VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Over the weekend, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) released its draft VR and 360 video production and distribution guidelines at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam. The draft document begins with an intro section suggesting best practices for VR/360 production, including experiences with three degrees of freedom (3DOF). It then makes specific recommendations for the technical aspects of visual and audio VR/360 content production, media and presentation profiles, and content security. VRIF aims to release the full guidelines, with an emphasis on an open ecosystem, at CES 2018 in January. Continue reading VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

Video consumption is continuing its transition from the living room to mobile devices. Android users in the U.S. watched nearly 1 billion hours worth of YouTube video content in July — the most time ever spent over a month in a single streaming video app. According to App Annie, the Android version of YouTube’s app accounted for about 80 percent of the 12 billion hours Americans spent between July 2016 and July 2017 using the top 10 Android apps for streaming video. Total time spent by consumers using video streaming apps jumped 45 percent from the previous year. Following YouTube is Netflix, Twitch, Hulu and Amazon Video. Continue reading YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

The technology underlying Bitcoin is now under development to render 3D visual effects. Los Angeles-based OTOY, which provides a GPU-based software system to create a cloud-based pipeline for 3D content, is hoping to raise as much as $134 million to develop Rndr, distributed cloud rendering for VR and other content, via blockchain technology. HBO and Discovery have invested in OTOY, which has also partnered with Facebook and Mattel. Relying on cloud-based GPUs for rendering is a much less expensive solution than supercomputers. Continue reading OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

Roku Delivers Free, Ad-Supported Movies on New Channel

Owners of Roku streaming players, sticks and TVs will now have access to a new service — “The Roku Channel” — that offers free, ad-supported streaming of movies and TV shows. The channel, which will roll out in phases “over the coming weeks,” features content that Roku has licensed directly from studios including Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. — and movies from other channel publishers currently on the Roku platform such as American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark and YuYu. Roku expects additional publishers to participate in the future.

Continue reading Roku Delivers Free, Ad-Supported Movies on New Channel

Pirates Flock to Google Drive, Other Cloud Storage Services

DMCA takedown requests reveal that pirates of television and movie content are turning to cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Kim Dotcom’s Mega since the demise of many public torrent sites. Last month, almost 5,000 takedown requests centered on activity on Google Drive, with each listing a few hundred links. Although some Google Drive links host full movies, others are empty except for an embedded YouTube video. Google reiterated that it takes copyright infringement seriously. Continue reading Pirates Flock to Google Drive, Other Cloud Storage Services

Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

Google and other members of tech trade groups have gone up against the entertainment industry’s chief lobbying organizations in recent years, but now the tech firms are describing themselves in a new light. “We are the new faces of the American content industry, winning Emmys and Oscars, providing distribution for streaming-only Grammy winners, while creating services that address the challenge of piracy by allowing consumers to legally access content globally,” states a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which details concerns regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement. Continue reading Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

Entertainment industry veteran Charles Rivkin is replacing Christopher Dodd this week as the MPAA chief. While the position has historically faced numerous challenges, such as managing consensus among the six major Hollywood studios, Rivkin takes the helm as the industry contends with a growing list of new hurdles: the MPAA has yet to take a stance on the debate over net neutrality rules, Silicon Valley is a growing force in Washington, digital platforms and changes in consumer behavior are impacting theater attendance and traditional distribution models, and media continues to battle global piracy. Continue reading Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

High dynamic range (HDR) is gaining steam in movies and television even as it divides into different versions, each of which has its supporters. Dolby Vision has attracted Sony and TCL, while Samsung, with its HDR10+ open standard, gathered Amazon Video as a streaming partner. Now, partnered with 20th Century Fox and Panasonic, Samsung plans to begin licensing HDR10+ in January of this coming year. The three companies hope that television, Blu-ray and set-top box manufacturers will adopt the HDR10+ format. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president of technology for production and post production Bill Baggelaar presented a session on HDR video mastering for classic cinema. He first hoped to dispel myths about high dynamic range. “I’ve heard that you need sunglasses to watch HDR, that filmmakers will hate it and that it will be too hard to deliver,” he said. “People also worry that there are too many formats, with HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG.” Continue reading Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

At The Reel Thing, an AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) conference, Hollywood technologists and filmmakers gathered to hear presentations on challenges in restoration, remastering and archiving. PurePix Images chief executive Michael Inchalik and University of Georgia mathematics professor Alexander Petukhov looked at how Algosoft is developing software to repair vertical scratches, one of the toughest challenges in digital restoration. “We’re discussing a high-level restoration workflow,” said Inchalik. Continue reading New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

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

Snapchat Plans to Offer Scripted Content by End of the Year

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival yesterday, Snapchat’s head of content Nick Bell said the social platform will likely offer scripted content via Snapchat Shows by the end of the year. However, Bell does not see Snapchat as a broadcast TV killer. “Mobile is the most complementary thing to TV that has been around,” Bell said. “We’re really capturing the audience who are not probably consuming TV at the same rate and pace of engagement that they once were.” He noted that NBC’s “The Voice” and ABC’s “The Bachelor” both experienced a boost in viewer numbers after launching Snapchat offshoots. Continue reading Snapchat Plans to Offer Scripted Content by End of the Year

Turner’s Streaming Service to Debut with European Football

Turner Sports is introducing a streaming subscription service to air the Union of European Football Associations’ Champions League and Europa League soccer matches. Although the streaming service doesn’t have a name or price yet, it is scheduled to debut in 2018, when the Time Warner-owned network’s deal for the UEFA matches begins; Turner’s English-language three-year rights is reportedly valued at more than $180 million. Turner Networks joins numerous other traditional media companies launching similar direct-to-consumer digital services. Continue reading Turner’s Streaming Service to Debut with European Football

MoviePass Cuts Subscription to $10/Month, AMC Fights Back

Early Netflix executive Mitch Lowe is now in charge of MoviePass, and he plans to drop its movie ticket subscription price to $9.95, which will let customers go to one showing per day at any theater in the U.S. that accepts debit cards. In return, MoviePass pays theaters the full price of each ticket, with the exception of 3D or IMAX screens. The company just sold a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a publicly traded data firm. AMC has stated it wants to block MoviePass subscribers. Continue reading MoviePass Cuts Subscription to $10/Month, AMC Fights Back

Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

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