. Commerce

Updated about 1 month ago

TV & Film
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The Art vs. Commerce podcast is a conversation with creative industry professionals who have made a career out of their art. Our discussions range from their personal history, breaking down famous scenes they helped create and learning how they manage to maintain their personal aesthetic in an arena that demands compromise. As a cinematographer for commercials, documentary and narrative, podcast host Jared Levy enjoys these conversations and learning from these talented industry professionals.

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The Art vs. Commerce podcast is a conversation with creative industry professionals who have made a career out of their art. Our discussions range from their personal history, breaking down famous scenes they helped create and learning how they manage to maintain their personal aesthetic in an arena that demands compromise. As a cinematographer for commercials, documentary and narrative, podcast host Jared Levy enjoys these conversations and learning from these talented industry professionals.

iTunes Ratings

41 Ratings
Average Ratings
36
3
1
0
1

This has helped me become ambitious!

By ReidPetro - May 30 2017
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Great insightful content. The conversations are amazing and always inspiring!

Director

By Tony Dean Franklin - May 08 2017
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One of my favorite podcasts about filmmaking!

iTunes Ratings

41 Ratings
Average Ratings
36
3
1
0
1

This has helped me become ambitious!

By ReidPetro - May 30 2017
Read more
Great insightful content. The conversations are amazing and always inspiring!

Director

By Tony Dean Franklin - May 08 2017
Read more
One of my favorite podcasts about filmmaking!
Cover image of Art vs. Commerce

Art vs. Commerce

Latest release on Jun 03, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 1 month ago

Rank #1: Episode 4 - Eliot Rausch

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This conversation holds a special meaning in my heart. Eliot is a profound human being. A past filled with addiction and excess, he has pushed himself to the brink and back, now working as a sought after commercial director with a humanistic/documentary style. His life blindly air dropped into the fast lane after the meteoric success of a short film he made about his friend putting his dog down. What was supposed to be a simple ode to a dog turned into the spark that exploded his career. In the episode we discuss what lead up to this moment and how it impacted his life in the immediate and long term. This kind of rise can be a dizzying thing to navigate in every way possible; mentally, physically, fiscally, socially, politically - the higher you go, the bigger you get, the more complicated it all becomes. Eliot’s honesty is something to behold. He shares his heart with anyone who is open to accept it. After we finished recording we kept discussing these topics for another few hours, it’s a conversation that never ends for him. He’s a unique soul and I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

Nov 30 2015

58mins

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Rank #2: Episode 27 - Oren Soffer

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Oren Soffer is a cinematographer primarily working on narrative in addition to commercials and documentaries. After growing up in Israel, Oren studied at NYU’s film school where he spent time working under Reed Morano ASC. Upon graduating it has been a constant stream of narrative and commercial work building his chops and aesthetic. Some commercial clients include Discovery Channel, Bloomberg News, Time Inc, Refinery 29, Target, MTV, Nickelodeon, L’Oreal and Skype. In the podcast we take a deep dive into the craft of cinematography. Not just the technical aspects but the mental ones as well both in the micro view of being on set and the macro view of how to shape a career as a director of photography.

Mar 08 2017

53mins

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Rank #3: Episode 5 - Ryan Booth

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When thinking about people in the film industry who inspire me I think it breaks down into two groups of people: Hollywood level stars and people I view as peers. Ryan is a friend, peer and complete inspiration. Not only in the way he motivates me to be a better filmmaker and person, but on a more technical level as well. I love his style and try to learn from it. His eye is top notch and given the right opportunities I really do think his career is limitless. In this episode we cover his background and how he eventually became a filmmaker. Unlike a few of the other guests, being a director and cinematographer were not things he wanted to be even into his early to mid twenties. It’s always interesting when someone with such raw talent does not tap into it initially. I think the conversation about how to find it and stoke that fire can be beneficial and applicable for anyone regardless of craft or trade. In addition to this realization we discuss his current transition into directing and his desire to continue pursuing cinematography in tandem. Process and approach are big themes and I loved hearing what goes on inside his head including his beliefs about how to deal with the facets of filmmaking as well as life in general. His portfolio is strong with a recent commercial campaign for Spotify as a highlight. A lot of his work is in the music space, creating a project called Serialbox Presents which showcases up and coming musical acts. He also directs and shoots cinematic music videos often turning them into short films with Hollywood level actors.

