Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

Streaming services had another strong showing with the latest Oscar nominations. Apple TV+ received six nominations, including its first in the Best Picture category for “CODA,” also groundbreaking as the first film with a majority deaf cast to contend in the top category. Apple acquired the film at last year’s Sundance Film Festival where it set a record with its $25 million bid. Apple also got noticed for Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which earned Denzel Washington a Best Actor nod and is competing for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. When the contenders were announced Tuesday morning, it was Netflix that tallied the largest haul, with 27 nominations, the most of any studio.  Continue reading Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model

The Sundance Film Festival is returning to Park City, Utah in January after holding its last annual event entirely online. The 2022 Festival will introduce a new hybrid format that will expand The Spaceship, a virtual venue of the New Frontier exhibition where attendees can socialize and visit virtual reality and mixed reality installations. Sundance is also introducing a new Biodigital Bridge, a human-scale screen that will connect “festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.” Continue reading The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model

Disney Premieres Interactive Short at Sundance Film Festival

During Sundance Film Festival 2021 (January 28 – February 3), Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution and Disney Television Animation is showcasing an interactive short — “Baymax Dreams of Fred’s Glitch” — that plays via Nvidia’s GeForce NOW streaming service. The game-like short features the cast from “Big Hero 6” and challenges the viewer to fix Fred’s destructive “glitch” and Baymax’s programming. “Baymax Dreams” is part of the New Frontier Alliance Showcase at Sundance. GeForce NOW, officially unveiled in 2015, recently launched for the Chrome web browser and M1 Macs in beta. Continue reading Disney Premieres Interactive Short at Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

The Sundance Film Festival, a pioneer in showcasing virtual reality content with its New Frontier exhibition, partnered with Active Theory to build a VR platform that attendees can access with or without a headset. Sundance New Frontier curator Shari Frilot noted that building a virtual solution for New Frontier “solved so many problems we were having and struggling with on the ground.” Anyone will be able to access the platform by logging onto the website via a Sundance festival pass, including the $25 Explorer Pass. Continue reading Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

Another Perspective on Deep Fakes: Threat and Opportunity

At the NAB 2019’s Broadcast Cybersecurity course, Emblematic Group founder/chief executive Nonny de la Peña introduced deep fakes by showing pairs of images and asking the audience to call out which was fake and which was real. From paired images of Presidents Obama and Trump, among others, audience members were consistently unable to pick the correct “fake” image. University of Washington researchers created a very convincing — but fake — video of Barack Obama, she revealed, by using neural network AI and 14 hours of Obama footage. Continue reading Another Perspective on Deep Fakes: Threat and Opportunity

Vice Media Is the Latest to Announce Trimming Its Workforce

Vice Media’s new CEO Nancy Dubuc plans strategic changes to help limit spending and increase company profits. Part of the reorganization will involve laying off about 10 percent of staff (roughly 250 people) across all departments. The Canadian digital media and broadcasting company is expected to shift its focus to film, television and branded content, in addition to restructuring its international teams. The news follows Vice’s hiring freeze in 2018 and recent announcements from other media companies regarding layoffs. Continue reading Vice Media Is the Latest to Announce Trimming Its Workforce

VR Filmmakers Explore New Platforms at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival, there was evidence that that some of the pioneering virtual reality companies are expanding — or shifting — their purview from VR movies into other genres. Sundance’s New Frontier program, which launched five years ago, highlighted VR filmmaking. At this year’s festival, long-time VR producers such as Felix & Paul are still engaging in virtual reality projects, but others are exploring augmented reality, connected devices and artificial intelligence in their interactive stories. Continue reading VR Filmmakers Explore New Platforms at Sundance Festival

Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival, tech companies now pitch new tools to the M&E industry. This year, Dropbox is offering a time-based commenting feature for video files, and Google and Sony are open-sourcing a tool that will simplify cloud rendering. Dropbox’s new feature will aid audio and video review by adding time-based commenting. Google, in partnership with Sony Picture Imageworks, will introduce OpenCue, which breaks down rendering steps and then schedules and manages the job across rendering farms. Continue reading Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

Oculus Team Developing VR Experience Featuring Live Actors

At Facebook’s Oculus, a new project team is developing a VR experience powered by live actors. Oculus executive producer of experiences Yelena Rachitsky, who worked on Pixar’s first VR experience based on the movie “Coco,” describes it as a melding of indie video game “Journey” and immersive play “Sleep No More.” Rachitsky said the company is interested in creating the experience of live actors “without needing to be in a site-specific location.” The experience, tentatively slated for next year, could also create a new revenue stream for the nascent technology. Continue reading Oculus Team Developing VR Experience Featuring Live Actors

Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

For the last two years, Amazon Studios and Netflix dominated in acquisitions of films at the annual Sundance Film Festival, purchasing six titles each at the 2016 festival and, last year, Netflix leaving with 10 titles and Amazon with five. This year was a notable difference, with neither streaming giant buying a single title (yet) from the 2018 fest. Because of that, more traditional distribution companies and foreign sales agents were able to compete, the latter because the streamers bought worldwide rights. Continue reading Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier, VR financing/distribution company CityLights purchased “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” a three-part virtual reality series that explores the depth of space. The exact purchase price was not revealed, but it is reportedly in the seven figures, and is being hailed as the first VR film to be acquired for such an amount. The series, presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures, and directed by Eliza McNitt, is slated for release on the Oculus Rift sometime this year. Continue reading VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

During the Sundance Film Festival, theater subscription service MoviePass announced the launch of MoviePass Ventures, part of a new strategy to co-acquire films with distributors. Data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (HMNY), now the majority owner of MoviePass, claims its new service is already boosting domestic box office. HMNY plans to invest in movies so that it can share in downstream revenues, including streaming, pay TV, Blu-ray, DVD, EST, PPV, and ancillary and foreign markets. HMNY could also eventually sell subscriber data to Hollywood studios for targeted marketing. Continue reading MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

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

VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES

Virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive experiences crossed over the apex of the hype curve and are now tracking the slope of enlightenment as they develop into niche market applications or pivot into location-based entertainment. Resolution, frame rate, horizontal and vertical field of view in the HMDs (head mounted displays), and head and body tracking technology, have all improved over the last year with further advances expected next month at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. This applies equally to next generation HMDs, projection, and heads-up approaches to immersive experiences. Continue reading VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES

Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series

Qualcomm recently launched a reality TV show competition for its new virtual reality platform, using the Snapdragon 835 VR developer kit. “VR Developer Challenge” matches game developers with YouTube celebrities to create VR experiences. The series goes behind the scenes, showing how producers create the programs. So far, the series features Sam Maliszewski, Jordan Mann and E McNeill, three VR developers chosen by Warner Bros.-owned Machinima. Qualcomm co-produced the series with Machinima. Continue reading Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series