News Stories


The Entertainment Technology Center at The University of Southern California (ETC) will produce “vETC 2018 | The GRAND CONVERGENCE,” its 4th annual virtual conference (formerly vNAB), June 27 & 28, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA, highlighting significant presentations of emerging technologies and their impact on the M&E industry.  The presentations will be recorded and posted to our YouTube channel. The Initial Expression of Interest speakers and topics is open through Friday, May 18.  Specific areas of concentration include AI, Machine Learning, Adaptive Production, Blockchain, AR/MR/XR (Immersive Media).  We Read More

Digital Town Square “Blockchain: What is it Good For?”

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC is hosting its next Digital Town Square symposium, “Blockchain: What is it Good For?,” on Tuesday, July 10, in downtown Los Angeles. The event will bring together blockchain technology companies and apps developers with entertainment technology and business executives to explore whether blockchain is an optimal or even a viable solution for professional entertainment. Through panels, presentations and open discussion, the symposium will address blockchain’s potential to improve or even transform current methodologies and practices for workflows and supply chains; contracts and payments; funding and VOD Read More

ETC at NAB 2018

ETC once again participated at this year’s NABShow (April 7-12, Las Vegas Convention Center).  Directors Yves Bergquist (AI & Neuroscience in Media), Phil Lelyveld (Immersive Media), and Seth Levenson (Adaptive Production) programmed sessions for the Next-Generation Media Technologies education track, focusing on AI and Machine Learning, Immersive Media and Cloud technology.  Our sessions were Pushing Immersive Media to the Limit – Location Based Entertainment (Monday, April 9, 11:20am – 12:00pm), Audience Genomics: Neuroscience & Machine Learning Practices to “Hack” Audience Segmentation (Tuesday, April 10, 1:30pm – 1:45pm), Content Genomics: Neuroscience & Read More

USC Students Discuss M&E at ETC 2018

The ETC assembled a panel of seven USC undergraduate students studying various aspects of media to share their views on media at the March 22, 2018 ETC All Members Meeting.  Topics ranged from movies to TV / video, screens, and virtual reality.  Here is a 6 ½-minute highlight reel.   Panel: Porschia Adler, Sophomore Business Administration Kaitlyn Chu, Freshman Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation Caroline Kinley, Sophomore Acting Dominica Ruelas, Senior Film/TV Production Tara Shivkumar, Senior Writing for Screen and Television Nhi Trinh, Sophomore Computational Neuroscience Angela Wu, Sophomore Arts, Technology and the Business Read More

Digital Town Square

AI & Machine Learning Board the Production Team On March 7th, 2018, ETC had a half-day forum, produced by Rochelle Winters, examining how machine learning, deep learning, and AI technologies are being integrated into apps for content authoring, animation, visual effects and post production, including localization. Moving beyond the basics, thought leaders from technology and creative service companies and the studios shared their POCs and use studies, R&D and vision for the future.   Speakers: Lysa Banks, Head, Technical Strategy and Engineering, IBM Watson Video: applying neural Read More

ETC’s Phil Lelyveld Spoke at the European Union’s “Preserving Democracy in the Digital Age”

  The ETC’s Philip Lelyveld was one of five subject matter experts invited to speak before the EU’s “Preserving Democracy in the Digital Age” hearing at the European Political Strategy Centre in Brussels on February 22, 2018. The EU is working to understand and deal with the problem of ‘fake news’ and Russian interference in democratic processes in Europe. This one-day event is part of an ongoing multi-organization effort within the EU. The invited speakers were: • Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author; Columnist, Washington Post and Professor Read More


The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

ETC Events

ETC Executive Board Meeting – Board Members Only
June 7, 2018

ETC All Members Meeting – By Invitation Only
USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA 465)
June 20, 2018

ETC Events

NAB Show –
April 7-12, 2018
Las Vegas, NV

Digital Hollywood Spring –
May 22-24, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

Cine Gear Expo –
May 31-June 3, 2018
Los Angeles, CA


SMPTE Entertainment Technology Conference – 
June 13-14, 2018
Sunnyvale, CA

Comic-Con International – 
July 18-22, 2018
San Diego, CA

August 12-16, 2018
Vancouver, Canada

IBC Conference & Exhibition –
September 13-18, 2018
Amsterdam, The Netherlands