Hulu Has a Big Emmy Night Thanks to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Hulu had a breakthrough Emmy year, taking home five awards last night in addition to the three Creative Arts Emmys it won last week. “The Handmaid’s Tale” was awarded the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, marking the first time any streaming offering has won for the category. In addition to best drama, “The Handmaid’s Tale” earned several additional wins: Elisabeth Moss took home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Ann Dowd was awarded for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, Reed Morano earned the Outstanding Directing award, Bruce Miller won the Best Writing Emmy, and Alexis Bledel was recognized as Outstanding Guest Actress. Continue reading Hulu Has a Big Emmy Night Thanks to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

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

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

NewTek Offers Video Over Ethernet Tech for Live Streaming

NewTek is making its NDI (Network Device Interface) technology available to creators of live-streaming content, which would enable them to improve their production values and give them a leg up in competing with rivals. NDI technology is a new kind of video signal that is able to broadcast between computers over a local network. Live-streaming site Twitch has used NewTek’s NDI technology to allow its on-screen personalities to play games, while producers edit the live feed in another room, without the need for extra cables. Continue reading NewTek Offers Video Over Ethernet Tech for Live Streaming

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

Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

This year, 500 scripted TV shows will vie for viewers’ attention. Now, some tech leaders are turning up the heat by entering the original programming market: Apple has budgeted more than $1 billion for original content; Google will spend up to $3 million per episode; and Facebook said it is willing to spend $3 million to $4 million per episode. A few cable companies, including A&E and WGN, are withdrawing from scripted content but, with three tech titans in the game, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. Continue reading Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

According to sources, Apple has a budget of about $1 billion to acquire and produce original content this next year, an amount that is roughly half of what Time Warner’s HBO spent on content last year and equal to what Amazon spent in 2013. Apple hopes that with its enormous global purview and marketing capabilities, it can be a serious competitor in the original content arena. With this budget, Apple could purchase or produce as many as 10 TV shows, which could be distributed on Apple Music or a video streaming service. Continue reading Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2017 conference in Los Angeles, Nvidia showed off a variety of technologies connecting graphics and artificial intelligence, delivering 10 research papers relevant to the company’s developers, including an AI-empowered method to create realistic facial animations. The company also showed off its Isaac robots, which vet AI algorithms inside its Project Holodeck virtual environment. By doing so, the robots will be able to learn inside a virtual space for collaboration, minimizing the potential of causing problems in the real world. Continue reading Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

Animation Studios Thrive With Big Orders from SVOD Clients

Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services are ushering in a golden age of animation, with shows for adults and children. The rising demand for original content for all those services is also spurring the development of animated shows and the resulting need for more animators. Veteran animators say there’s a record demand that continues to be robust. Animation is a desirable genre of content because it doesn’t age as quickly as live action and always has a new audience of pre-schoolers and other young children. Continue reading Animation Studios Thrive With Big Orders from SVOD Clients

Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Netflix has always wanted Wall Street to judge it based on revenue and global operating-profit margins rather than subscription growth. But the company’s Q2 report shows just how unpredictable those results can be. Netflix added 5.2 million subscribers, much more than the 3.2 million it predicted, for a total of 104 million global subscribers. But its global operating profit margin was down 4.6 percent from 9.7 percent in Q1, while revenue skyrocketed 32 percent to $2.79 billion. Continue reading Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company announced 11 tech and media companies will receive funding and support as part of the Disney Accelerator program, now in its fourth year. The companies will be given access to work space at Disney’s L.A. creative campus and guidance from entertainment and media technology leaders. The 2017 class covers a range of compelling areas such as artificial intelligence, eSports, messaging, online learning, robotics, video games and virtual reality. Among the 11 startups are Epic Games, creator of Unreal Engine tech, and location-based VR firm The VOID. Continue reading Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

At the Unite Europe conference in Amsterdam, more than 1,400 game developers examined tools and innovations from game engine company Unity. Among those was the virtual camera system Cinemachine, which makes it easier for even neophyte content creators to get creative with animation, games, eSports, cinematics and movie pre-visualization. Unity’s Asset Store offers free 3D models and environments, including the Adam character from last year’s impressive tech demo. The engine also offers generic animations that can be applied to characters. Continue reading Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

Netflix Launches Two New Interactive Digital Shows for Kids

Netflix is embarking on an experiment in interactive online storytelling with children’s programs “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” (available now) and “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile” (debuting July 14). With thousands of possible story paths, the shows allow viewers to choose his or own adventure. Whereas books and videogames have offered this kind of storytelling for years, it’s been difficult — and, from the point of view of the studio or TV network, not financially viable — to do so for video. Continue reading Netflix Launches Two New Interactive Digital Shows for Kids

Facebook Introduces Video Series, Targeting TV Ad Market

Facebook is in production on new video series, with an eye on the $70 billion TV advertising market. First up from the social media company are reality competition series “Last State Standing” and a second season of comedy “Loosely Exactly Nicole,” which first appeared on MTV. Facebook hopes that if it adds original programming to the site, it will encourage cable networks and ad-supported, youth-oriented online services to upload their own premium video content. Facebook executives have compared its efforts to priming the pump. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Video Series, Targeting TV Ad Market

YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

YouTube creators who want to see specifically where people are looking in their 360-degree and VR videos are in luck. The company is introducing a new analytics tool that does just that, via heatmaps, available for any such videos that exceed 1,000 views. YouTube is also sharing tips on 360-degree videos aimed to help video producers. Making these videos is particularly challenging since viewers can watch in a variety of ways, including via a VR headset, the YouTube smartphone app or desktop web browsers, where they can rotate the video. Continue reading YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

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