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’ Case Study: HPA Analyzes Color Grading in Cloud

Content creators who relied on remote workflows through the height of COVID-19 now realize those protocols are here to stay. Centralized cloud-based data repositories are a convenient hub from which to manage the processing of sound and image throughout production. The HPA NET lunch event, “Color Grading in the Cloud: A Case Study” analyzed that critical step from the perspective of the short film “Fathead,” produced by the Entertainment Technology Center@USC. “Fathead” was shot on a volume stage and uploaded from the camera to the cloud, where the entire workflow took place. Continue reading ‘Fathead’ Case Study: HPA Analyzes Color Grading in Cloud

‘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

CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

Entertainment company CJ ENM has opened what is being described as the world’s largest virtual production stage to use Samsung MicroLED technology. The facility, created in collaboration with Samsung Electronics, is outfitted with connected cameras and offers a 360-degree backdrop using Samsung’s “The Wall.” The South Korean virtual production stage will be used to produce scripted and unscripted shows for film and television and serve as a venue for concerts and other entertainment events. CJ ENM says the virtual production technology will also produce the next generation of immersive content for augmented reality experiences and the metaverse. Continue reading CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

Cloud computing and virtual production were the hot tickets at NAB 2022, where attendance was 52,468, down 40 percent since the previous most recent live show in 2019, when 91,500 convened in Las Vegas. And there were fewer exhibitors (about 900 vs. roughly 1,600 three years ago). But some things never change. Amazon Web Services, ARRI, Blackmagic, Quasar Science and Mo-Sys were among the notable companies touting cloud-based and virtual production solutions. And Sony Electronics wowed the crowd with a sprawling booth that featured its new Venice 2 digital cinema camera. Continue reading Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

8K Slow to Take Hold in Homes but Transforming Production

At NAB 2022 in Las Vegas, 8K sets hinted at a home viewing revolution. With 16 times the resolution of HD and four times the 4K screens currently in about 44 percent of U.S. households, the 8K experience represents a leap in immersive viewing. Sony, LG and TCL have been selling 8K sets, but globally only 1 million were purchased. But there are ways 8K is being put to use today to benefit a variety of end-use cases. Virtual production and virtual reality are two instances where content displayed in 4K or HD still benefits from the higher-resolution capture, while 8K also offers added flexibility in post production. Continue reading 8K Slow to Take Hold in Homes but Transforming Production

Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

Epic Games has raised $2 billion in a funding round that will fuel the company’s ambition to build a metaverse. Investments of $1 billion each came from existing shareholder Sony Group and Kirkbi, the family-owned company that owns 75 percent of the Lego Group. Epic continues to have a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, who launched the company in 1991. The fresh funds — the largest game company raise since 2002, according to PitchBook Data — positions Epic’s post-money equity valuation at $31.5 billion, the company says. Continue reading Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 Out of Preview and Into Wide Release

After nearly a year in preview, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 is now in general release. Availability of the next-generation real-time 3D platform was announced at Tuesday’s State of Unreal 2022 event. Empowering “both large and small teams to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively,” UE5 offers more fidelity and flexibility than previous iterations. Although it has been battle-tested on “Fortnite” and “The Matrix Awakens” demo for PlayStation 5, Epic says some UE5 features “have not yet been validated for non-games workflows.” Continue reading Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 Out of Preview and Into Wide Release

HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

As the Renaissance was a reaction to the Dark Ages that preceded it, so too the entertainment industrial complex finds itself on the brink of a fruitful new era of technological and creative achievement triggered by COVID-19. The need for remote production has encouraged a cross pollination of new tools and techniques that will likely lead to significant change in the next era of media production. Roaring back to an in-person event in Rancho Mirage last week after hosting a virtual summit in 2021, the HPA Tech Retreat 2022 showcased the groundbreaking exchange between content-makers and tech providers. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

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’

ETC White Paper Proposes Archive Solutions and Next Steps

ETC@USC’s Archive Working Group, a committee within its Adaptive and Virtual Production project, is releasing its most recent white paper, “Practical Cloud Archive,” an ongoing exploration of digital asset preservation challenges, proposing “a number of avenues to introduce cloud storage and cloud technology as part of an overall archive solution, without compromising the basic tenets of preservation.” Led by co-chair, Denis Leconte, VP of technology at Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, the paper is the next step toward the continuing process to study “more precise experimental data on cloud storage characteristics in terms of durability as measured using the fixity process” as discussed in the previous white paper, “Guideline for the Preservation of Digital Audio-Visual Assets in the Cloud.” Continue reading ETC White Paper Proposes Archive Solutions and Next Steps

CES: Sony Showcases Mobility Future, VR2 for PS5 Features

Sony raised the curtain on its smart car efforts at CES 2022, where CEO Kenichiro Yoshida announced the company will this spring “commercially launch” Sony Mobility, to “redefine” the automotive experience. Yoshida — who managed to upstage “Spider-Man: No Way Home” star Tom Holland at Sony’s CES podium — wheeled out a new SUV prototype for its Vision-S EV model. The first Vision-S was introduced at CES 2020. The presentation also featured Sony’s virtual production tools, specs and features of an upcoming VR headset for the PS5, and new alliances between video game properties, sports and other entertainment media. Continue reading CES: Sony Showcases Mobility Future, VR2 for PS5 Features

CES: VisiSonics Showcases New 3D Spatial Audio Solutions

Maryland-based VisiSonics, a 3D spatial audio company, is revealing its licensable hardware and software audio solutions at CES 2022 in Las Vegas this week, booking appointments for one-on-one product demonstrations at its Venetian Resort suite (#3310). “We’ve developed two lines of technology to capture audio with all the directions preserved,” explains chief technology officer and co-founder Adam O’Donovan. “Our 64-microphone array on a sphere to capture audio led to our RealSpace 3D sound engine that allows 3D spatial audio to be personalized.” Continue reading CES: VisiSonics Showcases New 3D Spatial Audio Solutions

Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center New at NYU

Cinematic iconoclast Martin Scorsese has secured a perch for his legacy at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, which has announced the establishment of the Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts (SICA). The new Institute takes shape not only to celebrate film history but to showcase the future and will encompass the state-of-the-art Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center to complement the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies and provide general support for student scholarships, all of which is a result of the largest donation in the school’s history. Continue reading Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center New at NYU

Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication

The entertainment industry has traditionally piggybacked on primary development in other sectors to fuel our own innovative adoption of practical and compelling technologies. History shows that we consistently benefit from numerous advances across industries for reuse or adaption in our key areas ranging from internal communication all the way to distribution of content. As we start compiling our wish lists for emerging standout technologies to be featured at CES 2022 (returning to Las Vegas January 5-8), we anticipate that an expanded computational sophistication of consumer devices will be in the cards. Continue reading Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication