News Stories

Living in Cinema–ETC@USC reference

Looking at declining ratios of opening weekend grosses between 3-D and 2-D equipped theaters, the LA Times recently asserted that 3-D was losing audience interest. This claim was refuted by proponents of 3-D who point out that 3-D screens still pull in 1.5 to 2 times as much as the same films on 2-D screens and they also point to independent surveys by Screen Digest and USC’s Entertainment Technology Center which they say indicate strong audience enthusiasm for 3-D and that “the more viewers see this generation of 3-D, the more they say they like it and the more eager they are to see more.”

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USC in the News

The Ogden Standard-Examiner quoted Phil Lelyveld of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Entertainment Technology Center about 3-D movies. “The two-color glasses, used for years and years, go back to the 1800s. They achieve the 3-D effect by sacrificing color,” Lelyveld said. “[The newer] polarized glasses are slightly gray in tint, and they don’t take the color out. With polarized glasses, which look like sunglasses, the light is spinning clockwise in one eye and counterclockwise in the other.”

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Data & Analytics Project

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.

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ETC Events

NAB Show –
April 7-12, 2018
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Sunnyvale, CA

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