Forum to Demo Next-Gen Virtual Production Stage for ICVFX

HALOSTAGE is presenting an open forum and series of tech demonstrations over five days at The Henson Soundstage on The Jim Henson Company Lot in Los Angeles. The free event, slated for June 27-July 1, will feature virtual production LED stages with curved cinematic boards designed for in-camera visual effects (ICVFX). HALOSTAGE will offer in-depth presentations and hands-on shooting for all production departments. For studios and producers, demos will illustrate how mobile stages enable flexible setups and help eliminate investment risks. For the detailed program and to register, visit the HALOSTAGE event site. You can also check out the HALOSTAGE Invite PDF. Continue reading Forum to Demo Next-Gen Virtual Production Stage for ICVFX

‘Fathead’ Team Explores Virtual Production During NAB Panel

Production in the cloud, virtual workflows and remote work solutions were hot topics at the 2022 NAB Show in Las Vegas last month. Erik Weaver, director of adaptive production at the Entertainment Technology Center@USC, discussed new tools and techniques implemented during the production of ETC’s “Fathead,” a short film that experimented with in-camera real-time VFX and LED stages. Weaver joined “Fathead” virtual production producer Tom Thudiyanplackal, the short’s post-production supervisor James Blevins, and the global lead for Film/TV production partners at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Jack Wenzinger for a compelling NAB panel discussion, “ICVFX and the Cloud.” Continue reading ‘Fathead’ Team Explores Virtual Production During NAB Panel

ETC Pushes Boundaries of Virtual Production with ‘Fathead’

“A world without synthetic humans is not an option anymore,” the audience at the 2022 HPA Tech Retreat in Rancho Mirage were advised by “Fathead” virtual production producer Tom Thudiyanplackal. Equally unimaginable is a world without synthetic sets, as was obvious at Tuesday’s daylong HPA Super Session, themed “Immerse Yourself in Virtual Production.” “Fathead,” the fifth short from the USC Entertainment Technology Center’s Annual ETC Innovation and Technology Grant, was all about in-camera VFX, captured in real-time on a stage lined and lidded with LEDs — 280-degrees around and on the ceiling, too. Continue reading ETC Pushes Boundaries of Virtual Production with ‘Fathead’

Algorithms Use NeRFs to Instantly Convert 2D Images to 3D

A new technique for machine learning that allows computers to use algorithms that turn 2D images into 3D is stirring a lot of excitement in the worlds of games, computer graphics and AI. The approach relies on “neural rendering,” which uses a neural network to generate 3D imagery from multiple 2D snapshots. A merger of concepts from the worlds of computer graphics and artificial intelligence, neural rendering gained steam in 2020 when researchers at Google and UC Berkeley demonstrated how a neural network could photorealistically capture a scene in 3D after ingesting several 2D snapshots. Continue reading Algorithms Use NeRFs to Instantly Convert 2D Images to 3D

Dimenco’s Glasses-Free 3D Display a Hint of Things to Come

Dimenco’s new stereoscopic 3D display has been called “breathtaking” and the future of screen viewing. The Netherlands-based company’s Simulated Reality Pro gives the impression of images coming out of the screen without special eyewear. Dimenco defines Simulated Reality (SR) as immersive technology somewhere between augmented reality and virtual reality. Dimenco’s display tech relies on visual parallax and perspective-shifting to provide its SR experience. The viewer’s eyes are tracked by an in-unit sensor that serves discrete left- and right-eye views rapidly enough to read as a single image, allowing you to “look around” the picture elements. Continue reading Dimenco’s Glasses-Free 3D Display a Hint of Things to Come

CES: Nvidia Optimizes Studio Laptops for Creatives, VFX Pros

Citing laptops as the fastest-growing PC platform, Nvidia is doing its part to ensure gamers and creators can keep up, unveiling 160 new models equipped with its GeForce RTX GPUs at CES 2022. More than 100 of them are AI-powered Nvidia Studio laptops, optimized for creatives and VFX professionals. After four years in beta, Nvidia is making its Omniverse platform free to individuals and introducing cloud-based collaboration capability as the company stakes its claim on creating for the multiverse. Omniverse lets creators use different typically incompatible software packages in one workflow in real time. Continue reading CES: Nvidia Optimizes Studio Laptops for Creatives, VFX Pros

Unity to Acquire Tech Division of Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital

Unity has agreed to acquire the technology division of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital for a price reported at $1.625 billion. The San Francisco-based creator of the popular 3D game platform says the Academy Award-winning VFX firm will “continue as a standalone entity” renamed WetaFX, which Unity predicts will become its largest customer in the media and entertainment space, delivering tools Unity says will “unlock the full potential of the metaverse.” Weta and Unity have already been deeply involved over the years, collaborating on a host of tools used for films, games and immersive experiences. Continue reading Unity to Acquire Tech Division of Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital

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