ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB), the Lucasfilm R&D division that prototypes interactive, immersive cinema for VR, augmented reality and theme park attractions, debuted a VR experience of “Jurassic World” at Sundance. Now, it’s rolling out “Trials on Tatooine,” a VR demo using the same CG models created for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Lucasfilm’s parent company Disney also just released a new 360-degree video, “Cold Lairs,” to tease its upcoming “Jungle Book” remake. Continue reading ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Varun Nair of Two Big Ears Ltd. and Jean-Pascal (JP) Beaudoin of Headspace Studio gave an excellent primer on “Audio for Cinematic VR” at this week’s GDC VR Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Beaudoin started by making two overarching points: the sense of presence in VR is proportional to the amount of immersion, and it is important to understand the Field of Audition (FoA – the sound space). The session also addressed three key types of sound space designs: diegetic audio, acousmatic audio and non-diegetic audio. Continue reading Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Atom: New Movie Ticket Purchasing App Earns Studio Support

One of Hollywood’s most enduring problems is filling seats in movie theaters, and a startup, which previously raised $10 million, thinks it has an answer. Atom, headquartered in Santa Monica, has an app to make the movie-going experience simpler for groups and to enable discounts for floundering movies, a controversial practice called “variable pricing.” Now, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and Lions Gate Entertainment are betting that Atom is on to something good. Continue reading Atom: New Movie Ticket Purchasing App Earns Studio Support

Chinese Company Buys Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group paid $3.5 billion in cash to purchase Legendary Entertainment, one of Hollywood’s largest independent movie companies, making it the largest such deal between Hollywood and China. Dalian Wanda’s other Hollywood holdings include AMC Entertainment, the second largest cinema chain in the U.S. The company, which got its start in real estate, also owns theaters and produces movies in China. Legendary has co-financed numerous movies, produced its own and has TV and digital divisions. Continue reading Chinese Company Buys Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B

LG Teases 4K Super UHD TV Lineup Plus 98-Inch 8K Model

LG Electronics plans to unveil its new premium line of Super UHD 4K televisions at CES this week, including three series ranging from 49- to 86-inches. According to LG, the lineup features its “most advanced LCD/LED picture quality ever, with expanded color capabilities, advanced picture and sound-enhancing features including high dynamic range (HDR) and LG’s alluring Flat ULTRA Slim design.” The Super UHD models come with LG’s newest generation webOS Smart TV platform. The company will also unveil its first production-ready 98-inch 8K Super UHD model in Las Vegas. Continue reading LG Teases 4K Super UHD TV Lineup Plus 98-Inch 8K Model

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

‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

On its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolished box office records — as well as the trope that crowds no longer throng to movie theaters, even in the first days. The Walt Disney Company’s latest “Star Wars” movie brought in about $517 million globally, a success that is stunning in its size and scope, and that underscores Hollywood studios’ efforts to focus on repurposing the blockbuster, from “Avatar” to “Frozen.” According to Disney, 3D screenings account for 47 percent of the gross. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Smashes Box Office, Rallies Blockbuster Strategy

AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Movie theaters make their primary living at the concession stands, so it’s no surprise that the next trend at the local multiplex is aimed at making it easier to buy popcorn. AMC Theatres (about 350 theaters) and Regal Entertainment (570 theaters), the largest multiplex chains in North America, just debuted a way for customers to preorder and prepay for food and drinks via a smartphone app. The goal is to reduce what the chains call the “popcorn pinch point,” and reduce or eliminate the line at the concession stand. Continue reading AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

When Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” debuts on December 25, it won’t simply resurrect Ultra Panavision, an extra-wide format last used in 1966 on “Khartoum.” The filmmaker will release the 70mm film on 100 screens — 96 in the U.S. and four in Canada — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1992. And to do so, Tarantino has had to find and refurbish projectors and train projectionists to run them. It’s all in service of an old-fashioned night at the movie palace, with overture, intermission and additional footage. Continue reading What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

At the Industry Luncheon on SMPTE 2015’s second day, Verizon Digital Media Services chief product officer Ted Middleton delivered the keynote address, which was, in part, a paean to the joys of linear TV. The luncheon also honored Wendy Aylsworth, the first woman to be SMPTE president, and showed a trailer for “Moving Images,” a retrospective of the science and engineering behind the industry’s cinema and television, directed by Howard Lukk and sparked by SMPTE’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

InVisage, a California-based startup, is introducing two new technologies to improve cameras: QuantumFilm is its proprietary nano-coating material that, says the company, results in sharper, higher dynamic range images and more naturalistic motion than silicon-coated CMOS sensors which become less efficient at transmitting light at higher resolution. QuantumCinema uses the nano-coating to replace the silicon-coated COS sensors, to offer “cinema quality” and higher dynamic range imagery for smartphone cameras. Continue reading InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Snapchat launched a temporary Discover channel yesterday featuring advertiser-created content. Sony Pictures Entertainment paid for a “sponsored” Discover channel to promote its new James Bond film “Spectre,” which opened on Monday in the U.K. The Discover section currently includes 15 media partners, but the 007 channel (which is sharing multimedia content for the film such as behind-the-scenes footage, cast member testimonials and Bond trivia questions) represents the first time a brand has paid to be featured this way on Snapchat Discover. Continue reading Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Panasonic Joins LG in OLED Market with Curved 4K Offering

During the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Panasonic unveiled its 65CZ950, a curved 4K OLED TV featuring the company’s Studio Master Drive processor. Panasonic claims the 65-inch OLED, slated for an October release in Europe, is the most color-accurate display it has ever produced. It is also the first to achieve THX certification. Panasonic says the CZ950 series brings home entertainment closer to a cinema experience since it is fully HDR compatible and covers more than 90 percent of the DCI color space. Continue reading Panasonic Joins LG in OLED Market with Curved 4K Offering

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Fandango to Feature Scannable Movie Tickets via Apple Watch

Ticketing company Fandango plans to launch one of the Apple Watch’s first entertainment apps this Friday when the wearable starts its initial shipments. Similar to its mobile app, Fandango’s watch app will feature scannable movie tickets. The app also offers movie trivia and helpful screening information such as theater directions, seat details and a countdown clock to showtimes. Fandango, which developed an early iPhone app and was one of the first Passbook app partners, already has more than 36 million monthly online visitors. Continue reading Fandango to Feature Scannable Movie Tickets via Apple Watch