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Digital Town Square

Rise of the Machine: A New Age In Metadata

Can 21st Century data science help solve some of the intractable metadata challenges faced by production, post and archiving? Find out at this interactive forum examining innovations in upstream metadata capture and utilization and the potential for change through data identification, machine learning and AI combined with indelible and unstructured metadata. Presentations, case studies and panels about current and emerging filmmaker solutions; Hollywood and Dublin Core; audio and video content recognition; deep learning; extracting and managing unstructured production metadata; leveraging descriptive metadata for greater ROI; and more.

Target Audience:
Studio, network and OTT executives, production and postproduction leads, technologists and archivists; producers and below-the-line workflow experts; executives and technologists at hardware, software and service companies working in production technology, data capture, recognition and optimization, and asset management.

By invitation only. Audience makeup will be calibrated to support a thorough, balanced and open dialogue. Safe harbor—there will be no media coverage.

When: Wednesday, November 2, 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM with a reception.


Hosting Sponsors Supporting Sponsors
Bluescape MarkLogic
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Previous Events

Rethinking Digital Archiving and Storage

As the latest in its ongoing Digital Town Square series, the Entertainment Technology Center at USC held a symposium on “Rethinking Digital Archiving and Storage” on June 9 at Amazon’s Santa Monica facilities. Approximately 80 people from all the major Hollywood studios, archivists and post production professionals participated in the interactive forum that examined the challenges in current archiving and storage practices, the pressures to change those practices, and emerging solutions.

“Our membership of Hollywood motion picture studios and broadcast networks are facing significant issues with regard to how to manage and protect their growing assets,” said ETC executive director Ken Williams. “Holding a Digital Town Square is an opportunity to hear from top experts in the field and openly discuss the issues affecting the entire community.”

Pacific Interface consultant Laurin Herr set the stage by describing the current landscape faced by archivists and content creators and owners. Storage/data authority Tom Coughlin detailed the exploding archive content, and Amazon Web Services product manager Henry Zhang described how his company’s services aim to create efficiencies and offer solutions.

Among the topics of focus were the impact of the increased amount of data flooding today’s media and entertainment archive, how to define tiers or levels of storage, nascent technologies that offer the promise of better solutions (including the cloud, DOTS, DNA and optical media), and how several studios and archives are planning for the future. Coca-Cola and Universal Pictures also presented case studies.

Amazon Web Services (Ben Masek and Ian McPherson) hosted the event, with participating sponsor Fujifilm and its Dternity digital archiving solution. The event was also sponsored by DigitalFilm Tree.


  • Guillaume Aubuchon, CTO, DigitalFilm Tree
  • Jean Bolot, VP, Research & Innovation, Technicolor
  • Brian Campanotti, Director, Business Development, Oracle
  • Annie Chang, VP, Technology Standards & Strategy, The Walt Disney Company
  • Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates
  • Daniel De La Rosa, Director, Film Production Technologies, Universal Pictures
  • Nick Felder, Group Director, Film & Music Production, Coca-Cola
  • Laurin Herr, President, Pacific Interface
  • Andrea Kalas, President, Association of Moving Images (AMIA)
  • Joshua Kolden, Founder, Avalanche
  • Denis Leconte, Director, Technology, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services
  • Josh Rizzo, VP, Technology, 24p Dailies Lab — Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Dan Rosen, CTO/Partner, Group 47
  • Erik Weaver, Project Manager, Cloud, ETC@USC
  • Konstantin Wilms, Specialist Solution Architect, Amazon Web Services
  • Henry Zhang, Senior Product Manager, Amazon Web Services


Hosting Sponsor Participating Sponsor Event Sponsor
Amazon Web Services FujiFilm - Dternity Digital DigitalFilm Tree


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Business of VR workshop

One hundred and four business people with direct involvement in Virtual Reality attended The Business of VR workshop co-produced by the Entertainment Technology Center at USC and the Advanced Imaging Society.

Over the course of the afternoon the attendees heard seven 10-minute presentations, participated in one of four moderated discussion groups, and had the opportunity to experience seven VR demos while networking. The event was held at the Skirball Center, Los Angeles, on November 17, 2015.

