HPA Announces 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards Winners

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee revealed winners of its 2020 HPA Awards for Engineering Excellence, to be given out in a virtual ceremony on November 19. This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the HPA Awards, founded to “recognize creative artistry and innovation in the professional media content industry.” This year’s awards will honor EIZO’s Prominence CG3146 31.1-inch HDR reference monitor; Eluvio Content Fabric for managing and distributing large form content; the Moxion Immediates platform; and Carl Zeiss SBE: eXtended Data (XD) lens metadata technology. Continue reading HPA Announces 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards Winners

Academy Software Foundation Unveils Updated OpenColorIO

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) debuted OpenColorIO version 2 (OCIO v2) for developers to integrate into their applications. OCIO is an industry standard for consistent color management across VFX and animation pipelines that has been used on hundreds of feature film productions. One major enhancement is native implementation of ACES, replacing the requirement for finite LUT files with precise algorithms. In addition, new foundation members include Unity Technologies, Conductor Technologies and SMPTE. Continue reading Academy Software Foundation Unveils Updated OpenColorIO

Epic Requests Stay of Its Ban From Apple Developer Program

The dispute between Apple and Epic Games over in-app payments has heated up, with the “Fortnite” game developer accusing Apple of threatening to remove it from the Apple Developer Program, thus blocking its access to iOS and macOS developer tools. Apple said it would do so by August 28 if Epic Games does not comply with its App Store rules. Epic has asked a federal judge to issue a stay, claiming the ban would cause “unquantifiable and irreparable” damage to the company and its 350 million registered players. Continue reading Epic Requests Stay of Its Ban From Apple Developer Program

ETC Publishes Specification for Naming VFX Image Sequences

The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC@USC) VFX Working Group has published a specification for best practices naming image sequences such as plates and comps. File naming is an essential tool for organizing the multitude of frames that are inputs and outputs from the VFX process. Prior to the publication of this specification, each organization had its own naming scheme, requiring custom processes for each partner, which often resulted in confusion and miscommunication. ETC’s specification, which aims to standardize the process for media production, is available online for anyone to use. Continue reading ETC Publishes Specification for Naming VFX Image Sequences

ASWF Announces Its Next Project: Open Shading Language

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), developed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation to provide a neutral forum for open source software developers, announced that its sixth hosted project is Open Shading Language (OSL), originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks. OSL, which was honored with an Academy Scientific and Technical Award in 2017, is now the de facto standard shading language for VFX and animation. ASWF also stated that AMD and DockYard have joined as new members. Continue reading ASWF Announces Its Next Project: Open Shading Language

HPA Tech Retreat: Universal Unveils New Production Workflow

Like any movie franchise installment, Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious 8” (also known as “The Fate of the Furious”) relied on footage and data from the sequels that were produced before it. This movie was the proof of concept for Production 3.0, a new platform enabling quick access to assets like 3D VFX models for use in sequels, as well as theme park and AR/VR experiences.“Our production asset archive isn’t organized enough and doesn’t hold all production assets,” said Universal VP of creative technologies Annie Chang, who headed the team that developed it. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Universal Unveils New Production Workflow

HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

In 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Academy Software Foundation, with the mission of increasing the “quality and quantity of open source contributions … [to] lower the barrier to entry for developing and using” it. Its genesis was a survey conducted by the AMPAS Science and Technology Council that found 84 percent of those in the media & entertainment industry used it — but had challenges. At HPA Tech Retreat, ASWF executive director David Morin updated the group’s activities. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

HPA Tech Retreat: The DPP’s Report on Next Gen Production

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is a London-based media industry business network, with a membership of 400+ companies representing the entire content supply chain. Eighteen months ago, the DPP issued the Production Business Survey report, detailing the operations of 57 production companies vis-à-vis the cloud. What it found was discouraging, so the DPP set its sights on another survey on Next Generation Production. At the HPA Tech Retreat, managing director Mark Harrison presented the findings. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The DPP’s Report on Next Gen Production

Production in the Cloud Growing, But Still Poses Challenges

Western Digital global director of M&E marketing Erik Weaver introduced production in the cloud by relaying his experiences producing “Wonder Buffalo” at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center. The production included volumetric capture and photogrammetry in a VR pipeline in a cloud-based workflow, including the C4 identification system to track assets. During a panel this week at NAB 2019, Equinix, Google and Wasabi execs described their cloud-based solutions, and a client from Technicolor described the pitfalls of a cloud service. Continue reading Production in the Cloud Growing, But Still Poses Challenges

Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

At NAB in Las Vegas, BeBop Technology director of technical sales Nathaniel Bonini described how his company provides virtual versions of the post-production tools artists are used to working with, but in the cloud. That includes tools from Autodesk and, in a new partnership, Avid among others. Cloud-based virtual post and VFX tools give post houses and VFX facilities tremendous efficiencies, including the ability to scale up and down. StratusCore is another company that creates an entire virtualized workstation in the cloud. Continue reading Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

At 30 Ninjas, chief executive Julina Tatlock noted that “the urge for immersion” is one of the chief disruptors that she and her partner, director Doug Liman, see in the M&E industry today. Whether it’s augmented reality, virtual reality or 360-degree imagery, she challenged the members of an NAB 2019 panel on emerging entertainment to pick the one they think will impact production in the next two years. Greenlight Insights VR/AR analyst Alexis Macklin picked all of them — plus cloud computing and AI tools. Continue reading Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

NAB Panel to Cover Digital Deliverable & Archive Standards

The move to digital has created major challenges for content creators and owners. As part of the Birds of a Feather program at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next week, Erik Weaver of HGST and an all-star panel representing key industry working groups will discuss “Redefining Deliverable and Preservation Standards for Digital Times.” The panel is scheduled for Monday, April 8, 12:00-1:00 pm in N243. Guests will include Jesse Korosi of SIM Digital, Mary Yurkovic of MESA, Seth Levenson of The Entertainment Technology Center@USC, John Hurst of CineCert, and Craig Seidel of MovieLabs. Continue reading NAB Panel to Cover Digital Deliverable & Archive Standards

HPA Tech Retreat: Ways That M&E Is Embracing the Cloud

Western Digital global head of M&E/telco strategy Erik Weaver led a discussion among three other experts about where the media and entertainment industry is today with its slow-burn adoption of the cloud in production and post. Avid chief technology officer Tim Claman; Google Cloud global lead, entertainment industry solutions, Buzz Hays; and Microsoft global technology strategist Marco Rota described their perspectives and activities related to the various ways that media and entertainment companies have embraced the cloud. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Ways That M&E Is Embracing the Cloud

Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Next year, an Amy Winehouse hologram will be on tour to collect money for an eponymous charity. She’s the latest in a trend of deceased actors, from Carrie Fisher in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to Paul Walker in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, appearing as virtual 3D replicas. Now, some actors and studios are getting a jump on post-life value by creating 3D digital scans. Industrial Light & Magic just scanned Ingvild Deila, who was Princess Leia in “Rogue One.” She calls it “a safe bet for the people with the money.” Continue reading Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

During last week’s The Reel Thing at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Video Gorillas managing director/chief executive Jason Brahms, formerly a Sony Cloud Media Services executive, and chief technology officer Alex Zhukov described the Bigfoot “Frame Compare” solution that leverages machine learning to speed up preservation, asset management, and mastering workflows. The engine, whose development dates back to 2007, relies on a proprietary, patented technology, frequency domain descriptor (FDD). Continue reading The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

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