Another Perspective on Deep Fakes: Threat and Opportunity

At the NAB 2019’s Broadcast Cybersecurity course, Emblematic Group founder/chief executive Nonny de la Peña introduced deep fakes by showing pairs of images and asking the audience to call out which was fake and which was real. From paired images of Presidents Obama and Trump, among others, audience members were consistently unable to pick the correct “fake” image. University of Washington researchers created a very convincing — but fake — video of Barack Obama, she revealed, by using neural network AI and 14 hours of Obama footage. Continue reading Another Perspective on Deep Fakes: Threat and Opportunity

Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

At the Sundance Film Festival, the latest in virtual reality appears at the New Frontier, the Sundance Institute’s showcase for virtual reality, immersive cinematic works, and media lab innovations. 2016 is no exception, and the buzz is already out about some of the must-see virtual reality movies and experiences. Among them, “The Wasteland” from 8i is one recommendation. Other notable VR experiences at Sundance include “American Bison,” “Kiya” and “Wave of Grace.” Continue reading Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

For the past nine years, Ostendo Technologies has been developing miniature projectors. The Carlsbad, California-based startup is particularly interested in projecting glasses-free 3D images for smartphones. Ostendo’s projectors are about the size of a Tic Tac, and are powered by a computer chip estimated to cost about $30. The startup expects the first 2D projectors to be sold to consumers in the summer of 2015, with the 3D projectors following in the second half of 2015. Continue reading Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

Future of Entertainment: Hollywood Considers Virtual Reality

A growing number of Hollywood filmmakers, entertainment industry executives, and video game producers believe virtual reality will be the next big revolution in mass entertainment. Facebook, Sony, and other tech companies are developing the necessary technologies, while entertainment startups and major studios are developing the content. In addition to video games, entertainment professionals are also looking to use VR for marketing, social, and storytelling purposes. Continue reading Future of Entertainment: Hollywood Considers Virtual Reality

Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

Adrian Pennington forwarded us news that British television producer Atlantic Productions is developing virtual reality narrative content, including documentary, CG and drama pilots for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Atlantic Productions is the company behind noted nature documentaries such as “Galapagos,” “Kingdom of Plants” and the BAFTA-winning “Flying Monsters 3D.” Atlantic hopes to bundle some of its VR content with the Oculus Rift when it becomes commercially available. Continue reading Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

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

Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Last week the Tribune Company released a new iOS and Android app called Newsbeat, which plans to change how we consume our daily news by offering a more personalized podcast-like experience. Newsbeat has access to more than 7,000 sources from major newspapers to smaller blogs. Users can specify what types of stories and publications they are interested in, and the app will create a customized newscast by using Pandora-like artificial intelligence technology. Continue reading Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

ETCentric member and contributor Adrian Pennington recently posted an interesting perspective on the direction of visual effects in TV production, including an interview with Adobe’s Steve Forde. “While the feature film visual effects business is in flux, the TV VFX business is thriving by delivering creativity to tight timescales on a budget,” writes Adrian. “Indeed the future of all VFX production could be modeled on the workflows built to support CGI-intensive series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Doctor Who.'” Continue reading Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

Fresh from last year’s win for “Paperman,” Disney is nominated for an Academy Award in the Animated Short Film category. Animators for “Get A Horse!,” which is partly done in a 1920s style, drew inspiration from early Disney holiday cards. The animation blends computer-generated imagery with traditional hand-drawn work, and the story involves Mickey Mouse on a mission to save Minnie Mouse from her lascivious kidnapper Peg-Leg Pete. A win for Disney would mark a first for an animated short starring Mickey.

Continue reading Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

ILM Has Plans to Open New Visual Effects Facility in London

Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter forwarded us news that Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects division of Lucasfilm, has major expansion plans including a new facility in central London, just outside of Soho, and a move for the Vancouver team to a larger space that will allow the group to double from 100 to 200 employees. Lucasfilm also recently opened an ILM facility in Singapore. The VFX arm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Continue reading ILM Has Plans to Open New Visual Effects Facility in London

Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Social gaming company Zynga has acquired game and software developer NaturalMotion for $527 million — giving the company access to simulation technology that makes characters look and move naturally. Zynga hopes to improve its mobile games like “FarmVille,” which currently feature more cartoon-like 2D characters. The same technology behind NaturalMotion was used in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and Rockstar uses it for the “Grand Theft Auto” games. Continue reading Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Augmented Reality Needs Powerful Storytelling and Interaction

Google Glass moved Augmented Reality from the science fiction depicted in “Minority Report” to the real world. But the technology — which allows the superimposition of data, 3D CGI or video over a real environment, in real time — still has a long way to go. More importantly, the work has barely begun to make AR a revenue-generating business. “We’re not just putting content on top of the world but using context to decide what to display and how to display it, to expand the story and the experience,” said DAQRI CEO Brian Mullins. Continue reading Augmented Reality Needs Powerful Storytelling and Interaction

USC Event: Andy Nicholson on Designing the World of ‘Gravity’

The 5D Institute and USC School of Cinematic Arts will host a special presentation this Friday with production designer and art director Andy Nicholson, who will discuss the 3D space drama “Gravity.” Nicholson will be introduced by USC professor and filmmaker Bruce Block. Following the presentation, a Q&A session will be moderated by editor and author Bill Desowitz. The event will take place 3:30-5:30 at USC’s Eileen Norris Theater. Continue reading USC Event: Andy Nicholson on Designing the World of ‘Gravity’

Sony and Microsoft Gear Up for High-Powered Game Consoles

Sony and Microsoft are launching redesigned game consoles with greater computing power this month with systems that will bring more detailed, vivid, and realistic-looking graphics. These are the first big changes for both companies’ designs since the mid-2000s, and many developers already have plans to create games that work on both company’s consoles. Sony and Microsoft say they’ll have 23 games available when the consoles launch, some of which will be exclusive to just their systems. Continue reading Sony and Microsoft Gear Up for High-Powered Game Consoles

New DreamWorks Animation Software Taps into Private Cloud

DreamWorks Animation is using new technology to make animation significantly easier and more cost effective. At a CIO conference in San Francisco Thursday, chief technology officer Lincoln Wallen introduced new software he developed that uses DreamWorks’ private cloud of high-performance computers and parallel processing to speed up the complex process of computer animation. It allows animators to use a touch screen to make real-time changes — a significant development. Continue reading New DreamWorks Animation Software Taps into Private Cloud

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