The program provided attendees with perspective, discussion and experiences beginning with seven 10-minute presentations from the following speakers :

  • Jeffrey Greller, Digital Agent with a Focus on VR at WME|IMG
  • Seth Shapiro, Principal, New Amsterdam Media, Adjunct Prof., USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Governor, Interactive Media Peer Group, the Television Academy
  • Brian Furano, Director of River Studios, Venture Advisor for VR focused Rothenberg Ventures
  • Eunice Shin, Director, Manatt Digital Media; Anthony Borquez, Founder and CEO of Grab Games
  • Clifton Dawson, CEO, Greenlight VR, a VR-focused market research company
  • Schuyler Moore, Partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

While the majority of the presentations focused on content and platforms, Moore delivered a provocative array of potential legal issues that few in the audience had heretofore considered.

Following the meeting, VR and AR Initiative Leader Phil Lelyveld published a comprehensive summary of the presentations and group discussions that explored location-based entertainment, platforms and money, content and money, and big picture strategy. The report is available at

That’s Cool, Now What? How to Tell Stories in Virtual Reality

One hundred and twenty creative leaders in VR, video games, TV, movies, theater and traditional entertainment gathered on February 19, 2015 to discuss the emerging language of VR storytelling.

Following two sessions of presentations and group discussions, the participants broke into five moderated working groups.  The working groups discussed their current thinking on the topic: what approaches carry over from other artistic media; and what issues, approaches, and concerns are new to the VR environment?  A report pulling together the thoughts of this community was published.

The panelists and presenters were:

Matt Apfel, vp, strategy & creative content, Samsung Media Solutions Center America
Danny Bilson, writer/director/producer (EA, THQ, Warner Bros., Disney)
Mark Bolas, director, Mixed Reality Lab, associate director, USC’s ICT, associate professor, USC’s SCA Interactive Media Division
Philip Lelyveld, sr. program manager, ETC
Alex McDowell, narrative designer, creative director, 5D GlobalStudio, Professor of Practice, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Media Arts + Practice (Intel’s “Leviathan,” “Minority Report,” “Watchmen”)
Charlie Otte, creative director, Thinkwell (Guthrie, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music)
Jon Snoody, R&D studio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering (“Captain EO,” “Indiana Jones™ Adventure,” “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride”)
Sean Stewart, founder, Three Story House (former CD Xbox Studios, award-winning novelist, co-creator ARG genre)
VR experience demos were provided by Samsung Electronics America, Jaunt, Assimilate, Emblematic, Funktronics Labs, InnerSpace VR, Metaverse Systems, Nurulize, Otherworld Interactive,  Reel FX, VRSE, VisiSonics, and WEVR (formerly WemoLab).

Read our full report here


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Supporting Sponsor:




Realizing The Promise of UHD
On Thursday, June 12, 2014, the ETC@USC hosted a Digital Town Square at the London West Hollywood Hotel: “Realizing The Promise of UHD.”

IMG_5368 - Version 2

The introduction of digital cameras that strived to match or exceed film negatives’ capabilities and of UHD displays that support the explosion in home viewing have set in motion a re-evaluation of the professional entertainment supply chain. New practices, technologies and standards are being proposed to address image quality, the creative process, storage and transport roadblocks, the audience experience, and more. But are the major opportunities and challenges being addressed? The time is right to take stock of the progress to date, to examine and evaluate the solutions on the table to and to prepare for the future.

Filmmakers, display manufacturers, senior executives, and technologists from the content supply chain at studios, networks, and post-production/distribution companies and vendors participated in an interactive 360° forum examining the 4K supply chain options that will further the artistic and business interests of the entertainment and CE industry while delivering a demonstrably improved viewing experience. Among the topics of focus were resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), high frame rate (HFR), post and distribution workflows, new compression and color space solutions, UHD TV innovations, refresh rates, and other settings.