Nov 30 2015

59mins

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Rank #4: Episode 49 - Salomon Ligthelm

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Salomon is a self-taught filmmaker whose international background–––a childhood spent in Johannesburg, Dubai, and Sydney–––figures strongly in his distinctive, visual style. His textural and experimental work finds new ways of exploring visual storytelling, always with a human story at its core. His work has garnered recognition across the world, with inclusion in both the Saatchi & Saatchi and 1.4 New Directors Showcases, two Golds and three Silvers at the YDAs, shortlist for online commercial of the year over 2 minutes for Audi at Shots, shortlists for Music Video of the Year at Shots, Best Alternative Video and Best New Director at the UKMVA’s, and a music video shortlist at Ciclope. These honors are all the more extraordinary for a young director, who is just three years into his commercial film career. His body of work includes short films like “Rocket Wars,” which documents the stunning aerial fireworks battle of a Greek village, as well as commercials for Audi, S7, and Valvoline, and music videos for artists like Daughter and Young Fathers. Salomon lives in New York City with his young family.

Jul 16 2019

1hr 10mins

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Rank #5: Episode 46 - Eliot Rausch

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Eliot Rausch’s work reflects his long-standing pursuit of finding value and transcendence in the mundane. The award-wining filmmaker has created films for organizations and brands including The Red Cross, Tumi, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Duracell, the Veteran Affairs of America, Nike, Under Armour, Apple, and Samsung. His short film “Find Your Understanding,” created for Expedia, was awarded “Most Tear-Jerking Viral Ad of the Year” by Ad Age and one of TED's 10 Best Ads of the Year. Eliot’s short film series honoring those with Multiple Sclerosis, won a Cannes Lion and a Clio Award. “We are Greater than I,” a Samsung film, garnered awards at D&AD, One Show, British Arrows and Cannes Film Festival. He worked alongside Alejandro González Iñárritu, directing the documentary "A World Unseen,” a complimentary piece to “The Revenant.” His short documentary Last Minutes With Oden won the Documentary Award and Grand Prize at the Vimeo Festival + Awards. His recent short film “Birth Pangs,” a haunting portrait of historic injustices that continues his work documenting marginalized communities, premiered on Nowness and was selected for Short of the Week. Currently, Eliot Rausch has been developing a media platform to help those caught in the provisional life, it is due to launch in 2019.

Jun 25 2019

1hr

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Rank #6: Episode 55 - Adam Newport-Berra

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Adam Newport-Berra is a director of photography with a reel that includes features, commercials and music videos. Most recently Adam was the cinematographer on Euphoria and The Last Black Man In San Francisco which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won awards for Best Directing and a Special Jury Prize for Creative Collaboration. In the music realm he has worked with Chance the Rapper, Francis and The Lights, Kanye West and many more. Adam’s commercial work delves into true storytelling with compelling and unique ads that can feel more like short films.

Oct 22 2019

1hr 5mins

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Rank #7: Episode 65 - Khalid Mohtaseb

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Khalid Mohtaseb is a director of photography based in New York City. Khalid was born in Doha, Qatar and moved to the US at the age of nine. This significant cultural shift enabled him to see the world from a completely unique perspective. Photography & cinematography soon became the backbone to communicate his vision to the rest of the world. His fascination with lighting and its power to influence someones emotion is what he finds to be most inspiring. 
Khalid’s last two features, The Wolf Hour and Uncle Frank, both premiered at Sundance. The Wolf Hour, a psychological thriller film starring Naomi Watts, premiered at Sundance in 2019. Khalid’s most recent feature film, Uncle Frank, which was written and directed by Alan Ball, premiered at Sundance in 2020 where it was acquired by Amazon Studios.

Apr 07 2020

2hr 9mins

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Rank #8: Episode 40 - Joe Rudge

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Joe Rudge is an established music supervisor based in Brooklyn, NY best known for his work on the feature films Room, Blue Valentine & Beasts of the Southern Wild. An experienced licensing professional and music fanatic, he works with film, TV, commercial, and multimedia directors to enhance the moving image with sound.

