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

Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

Thousands of film and TV titles from every decade require restoration, but the money isn’t there to fund much of it, and current restoration jobs are more likely to take place in China or Poland than Los Angeles. That was revealed at an event co-produced by SMPTE and the Visual Effects Society (VES) at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater. Restoration executives and practitioners from the major studios gathered to discuss the technological, artistic and business challenges of bringing classic film and TV titles back to life. Continue reading Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

At The Reel Thing, an AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) conference, Hollywood technologists and filmmakers gathered to hear presentations on challenges in restoration, remastering and archiving. PurePix Images chief executive Michael Inchalik and University of Georgia mathematics professor Alexander Petukhov looked at how Algosoft is developing software to repair vertical scratches, one of the toughest challenges in digital restoration. “We’re discussing a high-level restoration workflow,” said Inchalik. Continue reading New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, film director/producer Marcus Dillistone, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences managing director Andy Maltz and Academy Film Archive director Michael Pogorzelski presented a case study of an ACES reformatting and archiving project, with Dillistone’s 1999 short film “The Troop.” The topic is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and the film had a royal premiere at BAFTA, with film industry and military guests as well as a British princess in attendance. Continue reading The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

In addition to tackling issues related to new technologies — from Ultra HD to high dynamic range and high frame rates — SMPTE also considers how to preserve film and assets of the past. In a wide-ranging morning of sessions, experts considered the factors required to view archival content on HDR projectors or HDR displays; how the Library of Congress maintains the viability of over 7 million audio-visual assets for a mandated 150 years; and how to restore the original, variable frame rates of silent films for digital projection. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

In the world of UHD/4K, movies and TV programs can require massive amounts of compute power. Take a recent 50-minute UHD natural history documentary that Sundog Media Toolkit worked on. Chief executive Richard Welsh reports it ran for four hours on over 5,000 processors. The necessity for finding huge amounts of compute power is becoming a challenge for productions, he notes.We could have run that job in real time if we had split it up more, and that would have taken us up to more than 20,000 processors for one hour.” Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

Cross-Promotion Highlights the 4K Entertainment Experience

Sony debuted a campaign this weekend to market 4K entertainment. The promotion — launched by Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Best Buy, in collaboration with National CineMedia — includes a 30-second spot for NCM’s FirstLook pre-show content. The spot features outtakes from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (available tomorrow on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD) with an emphasis on viewing movies via Sony 4K Digital Cinema projectors in theaters and Sony 4K TVs at home. Continue reading Cross-Promotion Highlights the 4K Entertainment Experience

RMW Restoring 1,000 Cult and Classic Films for Home Video

Reliance MediaWorks has begun the restoration process on a thousand films — many of which are cult or world cinema classics — to create high definition versions for availability on Blu-ray. From its Burbank facility, RMW is up-converting most titles from standard definition, not remastering from original negatives. However, the company expects quality results for restored video and audio that will help return the films to their former glory and hopefully introduce them to a new audience. Continue reading RMW Restoring 1,000 Cult and Classic Films for Home Video

World Cinema Foundation Unveils Restored Films on Hulu Plus

Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation (WCF) has been restoring rare films since 2007. The public will benefit from these efforts when eight of the rescued films will be made available for the first time in the U.S. on Hulu, in a partnership with the Criterion Collection. The films will initially be offered for free with ads. After August 24, commercial-free WCF movies (and more than 800 Criterion titles) will be available only to paying Hulu Plus subscribers. Continue reading World Cinema Foundation Unveils Restored Films on Hulu Plus