Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

Apple and Microsoft signed on as premier members of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), founded in 2018 to promote the use of open source software in the movie industry. By joining ASWF, Apple and Microsoft pushed annual funding for the organization over $1 million. Microsoft also joined ASWF’s governing board and technical advisory council. ASWF is a joint project of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation. ASWF executive director David Morin welcomed both companies into the fold. Continue reading Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

Hollywood Technology Execs Gather at Annual ETC Dinner

The Entertainment Technology Center @ the University of Southern California (ETC) held its 8th annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner this week, which coincided with the 26th anniversary of ETC’s founding. Executive director & CEO Ken Williams noted that the event, which was underwritten by supporting sponsor Equinix and contributing sponsor WekaIO, would honor industry leader Leon Silverman with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award and feature a panel to examine some of the industry’s most pressing issues in “Media Fundamentals in Flex: Conflict, Chaos or Collaboration.” Continue reading Hollywood Technology Execs Gather at Annual ETC Dinner

Sony Unit to Produce Movies, TV Shows Based on Games

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has launched PlayStation Productions to transform the company’s 100+ video games into film and television projects. The production company, headed by Asad Qizilbash, is at work on its first projects on Sony Pictures’ Culver City lot. SIE Worldwide Studios chair Shawn Layden, who also oversees the new production company, noted that, with 25 years developing games, the company believes “now is a good time to look at other media opportunities across streaming or film or television.” Continue reading Sony Unit to Produce Movies, TV Shows Based on Games

HPA Tech Retreat: Managing Images for Consumer Displays

In August last year, Sony debuted a brand new line-up of Bravia Master Series 4K TVs, featuring the Netflix Calibration Mode, a setting that would match streaming Ultra HD 4K HDR content produced by Netflix to the TV’s display characteristics. At the HPA Tech Retreat, International Cinematographers Guild technologist Michael Chambliss moderated a discussion on this proprietary feature — only available on Sony TVs for Netflix content — with participants from Netflix, the UHD Alliance and ICG. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Managing Images for Consumer Displays

HPA Tech Retreat: A Look at HDR & the Ambient Light Issue

Sony Pictures chief technology officer Don Eklund presented a look at HDR bias light analysis. Put plainly, the colorist grades the content in a dark room, with the light behind the screen rated at between 5 and 10 nits. But the average viewer watches that same content in a room with windows and lights. “We have a fundamental problem everyone here has experienced, with light leaking in the room through drapes,” said Eklund. “It crushes the blacks and offers colors that were not intended when the images were graded.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: A Look at HDR & the Ambient Light Issue

Movies Anywhere Ends First Year With Six Million Downloads

Launched one year ago, Movies Anywhere, a Disney-owned app and service for movies in partnership with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., has six million users who have purchased more than 150 million movies. The most watched movie was Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.” Among the six million downloaded apps, Movies Anywhere has 5.8 million user accounts, which have watched 16 million hours in the first year. Although those numbers are miniscule compared to Netflix, they also show robust growth. Continue reading Movies Anywhere Ends First Year With Six Million Downloads

Mobile Video Service ‘Quibi’ Is Scheduled to Launch in 2019

At Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman revealed that the name of their new mobile video startup will be Quibi (short for “quick bites”). The subscription service, originally known as NewTV, is scheduled to launch next year. Producer Jason Blum and filmmakers including Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and Antoine Fuqua are among those slated to create content for the new venture. “These people are so excited about doing something new. They want to be the pioneers. They want to be able to show the path in doing this,” said Katzenberg. “We are going to do be able to do extraordinary storytelling.” Continue reading Mobile Video Service ‘Quibi’ Is Scheduled to Launch in 2019

Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

Earlier this month, streaming device maker Roku introduced The Roku Channel — its streaming destination for free, ad-supported movies and TV shows — to non-Roku devices for the first time. The rollout started on the web and select Samsung smart TVs, before plans for a wider cross-platform launch. In addition to updating the navigation for Roku players and Roku TVs to access free TV content, the company plans to bring its service to PCs, smartphones and tablets for those consumers who have not purchased Roku devices. Continue reading Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

FandangoNOW Is Latest to Join Movies Anywhere Ecosystem

Movies Anywhere announced that Fandango’s video-on-demand service, FandangoNOW, is the latest retailer to join the digital movie ecosystem. Movies Anywhere provides a central location for movies purchased or redeemed through Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Walmart’s Vudu and FandangoNOW. The service is jointly controlled by five major studios: Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Continue reading FandangoNOW Is Latest to Join Movies Anywhere Ecosystem

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

At CES 2018, Fox Innovation Lab Highlights Movies Anywhere

During CES 2018, the Fox Innovation Lab unveiled a VR experience tied to director Wes Anderson’s upcoming “Isle of Dogs” and discussed the newly launched Movies Anywhere. The VR experience, which features the voices of actors Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson and Jeff Goldblum, will be unveiled later this month tied to the Sundance Film Festival and initially for Google Daydream VR headsets. At CES, some of the executives for the Disney-owned Movies Anywhere were available to discuss the digital locker service. Continue reading At CES 2018, Fox Innovation Lab Highlights Movies Anywhere

Sony Products Focus on Artist Intent and Customer Experience

Sony Corporation president and CEO Kaz Hirai began his solo CES media briefing with the Alpha 9, a mirrorless and completely silent camera ideally suited to shoot at the top of a golf swing or on a quiet soundstage, and continued to celebrate accomplishments across every division, including Sony Pictures, Sony Music, and PlayStation. “If you see the name Sony on any product, content, or service, it symbolizes our promise to move you emotionally,” he said. “Our products are designed to have a personal and individualized place in all of your lives.” Continue reading Sony Products Focus on Artist Intent and Customer Experience

Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

On Black Friday, Snapchat introduced Promoted Stories, a new advertising format that allows marketers to get their messages to more users. The company’s existing Story feature is a stitched-together collection of photos and videos that disappears 24 hours after it is shared. Any Snapchat user (including a business or brand) can create a Story, but it will only be visible to that user’s followers. Promoted Stories, however, which will appear on the Stories page in the Snapchat app, will be pushed out around the country. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Roku has taken an important step in its long-time efforts to evolve from a hardware-based to a services-based model. Although the company will not comment, sources say that Roku is preparing to begin streaming videos on third-party devices from rivals Apple and Google. Those same sources say that the initial efforts will likely focus on mobile devices. Most consumers still think of Roku as a hardware company, but Roku recently began licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers and making money on advertising. Continue reading Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Hollywood Studios Join Disney for Movies Anywhere Service

While a formal announcement is pending, insiders report that 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are among the Hollywood studios that will be joining Disney’s Movies Anywhere service, which enables consumers to purchase movies from authenticated platforms — including Amazon Video, Fios by Verizon, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft and Vudu — and store them in a digital locker so that they can be viewed on multiple devices. Disney Movies Anywhere, powered by KeyChest storage technology, was first introduced in 2014 when other studios were supporting the UltraViolet format. Continue reading Hollywood Studios Join Disney for Movies Anywhere Service

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