Facebook’s VideoStory Relies on AI to Automate Storytelling

Facebook’s video clips get over 8 billion views a day on average, but people with bad Internet connections or disabilities often don’t have access to them. That led Facebook to create VideoStory, which the company described in a research paper as “A Dataset for Telling the Stories of Social Media Videos.” The paper, to be delivered at the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, noted that, “automatically telling the stories using multi-sentence descriptions of videos would allow bridging this gap.” Continue reading Facebook’s VideoStory Relies on AI to Automate Storytelling

NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

In a keynote address at NAB in Las Vegas, ETC data & analytics project director Yves Bergquist described how the changing economics of media audiences require new measurement methods and metrics. For the first time, he said, the media and entertainment industry can leverage behavioral psychology, computational neuroscience and machine learning to understand the deep cognitive relationship between audiences and content. He pointed to director Alfred Hitchcock’s prescient statement that, “Creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

Podcasts have the potential to be intimate, captivating and entertaining. The recent podcasting boom began in 2014 with “Serial,” a true crime drama that changed perceptions of how big podcasting could be. But it wasn’t profitable right away and took millions of downloads over time to get there. The question became: could podcasts similar to “Serial” be replicated on a commercial basis? It seems that they now have the potential. For example, news sources such as The New York Times and Vox are proving that there can be big money in daily news podcasting.

Continue reading Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

At the HPA Tech Retreat Wednesday breakfast roundtables, program director Yves Bergquist led a discussion on the work he is doing at ETC on storytelling and artificial intelligence. “We’re doing a lot of research around how to create a more semantic understanding of narrative structures and create a machine-readable understanding of storytelling,” he explained. HPA Tech Retreat regular Jim Burger, an attorney who sat at the table, engaged in a conversation with Bergquist about the copyright infringement potential of AI and storytelling. Continue reading HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

On November 22, Disney-Pixar will release the animated feature “Coco,” which takes place during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Pixar has also debuted its first VR experience, “Coco VR,” created in partnership with Oculus. “Coco VR” is available on Rift headsets, with a Gear VR version out next week. Pixar dubs the experience a “social adventure” where participants embody skeletal characters and explore the Land of the Dead and the holiday, to learn about the film, the festival and the traditions. Continue reading Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Magic Leap and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB have partnered to develop “Star Wars”-related content for the former’s technology. Because Magic Leap has kept its mixed reality developments under wraps, neither company would reveal details about specific experiences that would result from the partnership. But Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, at the WIRED Business Conference in New York City last week, did show a teaser that showed two iconic “Star Wars” characters, computer-generated but very real looking, interacting with participants. Continue reading Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

Facebook now puts viewer comments and reaction emoji as an overlaid graph on Live videos. That enables a user who fast-forwards through a recorded Live clip to identify which parts of the video are worth watching and which can be skipped. The new capability could encourage amateurs to pay more attention to how their videos are shot and paced, ultimately making their content more compelling. Periscope offers a similar ability to leave real-time feedback in the form of “hearts” on live streams. Continue reading Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

Avid Chief Talks Third Party Apps at ETC Cloud Conference

At ETC’s Cloud Innovation Conference at NAB 2016, Variety editor David Cohen led a discussion with Avid chief executive/president Louis Hernandez Jr. “It’s been a remarkable journey,” Hernandez said. “With Avid Media Central, we wanted to connect people. We took our standalone applications and put them where they could be shared. Now you’re seeing a rapid expansion of the apps you can purchase: We have a record number of third party apps indexed on a common operating system. This is the direction that things are going.” Continue reading Avid Chief Talks Third Party Apps at ETC Cloud Conference

GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

During the “Storytellers of eSports” panel at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, creative execs and journalists for Twitch, Yahoo Sports, Team Liquid and 1UP Studios discussed how they cover eSports, and how their approaches differ from coverage of traditional sports. The challenge for writers is to bring life to a sport in which the players barely move, but their hand and body twitches translate into incredible feats within the game. The stories are more about eSports personalities, and less about the actual gameplay, than traditional sports. Continue reading GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

At the recent Sundance Film Festival, virtual reality was a big hit for the second year running. But the changes in just a year were also evident: rather than the conversation focusing on the technology enabling the VR experiences, the focus was on storytelling. Virtual reality, in other words, has become a medium, as demonstrated in projects such as “Grease” director Randal Kleiser’s sci-fi VR drama “Defrost,” which tells the story of a woman just awaking from a coma. The series is a full season with another in development. Continue reading Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

At the Sundance Film Festival, the latest in virtual reality appears at the New Frontier, the Sundance Institute’s showcase for virtual reality, immersive cinematic works, and media lab innovations. 2016 is no exception, and the buzz is already out about some of the must-see virtual reality movies and experiences. Among them, “The Wasteland” from 8i is one recommendation. Other notable VR experiences at Sundance include “American Bison,” “Kiya” and “Wave of Grace.” Continue reading Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

CES: Virtual Reality Has Young Adults Cautiously Optimistic

The second wave of virtual reality is here, and with it comes a burst of awareness and interest from young adults. The edgy and experimental virtual reality projects of the mid-90’s have given way to the consumer, with many news outlets billing 2016 as the “year of virtual reality.” I call out the two waves of virtual reality because many people in their early to mid twenties have no idea that the first wave ever happened, though the aesthetics, anxieties, and excitement that it produced seem to have carried into the modern perception of what virtual reality is today. Continue reading CES: Virtual Reality Has Young Adults Cautiously Optimistic

New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

The New York Times debuted its second, and most ambitious VR film, “The Displaced,” along with its NYT VR app, which can be viewed with Google Cardboard. Produced in partnership with VR studio Vrse, the 11-minute documentary, which focuses on the daily lives of three refugee children across the world, was directed by Ben Solomon and Imraan Ismail and shown at a premiere that included a panel discussion that included participation of Vrse chief executive Chris Milk, who characterizes virtual reality as “the last medium.” Continue reading New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

At the SMPTE 2015 annual conference, broadcast consultant Jim DeFilippis, Grass Valley camera executive Klaus Weber, and Panasonic researcher Hiroaki Iwasaki, among others, looked at the challenges involved with adding higher frame rates, higher dynamic range and wider color gamut for 4K resolution and beyond. Baylor University professors Corey Carbonara and Michael Korpi attempted to find the perfect amount of frame rates, exposure times, lighting, and refresh rates to arrive at the best image. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Challenges of Adding HDR, HFR and Color to 4K

Dolby and Jaunt Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Virtual Reality

Virtual reality content creator Jaunt has partnered with longtime movie sound experts at Dolby to improve the audio in immersive experiences. Audio is a crucial part of making VR feel more like reality, and the Dolby Atmos system will allow Jaunt to specifically target sounds so that they seem as if they are coming from a very specific location. The new technology is expected to improve VR storytelling since content creators would be able to use sound to redirect a user’s attention. Continue reading Dolby and Jaunt Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Virtual Reality

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