Virtual Production Is on Track to Replace More Costly Tools

In virtual production, filmmakers marry actors and digital environments in real time. Now, in the United Kingdom, video game developer Rebellion Developments has completed what it says is the first “all virtual” film, the five-minute “Percival,” which was broadcast on Rebellion’s YouTube channel. The company built a studio to create more such virtual productions out of its library of intellectual property. Rebellion said “Percival” was shot entirely in front of large flat screen displays connected to PCs running Unreal Engine. Continue reading Virtual Production Is on Track to Replace More Costly Tools

Remo Technology Presents Auto-Director AI Camera at CES

China-based camera company Remo Technology showcased a compelling AI camera at CES that should be of interest to YouTubers and prosumer videographers looking for an affordable gesture control solution. The OBSBOT Tail camera combines artificial intelligence tech and its built-in three-axis gimbal in order to automatically track specific subjects with smooth camera motion. Users can even live stream while easily keeping themselves in the camera shot. The new camera — which can record up to 4K video at 60 fps with support for HDR10 — is expected to launch later this month. The early-bird pre-order special is listed at $469. Continue reading Remo Technology Presents Auto-Director AI Camera at CES

Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

At SIGGRAPH 2018, Nvidia debuted its new Turing architecture featuring ray tracing, a kind of rendering, for professional and consumer graphics cards. Considered the Holy Grail by many industry pros, ray tracing works by modeling light in real time as it intersects with objects. Ray tracing is ideal for creating photorealistic lighting and VFX. Up until now, ray tracing has not been possible to do because it requires an immense amount of expensive computing power, but Nvidia’s professional Turing card costs $10,000. Continue reading Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing an augmented reality camera that goes beyond its earlier functions (and limitations) of selfie masks and inserting 3D objects into locations. Beta users can now test the use of real-world location markers that set off augmented reality experiences right where they stand. The closed beta includes promotions tied to the films “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Ready Player One,” and near future plans include adding tracker-based AR to its AR Studio tool that will be open to all developers.

Continue reading Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

After testing out AR face masks with selected outside developers, Facebook is now rolling out its Camera Effects Platform to any outside developer to build AR features for its in-app camera. HBO used it to build masks for “Game of Thrones” fans to become the Night King, and Lucasfilm used it so “Star Wars” fans could become Kylo Ren. With the wide introduction, we’re likely to see all kinds of AR face masks and effects. Facebook AR Studio, its AR platform, debuts this week and will be live to all in a couple of days. Continue reading Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

Instagram Adds Photo Carousels to Encourage More Posting

Photo-sharing social media platform Instagram is trying to lower the standard for an Instagram-worthy picture by allowing users to post multiple photos at once. The new photo carousels allow users to share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post. Carousels look similar to single-photo posts in Instagram feeds, but users can swipe left and right to see the other pictures. The new feature could also benefit advertisers who want more space to share their products. Instagram has been trying to encourage more posting on their platform in the past year.  Continue reading Instagram Adds Photo Carousels to Encourage More Posting

Autodesk and Google Cloud Platform Bring Maya to the Cloud

Autodesk and Google have partnered to offer Maya compute services on the Google Cloud Platform, which developed Google Cloud Platform ZYNC Render, an integrated cloud-based storage and rendering solution for the VFX industry. “We’ve been in discussions with Autodesk for quite some time,” said Google product manager Todd Prives. “It’s been a collaborative effort to bring Maya to Google.” With the ZYNC service for Autodesk Maya 2016 software, users will be able to render 3D scenes on the Google Cloud Platform. Continue reading Autodesk and Google Cloud Platform Bring Maya to the Cloud

The Wall Street Journal Launches Interactive Video Series

“WSJ: Interactive” — now available on desktops, tablets and newer Android devices — is a video series produced by the editorial staff of The Wall Street Journal. Powered by TouchCast technology, the series delivers breaking and trending news while integrating the interactivity of the Web into its videos. TouchCast enables viewers to take a more active role in consuming content by flowing between interactive on-screen graphics involving multimedia and websites while remaining within the primary video experience. Continue reading The Wall Street Journal Launches Interactive Video Series

New Entertainment Experience: Viewers Flock to 4DX Theaters

The 4DX theater at L.A. Live experienced high ticket sales this summer. Viewers came to check out the first theater of its kind in the U.S., which provides audiences with the opportunity to experience rumbling and jerking seats, and spray, smoke and other effects that are synchronized with the on-screen action. Despite a weak summer box office across the country, the 4DK theater was filled to capacity on weekends and had an unusually high occupancy rate for weekdays, with higher ticket prices generating impressive revenues. Continue reading New Entertainment Experience: Viewers Flock to 4DX Theaters

SMPTE and HPA Announce New Move Toward Consolidation

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers announced it plans to provide administrative support for the Hollywood Post Alliance. The move is part of a larger plan to eventually combine the two organizations. SMPTE made the announcement yesterday during the Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age conference at Stanford University. A roadmap has been endorsed by both boards that will steer HPA toward consolidation within SMPTE as a separate affiliate organization. Continue reading SMPTE and HPA Announce New Move Toward Consolidation

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

Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

Instagram has redesigned its “Explore” tab to provide a more relevant experience for users, rather than showcase random pictures that receive a lot of global Likes. The Explore tab will now display the photos and videos “Liked” by individuals that a user is actively following. This personalization reflects Instagram’s focus on each user’s social graph, which contrasts with the approach by Vine that largely centers on re-sharing content and notable video creators. Continue reading Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

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

CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Seoul-based CJ Group, which operates Asia’s largest theater chain, wants to transform the multiplex experience with its new 4DX theater technology. The conglomerate has signed a deal with AEG to introduce “4-D” cinema to U.S. consumers this summer at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles. The 4DX tech combines moving and vibrating theater seats with effects such as wind, strobes, fog, rain and scents — all synchronized to the film action taking place on screen. Continue reading CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

In a ceremony at the Ray Stark Theater on USC’s Cinematic Arts campus last Thursday, Dean Elizabeth Daley joined George Lucas in welcoming three USC film professors to their new endowed chairs. Made possible by a generous gift from Lucas, the three new chairs — The Sergei Eisenstein Endowed Chair for Cinematic Design, the George Mélies Endowed Chair in Visual Effects, and the William Cameron Menzies Endowed Chair in Production Design — are now held by Bruce Block, Michael Funk, and Alex McDowell respectively. Continue reading USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

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