ETC@USC Mourns the Loss of Industry Veteran Jim Houston

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jim Houston, a longtime friend and supporter of The Entertainment Technology Center. In addition to attending our events and contributing to many of our programs, Jim served as a moderator and panelist for several of ETC’s Digital Town Square symposiums. He was a two-time Academy Award-winning engineer, SMPTE member, and 34-year veteran of the industry, serving senior positions at media leaders including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Pacific Title & Art, Walt Disney Feature Animation and, most recently, Samsung Research America. Continue reading ETC@USC Mourns the Loss of Industry Veteran Jim Houston

HPA Tech Retreat: Universal Unveils New Production Workflow

Like any movie franchise installment, Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious 8” (also known as “The Fate of the Furious”) relied on footage and data from the sequels that were produced before it. This movie was the proof of concept for Production 3.0, a new platform enabling quick access to assets like 3D VFX models for use in sequels, as well as theme park and AR/VR experiences.“Our production asset archive isn’t organized enough and doesn’t hold all production assets,” said Universal VP of creative technologies Annie Chang, who headed the team that developed it. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Universal Unveils New Production Workflow

HPA Tech Retreat: Evolving Security for Media & Entertainment

An increasing concern over content security was the subject of HBO/WarnerMedia productions and content security head Marc Zorn’s talk on “Why Traditional Information Security Doesn’t Fit in Most of Media & Entertainment.” “Film security was based on physical controls,” he said. “Post production began after photography, and threats were primarily from post onwards.” Once the workflow became digital, he added, threats to digital media looked like IT security, “from an IT security professional’s perspective.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Evolving Security for Media & Entertainment

HPA Tech Retreat: Immersive Audio Standards Ready For Use

Immersive audio standards are complete, said Sony Pictures Entertainment executive director of audio Brian Vessa, and now the task is to encourage widespread use. Immersive Audio Bitstream (IAB) is the interoperable system that allows one mix — the IAB DCP — to play back in multiple immersive sound systems in movie theaters. “For home entertainment, a single mix can be transcoded to multiple deliverables,” Vessa said. Most tentpole movies are already being mixed natively in immersive audio, he added. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Immersive Audio Standards Ready For Use

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

Adobe Reveals AI-Enabled One-Click Audio Enhancement

At the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles this week, the company gave a sneak peek of its Project Awesome Audio, which will clean up problematic audio recordings in Adobe Audition with the click of a button. The project is the brainchild of Adobe research scientist Zeyu Jin who, back in 2016, demonstrated a tool that allows the user to easily insert speech into an existing clip. For Project Awesome Audio, Jin, with Princeton University computer science PhD student Jiaqi Su, leveraged Adobe’s Sensei AI for “end-to-end audio enhancement.” Adobe also showcased a mobile Photoshop app, a new AR authoring app, and more. Continue reading Adobe Reveals AI-Enabled One-Click Audio Enhancement

Disney, Microsoft Team Up to Shift Moviemaking to the Cloud

Walt Disney Studios and Microsoft inked a five-year deal to start transitioning filmmaking to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, with the goal of complete “scene to screen.” The effort is led by Disney’s StudioLAB. Walt Disney Studios chief technology officer Jamie Voris said the first step will be to move Avid editing tools into the cloud, to facilitate collaboration across locations. Microsoft U.S. president Kate Johnson noted that “we are at the tipping point for cloud in media and entertainment.” Continue reading Disney, Microsoft Team Up to Shift Moviemaking to the Cloud

Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Verizon Media (formerly Oath) now has production studios located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Sunnyvale and Taiwan. In addition, it built a 5G Los Angeles studio with plans to help pioneer new formats and production tech enabled by advanced 5G wireless connectivity. The worldwide facilities are being used by Verizon Media brands such as AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo. The L.A. space — led by Verizon Media’s immersive media arm RYOT — is outfitted with full motion capture and volumetric capture stages. Continue reading Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

At NAB in Las Vegas, BeBop Technology director of technical sales Nathaniel Bonini described how his company provides virtual versions of the post-production tools artists are used to working with, but in the cloud. That includes tools from Autodesk and, in a new partnership, Avid among others. Cloud-based virtual post and VFX tools give post houses and VFX facilities tremendous efficiencies, including the ability to scale up and down. StratusCore is another company that creates an entire virtualized workstation in the cloud. Continue reading Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

HPA Tech Retreat: Ways That M&E Is Embracing the Cloud

Western Digital global head of M&E/telco strategy Erik Weaver led a discussion among three other experts about where the media and entertainment industry is today with its slow-burn adoption of the cloud in production and post. Avid chief technology officer Tim Claman; Google Cloud global lead, entertainment industry solutions, Buzz Hays; and Microsoft global technology strategist Marco Rota described their perspectives and activities related to the various ways that media and entertainment companies have embraced the cloud. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Ways That M&E Is Embracing the Cloud

Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

On February 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Scientific and Engineering Awards to the teams behind Adobe’s After Effects and Photoshop. David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David M. Cotter accepted the award for After Effects for motion graphics. Thomas Knoll and John Knoll accepted the award for the original architecture, design and development of Photoshop, and Mark Hamburg for its continued development and engineering. Both tools are a mainstay in the film and television industry. Continue reading Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Netflix launched its Post Technology Alliance logo program last week, with plans to certify post-production products and systems from manufacturers and vendors that meet the streaming service’s technical and content delivery specs. “The Post Technology Alliance will build a more seamless experience from production through post-production,” said Chris Fetner, Netflix director of post partnerships and integrations, noting that certified vendors are “committed to better interoperability and faster innovation cycles.” Adobe, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Panasonic, RED Digital Cinema and Sony are among those with products already certified. Continue reading Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Blackmagic Design Debuts DaVinci Resolve 15 with VFX Tools

Blackmagic Design’s release of DaVinci Resolve 15 adds Fusion, a visual effects tool often used in Hollywood films, to its professional-level color correction and audio editor. The full studio release of Resolve 15 is $300, but another, stripped down version that still includes the most important features is free. This compares to Adobe Creative Cloud, which costs more than $50 per month. DaVinci Resolve 15 is platform agnostic, running on macOS, Windows 10 and Linux, and offers four modules in one app. Continue reading Blackmagic Design Debuts DaVinci Resolve 15 with VFX Tools

Insta360 Introduces its Pro VR Camera With 8K-per-Eye Video

Insta360 debuted the Insta360 Pro 2, a professional VR camera whose six lenses capture every angle of a scene and produce 8K-per-eye 3D 360-degree video. The company, which first introduced a VR camera in 2017, explains that the Insta360 Pro 2 features FlowState stabilization, long-range live monitoring, the ability to deliver 8K VR regardless of the playback device, and simpler post production via a partnership with Adobe. Shooting modes include 8K 3D at 30 fps, 8K monoscopic at 60 fps, 6K 3D at 60 fps, and 4K 3D at 120 fps. Continue reading Insta360 Introduces its Pro VR Camera With 8K-per-Eye Video

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

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