• Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014
HPA to host symposium leading into SMPTE 2014 Technical Conference & Exhibition
WHITE PLAINS, NY -- 

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) 2014 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition will feature a pre-conference event==the SMPTE 2014 Symposium, hosted by the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) and titled “Making Do With More.” The daylong event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 20 at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.

“As we consider how technological advances will improve the entertainment experience, we must also address the workflow challenges that will arise,” said Pat Griffis, SMPTE education vice president. “Each area of potential enhancement--higher resolution, greater contrast and color, higher brightness, more frames, and more objects associated with sound — brings with it new demands on workflow. Sessions within the SMPTE 2014 Symposium will address these and other next-generation workflow concerns from both a technical and creative standpoint.”

The SMPTE 2014 Symposium is among the first joint efforts of SMPTE and HPA as they move forward with plans for full consolidation by May 2015, and it highlights the strengths of both organizations. HPA is known for facilitating dialogue among all disciplines in the entertainment industry, and for its contributions to SMPTE educational events such as SMPTE 2014 that enrich and expand the larger conversation about key topics shaping the industry.

HPA is well-known for the annual HPA Tech Retreat, which brings technologists and filmmakers together to address many controversial topics influencing the industry. In developing the SMPTE 2014 Symposium as a “filmmaker’s symposium,” HPA is orchestrating sessions that take an in-depth look at advanced technologies that bring new tools to storytelling. The symposium will include creative sessions from renowned cinematographers, visual effects specialists, colorists, and other filmmakers discussing what they hope to do with enhanced pictures and frame rates.

Additional sessions will offer a look at immersive sound, its impact, and how it’s being applied today; changing models for delivery of content to the consumer--including theatrical, broadcast, physical media, and digital distribution--across TV sets, computers, and mobile devices; and the standards and practices being developed to address the changing content life cycle.

“By connecting the creative community and its supporters with the technical community at the SMPTE 2014 Symposium, SMPTE and HPA are creating an opportunity for all participants to gain a richer and deeper understanding of technology’s impact on the creative process,” said Leon Silverman, HPA president. “The new displays and distribution approaches being proposed by technology companies need to be understood in the context of how the creative community will use this extended tool kit. It is also critical that we examine the standards and workflow approaches that will be necessary to deliver something more to consumers than a higher numbers of pixels.”

SMPTE 2014 is an event for motion-imaging and media technology, production, operations, and the allied arts and sciences. Each year the event draws elite and world-renowned technology thought-leaders from motion picture studios, broadcast and distribution networks, production and postproduction communities, software companies, systems integrators, manufacturers, display technologies, distribution providers, over-the-top providers, and others leading the evolving motion-imaging industry.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014
SMPTE sets sessions for IBC2014
AMSTERDAM -- 

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) members will lead a variety of sessions during the IBC2014 exhibition in September. The Society will offer “Laser Projectors Part 1: Seeing is Believing” and “Laser Projectors Part 2: Is the Devil in the Details?” as part of the IBC Big Screen Experience. Produced and chaired by Peter Ludé, past president of SMPTE, the session will address the impact of laser projection technology on digital cinema and provide a look at breathtaking images shown on the Big Screen Experience’s 6-Primary laser projection system from Christie.

SMPTE will also co-produce “Go With UHD-1, or Wait for UHD-2?” as part of the IBC Technical Stream. In this session, Dr. Hans Hoffmann, past SMPTE standards vice president, and Howard Lukk, a SMPTE standards director, will lead a discussion with major players in this space to explore strategies and standards for content creation and delivery to the home.

Additional sessions featuring SMPTE members include “Trifocal Camera Systems” as part of the IBC Big Screen Experience; and “Movie-making in the Matrix,” presented by SMPTE Governor Richard Welsh, who will join fellow experts in examining virtualized movie production. SMPTE will also present “EDCF Global D-Cinema Update,” in which an impressive array of SMPTE panelists—including SMPTE Governor Angelo D’Alessio—will bring attendees up to speed on the latest business and technology developments in digital cinema.

