ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC produced a live-action short, “Ripple Effect” to test new technologies and workflows, including the cloud, virtual production, and remote editing and visual effects. The project also introduced and evaluated a variety of tools and procedures that meet or exceed industry standards for a safe set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive producer Erik Weaver, the team at ETC, and tech partners have published a white paper that outlines recommendations for virtual production and critical lessons learned during the making of “Ripple Effect.” Continue reading ETC White Paper Details Best Practices for Virtual Production

HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 1

Jack Wenzinger of Amazon Web Services’ Global M&E Partners vertical moderated a discussion during the HPA Tech Retreat on what’s been learned about cloud-enabled virtual production during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has published a field guide to virtual production that focuses on the work being done in pre-production and post. Joining the conversation was ETC@USC senior consultant Erik Weaver, Solstice Studios chief technology officer Edward Churchward and Mo-Sys Engineering technical director James Uren. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Cloud-Enabled Virtual Production – Part 1

Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Apple, Facebook and Google are among the Big Tech companies that are hiring technologists behind Hollywood movies like “Avatar” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” All three companies are developing headsets or glasses for AR/VR or so-called extended reality, and the most cutting-edge Hollywood visual effects create needed photoreal computer-generated characters and landscapes. VFX veteran Paul Debevec, now a professor at the University of Southern California, was recruited by Google four-and-a-half years ago. Continue reading Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Television Academy Live-Streams Engineering Emmy Awards

On October 29, the Television Academy celebrated the honorees of the 72nd Engineering Emmy Awards, live-streaming the ceremony from its website for the first time. The awards were announced on October 8, and the event was hosted by CBS “Criminal Minds” star Kirsten Vangsness for the fifth consecutive year. The Engineering Emmys are awarded to individuals, companies or organizations for technical developments that improve or invent things that “greatly impacts the production, recording, transmission or reception of TV.” Continue reading Television Academy Live-Streams Engineering Emmy Awards

Virtual Production Is on Track to Replace More Costly Tools

In virtual production, filmmakers marry actors and digital environments in real time. Now, in the United Kingdom, video game developer Rebellion Developments has completed what it says is the first “all virtual” film, the five-minute “Percival,” which was broadcast on Rebellion’s YouTube channel. The company built a studio to create more such virtual productions out of its library of intellectual property. Rebellion said “Percival” was shot entirely in front of large flat screen displays connected to PCs running Unreal Engine. Continue reading Virtual Production Is on Track to Replace More Costly Tools

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

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