Google Scientists Generate Realistic Videos at Scale with AI

Google research scientists report that they have produced realistic frames from open source video data sets at scale. Neural networks are able to generate complete videos from only a start and end frame, but it’s the complexity, information density and randomness of video that have made it too challenging to create such realistic clips at scale. The scientists wrote that, to their knowledge, “this is the first promising application of video-generation models to videos of this complexity.” The systems are based on a neural architecture known as Transformers, as described in a Google Brain paper, and are autoregressive, “meaning they generate videos pixel by pixel.” Continue reading Google Scientists Generate Realistic Videos at Scale with AI

Mattel Launches a New Film Division to Help Revitalize Sales

Toy maker Mattel just opened a new division, Mattel Films, to develop and produce movies based on its brands and headed up by Academy Award-nominated producer Robbie Brenner. Known for her work on “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Mirror Mirror” and “The Fighter,” Brenner will report directly to Mattel chief executive/chair Ynon Kreiz, a media and entertainment veteran, who has worked on children’s content. The new division could help bolster Mattel, which has seen slumping sales since the shuttering of Toys R Us. Continue reading Mattel Launches a New Film Division to Help Revitalize Sales

Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

Visual effects facility Digital Domain, known for its digital work on the “Transformers” series, the “X-Men” series, “Iron Man 3” and “Her,” acquired an 85 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Post Production Company Limited and its parent company for about $17.3 million, with the goal of making a big move into virtual reality. Post Production — which Digital Domain chief executive Daniel Seah calls “the Digital Domain of China” — has worked on many major Chinese movies, TV ads, and music videos. Continue reading Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Comcast has turned to its theme park portfolio, which it acquired four years ago with its purchase of NBCUniversal, as a serious source of revenue. The company just committed to invest $1.6 billion to expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California — featuring a snow-capped Hogwarts Castle — and build a $3.25 billion theme park in Beijing, in partnership with Chinese companies, slated to open in 2019. Comcast invested $100 million for a new “Transformers” ride at Universal Orlando in 2013. Continue reading Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

DirecTV is the First Pay TV Provider to Offer 4K Ultra HD VOD

DirecTV has added 19 4K Ultra HD titles to its video-on-demand service. Along with Sony, M-Go, and Netflix, DirecTV is one of the first to offer the new video format, which is nearly four times the resolution as traditional 1080p. The company plans to begin offering Ultra HD television channels next year. So far, just a relatively small group of consumers have the Ultra HD TVs needed to watch the content. While only 800,000 Ultra HD TVs shipped in the U.S. this year, analysts project interest is on the rise. Continue reading DirecTV is the First Pay TV Provider to Offer 4K Ultra HD VOD

Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

Rhode Island-based Hasbro, manufacturer of popular toys including G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony and Transformers, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation. Hasbro would pay a mix of cash and stock according to current terms of the proposed deal. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is said to be looking for more than $30 a share for the sale. The news comes shortly after Japanese telecom SoftBank was reported to be a prospective buyer. Continue reading Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

Shapeways, Hasbro Allow Artists to Sell 3D Fan Art and More

3D printing and shipping company Shapeways is allowing any user to upload and sell content that features Hasbro characters. As part of the new agreement, Shapeways, Hasbro and the artist are all compensated. Many copyright holders see 3D printing as a modern version of pirating, as it takes little effort to download and print an object. With this new model, however, if an item costs $30, then Shapeways receives $20 for material and manufacturing, while Hasbro receives $3.50 and the artist receives $6.50.  Continue reading Shapeways, Hasbro Allow Artists to Sell 3D Fan Art and More

Google Acquires Effects Startup Zync, Takes on Amazon Cloud

Google plans to make special effects more affordable and accessible. Yesterday, the company announced that it has purchased Boston-based Zync, the maker of cloud-based rendering software Zync Render, which has been used in movies such as “Flight,” “Looper,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the “Transformers” series. While terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, Google is expected to integrate Zync’s data and tech into its Google Cloud Platform, and move Zync off Amazon Web Services. Continue reading Google Acquires Effects Startup Zync, Takes on Amazon Cloud

SIGGRAPH 2014: Lenovo Powers Up its ThinkStation P Series

Lenovo demonstrated its vision for the ultimate in desktop workstation performance, reliability and usability with the introduction of the Lenovo P900, P700 and P500 workstations. The new ThinkStation P Series models unveiled at SIGGRAPH last week in Vancouver are designed to be the most powerful professional-grade desktop workstations available and reflect a focus by Lenovo on customer needs, especially in graphics intensive industries such as visual effects and animation. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2014: Lenovo Powers Up its ThinkStation P Series

New Hasbro Site Turns Amateur Creations into 3D Printed Toys

Toy maker Hasbro and 3D printing service Shapeways have teamed up to bring the power of toy design to the hands of consumers. The two companies launched the SuperFanArt site for My Little Pony toys. Users can create, share and even sell their pony designs through the Shapeways’ marketplace. The first 3D printed My Little Pony toys will be shown at Comic-Con this week. Hasbro plans to add more of its brands to the SuperFanArt site later in the year. Continue reading New Hasbro Site Turns Amateur Creations into 3D Printed Toys

Latest “Transformers” Film Shot with New IMAX 4K 3D Camera

IMAX announced that it has developed the first fully integrated dual 65mm 4K digital large-format 3D camera. Michael Bay’s latest Paramount Pictures project, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the first feature film to use the true 4K stereo camera, which captures both left and right eye images at full 4K resolution. According to the company, the new IMAX 3D Digital Camera system is “smaller, lighter and easier to use than other 3D digital camera systems on the market.” Continue reading Latest “Transformers” Film Shot with New IMAX 4K 3D Camera

Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Major film studios — including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. — have filed a civil lawsuit against the now defunct entertainment website Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom. The studios claim that visitors to the Hong Kong-based site illegally downloaded thousands of copyrighted works. Damages could reach a maximum of $150,000 for each infringement. In addition, four music labels filed a similar lawsuit yesterday. Continue reading Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

3D Conversion: PFW Provides New Depth for ‘The Wizard of Oz’

“The Wizard of Oz,” originally released by MGM in 1939, will make its 3D debut in celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary. Prime Focus World developed a stereo conversion process to convert the classic film into modern 3D, while honoring the original, now part of the classic Warner Bros. library. The process, which took 14 months to complete and involved 1,300 staffers, was especially challenging due to the amount of detail in the original. The 3D version will have a run in IMAX theaters and be made available on Blu-ray next month. Continue reading 3D Conversion: PFW Provides New Depth for ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Cine Gear Expo: Radiant Images Unveils Novo 2K Camera

Los Angeles-based rental house and digital cinema solutions provider Radiant Images unveiled an updated Novo action camera on Friday at the Cine Gear Expo. Built with the GoPro sensor and designed for cinematic use, the 3.2-ounce Novo 2K shoots uncompressed RAW and includes a C-mount lens system, PL mount adapter, back focus adjustment and exposure control capabilities. The camera was engineered by Valencia-based View Factor Studios; Radiant collaborated on design and function. Continue reading Cine Gear Expo: Radiant Images Unveils Novo 2K Camera

Hasbro Reaches Out to Fans for New Transformer Character

Hasbro announced its “Fan Built Bot” poll to help kick-off the Transformers 30th anniversary celebration scheduled for 2014. The global poll to create the next Transformer character is open to all age groups and runs until May 5th. The fan designed Transformer will be featured in new comic books and be a part of the “Thrilling 30” special edition collectible action figures from Hasbro. Continue reading Hasbro Reaches Out to Fans for New Transformer Character