Hollywood Warms Up to AI Algorithms For Planning Content

Los Angeles startup Cinelytic uses artificial intelligence to project box office returns. It licenses data about past movie performances and cross-references that with themes and actors in order to identify patterns. The software allows the user to input script and cast, and then try to see how specific actors would likely impact box office receipts. Other companies are experimenting with applying AI to film production, including the Belgium-based ScriptBook, which its founders say can predict success via an analyzed script. Continue reading Hollywood Warms Up to AI Algorithms For Planning Content

CES: Chinese UAV Company Unveils Autonomous Flying Taxi

Chinese company EHang, known for its Ghostdrone with head-tracking VR goggles, introduced a giant quadcopter simply called “184 drone” in Las Vegas this week. The cockpit has no controls, just a seat for one passenger, a tablet stand and air conditioning. Navigation is controlled by a mobile app using Google Maps, so passengers do not require a pilot’s license, according to the company. (However, the drone will still need FAA approval in the U.S.) The drone stands about 4.9 feet, weighs 440 pounds and can transport a 260-pound load capacity for about 23 minutes. Continue reading CES: Chinese UAV Company Unveils Autonomous Flying Taxi

Amazon Debuts New Hybrid Prototype for its Prime Air Drones

Two years after it first announced its Prime Air drone project, Amazon has unveiled its latest UAV prototype, with plans to eventually deliver packages to customers in less than 30 minutes. In a video featuring former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson, a new hybrid design is introduced — a larger vehicle that is essentially part helicopter and part airplane. The drone can still take off and land vertically, but it can also shift to a horizontal flight mode with the capability of flying 55 mph for more than 15 miles. Continue reading Amazon Debuts New Hybrid Prototype for its Prime Air Drones

New Drone Adds Wearable Remote, Head-Tracking VR Goggles

The FLYBi automates many of the operational tasks that often frustrate drone users. In addition to standard features (remote control, companion app, 12MP camera, 1080p video, on-board Wi-Fi), the FLYBi has the ability to take off, hover, land — even return and change batteries — with little or no interaction by the pilot. VR goggles aid in operation, thanks to a camera unit installed on a gimbal and connected to the head-tracking unit. The FLYBi also features a 1.8-inch display with anti-glare glass and a wrist-worn remote, one of the first wearable drone controllers. Continue reading New Drone Adds Wearable Remote, Head-Tracking VR Goggles

New Form Digital Debuts Its “Oscar’s Hotel” Series on Vimeo

New Form Digital, a video distribution/production company funded by Discovery, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, has launched its original pilot — “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures” — on Vimeo On Demand. The series, which began life as one of the dozen or so shorts that New Form commissions each year via its incubator program, includes Jim Henson’s Creature Shop-created beasts that run a magical boarding house, YouTube stars Chris Kendall, Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart, and appearances by Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina. Continue reading New Form Digital Debuts Its “Oscar’s Hotel” Series on Vimeo

Fox’s ‘Gotham’ Pilot is Most Pirated New TV Show this Fall

The premiere of Fox’s “Gotham” was illegally downloaded 1.33 million times over the course of 13 days. That is more than five times the number of downloads of any other new TV series in the U.S. More than 177,000 of those downloads took place in the U.S., even though the show was available for free online streaming the next day. Viewers in Australia, the U.K., Brazil, and Canada also heavily pirated the show, indicating the Batman-based series has worldwide appeal. Continue reading Fox’s ‘Gotham’ Pilot is Most Pirated New TV Show this Fall

Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Amazon Studios, the production arm of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, hopes to challenge Netflix with compelling original series. The studio greenlit several shows to debut later this year, and viewers will get the chance to view pilots for another set of prospective shows in the next few weeks, including a drama by Whit Stillman and a comedy produced by Steven Soderbergh. Amazon takes feedback from viewers into consideration when selecting new shows. Continue reading Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Netflix Exec Talks Viewer Habits, Development Plans and More

Netflix’s head of original content, Cindy Holland, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about emerging trends in entertainment media and some of her company’s ambitions. Topics included Netflix viewer habits, development and pilot plans, working with content creators, and the straight-to-series strategy. Holland, a 12-year veteran of Netflix, oversees a growing portion of the company’s $3 billion programming budget. Most recently, she has been tasked with developing original series. Continue reading Netflix Exec Talks Viewer Habits, Development Plans and More

FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may lift current restrictions that prohibit the use of drone aircraft for commercial purposes. Seven companies in the film industry filed requests with the help of the Motion Picture Association of America to be able to use small drones at a low altitude in a limited airspace for aerial photography. Drones have already been used in the movie industry despite the ban, but this step could lead to further relaxation of the FAA’s policy. Continue reading FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

ScreenHits to Launch Free Website for Showcasing TV Pilots

ScreenHits, an online marketplace for international buyers of film and television content, plans to launch a free service for consumers that will feature TV pilots that have not been picked up. The approach aims to introduce a new source of revenue for producers and studios. The Pilot Showcase service is scheduled to go live with 50 pilots on July 1. The pilots will be made available with advertising, and viewers can pre-order any shows that get greenlit as full series.   Continue reading ScreenHits to Launch Free Website for Showcasing TV Pilots

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

Amazon Announces Six New Shows After Another Pilot Season

Amazon.com announced yesterday that it has picked up two dramas, two comedies and two kids shows from the batch of 10 television pilots it was testing with viewers. Amazon considered feedback and ratings submitted by users, as it did with an earlier pilot season. However, this time twice as many viewers (more than two million) were involved with the process. While Amazon’s streaming service normally does not include ads, the pilots were sponsored by Geico so they could be available to all users, not just Prime subscribers. Continue reading Amazon Announces Six New Shows After Another Pilot Season

Amazon Launches its Second Pilot Season with 10 New Shows

Amazon Studios is releasing its second batch of original pilots, all vying for the opportunity to become a series to be made available on Amazon’s Instant Video service. Viewers are encouraged to stream the 10 pilots at AmazonOriginals.com, write reviews and rate each show. Feedback will help the studio determine whether or not to commission a full season. The current batch includes five shows for children and five geared toward adults from the likes of Chris Carter, Roman Coppola and Jill Soloway. Continue reading Amazon Launches its Second Pilot Season with 10 New Shows

Two LA TV Stations Test Channel Sharing to Free Up Spectrum

KLCS and KJLA in Los Angeles will be the first television stations to participate in a pilot test to determine if sharing airwaves can be achieved effectively without reducing signal quality. Since the conversion to digital broadcasting, stations have been able to use their spectrum allotment of six megahertz more efficiently and broadcast multiple signals on a single band. The FCC hopes the experiment will encourage broadcasters to participate in spectrum auctions so that more airwaves can be used for wireless broadband. Continue reading Two LA TV Stations Test Channel Sharing to Free Up Spectrum

Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

Google is expanding the test of its Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service by including company employees in the Santa Monica area. The test, which joins other similar programs such as eBay Now, Walmart to Go, and AmazonFresh, is an expansion of the pilot program it launched in the Bay Area last spring. Claiming it has received “great feedback” from shoppers and retailers in the San Francisco, Google has plans to eventually extend the service to the public. Continue reading Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

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