Recent music supervision highlights include the Amazon Studios feature film The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter and the Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip, also released through Amazon Studio. Upcoming projects include the Sundance 2017 breakout hit Patti Cake$ which will be released by Fox Searchlight on August 18th.

Aug 03 2017

57mins

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Rank #9: Episode 36 - Walter Partos

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Walter Partos is the owner of Partos Company which represents cinematographers, costume designers, production designers, producers and editors. Their artists have won virtually every award in the entertainment industry including Oscars, Spirits Awards, Cannes Gold Lions, Emmys, BAFTAs and MTV Music Video Awards.

Walter started his career as a literary agent and his clients included Quentin Tarantino, Mardik Martin (Raging Bull, Mean Streets), Chris DeVore (Elephant Man), Rolf De Heir (Bad Boy Bubby).

After literary representation, the next step in his career was representing visual artists. One of the first visual artists he represented was cinematographer Jordan Croenenweth who taught him the importance of listening. Now the company represents a large number of cinematographers including a former podcast guest Oren Soffer.

This episode is unique in that instead of a more chronological discussion of Walter's career we dive deep into the intricacies of being an agent with the hour long discussion taking on a more Q&A form about the craft with Walter extolling advice about a number of topics including: how to get an agent, what an agent can do for you, common misconceptions about agents, how to be a professional artist…

We recorded this conversation over the course of a few discussions due to technical reasons. With that in mind, the conversation touches upon the same topics in a few different ways but it all felt helpful so the various conversations have been combined into one episode.

Jun 21 2017

1hr 7mins

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Rank #10: Episode 38 - Adam Newport-Berra

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Adam Newport-Berra is a director of photography with a reel that includes features, commercials and music videos. In the music realm he has worked with Chance the Rapper, Francis and The Lights, Kanye West and many more. His most recent feature film, Barry, is the story of a young Barack Obama which was acquired for release by Netflix. Adam’s commercial work delves into true storytelling with compelling and unique ads that can feel more like short films.

In the episode we discuss Adam’s approach to collaboration and how he values people’s attitudes over any other attribute. We also dive into some technical aspects of his pieces learning about the challenges of a few specific projects.

Jul 06 2017

49mins

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Rank #11: Episode 37 - Sean Porter

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Sean Porter is a director of photography with a list of feature films that include Rough Night (currently in theaters) starring Scarlett Johansson, 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening and Green Room starring Patrick Stewart. Originally an indie filmmaker from Seattle, Sean’s pursuit of a career as a cinematographer led him to New York City where he immersed himself in the indie film scene. After a few festival darlings Sean’s career has taken off with Rough Night being his first major film studio production.

In the episode we discuss Sean’s journey from indie DP shooting anything and everything to rising up the ranks by making careful decisions about which films to take on in an effort to build proper momentum. It’s an energetic hour filled with a lot of insight on both the craft and the strategy to a long term narrative career.

Jun 30 2017

59mins

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Rank #12: Episode 19 - Timur Civan

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Timur Civan is a cinematographer working on commercials, documentaries, scripted narrative and experimental. Working his way through the craft and the New York film scene for over ten years, he sets himself apart with his experimental work. A notable example of this style being the music video for Nigel Stanford titled Cymatics. I’ve known Timur for the past 3 to 4 years meeting and hanging out in the same NYC film circles. We both frequent Vincent Laforet’s poker game where Timur acts like he doesn’t know how to play but miraculously ends up winning rather consistently. Somehow I felt this information was relevant and helps paint a picture for you all. In the podcast we discuss Timur’s current transitional state as he finds himself very close to joining the union as a DP. Reflective and thoughtful, this conversation provides insights into the lesser discussed aspects of craft building, the ways in which our talents and opportunities can feel cyclical and how to anticipate these cycles and make them work for you both artistically and financially.

