DOJ Warns Academy New Netflix Rules Could Violate Laws

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mulls over rule changes that would limit the eligibility of content from Netflix and other streaming services, the U.S. Department of Justice weighed in with a warning that doing so could violate competition law and raise antitrust issues. Academy board member Steven Spielberg reportedly has encouraged changes to Oscar eligibility rules, prompting the DOJ’s response. At CinemaCon, movie theater owners are also discussing how Netflix is changing the landscape. Continue reading DOJ Warns Academy New Netflix Rules Could Violate Laws

Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

As the Academy Governor representing directors, filmmaker Steven Spielberg is intent on changing the rules so that movies made by streaming content creators won’t be eligible for Oscars but would only be considered for Emmys, along with other TV fare. Spielberg — and the studios — were motivated most recently by how close Netflix-produced “Roma” came to winning Best Picture. As it was, “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón won Academy Awards for best director and best cinematographer. One complaint is the lopsided spending for Oscar competition. Continue reading Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), first introduced in late 2014, has made increasing inroads in the film industry. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) Science and Technology Council managing director Andy Maltz said at least three of this year’s Academy Awards nominees in the Best Picture and Best VFX categories used ACES; SMPTE also has created seven standards related to the use of ACES. According to AMPAS’ ACES project chair Annie Chang, the group released ACES 1.1 this last year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

Cinematographer Curtis Clark, ASC was presented with the John A. Bonner Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony on February 9. The award, which began in 1977 and is not awarded every year, acknowledges Clark’s “dedicated work in helping to shape the future of motion-picture technology and educate the industry at large.” Sixteen years ago, Curtis founded the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC), which he continues to lead. Continue reading DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

On February 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Scientific and Engineering Awards to the teams behind Adobe’s After Effects and Photoshop. David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David M. Cotter accepted the award for After Effects for motion graphics. Thomas Knoll and John Knoll accepted the award for the original architecture, design and development of Photoshop, and Mark Hamburg for its continued development and engineering. Both tools are a mainstay in the film and television industry. Continue reading Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

Netflix Is Joining the MPAA, ‘Roma’ Nominated For 10 Oscars

Netflix continues to define itself as a significant player in the film industry. Shortly after it revealed plans to continue investing heavily in original content, the streaming media giant has joined major Hollywood studios as a member of the Motion Picture Association of America. The move marks the first time an Internet company has joined the MPAA. “Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world,” explained Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Continue reading Netflix Is Joining the MPAA, ‘Roma’ Nominated For 10 Oscars

ASWF Debuts Open Source Project and Adds New Members

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a neutral forum to develop and collaborate on open source software for images, VFX, animation and sound, debuted its first hosted project, DreamWorks Animation’s OpenVDB, an open source C++ library for volumetric representations including fluid simulations, animated volumes and environmental effects. The Foundation also added Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros., Blender Foundation and the Visual Effects Society (VES) as new members. Continue reading ASWF Debuts Open Source Project and Adds New Members

The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

At The Reel Thing, an annual conference at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on “current thinking and most advanced practical examples of progress in the field of preservation, restoration and media conservation,” Prime Focus Technologies executive director of cloud media services Anthony Matt and HBO director of remastering and alternate versions Laurel Warbrick described the results of their testing of 10K scans vs. 4K scans of 35mm film. Fittingly, they titled their presentation “The Burden of 10K Dreams.” Continue reading The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

During last week’s The Reel Thing at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Video Gorillas managing director/chief executive Jason Brahms, formerly a Sony Cloud Media Services executive, and chief technology officer Alex Zhukov described the Bigfoot “Frame Compare” solution that leverages machine learning to speed up preservation, asset management, and mastering workflows. The engine, whose development dates back to 2007, relies on a proprietary, patented technology, frequency domain descriptor (FDD). Continue reading The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation announced this morning the launch of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to create an environment for developers to contribute to open source software for the motion picture and related media industries. Industry partners funding and participating in ASWF include Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks, Epic Games, Google Cloud, Intel, Walt Disney Studios, Weta Digital, with Foundry and SideFX. Continue reading AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, film director/producer Marcus Dillistone, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences managing director Andy Maltz and Academy Film Archive director Michael Pogorzelski presented a case study of an ACES reformatting and archiving project, with Dillistone’s 1999 short film “The Troop.” The topic is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and the film had a royal premiere at BAFTA, with film industry and military guests as well as a British princess in attendance. Continue reading The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

Sci-Tech Awards Honor Digital Cinema Cams, Capture Systems

At the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, actors John Cho and Leslie Mann hosted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Scientific and Technical Awards, honoring the programmers, inventors and breakthroughs advancing the entertainment industry. The evening awarded 18 achievements, to 34 individual recipients and five organizations. Many of the technologies and products awarded, including an array of digital cinema cameras, represented years of R&D. AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the evening’s event. Continue reading Sci-Tech Awards Honor Digital Cinema Cams, Capture Systems

Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

Facebook is interested in global live-streaming rights to “Thursday Night Football” as well as a selection of the National Football League’s 2016-17 games, say sources knowledgeable about the Silicon Valley company’s plans. If Facebook succeeds in obtaining those rights, it will be its first major TV content deal and would mark a departure from its video strategy thus far, which has focused on short-form for the last two years. As Facebook Live has become more of a priority, sports have shifted to the fore. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

In a deal with ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Comcast is delivering a package of 72 “Best of Oscars” moments from previous Academy Awards broadcasts via its VOD platform to X1 subscribers. The goal, for Comcast, is to drive up VOD rentals and purchases of Oscar-nominated features. For ABC, which is offering content gratis, the hope is that Comcast’s Oscars content will boost awareness and viewership of the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28. Continue reading With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

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

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