Universal Character Model Detailed in Latest ETC White Paper

ETC@USC teamed with Charisma.ai, Digital Domain, Fable Studio and Write Brothers, Inc. to publish a white paper on an innovative character definition tool that enables casting audience members within a story. The goal is to help construct new immersive experiences across different narrative formats using a variety of authoring systems. The proposal features a Universal Character Model (UCM) that houses all motivations, goals and methods of any specific character in order to create consistent behavior within the fluid context of interactive and dynamic stories. The white paper is now available to the creative community. Continue reading Universal Character Model Detailed in Latest ETC White Paper

ETC Executive Coffee: Warner Executives Discuss AI, Ethics

“AI and Ethics” was the topic of ETC@USC’s March 30th Executive Coffee with… discussion, the third installment of the Spring 2021 series. WarnerMedia’s Renard Jenkins, vice president of content transmission and production, and Michael Zink, vice president of emerging and creative technologies, led the discussion with 12 graduate and undergraduate USC philosophy, cinema, engineering and innovation majors. They explored how diversity and bias impact AI development, and how AI is expected to impact entertainment experiences. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Warner Executives Discuss AI, Ethics

ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon Execs Discuss Life After Zoom

During ETC@USC’s second Executive Coffee with… installment of the Spring 2021 series, Sanyogita Shamsunder, VP of product strategy, innovation and operations at Verizon engaged a group of eight USC students from cinema, engineering and business in a one-hour discussion of the question: “What comes after Zoom and entertainment apps?” Shamsunder, whose team is focused on new technology innovation and bringing new products and experiences to consumer and enterprise customers, was joined by team members Andrew Herson, who is focused on B2B2C applications, and Zachary Drossman, who heads concept development at Verizon’s 5G Labs. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon Execs Discuss Life After Zoom

ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon on the Future of Entertainment

To kick off ETC@USC’s five-part Spring 2021 Executive Coffee with… series, Serhad Doken, executive, innovation and product realization at Verizon, led a Zoom discussion on March 15. “Expectations for the Future of Entertainment and UI/UX design” was the framing question for a wide-ranging discussion. Six students from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Iovine and Young Academy participated. Topics included user experience expectations, VR and 5G, “gaming” the algorithm, recommendations versus serendipity, artists earning a living, and what experiences have yet to be adopted. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon on the Future of Entertainment

AT&T Creates Media Giant: Merges WarnerMedia, Discovery

AT&T announced today that it plans to combine WarnerMedia with Discovery. The deal, expected to to take effect in mid-2022 subject to regulatory approval, is a significant move for one of Hollywood’s largest studios to compete with top streaming players such as Netflix and Disney since it would combine the HBO Max and discovery+ streaming services. Under the agreement, WarnerMedia will be spun off and merged with Discovery as a new media company separate from AT&T, which could be valued as high as $150 billion. Discovery chief exec David Zaslav will run the combined business, which will be named shortly. Continue reading AT&T Creates Media Giant: Merges WarnerMedia, Discovery

ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

The Hollywood IT Society (HITS) is a community of technologists representing the Hollywood studios, independent content creators and their supporting information technology partners. On Wednesday, May 12, the annual Spring Hollywood IT Summit — HITS Spring: Hollywood Innovation & Transformation Summit — will include presentations by ETC@USC’s Erik Weaver, director of Adaptive Production and Special Projects, and Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s AI & Neuroscience in Media Project. Presented by HITS and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), the event features 50+ speakers and more than 20 breakout sessions. Registration is available via Eventbrite. Continue reading ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Ban on Trump Accounts

The Facebook and Instagram accounts of Donald Trump will remain indefinitely suspended. Facebook’s independent Oversight Board, launched in October 2020, ruled this morning to uphold the social media giant’s January decision to suspend the accounts of then-President Trump in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection. However, suggesting that an indefinite suspension “was not appropriate,” the Board “insists” that Facebook review the matter within six months, “to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.” Continue reading Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Ban on Trump Accounts

Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

Telecom giant Verizon announced today that it is selling AOL, Yahoo and its Verizon Media assets, including its advertising technology business to New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. LionTree LLC, a global investment firm focused on media and tech, was lead advisor on the deal and will join Apollo as an investor. The new company will keep the Yahoo name and will be led by Guru Gowrappan, the current CEO of Verizon Media Group. Verizon plans to keep a 10 percent stake in the overall business. Continue reading Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

Free Streaming Service Offers Local News, Premium Content

Allen Media Group this week announced Local Now, its ad-supported streaming service that provides local news and entertainment content. Available on most major platforms with plans for expansion, Local Now has been in development for more than three years and emphasizes curated local content. According to Byron Allen, the founder, chair and CEO of Allen Media Group, the service “uses proprietary software and artificial intelligence to produce, aggregate, curate, and stream — in real-time — local news, weather, sports, traffic, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and channels geo-fenced to the user’s zip code.” Continue reading Free Streaming Service Offers Local News, Premium Content

SMPTE: ETC Producing Team Will Discuss Virtual Production

SMPTE Hollywood will offer a glimpse into moviemaking in a post-COVID world this evening when it hosts the producing team behind the live-action, sci-fi short “Ripple Effect.” The virtual meeting is scheduled for April 22nd at 6:00 PM PDT on Zoom. Producers Erik Weaver, Greg Ciaccio and Kathryn Brillhart will discuss virtual production, remote workflow and on-set safety for post-COVID production. “Ripple Effect” is ETC@USC’s latest R&D short film; its goal was to test virtual and remote production techniques and tools in this era of social distancing. Registration for tonight’s event is available online. SMPTE Hollywood meetings are free and open to all, even non-members. Continue reading SMPTE: ETC Producing Team Will Discuss Virtual Production

ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC produced a live-action short, “Ripple Effect” to test new technologies and workflows, including the cloud, virtual production, and remote editing and visual effects. The project also introduced and evaluated a variety of tools and procedures that meet or exceed industry standards for a safe set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive producer Erik Weaver, the team at ETC, and tech partners have published a white paper that outlines recommendations for virtual production and critical lessons learned during the making of “Ripple Effect.” Continue reading ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) set “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when CES 2021 opened its four-day run in January. The annual confab shaped up less as a showcase for breakthrough future technology and more as a bellwether for a world massively altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, instead of key product trends to define our media and entertainment industry focus, the ETC@USC team emphasized four dynamics to drive much of the discussion: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. For an examination of these themes, ETC’s CES report is now available online. Continue reading ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

Forum: Vubiquity to Present ‘The Democratization of Content’

During this week’s MESA Content Workflow Management Forum, Vubiquity will address strategies for how to keep pace with today’s evolving video supply chain. Piers Godden, commercial director EMEA for Vubiquity and Amdocs Media, will discuss the numerous challenges involved with the growing changes to content licensing, material handling costs, processing and distribution. “The time has come for CaaS — Content as a Service,” notes Godden, “the content you want, where you want it, at the flick of a switch.” The online presentation is scheduled for February 25. Continue reading Forum: Vubiquity to Present ‘The Democratization of Content’

ETC Publishes Videos of ‘Ripple Effect’ Digital Town Square

On January 20, the Entertainment Technology Center at USC presented a Digital Town Square, the second of two “Ripple Effect” events. The 2.5-hour online program — “Breaking Down ‘Ripple Effect’ Part 2: Virtual Production” — was co-sponsored by Microsoft Azure and led by Erik Weaver, ETC Adaptive Production director and executive producer of “Ripple Effect.” The program examined lessons learned and virtual production principles of the live-action short. The keynotes, panels and fireside chat are currently available on ETC’s YouTube Channel. Continue reading ETC Publishes Videos of ‘Ripple Effect’ Digital Town Square