Presenters and Speakers:

  • Wendy Aylsworth, SVP Technology, Warner Bros. Technical Operations
  • Bill Baggelaar, SVP Technology, Colorworks / Post Production Services, Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Nick Colsey, VP, Business Development, Sony Electronics
  • Jon Fairhurst, Head, CE Standards, Sharp Labs of America
  • Chris Fetner, Director, Content Relations, Netflix
  • Joe Kane, CEO, Joe Kane Productions / Consultant, Samsung Electronics
  • Howard Lukk, VP, Digital Production Technology, Walt Disney Studios
  • N (Nandhu) Nandhakumar, SVP, LG Technology Center of America
  • Daryn Okada, ASC, Director of Photography
  • Dave Schnuelle, Senior Director, Image Technology, Dolby Laboratories
  • Yasser Syed, Ph.D., Comcast Distinguished Engineer, Comcast Cable


Jim Houston, Principal, Starwatcher Digital

Sponsored By:




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Digital Cinema Lab (DCL)

The Digital Cinema lab has relocated to the University of Southern California campus!

Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre
 3507 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Tel: (213) 743-1600

Parking (USC Map Grid indicators) 
 Entrance off Jefferson Blvd and Royal St: Gate 4 (G3)
 Parking Structure D (G4) 
Norris Theatre (E4)

Brief History

The Digital Cinema Laboratory opened at the historic Hollywood Pacific Theatre in October 2000 to perform research and establish benchmarks regarding standards for digital cinema distribution and exhibition. The DCL has been host to myriad meetings, discussions, tests and demos surrounding digital cinema. ETC and the DCL are often credited for providing the catalyst that made digital cinema a reality rather than a theoretical discussion.

In November 2006, after digital theaters began rolling out in earnest, ETC moved the lab to the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre on the University of Southern California campus in downtown Los Angeles, where the DCL could continue providing a testing facility at the same time providing a platform for training the next generation of film creators.

DCL Mission

To be a global leader in providing a test bed for digital cinema distribution and exhibition, as well as for the growing use of digital cinema technology in image creation and post production.

To evaluate proposed technology solutions for quality, robustness, and interoperability.

To reach out to the creative community and bring their needs and their artistic and critical skills to bear on solving problems in the transition to digital cinema.

To work with efforts underway around the world, so that digital cinema labs can share test materials and procedures.

To be a showcase for the best in cinema presentation.


Verizon Joins the Executive Board of the Entertainment Technology Center at USC

Verizon Enterprise Solutions will lend its technology expertise to the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC) through a seat on ETC@USC’s executive board. Verizon’s global cloud, IP and wireless networks, managed security services, end-to-end digital content solutions and technology-related professional services are used by media and entertainment companies to create, transport, manage and deliver digital content around the world, on any platform,  anytime.

ETC@USC is a nonprofit, member-funded entertainment technology think tank and research center, affiliated with the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It brings together senior executives, innovators, thought leaders and catalysts in a neutral setting to explore issues related to the creation, distribution and consumption of entertainment content. Verizon’s participation on the executive board will provide media and entertainment companies with opportunities to learn how Verizon’s media-focused solutions, network and technology expertise can help the industry transform its future.

“The goal of the ETC@USC is to bring industry and technology experts together to develop the solutions that will propel us through the next 20 years,” said Kenneth Williams, CEO and executive director of the ETC@USC. “Verizon’s broad set of technologies and deep industry experience will provide a unique voice on the executive board. We look forward to their active participation.”

Scott Spector, global head of Verizon’s media and entertainment vertical, added: “Verizon is committed to the media and entertainment industry, and our participation with ETC@USC will allow us to support and potentially drive innovation in the industry. There’s a vast range of opportunities to integrate technology and improve everything from digital content production through digital distribution, creating an optimal experience for the industry.”

Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and help shape tomorrow’s biggest ideas. With industry-specific solutions provided over Verizon’s secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit to learn more.

The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC) is a think tank and research center within the USC School of Cinematic Arts that brings together senior executives, innovators, thought leaders, and catalysts from the entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, and services industries along with the academic resources of the University of Southern California to explore and to act upon topics and issues related to the creation, distribution, and consumption of entertainment content.  ETC@USC helps drive collaborative projects among its member companies and engages with next generation consumers to understand the impact of emerging technology on all aspects of the entertainment industry, especially technology development and implementation, the creative process, business models, and future trends. (

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq:  VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 108 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide. A Dow 30 company with more than $127 billion in 2014 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 177,300. For more information, visit

VERIZON ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS ONLINE NEWS CENTER: News releases, blog posts, media contacts and other information are available in Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ online News Center at News from Verizon Enterprise Solutions is also available through an RSS feed at

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