Facebook to Debut Three-Pronged Plan to Combat Fake News

Facebook issued a request for proposals from academics to study fake news on the social platform’s News Feed, with the aim of getting more information regarding the volume of false news and its impact. Those academics whose proposals are accepted will be funded and have access to data on the site. Facebook also plans to introduce a public education campaign about what fake news is and how users can stop spreading it; the campaign will be placed on the top of Facebook’s homepage. The company will also debut a 12-minute video about fake news. Continue reading Facebook to Debut Three-Pronged Plan to Combat Fake News

NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

Oscar-nominated “Pearl,” the short VR film directed by Passion Pictures’ Patrick Osborne, was the focus of a discussion about ambisonic audio during this week’s ETC conference on VR/AR in Las Vegas. Google Spotlight Stories creative director, audio and music Scot Stafford and Dramatic Audio Post sound designer/mixer Jamey Scott described their work on the film as well as their path to working on 360-degree and VR movies. Stafford pointed to his work at a story incubator at Motorola, run by Google, to make content for the mobile platform. Continue reading NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

Enjoying Healthy Profits, Amazon Turns to Investment, Growth

Amazon has typically chosen revenue growth and investments over profits, but in Q4, profit rose 55 percent to $749 million, while revenue increased 22 percent to $43.7 billion. The company has enjoyed seven consecutive profitable quarters. While brick-and-mortar sales reported disappointing sales during the holiday season, Amazon won an estimated 42 percent of total holiday online spending growth during that quarter. The company is about to invest heavily, having pledged to create 100,000 full-time jobs by mid-2018. Continue reading Enjoying Healthy Profits, Amazon Turns to Investment, Growth

Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who shot the Oscar-winning “Citizenfour” about Edward Snowden, along with 150 other documentary filmmakers, signed an open letter from the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) asking camera manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Kodak and Ricoh to add encryption features. The fear is that thieves, law enforcement or agents of authoritarian governments can access footage by simply taking possession of the camera, and the documentarians want protection. Continue reading Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Shortly after screeners were sent to voters for awards consideration, some of Hollywood’s top movies of the current holiday season — most notably “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” — have been pirated. Within a 24-hour period after being posted by Hive-CM8 and other piracy groups, “The Revenant” was downloaded to over 739,580 unique IP addresses, and “The Hateful Eight,” to 569,153 IP addresses. Both are slated to premiere on Christmas Day. “Creed,” although already released, logged 499,082 illegal downloads. Continue reading Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

For box-office hit “The Martian,” 20th Century Fox and its Fox Innovation Lab developed a VR experience that will debut as a commercial release in the first half of 2016. The VR experience relies on Oculus headsets but will also be available with other devices. The experience is based on the lead character of the movie, putting viewers into the challenges faced by astronaut Mark Watney on Mars. Filmmaker Robert Stromberg said the “thrilling” experience aims to provoke a wide range of emotions including anxiety and success. Continue reading Fox Innovation Lab to Debut Virtual Reality with ‘The Martian”

Shorts HD to Premiere Three Animated Movies on Facebook

Facebook will exclusively premiere three animated movies from Shorts International’s Shorts HD TV channel. The shorts will run, one week each, for free during July. Since Shorts HD could have turned to a variety of distribution platforms — including YouTube or its own website — the move may be either a vote of confidence, or a toe in the water, for Facebook’s new focus on video. The Shorts videos, however, will not be part of Facebook’s new Suggested Videos feature, which shares revenue with creators, in a move to attract better video content and more ads. Continue reading Shorts HD to Premiere Three Animated Movies on Facebook

‘Crouching Tiger’ Sequel Slated to Debut Via Netflix and IMAX

Netflix and the Weinstein Company announced yesterday that they plan to release the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” simultaneously via Netflix and a select number of IMAX theaters next August. This will mark the first time a major film debuts via online streaming and in theaters at the same time. The follow-up to Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning martial arts drama will reportedly be the first of several films backed by Netflix that are expected to follow the new release model. Continue reading ‘Crouching Tiger’ Sequel Slated to Debut Via Netflix and IMAX

Cloud Computing Proves an Asset for Productions on a Budget

Today’s cloud services — including CGI, digital intermediate, asset management and storage — are allowing small productions to realize their big visions with less money. Independent films and live events are more frequently using cloud computing to get the rendering and storage services they need without the high costs of traditional physical infrastructure. Productions can also save money because cloud computing helps speed up the long shooting and filmmaking process. Continue reading Cloud Computing Proves an Asset for Productions on a Budget

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. Continue reading SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: The Trials of Global Distribution

Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality Headset Goes Beyond Video Games

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was developed with video games in mind, but is becoming a compelling possibility for filmmakers as well. A 360-degree interactive video of a live performance by Beck proves to be truly immersive, making the viewer feel as if he or she is on stage with the musician. Makers of the Rift took to this year’s Sundance Film Festival to interact with filmmakers and see how the virtual reality technology can potentially be used in cinema. Continue reading Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality Headset Goes Beyond Video Games

Kodak Exec Unveils Plans to Keep Film Product in Hollywood

Kodak emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week and has a plan to keep its product in Hollywood, despite a market that favors digital imaging. While more than 75 percent of the world’s cinema screens currently support digital projection, Kodak has commitments to provide film to the major studios for production needs and distribution, deals that run through 2014 or 2015 (depending on the studio). Filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan are using celluloid for their movie projects. Continue reading Kodak Exec Unveils Plans to Keep Film Product in Hollywood

EXCLUSIVE: Looking Beyond Summer Box Office as Trends Emerge

With Labor Day the traditional end of summer, pundits survey the uneven landscape of a fickle summer. Disappointing openings and steep weekend-to-weekend drop-offs jarred execs and provided fodder for commentary and soul-searching. It may be easy to find irony in the titles of two financially successful movies — the low-budget “The Purge” and “This Is The End,” which spoofed the end of the world against a backdrop of contemporary Hollywood — to suggest that this summer truly marks the end for movies. But that would only happen if there were a total failure to recognize emerging trends, acknowledge this is not the first time Hollywood has faced a changing market and apply new ideas to shape the future. Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Looking Beyond Summer Box Office as Trends Emerge

Spacey Recommends TV Industry Give Viewers More Control

Actor Kevin Spacey’s recent MacTaggart lecture at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is generating a great deal of media buzz while it is busy making the rounds in the tech and TV industries. During his speech, the Academy Award winner discusses how Netflix and other companies are disrupting the traditional network and cable TV models. Spacey suggests that viewers want more control and that adopting a new distribution model could actually help curb piracy. Continue reading Spacey Recommends TV Industry Give Viewers More Control

USC and AFI Lead THR Ranking of Top Film Schools for 2013

The Hollywood Reporter has released its third annual ranking of the Top 25 Film Schools. This year’s top spots went to USC, AFI, NYU, UCLA and CalArts. THR editors evaluated graduate and undergraduate programs nationwide, and consulted with industry insiders to rate the programs. More than 600 anonymous ballots were submitted by members of the Writers Guild of America West, American Cinema Editors and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Continue reading USC and AFI Lead THR Ranking of Top Film Schools for 2013

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