Universal’s Michael Wise Named Chair of ETC@USC Board

At its annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner last night, The Entertainment Technology Center @ the University of Southern California (ETC) announced that Universal Filmed Entertainment Group CTO Michael Wise has been named the new chairman of ETC’s executive board of directors. ETC executive director & CEO Ken Williams opened the evening by introducing and congratulating Wise on his new leadership position on the board. Williams also took a moment to thank the outgoing chair and former CTO of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Hanno Basse, who has served as ETC’s executive board chair since December 2016. Continue reading Universal’s Michael Wise Named Chair of ETC@USC Board

ETC’s Virtual Conference: Call for Speakers Deadline May 18

The Entertainment Technology Center at The University of Southern California (ETC) will produce “vETC 2018 | The Grand Convergence,” its 4th annual virtual conference (formerly vNAB), June 27-28, 2018, in Los Angeles, highlighting significant presentations of emerging technologies and their impact on the M&E industry. The presentations will be recorded and posted to our YouTube channel. The Initial Expression of Interest seeking speakers and topics is open through Friday, May 18. Specific areas of concentration include AI, machine learning, adaptive production, blockchain, AR/MR/XR (immersive media). We welcome additional topics. Speakers will present concepts, workflows, business models, case studies, etc. Please no sales pitches! If you are interested in consideration, click here for more information. Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Conference: Call for Speakers Deadline May 18

Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

ETCentric subscribers and their friends are invited to participate in the Creating Reality Hackathon, being held March 12-15 on the USC campus. The organizers are seeking forward-thinking industry storytellers, game designers, coders, and other creative artists. The teams that produce the top AR and VR submissions will each be awarded $5,000. This event will also be an opportunity to get a hands-on preview of the HTC Vive Pro and Intel’s Vaunt AR glasses. If you wish to participate, please submit your request via this special link (the deadline has been extended to March 7). Visit the event website for more info. Continue reading Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

Intelligent IoT Integrator (I3) Consortium Announced at USC

The Intelligent Internet of Things Integrator (I3) consortium officially launched at the University of Southern California last week. Supported by the City of Los Angeles, I3 is focused on the Internet as a way to interconnect people and objects via sensors, cameras, actuators and community-based IoT networks. Warner Bros. is among the founding members, as the media titan looks into new ways for customers to purchase and customize its entertainment assets and integrate them into daily life through their digital devices. Continue reading Intelligent IoT Integrator (I3) Consortium Announced at USC

USC Taps Industry Vet Danny Bilson to Chair Games Division

USC just brought on Danny Bilson as the new chair of its School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD), reporting to the School of Cinematic Arts dean Elizabeth M. Daley. Bilson, who has held senior executive positions at THQ and Electronic Arts, is a writer, film director, producer and game developer. Since 2005, he has also been on the faculty of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, teaching screenwriting and narrative design, and, currently, leading the Advanced Games Project. Continue reading USC Taps Industry Vet Danny Bilson to Chair Games Division

Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

Storing information, including film, on DNA sounds like science fiction, but Harvard Medical School researchers just encoded Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 film of a galloping horse onto a strand of DNA in a living cell, from which it can be retrieved and multiplied indefinitely. This is a first, but other researchers previously recorded all of Shakespeare’s sonnets on DNA, and Harvard geneticist George Church, one of the new study’s researchers, did the same with his book “Regenesis” and made 90 billion copies of it. Continue reading Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

The ETC@USC has produced a 10-minute highlights reel edited from a one-hour discussion with a panel of eight USC students that took place at the ETC’s April 6th All Members Meeting. The panel of undergraduates included students studying business, the arts, journalism and technology. The students discussed what motivates them to go to a movie theater, the role of big screen TVs in their lives, what they think of VR and AR, what they would buy if they were given $3,000 to spend on entertainment, and a number of other interesting topics. Visit the ETC website or YouTube channel to access the video.

Continue reading Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

Netflix needed a way to improve video streaming quality for consumers in emerging economies watching movies and TV shows on the go. The company came up with a new method for video encoding called Dynamic Optimizer that reduces the amount of data in the video file without losing image quality. The Netflix team trained an AI to compress the video specifically based on the complexity of a given scene. The Dynamic Optimizer system expected to roll out in the coming months. Continue reading Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

How Apple Music Differentiates Itself in a Competitive Market

Since Jimmy Iovine came to Apple in 2014 to revivify Apple Music, the company spent $3 billion to buy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s streaming and headphones company, and doubled its subscriber base from 10 million to 20 million users by 2016. Each user pays a base fee of $10/month. The leap upward is impressive, but the total number of subscribers is still much less than the subscriber bases at Spotify, YouTube and Pandora, all of which offer free, ad-supported versions of their streaming services. Continue reading How Apple Music Differentiates Itself in a Competitive Market

ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

The Entertainment Technology Center @ The University of Southern California (ETC) is seeking a project director to oversee its existing Production in the Cloud initiative, as well as develop and lead new initiatives in the media & entertainment space. The project director will work with studio executives and key technology and services providers to advance production methodology for creative content and delivery. The position is a 50 percent project consultancy. The full job description is available on ETCentric. Interested candidates should contact Edie Meadows at ETC. Continue reading ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

Software Analyzes Gender Equity (or Lack Thereof) on Screen

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, at Mount St. Mary’s University, with funding from Google’s philanthropic division and in technical collaboration with Google and University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory, has come up with a tool to accurately analyze gender bias in moviemaking. The tool, which uses video- and audio-recognition and algorithms to recognize gender, speaking time and other details, takes 15 minutes to collect data from a 90-minute movie. Continue reading Software Analyzes Gender Equity (or Lack Thereof) on Screen

ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

A technique called light field capture will become the foundation for photoreal virtual actors for virtual reality, says Paul Debevec, chief visual officer at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT). At the recent VRLA Expo, Debevec gave a talk on the topic that explored two decades of research and development in light field capture technology, and described the basics of what makes this technique so compelling to create photorealistic virtual reality. Continue reading ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s newly launched digital studio, New Form, will team up with students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to develop digital content. Two-person teams of students will participate in the year-long program to develop scripted series for the Web and pitch their projects. At the end of the first semester, three of the pitches will be selected for production to take place during the second semester. Continue reading New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Supreme Court Rules it is Legal to Sell Imported Textbooks

The Supreme Court issued a pair of decisions last week that could have a significant impact on digital publishing and copyrighted products. The first ruling makes it potentially easier to import and sell textbooks from abroad, following a lawsuit involving a college student who was importing cheaper textbooks and selling them for a profit. The second decision makes it more difficult for plaintiffs in class-action suits to stay out of federal court. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules it is Legal to Sell Imported Textbooks

USC Launches Web Hub for DIY Virtual Reality Projects

For those who want to create their own virtual reality headsets, there are not many resources available. USC’s MxR Lab aims to change that by offering a newly launched showcase of creations and modifications that DIY enthusiasts can build, including open source code for both the devices and integrating full-body motion control through either Kinect for Windows or OpenNI. Continue reading USC Launches Web Hub for DIY Virtual Reality Projects