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

Mini-LED Tech Offers Impressive Contrast Ratio, Affordability

Mini-LED technology offers TV sets a promising combination of better contrast, an image improvement over standard LCD TVs, and a more affordable price than OLED TVs. TCL debuted the tech last year in its 8-Series, and, this year, in its 6-Series, with a 55-inch TV for $650. Mini-LED is not the same as MicroLED; the latter uses millions of LEDs, one per pixel, for large high-end solutions such as Sony’s Crystal LED and Samsung’s The Wall. In fact, although MicroLEDs use LEDs, it’s actually an entirely different technology. Continue reading Mini-LED Tech Offers Impressive Contrast Ratio, Affordability

Weta Digital Opens Virtual Production Service in New Zealand

Visual effects company Weta Digital — founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk — joined forces with production facility Avalon Studios and live event, production and broadcast specialist Streamliner Productions to develop an LED-stage virtual production service based in Wellington, New Zealand. That country has done a good job of controlling COVID-19, making it an appealing destination for new TV and film productions. Similar to ILM’s StageCraft platform, Weta Digital’s system is based on Epic Games’ real-time Unreal Engine. Continue reading Weta Digital Opens Virtual Production Service in New Zealand

HPA Tech Retreat: The Latest Workflows for Virtual Production

The HPA Tech Retreat kicked off with an ambitious daylong demo that highlighted innovations in content creation, management and distribution technology and workflows. Supersession chair Joachim Zell, VP technology for EFILM walked the audience through numerous elements of an HDR production: filming, editing and finishing two scenes that provided the final chapters for a short film. The process, much of which involved workflows in the cloud, featured multiple cameras, on-set management and collaboration platforms, editorial, dailies and digital intermediate color grading systems, as well as online mastering and distribution platforms. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The Latest Workflows for Virtual Production

CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

The Internet of Things is about to offer middle America a new creative outlet. Italian startup LEDWORKS produces strings of individually addressable LED Christmas tree lights. Twinkly’s phone app maps the location of each individual light: one camera scan to map lights arrayed on a flat surface and two or three camera scans to map the lights arrayed around a 3D object like a Christmas tree or a wall outside. The app can then wirelessly load a program into the lights’ plug to display preset patterns and images or, if you are clever, patterns of your design. The current app can control up to 10,000 lights. By the end of 2020, Twinkly should be able to control 20,000 lights. Continue reading CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Samsung has been demonstrated MicroLED wall-sized TV screens at the last two CES confabs in Las Vegas. Dubbed The Wall, the screen comes in a gigantic version at 219 inches and, now, a smaller one at 75 inches. The latter is only a prototype, but the 146-inch version is for sale, for a price that depends on installation costs. The last new screen technology to be debuted was OLED, on Sony XEL-1 TVs in 2008. OLED now dominates high quality images on TVs and most high-end smartphones, although there are plenty of older LCD screens to be found. Continue reading Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

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

We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Autonomous vehicles have been a part of tech culture for so long that it’s hard to realize that only a handful of people have actually ridden in one. So it was with great surprise that our very first Lyft ride out of our Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night was in a “self-driving” vehicle. Lyft partnered with Irish auto-parts-company-turned-autonomous-vehicle-startup Aptiv (formerly known as Delphi) to offer CES attendees and Vegas commuters the option to ride in one of their 30 “self-driving” BMW 5 Series. Continue reading We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Samsung Readies Onyx Cinema LED Motion Picture Screens

Last year, Samsung debuted a cinema LED screen, Onyx Cinema LED, to be offered in three sizes to accommodate different movie theaters. The 19-foot model will run at DCI 2K (2048 x 1080), and the 34-foot and 50-foot versions will run at DCI 4K (4096 x 2160). The 2K version has a peak brightness of 300 nits, and the other two support 500 nits, enabling 3D projection. The screens will support other resolutions with letterboxing as well as wide or flat DCI and several versions of HDR, including Samsung’s HDR10+. Continue reading Samsung Readies Onyx Cinema LED Motion Picture Screens

Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Next year, an Amy Winehouse hologram will be on tour to collect money for an eponymous charity. She’s the latest in a trend of deceased actors, from Carrie Fisher in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to Paul Walker in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, appearing as virtual 3D replicas. Now, some actors and studios are getting a jump on post-life value by creating 3D digital scans. Industrial Light & Magic just scanned Ingvild Deila, who was Princess Leia in “Rogue One.” She calls it “a safe bet for the people with the money.” Continue reading Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Snap Refocuses With Debut of Stylish Next-Gen Spectacles

Snap has unveiled two new versions of Spectacles 2 — the Veronica (for women) and the Nico (for men) — that incorporate all the features of the company’s second generation Spectacles, but tout a sleeker, more stylish design and cost $200, versus $150 for the previous version. Many of Snapchat’s core demographic has left for Instagram, and critics question why Snap is still making hardware. When Spectacles initially debuted in 2016, Snap created hype by selling them out of pop-up vending machines. A few months later, the company was stuck with $40 million worth of unsold glasses. Continue reading Snap Refocuses With Debut of Stylish Next-Gen Spectacles

Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Sony Electronics revealed its new premium TVs, the Bravia Master Series, with the goal of bringing a professional-level studio monitor into the home. The OLED A9F, which follows the first Bravia OLED set in 2017, and the A8F, launched earlier this year, feature an upgraded version of Sony’s Acoustic Surface, recreating a 3.2 audio set-up. Other new features are object-based HDR remastering and “super resolution.” Sony has also invested in large crystal LED (CLED) screens, “currently targeted at commercial users,” but not hard to imagine ultimately being scaled down for consumers. Continue reading Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Innovators Discuss Immersive Entertainment at LAVA Event

Several AR/VR entrepreneurs — ARwall chief executive Rene Amador, VNTANA chief marketing officer Natascha French, Fulldome.pro chief operating officer Stephen Powers, Flipside chief executive Lesley Klassen, and Talespin chief executive Kyle Jackson — gathered at a LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) panel discussion led by Interactive TV Alliance chief executive Allison Dollar. They described their companies’ use cases, defined “immersive entertainment,” and outlined the challenges in growing their businesses. Continue reading Innovators Discuss Immersive Entertainment at LAVA Event

Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

With a few weeks to go until the release of Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S9+, its camera just earned the top spot on DxOMark (a site that tracks and rates camera sensors, lenses and smartphone cameras). The S9+ received a score of 99 — the highest for any handset to date — with a review indicating the camera has no “obvious weaknesses.” The score is one better than the Pixel 2’s camera and two better than the iPhone X camera. The biggest addition to the S9+ camera is a dual-aperture for low light shots and a zoom lens.

Continue reading Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

HPA 2018: Direct View Cinema Displays to Displace Projectors

Film, and later, digital projectors have been the standard form of displaying movies since the art form’s beginning. But now, says veteran engineering executive in advanced imaging and sound Pete Ludé, so-called direct view cinema displays are poised to displace them. In an afternoon of HPA Tech Retreat sessions looking at new display technologies, Ludé drilled down into the use of emissive displays using millions of RGB LEDs. These giant displays, he said, offer tremendous dynamic range and beautiful pictures in moderate ambient light. Continue reading HPA 2018: Direct View Cinema Displays to Displace Projectors

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