As an IBC2014 partner, SMPTE is once again supporting the Rising Stars program, which offers exclusive conference sessions tailored to tackle the topics most important to young professionals. This popular program gives new entrants to the broadcast industry the opportunity to meet top industry experts across a series of specially staged sessions and events. Throughout the show, SMPTE members will volunteer their time and expertise to provide guided tours of the exhibition floor to Rising Stars participants. Through this program, SMPTE helps to foster the successful rise and advance of young creative, business, and technology professionals working within the industry.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014
Professor Brian Cox to give keynote address at IBC2014
Professor Brian Cox
AMSTERDAM -- 

Professor Brian Cox, the world-renowned physicist and multiple award-winning broadcaster, is to speak at IBC2014. Cox will take part in the IBC Conference keynote session “Television’s Expanding Universe” on Sunday, September 14.

Professor of particle physics, explorer and rock star, Cox is recognized throughout the world for his stunning hit TV series discovering and explaining the wonders of life and the universe. Originally inspired to become a physicist by the landmark TV series Cosmos, today Cox is motivating a new generation of inquiring minds through the multiplatform world of television, social media and the internet.

“I’m very much looking forward to speaking at IBC2014. Television programmes like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and James Burke’s Connections had a great influence on me when I was younger, and it’s my view that television is still the most powerful and direct way of inspiring new generations of viewers. Integrating television with social media and the internet enhances that potential. But of course power comes with responsibility, and whilst we celebrate our continuing success, we must also take our responsibility to educate, inform and influence seriously. Can we still strive to be Reithian in today’s multi-platform, multi-channel world? We’d better try if we want to remain relevant, influential, and successful.”

A brilliant thinker, charismatic communicator and musician, Cox will give a keynote address in which he will explain how his unique storytelling style evolved and consider the impact of television’s expansion since Cosmos first aired in 1980. Credited with making science engaging and accessible to millions, Cox will also be giving his thoughts on the physics of television and its future evolution.

The IBC Conference is recognized as a world-leading forum for debate and knowledge exchange, uniting a mix of visionary keynotes, panel discussions and master classes with the most influential thought leaders, opinion formers and cutting edge organizations shaping the industry’s future. Keynote speakers, selected for their authority, relevance and strong opinions, offer a wealth of experience and challenging perspectives as they discuss the influences and factors driving the industry agenda.
 

  • Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014
Vicon slates presentations for SIGGRAPH 2014
OXFORD, UK -- 

Vicon, the motion capture technology specialists for the entertainment, life sciences and engineering industries, has announced a series of customer presentations that will take place at its SIGGRAPH booth (#733) on August 12-14 in Vancouver, Canada. Customers spanning media and entertainment, education and virtual product design will share their motion capture expertise and provide insight into their latest projects. Vicon will also unveil groundbreaking new products, and enhancements to its existing motion capture software.

    Framestore’s motion capture supervisor Ben Guthrie, and senior motion capture technical director Gary Marshall, will reveal how they used Vicon motion capture systems for the Academy Award-winning blockbuster, Gravity.

    Leading motion capture studio The Capture Lab will provide insight into how they are creating unique, automated motion capture pipeline tools using Vicon cameras and Blade 2 software.

    Autodesk 3D artist Lukas Faeth will present ‘3D Automotive Visualization with Autodesk VRED Professional’, demonstrating immersive virtual prototyping in action using Autodesk VRED 3D visualization software, a live Vicon system and Tracker software.

    Karl Abson, lecturer in creative technology at Bradford University, will present "An Introduction to Quadruped Motion Capture," using motion capture of a horse in this beginner’s guide to capturing four-legged creatures.

    James Brown, visualization designer at 3D visualization specialists Lumiscaphe, will demonstrate how the company uses Vicon Tracker software and the Apex tracking tool for virtual manufacturing and design.

    Alexis Vartanian, CTO at 3D visualization solutions provider TechViz, will give a presentation on displaying high-resolution 3D virtual prototypes in real time directly from desktop 3D applications in a fully-immersive 3D virtual environment, using TechViz XL software alongside Vicon Tracker and Apex.

Throughout the show, display systems specialist Pufferfish will showcase their latest multi-touch stereoscopic 3D display with Vicon Tracker and Bonita systems. The new display represents a major step forward in virtual reality, whereby volumetric data exits the CAVE virtual environment and enters the room.

