ETC Short Film ‘Fathead’ Is Nominee for NAACP Image Award

The short film “Fathead,” produced by the Entertainment Technology Center@USC and shot at the new Amazon Stage in Culver City as an experiment in virtual production and collaborative, cloud-based workflows, has been nominated for a 54th NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Short Film (Live Action) category. The Image Awards celebrate outstanding achievements and performances in the arts from an African American point of view, and recognize those who promote social justice through their creative pursuits. This year’s awards will air live on February 25 at 8:00 p.m. on BET and various ViacomCBS networks. “Fathead” was directed by c. Craig Patterson and produced by Erik Weaver, ETC’s director of adaptive production. Continue reading ETC Short Film ‘Fathead’ Is Nominee for NAACP Image Award

Industry Experts to Convene for Virtual Production Workshop

As part of the upcoming Infinity Festival 2022 — “where Hollywood meets Silicon Valley” — production and tech experts will gather for a special one-day workshop covering numerous elements of on-set virtual production. The event, slated for 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on November 5 at Goya Studios in Los Angeles, will showcase an LED volume for hands-on demos related to the virtual art department, on-set operations, and shooting and directing. The workshop is presented by Nvidia and Z by HP in association with ETC@USC. It is produced by Erik Weaver of ETC and co-hosted by Rick Champagne of Nvidia. Visit Infinity Festival for tickets and more info (use code Weaver25 for a 25 percent discount). Continue reading Industry Experts to Convene for Virtual Production Workshop

vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host its 6th vETC virtual conference at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, August 9-11. During this year’s vETC at the Amazon Web Services booth (1039), speakers will present concepts, workflows, business models and case studies as they apply to virtual production. Many of the companies that worked on ETC’s latest R&D film project, “Fathead” will discuss their discoveries in sessions that will be recorded and posted on ETC’s YouTube channel. The 3-day program with list of speakers and gear to be demonstrated is available on the ETC site. Continue reading vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

‘Fathead’ Team Explores Virtual Production During NAB Panel

Production in the cloud, virtual workflows and remote work solutions were hot topics at the 2022 NAB Show in Las Vegas last month. Erik Weaver, director of adaptive production at the Entertainment Technology Center@USC, discussed new tools and techniques implemented during the production of ETC’s “Fathead,” a short film that experimented with in-camera real-time VFX and LED stages. Weaver joined “Fathead” virtual production producer Tom Thudiyanplackal, the short’s post-production supervisor James Blevins, and the global lead for Film/TV production partners at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Jack Wenzinger for a compelling NAB panel discussion, “ICVFX and the Cloud.” Continue reading ‘Fathead’ Team Explores Virtual Production During NAB Panel

HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

As the Renaissance was a reaction to the Dark Ages that preceded it, so too the entertainment industrial complex finds itself on the brink of a fruitful new era of technological and creative achievement triggered by COVID-19. The need for remote production has encouraged a cross pollination of new tools and techniques that will likely lead to significant change in the next era of media production. Roaring back to an in-person event in Rancho Mirage last week after hosting a virtual summit in 2021, the HPA Tech Retreat 2022 showcased the groundbreaking exchange between content-makers and tech providers. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

ETC Pushes Boundaries of Virtual Production with ‘Fathead’

“A world without synthetic humans is not an option anymore,” the audience at the 2022 HPA Tech Retreat in Rancho Mirage were advised by “Fathead” virtual production producer Tom Thudiyanplackal. Equally unimaginable is a world without synthetic sets, as was obvious at Tuesday’s daylong HPA Super Session, themed “Immerse Yourself in Virtual Production.” “Fathead,” the fifth short from the USC Entertainment Technology Center’s Annual ETC Innovation and Technology Grant, was all about in-camera VFX, captured in real-time on a stage lined and lidded with LEDs — 280-degrees around and on the ceiling, too. Continue reading ETC Pushes Boundaries of Virtual Production with ‘Fathead’

CES: VisiSonics Showcases New 3D Spatial Audio Solutions

Maryland-based VisiSonics, a 3D spatial audio company, is revealing its licensable hardware and software audio solutions at CES 2022 in Las Vegas this week, booking appointments for one-on-one product demonstrations at its Venetian Resort suite (#3310). “We’ve developed two lines of technology to capture audio with all the directions preserved,” explains chief technology officer and co-founder Adam O’Donovan. “Our 64-microphone array on a sphere to capture audio led to our RealSpace 3D sound engine that allows 3D spatial audio to be personalized.” Continue reading CES: VisiSonics Showcases New 3D Spatial Audio Solutions

Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Global data center leader Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will present a series of discussions that address virtual production and cloud workflows across various media and broadcast industries. The free webinar is slated for September 23 and will feature thought leaders from AWS, Epic Games, Equinix, ETC@USC, Google, Lux Machina, Mo-Sys Engineering, Paramount Pictures, PGA Tour Productions, Quintar, Silverdraft, and T&P Productions. Visit the webinar page online for more information and to register for what promises to be a compelling event. Continue reading Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief technology officer for media & entertainment Eric Iverson spoke with some top technologists and artists about future trends in content production. With COVID-19, the media industry was forced to find ways to work remotely, which jumpstarted the move to the cloud for production and CG pipelines. Now, he said, “we’re seeing three big trends: the rise of remote production, the acceleration of production pipelines and the need to keep costs under control.” Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

ETC Execs to Discuss Future of Production at Makers Pop-Up

Makers Pop-Up is a 2-day virtual conference for the creative community that explores the merger of technology with storytelling in film, TV, advertising, interactive and animation. The event, scheduled for Wednesday-Thursday this week (June 9-10), will provide a digital space to make connections, meet potential partners and share ideas and resources. Two executives from ETC@USC will offer their expertise on panels: Yves Bergquist will address the “Virtual Creative Muse: The Evolution of AI as Artistic Mentor and Production Assistant” and Erik Weaver will discuss “Fix it in Prep: How Virtual Production Front Loads Creative Decisions and Costs.” Continue reading ETC Execs to Discuss Future of Production at Makers Pop-Up

ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

The Hollywood IT Society (HITS) is a community of technologists representing the Hollywood studios, independent content creators and their supporting information technology partners. On Wednesday, May 12, the annual Spring Hollywood IT Summit — HITS Spring: Hollywood Innovation & Transformation Summit — will include presentations by ETC@USC’s Erik Weaver, director of Adaptive Production and Special Projects, and Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s AI & Neuroscience in Media Project. Presented by HITS and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), the event features 50+ speakers and more than 20 breakout sessions. Registration is available via Eventbrite. Continue reading ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

SMPTE: ETC Producing Team Will Discuss Virtual Production

SMPTE Hollywood will offer a glimpse into moviemaking in a post-COVID world this evening when it hosts the producing team behind the live-action, sci-fi short “Ripple Effect.” The virtual meeting is scheduled for April 22nd at 6:00 PM PDT on Zoom. Producers Erik Weaver, Greg Ciaccio and Kathryn Brillhart will discuss virtual production, remote workflow and on-set safety for post-COVID production. “Ripple Effect” is ETC@USC’s latest R&D short film; its goal was to test virtual and remote production techniques and tools in this era of social distancing. Registration for tonight’s event is available online. SMPTE Hollywood meetings are free and open to all, even non-members. Continue reading SMPTE: ETC Producing Team Will Discuss Virtual Production

ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC produced a live-action short, “Ripple Effect” to test new technologies and workflows, including the cloud, virtual production, and remote editing and visual effects. The project also introduced and evaluated a variety of tools and procedures that meet or exceed industry standards for a safe set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive producer Erik Weaver, the team at ETC, and tech partners have published a white paper that outlines recommendations for virtual production and critical lessons learned during the making of “Ripple Effect.” Continue reading ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 2

In a conversation on cloud-enabled virtual production during the HPA Tech Retreat, Jack Wenzinger of Amazon Web Services’ Global M&E Partners vertical asked how those interested in virtual production can retool existing skills. ETC@USC senior consultant Erik Weaver stated that participating in Epic Games’ Unreal Fellowship program was “an eye-opening experience.” “Understanding what a blueprint is and how to put things in a timeline gave me a fundamental understanding,” he said. “I highly recommend watching all the videos you can on Unreal and start walking through the tutorials.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 2

HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 1

Jack Wenzinger of Amazon Web Services’ Global M&E Partners vertical moderated a discussion during the HPA Tech Retreat on what’s been learned about cloud-enabled virtual production during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has published a field guide to virtual production that focuses on the work being done in pre-production and post. Joining the conversation was ETC@USC senior consultant Erik Weaver, Solstice Studios chief technology officer Edward Churchward and Mo-Sys Engineering technical director James Uren. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 1