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CinemaCon 2012: Warners, Universal, DCIP Roll Out Satellite Delivery Effort

[Hollywood Reporter]

Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition—a consortium whose members are Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (jointly owned by AMC, Cinemark and Regal)—is beginning to build its planned not-for-profit, satellite delivery network for digital cinema in North America.

The network will be available to all content owners and theaters, and could be completed within the year,  Darcy Antonellis, president of Warner Bros. Technical Operations and a DCDC board member, reported.

Since DCDC will be run as a not-for-profit entity, once all the monies invested by the partners are returned through operations of the system, 95 percent of the money that would otherwise be considered profit, will be paid or credited on a pro-rata basis to the users of the system in proportion to the amount they use it. The goal is to drive down the cost of delivering content for both content providers and exhibitors, while providing a highly reliable, state-of-the-art platform for the high-speed distribution of content of all types.

….

Per the plan, DCDC will own the network, and has selected Deluxe/Echostar as its service provider.

See the full story here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cinemacon-2012-warners-universal-dcip-316660

LG INTRODUCES THE FIRST REAL STREAMING MULTIMEDIA CLOUD FOR ALL THREE SCREENS

[Press Release]

Unique Cloud Service Offers Content Consumption and Seamless Connectivity via TVs, Mobile Devices and PC

SEOUL, APR. 30, 2012 — LG Electronics (LG) announced the beta opening of LG Cloud service on May 1 with the aim of providing seamless connectivity and streaming access to all digital content across various electronic devices. Although cloud is today’s hottest IT buzzwords, LG Cloud is the first that allows users to manage and consume all types of content on “three screens” which includes Android smartphones, PCs and smart TVs (including but not limited to CINEMA 3D models) without a separate set-top box.

To use the service, users need to download the LG Cloud app from Google Play or LG SmartWorld app store from their Android smartphones, LG SmartWorld store from their LG Smart TVs or the LG Cloud website (www.lgecloud.com) from their PCs or laptops. LG’s Cloud service automatically synchronizes smartphone content with the cloud server and the user’s PC and TV. Photos and videos taken with the smartphone can be viewed and streamed to the PC or TV almost instantaneously. Videos edited on a PC can be uploaded to LG Cloud for viewing seconds later on a smartphone. Unlike other cloud services, there’s very little waiting or lag time since the content is streamed to the TV, PC or smartphone, not downloaded first.

The difference is in LG’s Real-time Streaming Transcoding technology. The conversion happens on the server in realtime, not on the device. There is no need to worry about installing codecs or converters, everything happens seamlessly and in the background with no involvement from the user. No other cloud service can make this same claim.

The service also works perfectly with 3D content. Vacation videos taken with an LG 3D smartphone can be uploaded via 3G or Wi-Fi to the LG Cloud service. Back home in the comforts of the living room, the family can watch the vacation footage as it streams from LG Cloud to their LG CINEMA 3D Smart TV in superb three dimensions.

To better develop cloud services that prioritize convergence, LG created a new division called Smart Business Center to focus specifically on content and services. Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company, is also responsible for the new Smart Business Center.

“Most companies today only see the cloud as a storage device or in the case of YouTube or Flickr, only for one type of content,” said LG’s Mr. Kwon. “LG makes the devices that millions of people watch content on so we can set a new yardstick for ease of use by setting up our own cloud service. Tomorrow’s consumers don’t want to go to one cloud for music, another cloud for video, another location for photos and yet another cloud for their office files. In the end, our solution is about making life more convenient.”

LG Cloud will be offered as both a free and paid service. Free storage space and pricing will differ market to market and will be announced separately as the service becomes available in that country.

See the original post here: http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/30/lg-cloud/

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Studio Technology Leaders Dinner 2017

The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California held its 2017 Studio Technology Leaders Dinner at NeueHouse in Hollywood. Sponsored by Western Digital, HGST and Equinix, the event honored former Sony Pictures CTO Spencer Stephens with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award. The evening featured a panel of studio execs discussing new directions in film production, and a screening of “Wonder Buffalo,” the third R&D short produced under the auspices of ETC@USC’s Project Cloud to explore and test next-generation production processes. 

“Wonder Buffalo,” a coming-of-age story, was made possible through ETC’s 2016 Technology Award to filmmaker Christine Berg, who wrote the script with Simon Shterenberg.

The duo developed the project at the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Project, with the support of Disney/ABC Television Group, Warner Bros., NAGRA Kudelski Group, Technicolor, 8i, Realtra, Equinix, Sony Electronics, Amazon Web Services, the Creative Visions Foundation, The World Building Institute and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It was also executive produced by Erik Weaver, HGST global director of M&E strategy and market development and former head of ETC’s Project Cloud.

ETC executive director Ken Williams noted that the short tested not only cloud production and post production technologies, but was also processed entirely in HDR, and tested volumetric capture, photogrammetry, ambianic sound and interactivity, via a room-scale virtual reality component. “Wonder Buffalo” was shown at Sundance and invited to SXSW.

Williams (below left) presented the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership award to Spencer Stephens (below right), whose early career involved data communications and photography.
ETC_Williams_Stephens_AwardStephens joined Disney TV Animation in 1997, as the company transitioned from traditional to digital production. He later joined Chris Cookson’s Technology Operations at Warner Bros., ultimately building the 4K production capability for Warner’s Motion Picture Imaging post house, which he then ran. He followed Cookson to Sony Pictures where he became CTO. He’s left Sony, but is not retired.

Walden Pond chief executive Wendy Aylsworth, a previous Bob Lambert Technology Leadership awardee; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment senior vice president Richard Berger; and former Sony Pictures Technology president Chris Cookson all spoke about Stephens’ achievements.

“If I’m in a crisis, I want Spencer by my side,” said Berger. “The scope of his knowledge knows no bounds.”

Stephens thanked Williams, the ETC board and Dean Elizabeth Daley of the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the award, and Cookson for hiring him twice. He also recalled his close connection with Lambert, who recommended him for the Disney job and then introduced him to Cookson.

Last, ETC hosted a panel of studio executives, including 20th Century Fox CTO Hanno Basse, Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Don Eklund, Paramount Pictures EVP Anthony Guarino, Warner Bros. Technology EVP Justin Herz, Walt Disney Studios CTO Jamie Voris and Universal Pictures CTO Michael Wise. Moderated by Williams, the panel addressed pain points in the production process, significant opportunities opened up by technology, and how studios are handling change.

Panelists described the challenges of handling thousands of VFX shots from multiple cameras with differing resolutions, color spaces and formats, and putting it all together under increasingly tight deadlines. They noted that “Wonder Buffalo” has helped to shine a light on the issues, which also include the sheer size of files and massive number of deliverables. They also identified security as a “huge issue.”

New technologies have produced automated workflows and enhanced global creative collaboration, as well as significantly accelerated real-time rendering. Panelists noted that physical media isn’t going away any time soon, and that consumers are the big winners in an era in which there are so many platforms and distribution is not getting in the way of finding and enjoying content.

They also underlined that the studios have gone through many technology changes over the decades and that their resilience in managing change bodes well for the future, even as viewers redefine entertainment.

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