SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: The Trials of Global Distribution

The first day of SMPTE’s Technology Summit On Cinema at NAB featured a session called “From Camera to Consumer — the New Post Production.” Digital Studio GM for Walt Disney Studios, Leon Silverman, gave a funny and animated presentation during the session about the many versions of a movie that Disney must produce for international audiences. In the case of the animated feature “Planes,” not only did Disney create dozens of native language dubs and subtitled versions, but it also changed details in the animation to please the local audience.

For example, the “Planes” character Rochelle featured a maple leaf decal throughout the film for the Canadian theatrical release, a Russian flag decal for the Russian release, a stylized kangaroo decal for the Australian release, and so on.

The 25-language version of the song “Let It Go” from Oscar winner “Frozen,” currently available on the Disney Movies site and YouTube, shows how well Disney can match character voices for different language versions.

Silverman pointed out that there can be over 3,375 versions of a single webpage thumbnail due to different websites’ file specification requirements.

Later, Disney’s Howard Lukk said that between physical and digital distribution content and format requirements, there can be 33,000 versions of a single release to manage. He may have been exaggerating, but by the end of the day the number sounded reasonable.

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