News Stories

Digital Town Square

The ETC@USC is pleased to announce its next Virtual Reality symposium on the grammar of storytelling in VR.  The symposium will take place Thursday afternoon, February 19th, and is a follow-through to our highly successful introduction to VR this past November.

What: bringing together creative leaders in VR, video games, theater and traditional entertainment to explore a new creative grammar for VR storytelling through panels, presentations, workshops and demos.

Who: Above- and below-the-line VR content creators; game designers and developers; story and development executives; filmmakers; and studio, production and technology company executives tracking the future of entertainment.

Speakers (more to be announced):

  • Matt Apfel, vp, strategy & creative content, Samsung Media Solutions Center America
  • Danny Bilson, writer/director/producer (EA, THQ, Warner Bros., Disney)
  • Jon Snoody, R&D studio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering (“Captain EO,” “Indiana Jones™ Adventure,” “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride”)
  • 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)
  • Sean Stewart, founder, Three Story House (former CD Xbox Studios, award-winning novelist, co-creator ARG genre)

Demos (more to be announced):  Jaunt, Samsung, Assimilate, Emblematic, VisiSonics, Chris Milk’s VRSE, WemoLab, Reel FX, Otherworld Interactive.


Participating Sponsors:




Supporting Sponsor:




Previous Events


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.



ETC provides additional references and offers these resources for further information and detail.

– ETC Digital Feedback Session. Coming Soon

– CEA Outlook: Trends to Watch.
View or Download the Report

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