News Stories

Forget 3D Screens—We Need 3D Audio, Like in Real Life


Some decades ago, a salesguy in a high-end audio shop badly misjudged my socioeconomic status and treated me to an ultrahigh-quality recording of an obscure jazz ensemble, played on a $10,000 audio system in an acoustically perfect room. I staggered out goose-bumped and hair-raised, a newly minted audiophile wannabe. …

Turned around, this “object-based compression,” as it’s called, could provide much higher fidelity than that of a typical 16-bit MP3 in an equal-size file. Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly developing a new digital music player that can handle higher-resolution, 24-bit recordings, but who wants pricier, slower downloads that will make your existing music player obsolete? If Thibault’s compression scheme becomes standard, as he hopes it will, we could keep our 16-bit music players, and headphones could easily catch up; a decent pair of $50 earbuds already well exceed the potential of the music that gets poured into them. My kids may go into audio shock when they find out what they’ve been missing. …

So I got in touch with Karlheinz Brandenburg, who, in addition to being director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, Germany, is also the audio technology legend who largely developed the MP3 file.  …

I would invite you, then, to visit Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, which features one of the most advanced 3-D sound systems in the world. The technology, based on the work of Brandenburg’s lab, surrounds a crowd of listeners with a ring of loudspeakers placed at intervals of a few feet. Each speaker puts out a slightly different version 
of the sound, acoustically re-
creating the direction-dependent environment in which it was recorded.  …

Meanwhile, Roginska’s group is already putting its technique to work in a 3-D audio software program called AudioMaps, which relies on the gyroscopic sensors in some mobile devices to determine which way the device is pointing. For example, if you were listening to an audio tour of New York City, you could simply point your iWhatever at the Empire State Building and the narration would sound as if it were actually emanating from the building.  …

Read the full article here:

3D interactive journey into the Great Pyramid (2D, anaglyph, and side-by-side formats)

An interactive 3D film about a theory of the construction of the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt, first presented to the public in a 3D theatre in Paris, has now migrated on to the home desktop.

To watch the film, one has to simply download a plug-in and don a pair of 3D glasses – although the software gives the sensation of depth without them too, to a lesser extent.

Watch a 2 minute video describing the interactive experience here:


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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