SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

Television production facilities began incorporating IP, or Internet Protocol, technology several years ago, and an increasing number of broadcast equipment manufacturers are supporting the video/audio signal transport format. But is IP networking mature and robust enough for broadcasters to consider replacing their now-standard SDI networks with “all IP” versions? Broadcasters and broadcast equipment manufacturers have been busy trying to answer that question, and some of their results were presented at SMPTE 2015. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

In addition to tackling issues related to new technologies — from Ultra HD to high dynamic range and high frame rates — SMPTE also considers how to preserve film and assets of the past. In a wide-ranging morning of sessions, experts considered the factors required to view archival content on HDR projectors or HDR displays; how the Library of Congress maintains the viability of over 7 million audio-visual assets for a mandated 150 years; and how to restore the original, variable frame rates of silent films for digital projection. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

As OTT becomes an increasingly compelling delivery platform, engineers born and bred on over-the-air, cable and satellite technologies are closely examining various schemes for deployment. On SMPTE 2015’s second day, sessions focused on that topic, featuring panelists from Prime Focus Technologies, Comcast and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The big take-away was that going over-the-top might take some planning but it’s a worthwhile route to take, to engage viewers and provide more data for advertisers. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

The future of high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut and high frame rate (HFR) are a focus in the industry, so it was no surprise that several presentations at SMPTE 2015 took a closer look at these topics. One panelist made the point that the human visual system doesn’t see resolution, color gamut and frame rate as separate parameters, therefore we can’t treat them as such. Broadcasters working to playback UHD/4K TV are dealing with issues as their plants evolve from SDI-only to SDI/IP hybrid transport. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

In the world of UHD/4K, movies and TV programs can require massive amounts of compute power. Take a recent 50-minute UHD natural history documentary that Sundog Media Toolkit worked on. Chief executive Richard Welsh reports it ran for four hours on over 5,000 processors. The necessity for finding huge amounts of compute power is becoming a challenge for productions, he notes.We could have run that job in real time if we had split it up more, and that would have taken us up to more than 20,000 processors for one hour.” Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers opened its annual conference in Hollywood with a day devoted to the technical and artistic challenges of virtual reality and augmented reality, otherwise known as mixed reality. AMD lead architect for VR and advanced rendering Layla Mah gave the keynote address, detailing the technical parameters that will allow VR to become a commercial reality: an untethered device capable of one petaflop (a quadrillion floating point operations per second) among other criteria. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

At the SMPTE 2015 annual conference, broadcast consultant Jim DeFilippis, Grass Valley camera executive Klaus Weber, and Panasonic researcher Hiroaki Iwasaki, among others, looked at the challenges involved with adding higher frame rates, higher dynamic range and wider color gamut for 4K resolution and beyond. Baylor University professors Corey Carbonara and Michael Korpi attempted to find the perfect amount of frame rates, exposure times, lighting, and refresh rates to arrive at the best image. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

At the Industry Luncheon on SMPTE 2015’s second day, Verizon Digital Media Services chief product officer Ted Middleton delivered the keynote address, which was, in part, a paean to the joys of linear TV. The luncheon also honored Wendy Aylsworth, the first woman to be SMPTE president, and showed a trailer for “Moving Images,” a retrospective of the science and engineering behind the industry’s cinema and television, directed by Howard Lukk and sparked by SMPTE’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

InVisage, a California-based startup, is introducing two new technologies to improve cameras: QuantumFilm is its proprietary nano-coating material that, says the company, results in sharper, higher dynamic range images and more naturalistic motion than silicon-coated CMOS sensors which become less efficient at transmitting light at higher resolution. QuantumCinema uses the nano-coating to replace the silicon-coated COS sensors, to offer “cinema quality” and higher dynamic range imagery for smartphone cameras. Continue reading InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Google is now relying on artificial intelligence, with a system dubbed RankBrain, for a small but significant part of its search business. Since Google is identified with search, keeping on the bleeding edge of search technology is critical to its dominance, and Google has been researching artificial intelligence — software that learns about the world — for over five years. Prior to launching RankBrain for search, Google has been a big corporate sponsor of AI, invested in it for videos, speech and translation. Continue reading Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

For box-office hit “The Martian,” 20th Century Fox and its Fox Innovation Lab developed a VR experience that will debut as a commercial release in the first half of 2016. The VR experience relies on Oculus headsets but will also be available with other devices. The experience is based on the lead character of the movie, putting viewers into the challenges faced by astronaut Mark Watney on Mars. Filmmaker Robert Stromberg said the “thrilling” experience aims to provoke a wide range of emotions including anxiety and success. Continue reading Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

Vice to Decide on TV, Mobile, OTT Expansion Deals in Europe

A large number of potential partners are vying to cut deals for Vice TV channels across Europe, expected to launch in the next 12 to 18 months. But plans aren’t moving fast enough for chief executive Shane Smith who is eager to ink agreements not just for TV but mobile, online and OTT. The company is already set to launch a U.S. channel, and expected to partner with A+E for that venture (although Smith more recently declined to say who his U.S. partner would be), and has a Canadian outlet with Rogers Communications. Continue reading Vice to Decide on TV, Mobile, OTT Expansion Deals in Europe

Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Popcorn Time, a free software BitTorrent client with integrated media player, has shut down, seemingly due to tampering with its DNS server. Could this be the end for the company that was shut down once due to MPAA complaints about piracy? That’s not clear, but just before its site went down, Popcorn Time creators announced the launch of Butter, a new version of the Popcorn Time service, but without any direct links to piracy. Butter lets the user create a streaming service — and leaves the piracy up to the individual user. Continue reading Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Nintendo Abandons Its Console-Only Strategy, Enters Mobile

Nintendo will unveil its first-ever game for smartphones, a radical departure from its long-term exclusive focus on its console. In the years of avoiding the move to smartphones, the Kyoto, Japan-based company missed the spectacular rise of mobile gaming, which this year, says research firm Newzoo, is on track to outpace console games in global sales for the first time. But Nintendo is finally opening up, not just with mobile games but also theme parks and a new console game. The first mobile game could debut in a few days. Continue reading Nintendo Abandons Its Console-Only Strategy, Enters Mobile

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