Videos of the presentations will be available to view after SIGGRAPH on Vicon’s YouTube channel.

  • Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014
PlayBox Technology powers TV Pool Thailand’s new DTV channels
PlayBox Technology equipment in use at TV Pool's Bangkok headquarters.
BANGKOK, Thailand -- 

Thai broadcaster TV Pool has upgraded its PlayBox Technology transmission control and playout system to allow high-definition delivery of Thai TV (Channel 17) on the country’s terrestrial digital television platform. Three additional channels also received new HD playout systems. Currently transmitting in SD, Thai TV (Channel 27) and Loca TV (Channel 15 and Channel 25) can start transmitting in high definition whenever necessary. The system is located at TV Pool’s headquarters in Bangkok.

“PlayBox Technology was chosen in the first place for its ability to deliver a complete and fully tested system which can be expanded easily whenever TV Pool decides to upgrade to HD,” commented Rattanaphol Cha-Em, project manager at Thai reseller CNSP which is based in Bangkok. “An additional reason for choosing PlayBox Technology was the fact that we were able to provide local support during initial planning and the actual build, as well as in the future.”

Playbox Technology also provided two ProductionAirBox servers used for advertisement insertion where commercials are sent from the studios to the AirBox servers in the MCR. TitleBox logo servers are used for logo insertion on all four channels. A high level of redundant protection is included to ensure failsafe operation and easy maintenance.

AirBox is a universal SD/HD content playout and streaming server designed for continuous unattended operation. Every clip in the playlist, except the one which is currently playing, can be trimmed, edited or repositioned. Playlist order can be changed on-the-fly using commands such as skip-to-next or jump. Changes are performed seamlessly without stopping the current playout session. Live productions are facilitated by a Live Show clipboard, which allows insertion and/or execution of various events or live streams. AirBox accepts formats such as MPEG1/2/H.264, HDV and DV streams from practically every known production platform.

TitleBox delivers on-air graphics which can be controlled interactively. Customers can preconfigure the templates to match their requirements, eliminating any need for subsequent manual interference. TitleBox provides total control during on-air session, including text selection, running speed and transitions.

  • Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014
Oculus Rift VR headset to showcase “X-Men” at Comic-Con
This photo provided by Oculus Rift/Fox shows a scene from “X-Men: Days of Future Past” virtual reality experience. (AP Photo/Oculus Rift/Fox)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Comic-Con attendees will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enter the mind of Professor X.

20th Century Fox has created an “X-Men”-themed virtual reality stunt especially for the pop-culture convention, which kicks off Thursday in San Diego. The interactive digital experience utilizes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which is not yet available to consumers, to simulate the fictional Cerebro technology used to track down mutants by the character portrayed by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the “X-Men” films.

The 360-degree, 90-second virtual adventure will take place on the Comic-Con show floor inside Fox’s booth, where attendees will sit in a replica of Professor X’s wheelchair and virtually hunt shape-shifting mutant Mystique in the San Diego Convention Center. Each experience will be recorded and made available for users to share on social media.

Fox is using the VR stunt to promote the Oct. 14 Blu-ray release of “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” At its booth on the Comic-Con show floor, the studio will sell limited-edition copies of a Blu-ray box set that includes all the “X-Men” films in a replica of the Cerebro helmet.

It won’t be the only use of an Oculus Rift headset at Comic-Con. Outside the convention center at an interactive zone at Petco Park, Fox is also employing the VR technology to transport users to the fictional town depicted in the TV series “Sleepy Hollow.” The second season of the supernatural series is set to debut on the network this fall.

Fox’s use of the technology at Comic-Con is the latest example of how Oculus is making in-roads with Hollywood. HBO similarly used the technology to promote “Game of Thrones” with a virtual rendition of the fantasy series’ icy 700-foot-tall wall during a recent exhibition.

During a demonstration of the “X-Men” experience to The Associated Press ahead of its Comic-Con debut, the short interactive film narrated by a Patrick Stewart sound-a-like mimicked what it might look like to roll into the iconic domed Cerebro chamber depicted in the “X-Men” films and harness Professor X’s telepathic powers to spot characters like Wolverine in a crowd.

Over the past two years, Oculus’ immersive VR technology, which covers users’ eyes and reacts to head movement, has received considerable attention from video game developers, but it hasn’t been released yet for consumers. Facebook purchased the company behind the technology earlier this year for $2 billion.

Several networks, studios and publishers use Comic-Con to hype their upcoming entertainment releases with premieres, panels, autograph sessions, one-time-only stunts and interactive attractions in downtown San Diego. This year’s promotional efforts include Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” obstacle course and Paramount and Pizza Hut’s full-size replica of the Pizza Thrower vehicle — complete with a working pizza-tossing cannon — from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
 

  • Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014
Wellen+Nöthen buys 6 Grass Valley LDX Flex cameras
Grass Valley's LDX Flex camera
MONTREAL -- 

Wellen+Nöthen, the Germany-based rental specialist in innovative IT and AV solutions, has purchased six LDX Flex cameras with accessories and six XCU eXchangeable Control Unit (XCU) base stations from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand. The deal builds upon the longstanding relationship between Wellen+Nöthen and Grass Valley, and it marks the first time Grass Valley LDX cameras will be available in the rental market in Germany.

Wellen+Nöthen is a systems architect and service provider of broadcasting and media equipment for a wide range of international sporting events, including motorsports, the Winter/Summer Games, soccer tournaments, track and field as well as various leagues in European soccer and tennis.

Grass Valley’s LDX Flex studio camera system is the entry-level offering in its high quality line of software upgradable LDX cameras that also includes the LDX Premiére, LDX Elite and LDX WorldCam. The LDX Flex camera system is software upgradable through Grass Valley’s unique GV-eLicense program, which allows customers to flexibly tradeoff between CapEx and OpEx expenditures. By purchasing the GV-eLicense upgrade option, Wellen+Nöthen can easily elevate the camera’s capabilities to the next level of functionality as its business needs require. The XCU base stations give Wellen+Nöthen full 3G transmission connectivity for both triax and fiber. The unique cradles of the XCU are pre-mounted and pre-wired in the rack, making a secure mechanical and electrical connection. They can easily slide in and out whenever needed and are transferrable between OB vans and studios.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014
2014 Camera Comparison Chart Unveiled
ARRI Alexa XT Plus
CHICAGO -- 

Tom Fletcher of digital and film camera & accessories rental house Cineverse has compiled his 2014 Camera Comparison Chart. The annual Chart provides an overview of assorted cameras, comparing frame rates, recorded bit depth format & time, varied other details, highlighted positives, notable credits, and average national daily rental costs.

Among the cameras compared are several ARRI Alexa models, various Sony cameras, Phantom models, Canons, the ARRI Amira, ARRICAM ST, Phantoms, the Red Epic Dragon and Red Epic Mysterium-X.

For the Chart, Fletcher with gathered info from numerous conversations with various cinematographers, colorists, colleagues and manufacturers.

Fletcher adds the caveat that much of what he’s put together is subjective. This is not scientific collected data. Fletcher relates that they have sincerely tried to collect accurate information to share with the industry and to help producers make educated decisions on cameras and format--that said, numbers do not tell the whole story. His advice is to look at the images and consult your cinematographer.

To view the chart, click here.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014
Apple, IBM team up in mobile devices, applications
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook (AP Photo)
CUPERTINO, Calif. -- 

Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies.

The partnership announced Tuesday calls for the two technology companies to work together on about 100 different mobile applications designed for a wide range of industries.

The applications, expected to be released this fall, will feature some of data-crunching tools that IBM Corp. sells to companies trying to get a better grasp on their main markets while scouring for new money-making opportunities.

IBM is also pledging to provide better security to reassure companies concerned about hackers stealing vital information off the mobile devices of employees doing less of their work on desktop and laptop computers.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said his company is turning to help from IBM because it doesn't understand the needs of corporate customers as well as it does consumers. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the alliance will help her company by widening the audience for its technological tools, providing bigger returns on the roughly $24 billion that IBM has invested in data analytics.

"It's a watershed partnership that brings together the best of Apple and the best of IBM," Cook said Tuesday during an interview at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters. Underscoring the importance of the alliance, Rometty flew from IBM's Armonk, New York headquarters to join Cook for the announcement.

"This is about two powerhouses unleashing the power of mobility for (businesses)," Rometty said. "This is going to remake professions and industries."

By joining forces, Apple and IBM are hoping to build mobile applications that prove iPhones and iPads can serve many other business purposes besides checking email and keeping track of appointments. Cook says the devices are already used for work within all but a handful of Fortune 500 companies.

Both Apple and IBM are counting on their foray to boost their own revenue. The companies both have been facing concerns on Wall Street about whether they will be able to accelerate their revenue growth at a rate that will propel their stocks higher.

The worries about Apple's future prospects have been easing amid widespread anticipation for an iPhone with a larger display screen this fall and the expected release of a smart watch with sensors to tracks people's health. Apple's stock has rallied from its recent lows reached in 2013 and is now approaching its all-time high. The shares shed a $1.13 Tuesday to close at $95.32, just 5 percent below their split-adjusted peak of $100.72.

IBM's stock fell $1.37 to close Tuesday at $188.49, about 13 percent from its high of $215.90.

The partnership underscores how technological upheaval can change allegiances. The notion of Apple and IBM helping each other out would have seemed inconceivable back in the 1980s and 1990s when they were bitter rivals in the personal computer market. The animosity ran so high that Apple famously skewered IBM as a soulless company devoid of new ideas in a commercial that evoked images of novelist George Orwell's "Big Brother" figure in "1984."

The hard feelings have faded away as technology has evolved and the companies have moved in new directions. IBM got out of the PC business when it sold that division to the Lenovo Group nearly a decade ago. Apple now makes far more money from its iPhones than it does from its Mac computers.

"That was a long time ago," Cook said of Apple's old rivalry with IBM. "This is two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly."

Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, Cook's predecessor, never concealed his disdain for IBM, but longtime Apple analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies is convinced Jobs would have hailed Tuesday's news as another step away from the days when IBM's mainframe computers dominated technology. "Steve would have loved this," Bajarin said. "It shows that the post-PC era is in full swing now."

  • Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014
Dolby donates To Motion Picture Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences logo.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it has received a $7 million gift from Dolby Laboratories to provide cutting-edge audiovisual technology in the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ movie theaters. Additionally, the Dolby family has made a $5 million gift to the Academy Museum’s capital campaign. In recognition of this gift, the Academy will name the Museum’s rooftop terrace the Dolby Family Terrace. 

“Dolby Laboratories, founded nearly 50 years ago by Ray Dolby, continues to enhance and transform how we experience the movies,” said Bob Iger, who is chairing the Academy Museum’s capital campaign along with co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. “These generous gifts will help to ensure that the world will continue to experience the magic of cinema through the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.”

“My husband Ray was passionate about elevating the sound of entertainment and his company’s contributions to cinema sound are well known,” noted Dagmar Dolby. “My sons, Tom and David, and I are honored to continue this legacy by supporting this important cultural project.” Kevin Yeaman, president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, added, “Dolby Laboratories shares the Academy’s commitment to presenting films in a state-of-the-art environment that offers the best in sight and sound. We look forward to collaborating on the world’s premier movie museum with the Academy.”

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali, the Academy Museum will be located next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the historic Wilshire May Company building. Scheduled to open in 2017, the Academy Museum will contain more than 290,000 square feet of state-of-the-art galleries, exhibition spaces, theaters, educational areas, and special event spaces.

“The Academy Museum will be able to provide visitors with an unmatched cinematic experience, thanks to the generosity of Dolby Laboratories and the Dolby family,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The Academy launched the Museum’s capital campaign in 2012 and has already secured $225 million in pledges from more than 1,000 individual donors globally.

“The generosity of Dolby Laboratories and the Dolby family will help us create an unforgettable experience for Museum visitors,” said Dawn Hudson, the Academy’s CEO. “Our long-standing partnership with Dolby reflects our joint commitment to transform and promote the art of moviemaking.”
 

MySHOOT Company Profiles