Oct 10 2016

57mins

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Rank #13: Episode 14 - Matt McLaughlin

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Matt McLaughlin is the co-owner of the production company Acres in New York City. He serves as both executive producer and media strategist working with brands, political campaigns and organizations. Their work on the Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign in NYC is notable as it helped transform his poll numbers and gave Acres large scale publicity. Now a young and successful company, they support a small roster of directors out of an office space in TriBeCa. I first met Matt when working with Acres’ director Shal Ngo. Matt’s a warm and welcoming guy with a sharp wit. Always eager to get into deeper conversation about complex issues, it has become clear to me that these interests act as a guide for where he sees Acres going as a company. Always interesting speaking with people who are more on the commerce side of this ongoing discussion. Matt is unique in that he straddles the line, truly making art out of the commerce. Speaking with him I hear the same passion akin to a director or cinematographer, except our conversations are about brand identity, financial distribution models and the importance of relationships.

May 31 2016

1hr 3mins

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Rank #14: Episode 60 - Carmen Cabana

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Carmen Cabana is a cinematographer of Afro-Hispanic descent. Fresh off a DP seat on Starz TV show "Vida S1 and S2", Netflix's show "Narcos Season 2", Amazon's pilot "Los Angeles", HBO Access pilot "Sterling" and TNT/Refinery 29 short "French Fries". Carmen's years of experience and ability for understanding story, capturing emotion and visual dynamism has catapulted her towards the top choices for female cinematographers. She has shot over 23 features around the world, with many name talents and screenings at many renowned festivals.

Carmen's work on "Vida S1" was featured in ICG Magazine (October 2018); she was also listed in the magazine American Cinematographer under the "Rising Stars of Cinematography" article (February 2017 issue); was also listed in Variety's 2016 Below the Line report "Up Next" as one of the most promising filmmakers.

Quickly to adapt and collaborate with locals, Carmen has filmed features in 15 US states and in Mexico, Cuba and Colombia.

She teaches cinematography workshops around the world as well as women empowerment talks. Her past appearances include: HBO Access; NAMIC's "Latino Creatives in Entertainment"; HRTS Women of the West "Diversity on Television Panel", Erman Baradi’s Industry Panel; "Seen and Heard": Women Empowerment Panel-DTLA Film Festival; STAGE 32 "Women in Entertainment Panel"; Arri and Film Independent Project Involve Cinematography workshop; "The 8th Annual Masters in Motion" Film Conference in Austin-Texas; Rule the Set "Cinematography for episodic TV" workshop-Atlanta; ENFOCUS Cinematography workshop-Costa Rica , Litepanels workshop-Vegas.

Carmen is a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow (2010), A Sundance Director's Lab Crew Participant (2008) and a member of the Friends of the ASC educational program.

Nov 26 2019

1hr 7mins

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Rank #15: Episode 58 - Alex Buono

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Alex Buono is Director/EP of the Emmy-nominated IFC comedy series DOCUMENTARY NOW!. He is also the Writer/Producer of the documentary feature BIGGER STRONGER FASTER*, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. In 2003, Alex received an Oscar nomination for the short film JOHNNY FLYNTON, which he produced and also shot. Alex repeated the dual role of producer/cinematographer on GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS that won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival. Alex was also the Director of Photography for the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Film Unit from 1999-2016, where he shot hundreds of short films, including Farewell, Mr. Bunting, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders, Santa Baby, Matthew McConaughey for Lincoln and the 40th Anniversary Season title sequence, to name a few.

Alex was educated at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he double-majored in Film Production and Still Photography. His early post-collegiate years were spent on the camera crews of studio films including Twister, Conspiracy Theory and Armageddon, learning from top cinematographers and personal mentors including Conrad Hall, Dean Cundey and John Schwartzman. Alex is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, the Writer’s Guild of America, the International Documentary Association and the International Cinematographer’s Guild.

