HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

A panel of cinematographers, a digital imaging technician and a camera manufacturer talked about HDR production workflow issues that begin in pre-production discussions. The panel’s moderator, VFX cinematographer Mark Weingartner, asked the panelists if there were “fundamental differences between the ways we have been shooting and the way we need to shoot” for HDR. Cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC noted that “since the inception of cinematography, we’ve been recording HDR images with film.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat’s long-time programmer, engineer and author Mark Schubin, opened the event with his annual “Technology Year in Review,” composed of all the interesting, obscure and wacky news items he’s aggregated over the previous year. One question he asks every year — have we finished the transition to HD? — had the same answer as every previous year: nope. Even as some companies are talking up 8K as the next TV resolution, the nation’s media infrastructure as a whole is still working on completing the evolution to HD. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

The huge quantities of metadata generated by over-the-top programming poses an opportunity for new revenue streams, said Siemens executive Steve Wong and media tech consultant Christy King at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Big Data, Big Dollars for Post in an OTT World.” Wong noted that a tremendous amount of data about a production is generated through production, from scriptwriting software through scheduling and budgeting. That’s why it frustrates him that nearly everyone has been served irrelevant ads online. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Virtual reality was the focus of a panel I moderated at the HPA Tech Retreat, which included Phil Lelyveld, who runs the VR/AR initiative at ETC; Stuart English, head of worldwide sales for presence capture at Nokia Technologies; and Steve Schklair, producer, cinematographer and chief executive of 3ality/Technica. Lelyveld described the emerging virtual reality space, first noting the increasing number of VR cameras, from the consumer level (GoPro, Ricoh Theta, Kodak PixPro) to the high end (Nokia, NextVR, Headcase). Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

In another annual HPA Tech Retreat panel, Jim Burger, a copyright attorney with Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C. gave his “Washington Update.” “We’re talking about Congress and the Silly Season, and it’s crazy,” said Burger, who said he would touch on intellectual property litigation on the copyright side; the FCC and communications; net neutrality; and unlocking the set-top box among other topics. Burger noted that the House Judiciary Committee has held over 20 copyright hearings this year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

The annual HPA Tech Retreat opened in Indian Wells, California, near Palm Springs. The sold-out event hosts 600 executives and technologists in broadcast, cable, digital and feature film industries. In addition to an “Innovation Zone,” the new term for the former demo room, the HPA Tech Retreat is known for its days-long series of lectures and panels, all of which are a deep dive into technology. All of Tuesday was devoted to a single topic: Snowflake Workflows are Turning into Distribution Snowstorms! Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

HPA Tech Retreat: Pixar Team Talks Localization, ‘Inside Out’

A team from Pixar talked about the massive amount of work the company puts into “localization” or “regionalization” of every film they make. “John Lasseter, from the early days, placed a high importance on creating content for international markets, without the disruptive experience of subtitles or language they don’t understand,” said Pixar executive Cynthia Lusk. “That’s been a priority for the studio since ‘Toy Story.’” Lusk said that they regard each movie as a snowflake, with a different approach from title to title. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Pixar Team Talks Localization, ‘Inside Out’

HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Amazon Studios’ production “Mozart in the Jungle” is shot in 4K UHD and released in both standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) versions. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel, “Mozart in the Jungle” associate producer Mike Weiss and Technicolor vice president Mark Smirnoff talked about the “snowflake” production of this Golden Globe-winning OTT series. “There are so many more deliverables and things that can catch you off guard, it really is a snowstorm,” said Weiss. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Netflix Pioneers Upcoming Trend of Moving IT to Public Cloud

Netflix became one of the largest companies to move all its information technology to Amazon Web Services’ public cloud platform, completing a process that began seven years ago. The company says that, among hundreds of IT functions in the cloud, it’s moved business logic, distributed databases, big data processing and analytics, recommendations and transcoding apps to the AWS servers, and shut down its last on-premise data center. The shift to cloud services also helped Netflix expand to 130 more countries. Continue reading Netflix Pioneers Upcoming Trend of Moving IT to Public Cloud

Tweets and Seats: Twitter Studies Link to Box Office Success

In Q4 2015, Twitter’s monthly active users declined by about 2 million, to 305 million worldwide, an indication of the social media company’s malaise that has dampened Wall Street enthusiasm. But Twitter just completed new research, using analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, resulting in data it hopes may turn around investors’ lukewarm perceptions. Analyzing tweets for 33 movies released in 2015, from trailer release to post-premiere, Crimson Hexagon came up with results that put a more positive spin on Twitter use. Continue reading Tweets and Seats: Twitter Studies Link to Box Office Success

Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

Funded by Apple, Beats co-founder/rap star Dr. Dre is starring in and executive producing a six-episode series, “Vital Signs.” Although it isn’t known whether any Apple platform — including Apple TV and the iTunes store — or traditional TV distributor will be involved, it is likely that Apple Music will distribute the series. Sources who have seen show descriptions report that Sam Rockwell (“Poltergeist,” “Seven Psychopaths”) and Mo McCrae (“Murder in the First,” “Sons of Anarchy”) are among the additional cast. Continue reading Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

AT&T, Verizon Lead Charge to Establish 5G Networks in U.S.

Even as standards bodies are at work to define the parameters of 5G, companies and countries are preparing to make the switch. 5G networks, which offer speeds at 10 to 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks, will first appear in home broadband, then data-only devices like tablets, and finally smartphones by 2019 or 2020. So far, Korea is at the forefront of the 5G transition, in order to be ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics. China and Europe, which took longer to adopt 4G, are also hoping to take a lead. Continue reading AT&T, Verizon Lead Charge to Establish 5G Networks in U.S.

Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Google is readying an attempt to reinvent the mobile Web with its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, which has taken just nine months to develop and launch. AMP, a response to proprietary platforms such as Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple’s News, is an open source platform that dramatically speeds the loading of Web pages, in part by caching content on the cloud. By the time AMP launches, Google will also allow publishers to track analytics, sell ads and put paywalls in place. Continue reading Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Google is doubling down on its virtual reality investment with a new $20 version of Cardboard, which uses the smartphone as a screen and a standalone, all-in-one headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a smartphone, computer or game console. Up until now, Google, which has sold five million Cardboard VR viewers since late 2014, has been seen as experimenting with VR. With the new VR headset — and appointment of Clay Bavor as its first VR chief, Google is entering the VR arena in earnest. Continue reading Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America just signed a pact with Donuts, the largest operator of new domain-name extensions, to cooperate against large-scale piracy. Under the terms of the agreement, the MPAA will first attempt to contact the third-party registrar/hosting provider for resolution. If that fails, and Donuts has “clear evidence of pervasive copyright infringement,” the company will put the domain on hold or suspend it. Among Donuts’ domain-name extensions are .movie and .theater. Continue reading MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy