Tag Archives: SMPTE

30 Ninja’s Julina Tatlock to keynote SMPTE 2018, will focus on emerging tech

30 Ninjas CEO Julina Tatlock, an award-winning writer-producer, virtual reality director and social TV specialist, will present the keynote address at the SMPTE 2018 conference, which takes place from October 22-25 in downtown Los Angeles. The keynote by Tatlock will take place on the 23rd at 9am, immediately following the SMPTE Annual general membership meeting.

Tatlock specializes in producing and directing VR, creating social media and web-based narrative games for movies and broadcast, as well as collaborating with developers on integrating new tech intellectual property into interactive stories.

During her keynote, she will discuss the ways that content creation and entertainment production can leverage emerging technologies. Tatlock will also address topics such as how best to evaluate what might be the next popular entertainment technology and platform, as well as how to write, direct and build for technology and platforms that don’t exist yet.

Tatlock’s 30 Ninjas, is an award-winning immersive-entertainment company she founded along with director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow, American Made). 30 Ninjas creates original narratives and experiences in new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality and location-based entertainment for clients such as Warner Bros., USA Network, Universal Cable Productions and Harper Collins.

Tatlock also is the executive producer and director of episodes three and four of the six-part VR miniseries “Invisible,” with production partners Condé Nast Entertainment, Jaunt VR and Samsung.

Before founding 30 Ninjas, she spent eight years at Oxygen Media, where she was VP of programming strategy. In an earlier role with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Tatlock wrote and produced more than 100 of NBC’s Martha Stewart Living morning show segments.

Registration is open for both SMPTE 2018 and for the SMPTE 2018 Symposium, an all-day session that will precede the technical conference and exhibition on Oct. 22. Pre-registration pricing is available through Oct. 13. Further details are available at smpte2018.org.

Our HPA Tech Retreat video coverage

Last month, tech folks from all aspects of post production gathered in the California desert to learn about new trends, tech and workflows at the annual HPA Tech Retreat.
They also got to mingle… a lot.

postPerspective was there and had the opportunity to capture some video of the goings-on and interview folks from Cinnafilm, MTI Film, FilmLight, SMPTE and more.

Click this link to watch them all!

SMPTE ST 2110 enables IP workflows

By Tom Coughlin

At IBC2017 and this year’s SMPTE Conference there were significant demonstrations of IP-based workflows with interoperability demonstrations and conference sessions. Clearly proprietary media networking will be supplanted by IP-based workflows. This will enable new equipment economies and open up new opportunities for using and repurposing media. IP workflows will also impact the way we store and use digital content and thus the storage systems where they live.

SMPTE has just ratified ST 2110 standards for IP transport in media workflows. The standard puts video, audio and ancillary data into separate routable streams as shown in the figure below. PCM Audio streams are covered by SMPTE ST 2110-30, uncompressed video streams are covered by ST 2110-20 and ancillary data is covered by ST 2110-40. Some other parts of the standards cover traffic shaping of uncompressed video (ST 2110-21), AES3 transparent transport (ST 2110-31) and ST 2110-50 allows integration with older specification ST 2022-6 that covers legacy SDI over IP.

The separate streams have timestamps that allow proper alignment of the different streams when they are combined together — this timestamp is provided by ST 2059. Each stream contains metadata that tells the receiver how to interpret what is inside of the stream. The uncompressed video stream supports up to 32k X 32k images, HDR and all common color systems and formats.

The important thing about these IP standards is that they allow using conventional Ethernet cabling rather than special proprietary cables. This saves a lot of money on hardware. In addition, having an IP-based workflow allows easy ingest into a core IP network and distribution of content using IP-based broadcast, telco, cable and broadband technologies as well as satellite channels. As most consumers have IP content access, these IP networks connect directly to consumer equipment. The image below from an Avid presentation by Shailendra Mathur at SMPTE 2017 illustrates the workflow below.

At IBC and the SMPTE 2017 Conference there were interoperability demonstrations. Although the IBC interop demo had many more participants the SMPTE demo was pretty extensive. The photo below shows the SMPTE interoperability demonstration setup.

As many modern network storage systems, whether file or object based, use Ethernet connectivity, having the rest of the workflow using an IP network makes movement of data through the workflow to and from digital storage easier. Since access to cloud-based assets is also though IP-based networks and these can feed CDNs and other distribution networks, on-premise and cloud storage interact through IP networks and can be used to support working storage, archives as well as content distribution libraries.

IP workflows combined with IP-based digital storage provide end-to-end processing and storage of data. This provides hardware economics and access to a lot of software built to manage and monitor IP flows to help optimize a media production and distribution system. By avoiding the overhead of converting from one type of network to another the overall system complexity and efficiency will be improved, resulting in faster projects and easier repair of problems when they arise.


Tom Coughlin is president of Coughlin Associates. He is the founder and organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference as well as the Creative Storage Conference. He has also been the general chairman of the annual Flash Memory Summit.

Geena Davis Institute CEO to speak at SMPTE’s Women in Tech lunch

Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, will be speaking at the annual women in technology luncheon, presented by SMPTE and HPA Women in Post on October 23 and held in conjunction with the SMPTE 2017 Annual Technical  & Exhibition (SMPTE 2017).

Di Nonno will be in conversation with Kari Grubin, co-chair of HPA Women in Post. The luncheon will be held at The Vantage Room on the fifth level of the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

The research performed by the Geena Davis Institute analyzes and tracks how women and girls are portrayed in media, and how negative gender stereotypes can influence cultural and social behaviors and beliefs. Di Nonno will share the latest findings from the Institute’s new machine learning research tool, GD-IQ: the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient.

“What we see onscreen greatly influences our views on society,” says Di Nonno. “The gender disparity in media reinforces unconscious gender bias off screen, behind-the-scenes, and in the real world. According to our research, positive portrayals in media can inspire women and girls to pursue certain careers in STEM as well as furthering their education and leaving abusive relationships. Our mission is to change the media landscape to reflect our growing intersectionality in society. Our motto is ‘If you can see it, you can be it.’ Clearly, there is work to do, but I look forward to speaking with a group of women who are doing it.”

Di Nonno brings 30 years of international experience to her responsibilities at the Geena Davis Institute, where she leads strategic direction, research, education, advocacy, and financial and operational activities. Her past roles have included president/CEO of On the Scene Productions; executive positions for Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media and EVP/GM for Nielsen EDI; SVP, Marketing Alliances and Digital Media at the Hallmark Channel; and VP, Universal Studios Home Video.

Di Nonno began her career at ABC Television Network in corporate publicity. In many of the organizations she has been part of, Di Nonno has led groundbreaking global initiatives in digital technology.

The Women in Technology luncheon is an annual event held in conjunction with the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition. Last year, Victoria Alonso, executive VP of physical production for Marvel Studios was the featured Women in Technology luncheon speaker. Previous speakers also include Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Michelle Munson and Wendy Aylsworth.

Is television versioning about to go IMF?

By Andy Wilson

If you’ve worked in the post production industry for the last 20 years, you’ll have seen the exponential growth of feature film versioning. What was once a language track dub, subtitled version or country specific compliance edit has grown into a versioning industry that has to feed a voracious number of territories, devices, platforms and formats — from airplane entertainment systems to iTunes deliveries.

Of course, this rise in movie versioning has been helped by the shift over the last 10 years to digital cinema and file-based working. In 2013, SMPTE ratified ST 2067-2, which created the Interoperable Master Format (IMF). IMF was designed to help manage the complexity of storing high-quality master rushes inside a file structure that allowed the flexibility to generate multiple variants of films through constraining what was included in the output and in the desired output formats.

Like any workflow and format change, IMF has taken time to be adopted, but it is now becoming the preferred way to share high-quality file masters between media organizations. These masters are all delivered in the J2K codec to support cinema resolutions and playback technologies.

Technologists in the broadcast community have been monitoring the growth in popularity and flexibility of IMF, with its distinctive solution to the challenge of multiple versioning. Most broadcasters have moved away from tape-based playout and are instead using air-ready playout files. These are medium-sized files (50-100Mb/s), derived from high quality rushes that can be used on playout servers to create broadcast streams. The most widespread of these includes the native XDCAM file format, but it is fast being overtaken by the AS-11 format. This format has proved very popular in the United Kingdom, where all major broadcasters made a switch to AS-11 UK DPP in 2014. AS-11 is currently rolling out in the US via the AS-11 X8 and X9 variants. However, these remain air-ready playout files, output from the 600+Mb/s ProRes and RAW files used in high-end productions. AS-11 brings some uniformity, but it doesn’t solve the versioning challenge.

Versioning is rapidly becoming as big an issue for high-end broadcast content as for feature films. Broadcasters are now seeing the sales lifecycle of some of their programs running for more than 10 years. The BBC’s Planet Earth is a great example of this, with dozens of versions being made over several years. So the need to keep high-quality files for re-versioning for new broadcast and online deliveries has become increasingly important. It is crucial for long-tail sales revenue, and productions are starting to invest in higher-resolution recordings for exactly this reason.

So, as the international high-end television market continues to grow, producers are having to look at ways that they can share much higher quality assets than air-ready files. This is where IMF offers significant opportunity for efficiencies in the broadcast and wider media market and why it is something that has the attention of producers, such as the BBC and Sky. Major broadcasters such as these have been working with global partners through the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) to help develop a new specification of IMF, specifically designed for television and online mastering.

The DPP, in partnership with the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), have been exploring what the business requirements are for a mastering format for broadcasting. The outcome of this work was published in June 2017, and can be downloaded here.

The work explored three different user requirements: Program Acquisitions (incoming), Program Sales (outgoing) and Archive. The sales and acquisition of content can be significantly transformed with the ability to build new versions on the fly, via the Composition Playlist (CPL) and an Output Profile List (OPL). The ability to archive master rushes in a suitably high-quality package will be extremely valuable to broadcast archives. The addition of the ability to store ProRes as part of an IMF is also being welcomed, as many broadcaster archives are already full of ProRes material.

The EBU-QC group has already started to look at how to manage program quality from a broadcast IMF package, and how technical assessments can be carried out during the outputting of materials, as well as on the component assets. This work paves the way for some innovative solutions to future QC checks, whether carried out locally in the post suite or in the cloud.

The DPP will be working with SMPTE and its partners to fast track a constrained version of IMF ready for use in the broadcast and online delivery market in the first half of 2018.

As OTT video services rely heavily on the ability to output multiple different versions of the source content, this new variant of IMF could play a particularly important role in automatic content versioning and automated processes for file creation and delivery to distribution platforms — not to mention in advertising, where commercials are often re-versioned for multiple territories and states.

The DPP’s work will include the ability to add ProRes- and H.264-derived materials into the IMF package, as well as the inclusion of delivery specific metadata. The DPP are working to deliver some proof-of-concept presentations for IBC 2017 and will host manufacturer and supplier briefing days and plugfests as the work progresses on the draft version of the IMF specification. It is hoped that the work will be completed in time to have the IMF specification for broadcast and online integrated into products by NAB 2018.

It’s exciting to think about how IMF and Internet-enabled production and distribution tools will work together as part of the architecture of the future content supply chain. This supply chain will enable media companies to respond more quickly and effectively to the ever-growing and changing demands of the consumer. The DPP sees this shift to more responsive operational design as the key to success for media suppliers in the years ahead.


Andy Wilson is head of business development at DPP.

SMPTE’s ETCA conference takes on OTT, cloud, AR/VR, more

SMPTE has shared program details for its Entertainment Technology in the Connected Age (ETCA) conference, taking place in Mountain View, California, May 8-9 at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus.

Called “Redefining the Entertainment Experience,” this year’s conference will explore emerging technologies’ impact on current and future delivery of compelling connected entertainment experiences.

Bob DeHaven, GM of worldwide communications & media at Microsoft Azure, will present the first conference keynote, titled “At the Edge: The Future of Entertainment Carriage.” The growth of on-demand programming and mobile applications, the proliferation of the cloud and the advent of the “Internet of things” demands that video content is available closer to the end user to improve both availability and the quality of the experience.

DeHaven will discuss the relationships taking shape to embrace these new requirements and will explore the roles network providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), network optimization technologies and cloud platforms will play in achieving the industry’s evolving needs.

Hanno Basse, chief technical officer at Twentieth Century Fox Film, will present “Next-Generation Entertainment: A View From the Fox.” Fox distributes content via multiple outlets ranging — from cinema to Blu-ray, over-the-top (OTT), and even VR. Basse will share his views on the technical challenges of enabling next-generation entertainment in a connected age and how Fox plans to address them.

The first conference session, “Rethinking Content Creation and Monetization in a Connected Age,” will focus on multiplatform production and monetization using the latest creation, analytics and search technologies. The session “Is There a JND in It for Me?” will take a second angle, exploring what new content creation, delivery and display technology innovations will mean for the viewer. Panelists will discuss the parameters required to achieve original artistic intent while maintaining a just noticeable difference (JND) quality level for the consumer viewing experience.

“Video Compression: What’s Beyond HEVC?” will explore emerging techniques and innovations, outlining evolving video coding techniques and their ability to handle new types of source material, including HDR and wide color gamut content, as well as video for VR/AR.

Moving from content creation and compression into delivery, “Linear Playout: From Cable to the Cloud” will discuss the current distribution landscape, looking at the consumer apps, smart TV apps, and content aggregators/curators that are enabling cord-cutters to watch linear television, as well as the new business models and opportunities shaping services and the consumer experience. The session will explore tools for digital ad insertion, audience measurement and monetization while considering the future of cloud workflows.

“Would the Internet Crash If Everyone Watched the Super Bowl Online?” will shift the discussion to live streaming, examining the technologies that enable today’s services as well as how technologies such as transparent caching, multicast streaming, peer-assisted delivery and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) streaming might enable live streaming at a traditional broadcast scale and beyond.

“Adaptive Streaming Technology: Entertainment Plumbing for the Web” will focus specifically on innovative technologies and standards that will enable the industry to overcome inconsistencies of the bitrate quality of the Internet.

“IP and Thee: What’s New in 2017?” will delve into the upgrade to Internet Protocol infrastructure and the impact of next-generation systems such as the ATSC 3.0 digital television broadcast system, the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) suite of internationally accepted open standards for digital television, and fifth-generation mobile networks (5G wireless) on Internet-delivered entertainment services.

Moving into the cloud, “Weather Forecast: Clouds and Partly Scattered Fog in Your Future” examines how local networking topologies, dubbed “the fog,” are complementing the cloud by enabling content delivery and streaming via less traditional — and often wireless — communication channels such as 5G.

“Giving Voice to Video Discovery” will highlight the ways in which voice is being added to pay television and OTT platforms to simplify searches.

In a session that explores new consumption models, “VR From Fiction to Fact” will examine current experimentation with VR technology, emerging use cases across mobile devices and high-end headsets, and strategies for addressing the technical demands of this immersive format.

You can resister for the conference here.

Netflix's Stranger Things

AES LA Section & SMPTE Hollywood: Stranger Things sound

By Mel Lambert

The most recent joint AES/SMPTE meeting at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City showcased the talents of the post production crew that worked on the recent Netflix series Stranger Things at Technicolor’s facilities in Hollywood.

Over 160 attendees came to hear how supervising sound editor Brad North, sound designer Craig Henighan, sound effects editor Jordan Wilby, music editor David Klotz and dialog/music re-recording mixer Joe Barnett worked their magic on last year’s eight-episode Season One (Sadly, effects re-recording mixer Adam Jenkins was unable to attend the gathering.) Stranger Things, from co-creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, is scheduled to return in mid-year for Season 2.

L-R: Jordan Wilby, Brad North, Craig Henighan, Joe Barnett, David Klotz and Mel Lambert. Photo Credit: Steve Harvey.

Attendees heard how the crew developed each show’s unique 5.1-channel soundtrack, from editorial through re-recording — including an ‘80s-style, synth-based music score, from Austin-based composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, that is key to the show’s look and feel — courtesy of a full-range surround sound playback system supplied by Dolby Labs.

“We drew our inspiration — subconsciously, at least — from sci-fi films like Alien, The Thing and Predator,” Henighan explained. The designer also revealed how he developed a characteristic sound for the monster that appears in key scenes. “The basic sound is that of a seal,” he said. “But it wasn’t as simple as just using a seal vocal, although it did provide a hook — an identifiable sound around which I could center the rest of the monster sounds. It’s fantastic to take what is normally known as a nice, light, fun-loving sound and use it in a terrifying way!” Tim Prebble, a New Zealand-based sound designer, and owner of sound effects company Hiss and A Roar, offers a range of libraries, including SD003 Seal Vocals|Hiss and A Roar.

Gear used includes Avid Pro Tools DAWs — everybody works in the box — and Avid 64-fader, dual-operator S6 console at the Technicolor Seward Stage. The composers use Apple Logic Pro to record and edit their AAF-format music files.


Mel Lambert is principal of Content Creators, an LA-based copywriting and editorial service, and can be reached at mel.lambert@content-creators.com. Follow him on Twitter @MelLambertLA.

 

SMPTE: The convergence of toolsets for television and cinema

By Mel Lambert

While the annual SMPTE Technical Conferences normally put a strong focus on things visual, there is no denying that these gatherings offer a number of interesting sessions for sound pros from the production and post communities. According to Aimée Ricca, who oversees marketing and communications for SMPTE, pre-registration included “nearly 2,500 registered attendees hailing from all over the world.” This year’s conference, held at the Loews Hollywood Hotel and Ray Dolby Ballroom from October 24-27, also attracted more than 108 exhibitors in two exhibit halls.

Setting the stage for the 2016 celebration of SMPTE’s Centenary, opening keynotes addressed the dramatic changes that have occurred within the motion picture and TV industries during the past 100 years, particularly with the advent of multichannel immersive sound. The two co-speakers — SMPTE president Robert Seidel and filmmaker/innovator Doug Trumbull — chronicled the advance in audio playback sound since, respectively, the advent of TV broadcasting after WWII and the introduction of film soundtracks in 1927 with The Jazz Singer.

Robert Seidel

ATSC 3.0
Currently VP of CBS Engineering and Advanced Technology, with responsibility for TV technologies at CBS and the CW networks, Seidel headed up the team that assisted WRAL-HD, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina, to become the first TV station to transmit HDTV in July 1996.  The transition included adding the ability to carry 5.1-channel sound using Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards and Dolby AC-3 encoding.

The 45th Grammy Awards Ceremony broadcast by CBS Television in February 2004 marked the first scheduled HD broadcast with a 5.1 soundtrack. The emergent ATSC 3.0 standard reportedly will provide increased bandwidth efficiency and compression performance. The drawback is the lack of backwards compatibility with current technologies, resulting in a need for new set-top boxes and TV receivers.

As Seidel explained, the upside for ATSC 3.0 will be immersive soundtracks, using either Dolby AC-4 or MPEG-H coding, together with audio objects that can carry alternate dialog and commentary tracks, plus other consumer features to be refined with companion 4K UHD, high dynamic range and high frame rate images. In June, WRAL-HD launched an experimental ATSC 3.0 channel carrying the station’s programming in 1080p with 4K segments, while in mid-summer South Korea adopted ATSC 3.0 and plans to begin broadcasts with immersive audio and object-based capabilities next February in anticipation of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. The 2016 World Series games between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs marked the first live ATSC 3.0 broadcast of a major sporting event on experimental station Channel 31, with an immersive-audio simulcast on the Tribune Media-owned Fox affiliate WJW-TV.

Immersive audio will enable enhanced spatial resolution for 3D sound-source localization and therefore provide an increased sense of envelopment throughout the home listening environment, while audio “personalization” will include level control for dialog elements, alternate audio tracks, assistive services, other-language dialog and special commentaries. ATSC 3.0 also will support loudness normalization and contouring of dynamic range.

Doug Trumbull

Higher Frame Rates
With a wide range of experience within the filmmaking and entertainment technologies, including visual effects supervision on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner, Trumbull also directed Silent Running and Brainstorm, as well as special venue offerings. He won an Academy Award for his Showscan process for high-speed 70mm cinematography, helped develop IMAX technologies and now runs Trumbull Studios, which is innovating a new MAGI process to offer 4K 3D at 120fps. High production costs and a lack of playback environments meant that Trumbull’s Showscan format never really got off the ground, which was “a crushing disappointment,” he conceded to the SMPTE audience.

But meanwhile, responding to falling box office receipts during the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hollywood added more consumer features, including large-screen presentations and surround sound, although the movie industry also began to rely on income from the TV community for broadcast rights to popular cinema releases.

As Seidel added, “The convergence of toolsets for both television and cinema — including 2K, 4K and eventually 8K — will lead to reduced costs, and help create a global market around the world [with] a significant income stream.” He also said that “cord cutting” — substituting cable subscription services for Amazon.com, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix and the like — is bringing people back to over-the-air broadcasting.

Trumbull countered that TV will continue at 60fps “with a live texture that we like,” whereas film will retain its 24fps frame rate “that we have loved for years and which has a ‘movie texture.’ Higher frame rates for cinema, such as 48fps used by Peter Jackson for several of the Lord of the Rings films, has too much of a TV look. Showscan at 120fps and a 360-degree shutter avoided that TV look, which is considered objectionable.” (Early reviews of director Ang Lee’s upcoming 3D film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which was shot in 4K at 120fps, have been critical of its video look and feel.)

complex-tv-networkNext-Gen Audio for Film and TV
During a series of “Advances in Audio Reproduction” conference sessions, chaired by Chris Witham, director of digital cinema technology at Walt Disney Studios, three presentations covered key design criteria for next-generation audio for TV and film. During his discussion called “Building the World’s Most Complex TV Network — A Test Bed for Broadcasting Immersive & Interactive Audio,” Robert Bleidt, GM of Fraunhofer USA’s audio and multimedia division, provided an overview of a complete end-to-end broadcast plant that was built to test various operational features developed by Fraunhofer, Technicolor and Qualcomm. These tests were used to evaluate an immersive/object-based audio system based on MPEG-H for use in Korea during planned ATSC 3.0 broadcasting.

“At the NAB Convention we demonstrated The MPEG Network,” Bleidt stated. “It is perhaps the most complex combination of broadcast audio content ever made in a single plant, involving 13 different formats.” This includes mono, stereo, 5.1-channel and other sources. “The network was designed to handle immersive audio in both channel- and HOA-based formats, using audio objects for interactivity. Live mixes from a simulated sports remote was connected to a network operating center, with distribution to affiliates, and then sent to a consumer living room, all using the MPEG-H audio system.”

Bleidt presented an overview of system and equipment design, together with details of a critical AMAU (audio monitoring and authoring unit) that will be used to mix immersive audio signals using existing broadcast consoles limited to 5.1-channel assignment and panning.

Dr. Jan Skoglund, who leads a team at Google developing audio signal processing solutions, addressed the subject of “Open-source Spatial Audio Compression for VR Content,” including the importance of providing realistic immersive audio experiences to accompany VR presentations and 360-degree 3D video.

“Ambisonics have reemerged as an important technique in providing immersive audio experiences,” Skoglund stated. “As an alternative to channel-based 3D sound, Ambisonics represent full-sphere sound, independent of loudspeaker location.” His fascinating presentation considered the ways in which open-source compression technologies can transport audio for various species of next-generation immersive media. Skoglund compared the efficacy of several open-source codecs for first-order Ambisonics, and also the progress being made toward higher-order Ambisonics (HOA) for VR content delivered via the internet, including enhanced experience provided by HOA.

Finally, Paul Peace, who oversees loudspeaker development for cinema, retail and commercial applications at JBL Professional — and designed the Model 9350, 9300 and 9310 surround units — discussed “Loudspeaker Requirements in Object-Based Cinema,” including a valuable in-depth analysis of the acoustic delivery requirements in a typical movie theater that accommodates object-based formats.

Peace is proposing the use of a new metric for surround loudspeaker placement and selection when the layout relies on venue-specific immersive rendering engines for Dolby Atmos and Barco Auro-3D soundtracks, with object-based overhead and side-wall channels. “The metric is based on three foundational elements as mapped in a theater: frequency response, directionality and timing,” he explained. “Current set-up techniques are quite poor for a majority of seats in actual theaters.”

Peace also discussed new loudspeaker requirements and layout criteria necessary to ensure a more consistent sound coverage throughout such venues that can replay more accurately the material being re-recorded on typical dub stages, which are often smaller and of different width/length/height dimensions than most multiplex environments.


Mel Lambert, who also gets photo credit on pictures from the show, is principal of Content Creators, an LA-based copywriting and editorial service, and can be reached at mel.lambert@content-creators.com Follow him on Twitter @MelLambertLA.

 

New England SMPTE holding free session on UHD/HDR/HFR, more

The New England Section of SMPTE is holding a free day-long “New Technologies Boot Camp” that focuses on working with high resolution (UHD, 4K and beyond), high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging and higher frame rates (HFR). In addition, they will discuss how to maintain resolution independence on screens of every size, as well as how to leverage IP and ATSC 3.0 for more efficient movement of this media content.

The boot camp will run from 9am to 9pm on May 19 at the Holiday Inn in Dedham, Massachusetts.

“These are exciting times for those of us working on the technical side of broadcasting, and the array of new formats and standards we’re facing can be a bit overwhelming,” says Martin P. Feldman, chair of SMPTE New England Section. “No one wants — or can afford — to be left behind. That’s why we’re gathering some of the industry’s foremost experts for a free boot camp designed to bring engineers up to speed on new technologies that enable more efficient creation and delivery of a better broadcast product.”

Boot camp presentations will include:

• “High-Dynamic-Range and Wide Color Gamut in Production and Distribution” by Hugo Gaggioni, chief technical officer at Sony Electronics.
• “4K/UHD/HFR/HDR — HEVC H.265 — ATSC 3.0” by Karl Kuhn of Tektronix.
• “Where Is 4K (UHD) Product Used Today — 4K Versus HFR — 4K and HFR Challenges” by Bruce Lane of Grass Valley.
• “Using MESH Networks” by Al Kornak of JVC Kenwood Corporation.
• “IP in Infrastructure-Building (Replacing HD-SDI Systems and Accommodating UHD)” by Paul Briscoe of Evertz Microsystems;
• “Scripted Versus Live Production Requirements” by Michael Bergeron of Panasonic.
• “The Transition from SDI to IP, Including IP Infrastructure and Monitoring” by John Shike of SAM (formerly Snell/Quantel).
• “8K, High-Dynamic-Range, OLED, Flexible Displays” by consultant Peter Putman.
• “HDR: The Great, the Okay, and the WTF” by Mark Schubin, engineer-in-charge at the Metropolitan Opera, Sesame Street and Great Performances (PBS).

The program will conclude with a panel discussion by the program’s presenters.

 No RSVP is required, and both SMPTE members and non-members are welcome.

Leon Silverman steps down, Seth Hallen named new HPA president

In a crowded conference room in Indian Wells, California, during the HPA Tech Retreat, HPA founding president Leon Silverman literally handed the baton to long-time board member Seth Hallen. The organization has also taken on a new name, the Hollywood Professional Association. More on that later.

Hallen, who joined the HPA board in 2007, is SVP of Global Creative Services at Sony DADC New Media Solutions. Silverman, who helped found the organization, will continue to serve on the board of directors in the newly created role of past president.

“It is a distinct honor to continue the important work that Leon has undertaken for this organization, and I am clearly dedicated to making the next phase of HPA a great one,” said Hallen. “Enabling our industry to evolve by fueling our community with ideas, opportunity and recognition remains our goal. I look forward to working with our incredibly talented and dedicated board and continuing our collaboration with our colleagues at SMPTE, and the staff, volunteers and community that are the heart and soul of HPA, as we build upon the work of the past 14 years and look toward the future.”

The HPA, which is now part of SMPTE, also announced newly elected board members, including Craig German, SVP Studio Post at NBCUniversal Media; Jenni McCormick, executive director of American Cinema Editors (ACE); and Chuck Parker, CEO of Sohonet. Newly elected board member Bill Roberts, CFO of Panavision, will assume treasurer responsibilities as Phil Squyres steps down from the post he has held since HPA’s founding. Squyres will remain on the board.

Wendy Aylsworth, past president of SMPTE, was named SMPTE representative. Barbara Lange serves as executive director of SMPTE and HPA. The new Board members join Mark Chiolis, Carolyn Giardina, Vincent Maza, Kathleen Milnes, Loren Nielsen and VP Jerry Pierce on the HPA board.

In commenting on the new HPA name, executive director Lange noted, “The nature of the work and responsibilities that our community is engaged in has changed, and will continue to change. After carefully exploring how to address this growth, it became clear that Professional more accurately and inclusively identifies the creative talent, content holders and global infrastructure of services, as well as emerging processes and platforms. As an organization, we are dedicated to seeing beyond the horizon to the wider future, and bringing a wide array of individuals and companies into the organization. Our new name and identity makes that statement.”

Ncam hires industry vet Vincent Maza to head up LA office

Ncam, makers of camera tracking for augmented reality production and previs, has opened a new office in Los Angeles, and they have brought on Vincent Maza to run the operation.

Maza spent much of his career at Avid and as an HD engineer at Fletcher Chicago. More recently he has been working with the professional imaging division of Dolby and with data transfer specialist Aspera. He is also a member of the board of directors of the HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance), now part of SMPTE. He will be in Indian Wells, California next week representing Ncam at the HPA Tech Retreat.

“2016 is going to be a great year for augmented reality and we believe we will see a huge uptake in people using it to make television more engaging, more exciting and more challenging,” commented Maza. “Ncam’s camera tracking technology makes augmented reality a practical proposition, and I am very excited to be at the heart of it and supporting our US presence.”

Ncam’s tracking system is able to achieve all six degrees of movement in camera location: XYZ position in 3D space, pan, tilt and roll, so even handheld cameras can be precisely tracked with minimal latency.

Broadcasters have embraced augmented reality with Ncam, including CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports and the NFL. This same technology is used to provide directors and cinematographers with realtime visualization of effects shots. Recent movies using the technology include, Avengers Age of Ultron, Edge of Tomorrow and White House Down.

Filmmaker Howard Lukk is SMPTE’s new director of standards

Film director Howard Lukk has joined the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE ) as its new director of standards. Over the next year, Lukk will transition into the position that has been held by Peter Symes — who is retiring — for the past eight years.

Lukk is a writer and director at independent film production and management company Pannon Entertainment, where he has been working on short films and providing technical consulting and education for clients. His last short film, “Emma,” was shot and finished in high dynamic range (HDR).

In an earlier role as VP of production systems at The Walt Disney Studios, Lukk oversaw a team responsible for the engineering, installation and maintenance of on-lot and on-set feature film production and post systems. Responsible for helping to incorporate new technologies into the workflow, he assisted the studios’ transition from analog to digital workflows. Lukk also led theatrical production, post and distribution projects focused on digital capture, digital cinema, 3D stereo, file-based workflow, color management and archive.

During two years as director of media systems at Pixar, Lukk was responsible for managing both the audio/visual engineering as well as the image mastering departments and the work of maintaining the recording, projection and post systems and workflows supporting Pixar filmmakers. Before joining Pixar, he held his first role with The Walt Disney Studios. As VP of production technology for the studios, he focused on integrating a new digital cinema workflow throughout the company’s global operations.

Lukk’s early work with Disney built on his previous experience as director of technology at Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), where he was responsible for research and development, design and documentation of a digital cinema system specification and test plan. Earlier, as chief engineer at International Video Conversions, Lukk worked with engineering staff to design, build, and maintain a high-end post  facility specializing in digital cinema, telecine transfer, audio post and standards conversion work.

“I have always respected and valued SMPTE’s work in creating the standards that support interoperability in image, sound and metadata, and I am excited about becoming even more involved in this process,” says Lukk, who is also a SMPTE Fellow. “The many significant technological changes taking place in our industry give an immediacy to the Society’s efforts and open up unprecedented opportunities to make a meaningful impact on the future of media creation, delivery, and consumption.”

SMPTE and HPA finalize relationship

After almost a year of working closely together, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) have finalized their plans to consolidate. The partnership between SMPTE and HPA gives both organizations the opportunity to extend their reach — from engineering and technical professionals to the creative community.

“This is a monumental occasion for both SMPTE and HPA, two leading professional organizations serving the media and entertainment industry,” said Robert Seidel, president of SMPTE. “The new relationship between SMPTE and HPA presents many exciting possibilities, including fresh occasions for interactions and dialog, broader educational opportunities, and even richer contributions to standards development.”

SMPTE and HPA are already collaborating on two upcoming events. HPA Women in Post and SMPTE are presenting the Women in Technology Luncheon. The luncheon will take place in conjunction with the SMPTE 2015 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2015) at the Loews Hollywood Hotel at the Hollywood and Highland Center at noon on Monday, October 26 and will feature a conversation between Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter. Also in conjunction with SMPTE 2015, the organizations are launching the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival on Tuesday, October 27 following the Opening Night Reception for the conference.

“HPA and SMPTE have long been collaborators in enabling the creative and technical communities to address the challenges and opportunities afforded by a rapidly changing media landscape,” said Leon Silverman, HPA board president. “Formal approval of our consolidation plan by the SMPTE Board of Governors and the HPA Board of Directors represents a major milestone in our relationship, and one that signals great things to come for the communities both organizations serve — within Hollywood and around the world.”

Wendy Aylsworth, SMPTE past president and former senior VP of technology at Warner Bros. Technical Operations, will serve as the SMPTE-designated member on the HPA Board of Directors. While this partnership establishes closer ties between SMPTE and HPA on many levels, from executive to administrative, each organization will maintain its unique brand and culture.

 

Stan Moote named CTO for IABM

The IABM (International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers) has tapped Stan Moote as its CTO. Moote began his television career in 1977 while interning as a plant engineer for CFTO-TV in Toronto, during the co-op component of his engineering degree from University of Waterloo. In 1980, he co-founded Digi-tel, Inc. and was responsible for the design and development of various digital video products before bringing his talents to bear at Leitch in 1984.

Moore was involved in the SMPTE Digital Video Standards Committee meetings creating CCIR-601 and continued his standardization work on video transport by being on the VSF (Video Services Forum) board of directors, 2001 to 2004. Stan is an active member of the ‪NATAS Technical Emmy Committee.

While holding VP/CTO positions at Leitch and Harris, he focused on workflow solutions, new technology, standardization and interoperability on a global basis. Moote developed several patents including scrambling systems, data monitoring, multi-viewer, router processors and IPTV systems.

Peter White, CEO of the IABM says, “Stan’s appointment comes at a time when the IABM is experiencing growth in both its membership and events delivery. Stan will contribute to IABM’s technology thought leadership and will assume responsibility for the development and scope of technical boards, committees, technology events and assist and formulate growth strategies in the North American and APAC regions.”

“The future direction of the broadcast and media industries is heavily based on quickly changing technologies,” says Moote. “With a strong member base, IABM is poised to give clear understanding of the issues that need to be addressed to keep the industry strong. I urge the membership’s CTOs and technical VPs to contact me directly, so we can work together helping end users meet their strategic goals.”

In related news, Moote, is set to be awarded the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers SMPTE 2015 Digital Processing Medal Award. First established in 2012, the SMPTE Digital Processing Medal Award recognizes significant technical achievements related to the development of digital processing of content for motion picture, television, games or other related media. Moote will receive the 2015 award for development of the first reliable video/audio scrambling system for composite analog video and analog audio in the early 1980s. This system digitized the analog signal, scrambled it, and reconstructed an analog signal that could be transmitted over satellite or microwave links with complete security. The system was granted both Canadian and US patents. Moote subsequently went on to serve as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Leitch Technology International before returning to engineering management. He also assisted in the invention of the video multiviewer, for which he received a patent. Moote became chief technology officer (CTO) at Leitch just before its acquisition by Harris Corporation.

D-Cinema Summit: standardization of immersive sound formats

By Mel Lambert

“Our goal is to develop an interoperative audio-creation workflow and a single DCP that can be used to render to whatever playback format – Dolby Atmos, Barco/Auro 3D, DTS:X/MDA – has been installed in the exhibition space,” stated Brian Vessa, chairman of SMPTE Technology Committee 25CSS, which is considering a common standardized method for delivering immersive audio to cinemas. Vessa, who also serves as executive director of Digital Audio Mastering at Sony Pictures Entertainment, was speaking at this past weekend’s joint SMPTE/NAB Technology Summit on Cinema during a session focused on immersive sound formats, Continue reading

Talking future workflows and future archives

By Tom Coughlin

This year’s HPA Tech Retreat, which took place in February in Indian Wells, California, had some interesting presentations and displays, pointing the way to the future of media and entertainment. But before I dig into some general observations and an update on the future workflows and archive solutions that were on display, I will share this: You likely have already heard that the HPA is now part of SMPTE, but the more recent bit of news is the organization is changing its name from the Hollywood Post Alliance to the Hollywood Professional Alliance. Ok, now let’s get to the tech talk…

In the CES Review at the HPA Retreat, Peter Putnum pointed out that there weren’t as many TVs on display as Continue reading

‘Future of Audio Tech’ confab tackles acoustics, loudness, more

By Mel Lambert

Organized by the Audio Engineering Society, “The Future of Audio Entertainment Technology: Cinema, Television and the Internet” conference addressed the myriad challenges facing post professionals working in the motion picture and home delivery industries. Co-chaired by Dr. Sean Olive and Brian McCarty, and held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in early March, the three-day gathering comprised several keynote addresses, workshops and papers sessions.

In addition to sponsorship from Dolby, Harman, Auro3D, Avid, Sennheiser, DTS, NBC Universal Studio Post, MPSE and SMPTE, the event attracted a reported 155 attendees.

Referencing a report last year in The Hollywood Reporter that more than 350 different Continue reading

Randall Dark’s CES Experience: Wrap-Up

Long-time filmmaker/director Randall Dark, who is the proud new co-owner of Texas-based Bulltiger Productions, was at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Vegas last week.

He was walking the show floor, taking meetings and striking up conversations with people on cab, bus and coffee lines. While there he was filing short blogs for postPerspective — sharing info on some pretty cool technology while also reporting on the atmosphere of the show.

Here are his thoughts from his third and last day of CES….

LG’s roll out of the new 4K OLED and ColorPrime TVs were impressive, but John Taylor also gave me a behind-the-scenes look at what LG is doing in the High Dynamic Range Technology arena… Continue reading

SMPTE 2014: bringing it all back home

By Tom Coughlin

The movement of digital content is requiring increasing sophistication both in compression technologies and delivery technology in order to meet the needs of higher-resolution, higher frame rate and ever more camera workflows as well as content consumers, while not overwhelming network bandwidth.

At the 2014 SMPTE Technical Conference these topics were the subject of interesting sessions as well as side conversations about technology developments.

Aspera talked about its experience, working with EVS and Elemental, in providing access to content on mobile devices at sporting events for second screen viewing of multiple live Continue reading

SMPTE elects Officers, Governors for 2015-2016

SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has elected new officers and governors for 2015-16. Robert Seidel, VP of engineering and advanced technology at CBS, will take office as the Society’s new president on Jan. 1, 2015.

Seidel, who previously held SMPTE board roles including executive VP and finance VP, will serve a two-year term as SMPTE president. He succeeds outgoing president Wendy Aylsworth, senior VP of technology at Warner Bros. Technical Operations, who will now become the Society’s past president.

Robert Seidel

“Bob Seidel has been a tremendous asset to the Society in several key positions, and we are confident that he will continue and build on the good work done by Wendy during her successful tenure as president,” said SMPTE executive director Barbara Lange. “Bob and Wendy are among the many SMPTE members who have contributed a great deal to the Society’s growth. The officers and governors elected for 2015-16 — and those who continue on in their existing roles — bring extraordinary knowledge, experience, and energy to the Society and its advancement of the motion-imaging industry.”

Other incoming SMPTE officers elected for the two-year 2015-2016 term include Matthew S. Goldman, senior VP of TV compression technology at Ericsson, who will serve as executive VP; Patrick Griffis, executive director of the technology strategy in the office of the CTO at Dolby, will continue his service as education VP; and Peter Wharton, VP of technology and business development at BroadStream Solutions, who will continue to serve as secretary/treasurer. In January 2015, the board will elect an officer to fill the post vacated by Goldman.

Ten governors, eight of which are incumbents, were elected to serve in SMPTE posts around the world. The re-elected governors include Angelo D’Alessio, GM at the Center for Accessible Media, who will again serve as governor for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. William T. Hayes, director of engineering and technology at Iowa Public Television, will again serve as governor for the central region and Sara J. Kudrle, product marketing manager of monitoring and control at Grass Valley will serve again as governor for the western region. KL Lam, past VP of broadcasting and engineering operations at Hong Kong Cable TV, will serve again as governor for the Asia-Australia region.

Pierre Marion, director of media engineering for French networks at CBC/Radio-Canada, will again serve as governor for the Canadian region. John McCoskey, executive VP/CTO at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), will serve again as governor for the Eastern US region. William C. Miller, president at Miltag Media Technology, will again serve as governor for the New York region. Clyde Smith, senior VP of new technology at Fox Networks Engineering and Operations, will again serve as a governor for the Hollywood region.

Newly elected are Steve Beres, VP of media and technology operations at HBO, who will serve as a governor for the Hollywood region, and Merrick Ackermans, engineering director of global technology and operations for US network operations at Turner, who will serve as a governor for the Southern US region.

The Society’s officers and governors elected for the 2015-2016 term will serve on the SMPTE Board of Governors along with other board officers, regional governors and directors of specific areas, including standards, education and membership.

Officers who were not up for re-election and who continue to serve on the SMPTE Board of Governors Executive Committee include SMPTE Standards VP Alan Lambshead, retired from Evertz, and SMPTE Membership VP Paul Stechly of Applied Electronics.

Governors who were not up for re-election and who continue on the SMPTE Board of Governors include Dan Burnett of Ericsson Television Inc. (Southern US region); Paul Chapman of FotoKem (Hollywood region); Randy Conrad of Imagine Communications (Canadian region); John Ferder of CBS (New York region); Karl Kuhn of Tektronix (Eastern U.S. region); John Maizels of Entropy Enterprises and Productions (Asia/Australia region); Mark Narveson of Patterson & Sheridan (Western US region); T.J. Scott Jr. of Grass Valley (Southern U.S. region); Leon Silverman of The Walt Disney Studios (Hollywood region); and Richard Welsh of Sundog Media Toolkit (Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America region).

SMPTE’s annual meeting takes place starting on October 20 in at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood.

 

SMPTE and HPA to merge officially in 2015

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), has announced plans for a new partnership with the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA). The partnership will begin with SMPTE providing administrative support to HPA, and it is expected to culminate in the merger of the two organizations by May 2015.

“HPA is known not only for its unique brand identity, but also for facilitating open dialog among all disciplines in the entertainment industry,” said Wendy Aylsworth, president of SMPTE . “Complementing SMPTE’s work in standards and education, these qualities will enrich the experience of SMPTE members worldwide, giving them the opportunity to engage in more frequent dialogue with nontechnical and supporting industry professionals. For these and many other reasons, we look forward to extending the HPA brand to a broader global audience.”

The partnership unites two technical organizations serving the media and entertainment business. It gives both SMPTE and HPA the opportunity to extend their reach and expand their membership while better serving the whole industry — from the engineering and technical professionals to the creative community.

“With this partnership, HPA and SMPTE strengthen our collaborative work in addressing how our communities plan for the future of technology and the creative process,” said Leon Silverman, HPA board president. “For HPA, a closer relationship with SMPTE is also valuable in that it will enable our organization to extend the reach of our content and our work to a global audience beyond Hollywood.”

HPA Tech Retreat Blog: A display made for humans

By Tom Coughlin

Indian Wells, California — At the 2014 Hollywood Post Alliance Retreat (http://hollywoodpostalliance.org), the session on “Better Pixels: Best Bang for the Buck” gave some interesting insights on how we can make better displays — displays made for humans. Continue reading

4K demo at SMPTE conference in LA next week

HOLLYWOOD — Next week, SMPTE is hosting the “Next-Generation Imaging Formats: More, Faster, and Better Pixels,” a one-day symposium that will take place on October 21, during the SMPTE Conference being held in Hollywood. There will be a complementary 4K/UHD demo area on premises that will remain open through October 23.

Organized by Insight Media in collaboration with SMPTE, the 4K/UHD demo area will showcase various image processing and scaling engines and their ability to produce 4K/UHD content from lower-resolution sources, as well as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec demos to showcase the quality possible at various bit rates for delivery of 4K content. Participants will include industry leaders such as Altera, Canon, Cisco, Colorfront, Elemental Technologies, Quantel, Rovi, Samsung, Sony, and Video Clarity.

“The SMPTE Symposium’s 4K/UHD demo area offers visitors a unique opportunity to see just how well the latest scaling and encoding technologies deliver 4K content, and to assess the quality of native 4K and processed content side by side on a variety of the latest 4K displays,” said Barbara Lange, executive director at SMPTE.

“With this valuable perspective on the maturity of 4K-focused technology, content providers will be much better positioned to make strategic decisions about their own approach to 4K implementation and service offerings,” said Chris Chinnock, president of Insight Media.

By illustrating how effective the latest upscaling and conversion engines are in making 1080p content look good on a UHD TV, the demo will help to address the concern that the current dearth of 4K native content might prevent the rollout of 4K products and services.

A demonstration of the HEVC codec — and its ability to offer high quality at low bit rates — will offer a possible solution for the delivery of 4K content not only within production facilities, but also to the home. In addition, a team from Canon, Colorfront, and Quantel will showcase live and file-based 4K production workflows.

The SMPTE 2013 Symposium is a one-day seminar with a deep topical focus. The SMPTE 2013 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition runs from Oct. 22-24. Both events take place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. Further details about the event, including registration, are available at www.smpte2013.org.