Nov 12 2019

59mins

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Rank #16: Episode 13 - Christian Schultz

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Christian Schultz is a freelance Film and Commercial Director. He recently left his staff job as a Film Director for The Musicbed, a music licensing company. He was part of the inaugural film team at The Musicbed and helped craft their aesthetic and setup the foundation for a strong collection of films ranging from stylistic marketing materials to short online portraits of musicians to feature documentaries. I first met Christian at the filmmaking conference Masters in Motion. At the time Christian had just started putting out work with The Musicbed and it was clear they were focused on changing the way brands made films about themselves and their collaborators. Gone was the commercial tone and in was the thoughtful moody atmosphere more akin to heartfelt documentaries. Christian is a soft spoken thinker. Never the loudest in the room, he tends to let his work speak for himself. It was great to meet him at this time of transition from being on staff to going full time freelance. It’s a challenging time for anyone and I believe he provides solid insight into his process and how he is evaluating his success.

May 25 2016

1hr 3mins

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Rank #17: Episode 29 - Ricky Staub

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Ricky Staub is a film and commercial director as well as the founder of the production company Neighborhood Film Co. His most recent work, The Cage, was the first in a new series of works from Film Supply called Film Supply Originals. The project served as Ricky’s first narrative film that he wrote, directed and edited. In the episode we discuss this project at length going into the details behind how it came to fruition and the challenges faced from ideation to completion. Neighborhood Film Co. is unique in that it works with the formerly incarcerated through a paid apprenticeship program that teaches the ins and outs of the film business and offers real responsibilities and opportunities to those involved. With three apprentices per year in an eight month program, Ricky’s company helps create a new foundation for the participants.

Mar 24 2017

1hr 3mins

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Rank #18: Episode 3 - Vincent Laforet

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Vincent Laforet is a professional photographer turned commercial director and cinematographer. He was the youngest staff photographer ever hired for the New York Times where he shared The Pulitzer for his international coverage in The Middle East documenting events unfolding post 9/11. After years of success at the paper, the need for creativity and artistry prompted him to do the unthinkable, he left what most considered to be the job you held onto forever. In the pod we discuss his upbringing and how he managed to become the youngest hired staff member of the famed NYT photo dept and the journey he’s been on ever since. Vince is well known in the photography world as a teacher through his prolific blog. This side of him is impossible to turn off and comes through during our conversation. He’s always trying to extoll advice and share what he’s learned. Contrary to the first two episodes, Vince is older and brings with him a different perspective. I’m hopeful that the podcast can continue to bring in a variety of voices either because of age, experience, background, artistic genre - with each new voice the conversation becomes richer.

Nov 30 2015

1hr 1min

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Rank #19: Episode 57 - Robby Baumgartner

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Robby Baumgartner began his film career 28 years ago in New York City. His interest in lighting inspired him to choose the unconventional route to DP via Gaffing.

This career path allowed him to light films and learn from some of the most talented DP’s in the business: Rodrigo Prieto, Chris Menges, Robert Elswit, Dante Spinotti, Darius Khondji, Janusz Kaminski, and Emmanuel Lubezki. Some of the films include: “8 Mile”, “25th Hour”, “21 Grams”, “Babel”, “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”, and “There Will be Blood”.

In between Gaffing gigs he took every opportunity to DP or camera-operate on feature films, 2nd-unit photography, commercials, and shorts.

Then in 2008 “There Will be Blood” shot by Robert Elswit, won the Oscar for Best Cinematography; the highest honor for any DP/Gaffing team. That event was the impetus for Robby to stop gaffing and DP exclusively.

In 2009 Robby joined the International Cinematographers Guild as a DP. Since then he has gone on to shoot 2nd unit on both “Hunger Games” l and ll, “Water for Elephants”, and “Argo” amongst other films. For the last 5 years he has been concentrating on shooting main unit for films such as “The Guest”, “Blair Witch (2016)” and now “Blindspotting”, which has been selected for competition in the US Dramatic category at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Nov 05 2019

1hr 7mins

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Rank #20: Episode 59 - Igor Martinovic

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Igor Martinovic is a Croatian cinematographer based in New York. Igor photographed the Academy Award winning documentary, Man On Wire, which also won the BAFTA for Best British Film as well as the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award of 2008.
Igor was the Director of Photography for the Netflix original series House of Cards as well as Wormwood and The Night Of. He was nominated for an Emmy in 2014 for his work on the series House of Cards.

Nov 19 2019

57mins

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