Pixar’s Catmull, Hanrahan Honored With ACM’s Turing Award

Computer graphics pioneering researchers Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan were awarded the A.M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery and are splitting the $1 million prize money. Catmull recruited Hanrahan, a fellow computer graphics researcher, to found Pixar in 1986. Catmull started his work as a grad student at the University of Utah’s graphics lab in 1970 and vowed to create a feature film from computer generated imagery. Catmull and Hanrahan, between them, have received eight Academy Awards. Continue reading Pixar’s Catmull, Hanrahan Honored With ACM’s Turing Award

THX and Cinionic to Debut Premium Large-Format Cinema

Premium large-format cinema projection platform IMAX will face new competition from THX, which plans to unveil its THX Ultimate Cinema this spring/summer at the Regency Westwood Village Theatre in Los Angeles. THX (founded by filmmaker George Lucas) is working with Cinionic, a cinema joint venture of Barco, CGS and ALPD. Cinionic offers a dual-Barco laser projection system that delivers 4K resolution images. Another competitor in the premium large format (PLF) space is Dolby Laboratories, which offers its Dolby Cinema experience. Continue reading THX and Cinionic to Debut Premium Large-Format Cinema

Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Razer, which develops hardware and services for the gaming world, announced this week that it is acquiring THX from Creative Labs, with plans to run the iconic audio company (founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1983) as an independent subsidiary with a focus on overseas expansion and new device areas such as VR headsets. THX is expected to continue operating under current management, led by CEO Ty Ahmad-Taylor. Razer, run by CEO Min-Liang Tan and valued at $1.5 billion, also acquired gaming startup Ouya last year. Financial terms of the THX deal have not been disclosed. Continue reading Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

New ILM Team Developing Immersive VR and AR Experiences

Industrial Light & Magic has created a new division with a focus on developing virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. ILMxLAB is planning to debut an entertainment experience based on “Star Wars” later this year. It has been working on technology for the iPad and Oculus Rift that would allow consumers to enter their favorite movie scenes and navigate through them. ILMxLAB execs indicate that the technology could launch when the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is released in mid-December. Continue reading New ILM Team Developing Immersive VR and AR Experiences

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

You may have noticed that Apple.com’s homepage simply features a thoughtful image of pioneer and innovator Steve Jobs today. As the industry (and world) mourns the loss of a true original, we thought we’d provide you with some early comments to Steve’s untimely passing. The links below will take you to more detailed statements from those who have provided their thoughts.

  • “He changed the way each of us sees the world.” — President Obama
  • “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” — Bill Gates
  • “His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well.” — Larry Page
  • “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.” — Mark Zuckerberg
  • “He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in many other industries.” — Walt Mossberg
  • “Everything good I have done, I have done on a Mac.” — John Hodgman (PC in the Mac commercials) via Twitter
  • “People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself.” — Steve Wozniak
  • “Steve was a teacher to anyone paying attention, and today is a very sad day for everyone who cares about innovation and high standards.” — Jeff Bezos
  • “Steve’s work made the world a better place for hundreds of millions of people.” — Marc Andreessen
  • The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision.” — George Lucas
  • “Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time.” — John Lasseter and Ed Catmull
  • “Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation.” — Rupert Murdoch

Aging Hollywood Movies to get 3D Makeover: Will Audiences Respond?

  • Hollywood is moving to convert its previously-released blockbuster hits into 3D. James Cameron is spending a year and $18 million to convert “Titanic” to 3D; “Star Wars” and “Top Gun” are two others in production.
  • “Like a bunch of aging starlets, some older blockbusters are undergoing major cosmetic enhancement to prepare for their comebacks,” reports Los Angeles Times.
  • Disney recently spent $10 million on the 17-year-old animated feature “The Lion King,” whose surprising box office success during the last few weeks may lead to additional conversions.
  • “For studios, it’s easy to see why spending $10 million or so to render a beloved film in three dimensions holds appeal: There’s a built-in fan base,” suggests the article. “But there are risks too: As the number of 3D films in theaters has ballooned, American audiences have become more selective about which ones they deem worth the premium ticket prices.”
  • Software improvements have made 3D conversions less expensive and, as a result, makes the prospect more difficult for Hollywood to resist.
  • Yet despite its big-name public champions such as Cameron, George Lucas and Tony Scott, there are still those who remain skeptical. The 3D conversion “undercuts the quality of the film and the verisimilitude of the film,” believes Wheeler Winston Dixon, professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “It’s to re-direct it and destroy it. This is a poor idea artistically and a poor idea financially.”
  • Either way, the movement is underway and we should expect to see more 3D “makeovers” of older films in the near future.