DCI Examines HDR, Direct View Displays for Digital Cinema

At NAB in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. vice president of technology Michael Zink presented DCI’s perspective on two major technology changes in recent years: the advent of high dynamic range (HDR) and direct view displays. First Zink described how Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) was created in March 2002 as a joint venture of Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. Studios to “establish and document voluntary specifications for an open architecture for digital cinema … to achieve interoperability and compatibility.” Continue reading DCI Examines HDR, Direct View Displays for Digital Cinema

Amazon’s IMDb Debuts Free Ad-Supported Movie, TV Service

Amazon launched Freedive, a free, ad-supported streaming video channel on its Internet Movie Database (IMDb) site, featuring 130 movies and 29 TV shows licensed from CBS, NBCUniversal Television, Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. Television and others. Movies include “Awakenings,” “A Few Good Men,” “Adaptation,” “Memento,” “True Romance,” “The Last Samurai” — and TV shows include “Fringe,” “The Bachelor,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Duck Dynasty,” “Quantum Leap,” “Born This Way,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Without a Trace.” Continue reading Amazon’s IMDb Debuts Free Ad-Supported Movie, TV Service

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

NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman formed NewTV to offer short original programming designed for smartphones. They believe they’re creating the next-generation HBO or Netflix, and many big players in Hollywood are betting they’re right. Katzenberg said that the holding company he co-founded, WndrCo, closed a $1 billion seed-funding round on July 31. Other backers include Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV and Entertainment One. Continue reading NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

Thousands of film and TV titles from every decade require restoration, but the money isn’t there to fund much of it, and current restoration jobs are more likely to take place in China or Poland than Los Angeles. That was revealed at an event co-produced by SMPTE and the Visual Effects Society (VES) at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater. Restoration executives and practitioners from the major studios gathered to discuss the technological, artistic and business challenges of bringing classic film and TV titles back to life. Continue reading Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

ETC Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Studio Tech Leaders

On June 26th at USC’s Town & Gown, ETC@USC convened its annual dinner with studio technology leaders that celebrated the think tank’s 25th anniversary, and honored Dean Elizabeth Daley with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award. The event was presented by Western Digital, with supporting sponsors Equinix and Salesforce, and featured a panel discussion with the technology leaders of 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Continue reading ETC Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Studio Tech Leaders

NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

At NAB 2018 in Las Vegas, a panel of Hollywood leaders described the progress of high dynamic range (HDR) as part of the motion picture, TV, and home entertainment pipelines. They also revealed some of the pitfalls that continue to bedevil adoption of the new standard, as well as spell out the changes that need to take place for HDR to be fully embraced. Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president, technology Bill Baggelaar noted however that, “consumers have a preference for HDR,” underlining its inevitability. Continue reading NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 2

Much of the spotlight for HDR has been in the theatrical space, but this NAB panel highlighted the move towards high dynamic range in home entertainment. The limited number of HDR hero monitors is only one of the challenges addressed, with the panel also focusing on the issue of judder and several other issues that the industry must address before HDR can become widely adopted. Direct view cinema displays, with true HDR capabilities, are also poised to make an impact. Continue reading NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 2

ARCore to Reach 100M Devices, Amazon Rolls Out AR Tool

Just before Mobile World Congress, Google officially introduced its ARCore mobile augmented reality platform. Snapchat and Sony Pictures are among the first to use it; Sony Pictures plans to debut an AR game with a “Ghostbusters” theme that lets users fight and capture ghosts from the movie franchise, comic books and elsewhere. According to Sony Pictures Entertainment executive VP Jamie Stevens, SPE’s partners in the venture are Columbia Pictures subsidiary Ghost Corps and game publisher FourThirtyThree. Meanwhile, Amazon has introduced “AR View” to its Android app for devices that support ARCore. Continue reading ARCore to Reach 100M Devices, Amazon Rolls Out AR Tool

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

Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Apple’s iTunes Store continues to lose market share for video viewers. In 2012, say sources, the company was responsible for well over 50 percent of movie rentals and sales; that figure has now decreased to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The figures are uncertain because no trade group or company tracks market share of digital movies, but several Hollywood studios have reported a decline in the amount of business with iTunes. An Apple spokeswoman said the company is targeting subscription services, an area experiencing significant growth. Continue reading Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

The ETC@USC helped Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment establish their summer 2016 VR Innovation Program. Over the course of 10 weeks, 14 USC student associates pitched, rapid-prototyped, and delivered seven proof-of-concept projects of interest to Sony executives. The students worked under the supervision of Sony execs and two advisors from the USC faculty. Sony generously supplied a presentation deck describing the program’s goals and process for distribution by the ETC. Building on their positive experience, Sony is currently running a 2017 summer program with the scope expanded to include AR and live action narrative VR. Continue reading Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

Entertainment Companies Join Forces to Battle Online Piracy

A group of media and entertainment companies — including Amazon, AMC Networks, CBS, Disney, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. — has formed a new coalition, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), to combat online piracy. “ACE will draw on the anti-piracy resources of the MPAA,” reports Variety. “The group plans to conduct research, work with law enforcement to curtail illegal pirate enterprises and ‘pursue voluntary agreements with responsible parties across the Internet ecosystem.’” The coalition also plans “to file civil litigation in their fight against copyright infringement.” Continue reading Entertainment Companies Join Forces to Battle Online Piracy

Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Comcast inked deals with Universal Pictures (which it owns), Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment for “movie extras” to accompany those studios’ film titles. The cable company, which will offer a free sample of the enhanced extras during the 10 days leading up to Christmas, says it is working on adding more studios and movies in the coming year. With the extra content, Comcast hopes to better compete with other digital movie providers, including Apple, which added extra content two years ago. Continue reading Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Amblin and Alibaba Ink Mutually Beneficial Moviemaking Deal

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment just inked a deal with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group to produce, finance and distribute movies. The relationship gives Alibaba an entrée into the Hollywood moviemaking industry, and Amblin a pipeline to distribution in China. Although the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Alibaba will now have a minority equity stake in Amblin and a seat on its board, and Amblin will have access to the Chinese company’s massive database on consumers there. Continue reading Amblin and Alibaba Ink Mutually Beneficial Moviemaking Deal

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