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: Academy Color Encoding System Updates

Under the aegis of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hundreds of motion picture and TV technologists created ACES (Academy Color Encoding System), a color management system to enable color decisions to be successfully retained throughout the workflow. Since ACES debuted in 2014, the system has achieved SMPTE standardization and continues to evolve, under the leadership of chair Annie Chang and vice chairs Rod Bogart and Joachim “JZ” Zell. Chang listed some recent updates found in ACES 1.2. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Updates

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Outlines Adaptive Production Projects

ETC’s director of adaptive production Seth Levenson described the USC think tank’s array of projects under this umbrella, which include archiving, blockchain, and visual effects standards. The working group on archiving, co-chaired by Paramount Pictures senior vice president asset management Andrea Kalas, is developing best practices for cloud preservation. Levenson pointed to the white paper on “Guidelines for Digital Audio-Visual Assets in the Cloud,” which in part focused on fixity, or getting out the same assets that were uploaded. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Outlines Adaptive Production Projects

ACES: New Features, Governance, Timeline, Call to Action

In a packed NAB 2019 Birds of a Feather session, ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) project chair Annie Chang led a meeting to bring attendees up to date on the volunteer group’s latest work. “ACES is a beast,” said Chang, urging attendees to share their feedback and get involved in the various committees. “We need to understand what people need to get it working.” She also mentioned that with SMPTE’s standardized ACES IMF format as an archival format, IMF and ACES are working together. Continue reading ACES: New Features, Governance, Timeline, Call to Action

HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), first introduced in late 2014, has made increasing inroads in the film industry. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) Science and Technology Council managing director Andy Maltz said at least three of this year’s Academy Awards nominees in the Best Picture and Best VFX categories used ACES; SMPTE also has created seven standards related to the use of ACES. According to AMPAS’ ACES project chair Annie Chang, the group released ACES 1.1 this last year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

The Reel Thing: Academy Debuts Digital Source Master Specs

At The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, the Academy’s Science and Technology Council managing director Andy Maltz and Dr. Wolfgang Ruppel at Germany’s RheinMain University of Applied Sciences introduced the specifications of the Academy Digital Source Master, built on a suite of SMPTE standards. Maltz described the background that led to the Digital Source Master. “The Digital Dilemma published in 2007, identified open source software and digital file format standardization as key components to the solution,” he said. Continue reading The Reel Thing: Academy Debuts Digital Source Master Specs

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

JPEG Debuts Streaming Video Format for 5G, Wi-Fi Networks

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), known for its photo standard, released a new video compression standard, JPEG XS, designed to work on next-gen 5G cellular or Wi-Fi networks. The new standard, says JPEG, will work on current computers via a software upgrade and is aimed at streaming lossless video, VR content and games over wireless networks, with lower latency and better energy efficiency. Devices smaller than computers, however, will require a hardware upgrade to support JPEG XS. Continue reading JPEG Debuts Streaming Video Format for 5G, Wi-Fi Networks

NAB 2018: Post-Millennial/Gen Z Survey on Cinema, TV, VR

If you want to know what’s on the mind of a post-millennial, the best person to ask is a member of that demographic. At NAB 2018, a 15-year-old high school sophomore did even better than that, presenting the results of her own survey of over 200 members of her age group. Based on a family conversation (that included her father, industry consultant Pete Ludé), Helen Ludé, a student at Lowell High School in San Francisco, decided to poll her friends on cinema attendance, home consumption habits and virtual reality.  Continue reading NAB 2018: Post-Millennial/Gen Z Survey on Cinema, TV, VR

HPA 2018: Updates on ACES 1.0, The Evolution to ACESnext

ACES (the Academy Color Encoding System), which makes certain that the color decisions made early on in production are preserved through to the finished master, has evolved since it first launched in December 2014. At the HPA Tech Retreat, NBCUniversal vice president of creative technologies Annie Chang reported that, in 2015, 15 titles were done in ACES, compared to today’s 49+ titles. “We’ve seen the growth not just in feature and episodic, but in the gaming community and corporate clients like IKEA,” she added. Continue reading HPA 2018: Updates on ACES 1.0, The Evolution to ACESnext

HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

In the ongoing journey to integrate high dynamic range (HDR) into U.S. movie theaters and homes, a panel at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California explored the topic from several angles. Everyone knows that HDR is much more than a single format: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG (hybrid log gamma) all compete in the marketplace. But Pat Griffis, Dolby Laboratories vice president technology in the office of the CTO and a SMPTE fellow, wanted to clarify the basic definition of HDR as more accurately seen as color volume. Continue reading HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

IMF (Interoperable Master Format) came of age, and two hours at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat were devoted to progress made and reasons for its adoption. Led by NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) chair of the working group on file formats Clyde Smith, a senior vice president at Fox Network engineering and operations, the block of speakers covered the business benefits of IMF and how Hollywood, broadcast and OTT would benefit from adopting it. Other topics focused on integrating IMF into the production pipeline. Continue reading HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Yves Bergquist, project director data & analytics at ETC@USC, will deliver the TR-X keynote at next week’s HPA Tech Retreat and debut ETC’s AI primer for media and entertainment. The HPA Tech Retreat (February 19-23) will take place at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, California. The TR-X Seminar (February 19, 1:00-5:15 pm), held in conjunction with the HPA Tech Retreat, will explore AI and machine learning in the M&E ecosystem. Panels will address real world AI case studies, partnering with AI in the creative process, marketing, research and more. Registration info is available online. Continue reading ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

OTT video distribution startup OWNZONES Media Network claims it can transcode Interoperable Master Format (IMF) assets 40+ times faster than conventional methods via its Connect solution. “Using a parallel architecture with cloud transcoding, the company says OWNZONES Connect can process a film with a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes in just 6 minutes,” reports Variety. “In addition, the company has introduced a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model to let content owners distribute assets in the new SMPTE IMF format standard without any upfront investment.” Continue reading OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

SMPTE kicked off its 2017 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition on Monday with an all-day symposium on artificial intelligence and its emerging role in entertainment production and distribution. Among the day’s presentations, SMPTE’s Richard Welsh presented a compelling primer on AI, Google’s Jeff Kember discussed the differences between supervised and unsupervised systems, Hitachi Vantara’s Jay Yogeshwar addressed using machine learning and AI for production workflow, Yvonne Thomas of Arvato Systems looked at the value of effective data analytics, Greg Taieb of Deluxe addressed language localization for multilingual distribution, and Aspera co-founder Michelle Munson examined next generation network design. Continue reading SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

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