News Stories

Digital Town Square

Can Machine Intelligence Solve Entertainment’s Data Challenges?

What are the latest developments in visual and sound recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence and how are entertainment, finance, retail and insurance integrating these tools into their services? Do entertainment datasets, pipelines and workflows present a one-of-a-kind challenge or do other sectors share similar pain points and bottlenecks? Are there ways that content owners, distributors, service providers, and technology companies can collaborate to jumpstart the application of signal analysis and neural networks to their mutual benefit? Attendees will hear concrete and practical use cases from leaders in the field such as Sentient, Amazon, Clarafai, IBM and Rage and see machine intelligence’s potential to plus production and archiving efficiencies, leverage libraries and grow profits.

By invitation only.

When: Thursday, March 23, 2017.


Hosting Sponsor Participating Sponsor
Amazon Web Services GrayMeta height=


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Previous Events

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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Rethinking Digital Archiving and StorageAs 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


Participating Sponsors:




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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virtual NAB Innovation Conference

vNAB Innovation Conference

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC will host its third annual NAB Virtual Conference on March 20th & 21st, 2017 at Google in Venice, CA. This year, the 2-day extension of the April NAB Innovation Conference presents “Next Generation Media Technology: AI, VR and Cloud Innovations”. Join thought leaders and catalysts from the entertainment, and service industries for an insider’s look into the emerging technologies disrupting everything from the creative process to business models and consumer behavior.

Topics covered include:

  • Emergence of Artificial Intelligence
  • Innovations in Cloud Technology and Cyber Security
  • Rapid Development of Augmented and Virtual Reality in Entertainment Media

Keynotes include:

    • “Cloud Transition Patterns for Media Enterprises”— Shailendra Mathur, VP of Architecture, Avid
    • “Hollywood at Netflix Scale”— Casey Wilms, Content Platform Engineering, Netflix
    • “Video metadata platforms: How to futureproof automation”—Anthony, Disney
    • “VR For Everyone: Daydream and Google Play Apps”—Serge Kassardjian, Global Head of Media Apps Business Development, Google Play

Please click here to view/download the event brochure.

Monday March 20th, 2017

8:45 am - 9:15 amRegistration
9:15 am - 9:30 amConference Welcome
Erik Weaver, Global Director Strategy M&E, HGST
9:30 am - 10:00 amSecuring Content in the Cloud
The last 3 years have seen a major shift in how Hollywood film studios view public cloud usage. WIth an increased awareness and generally acceptance of the security and scalability these clouds offers to the VFX and animation vendors creating pre-release content, the focus has now shifted to ensuring best practices implementation.
Adrian Graham, Google
For the deck/ppt click here
The global system behind a viewer’s transaction of watching a movie or TV show impacts viewers and show creators every day. What if all stakeholders had the same facts – Writers, Producers, Directors, Unions, Studios, Networks, Distributors, Theaters, Broadcasters, Cable Providers, Satellite providers, OTT providers and viewers? Blockchains offer precisely this opportunity. In this article we are going to explore new methods for enabling accountability in pre-production, production, post production, distribution, consumption and reporting with a secure chain of custody and metadata to be accessed, including key social attributes such as viewing method, display usage, rights compliance, and digital rights management.
Steve Wong, HPE
For the deck/ppt click here
10:30 am - 11:00 amHacking IoT: the new threat for content assets
Connected devices play an important role in creating and consuming both theatrical and broadcast content, ranging from smart TVs, to connected cameras, to wireless routers, and more. However, these same devices also introduce new security risk, and new attack surfaces against which malicious adversaries can launch their campaigns. Presented by the elite security research group behind esteemed hacking concepts such as IoT Village, this session examines data-based industry trends, the ways in which connected devices are compromised, and what to do about it.
Ted Harrington, ISE
For the deck/ppt click here
11:00 am - 11:30 amWhen brands come alive…
Incredible (and tiny) innovations in technology have inspired brands to invent new modes of engagement. Some of those customer experiences have, in turn, recoded our behavior and expectations. Today, brands have an opportunity and an obligation to be behave as living entities – conscious, intelligent, empathetic, hyper-personalized. The implications are immense and thrilling.
Tali Krakowsky,
11:30 am - 12:00 pmBuilding Highly Scalable Immersive Media Solutions on AWS
Immersive media content such as 360 degree video places a unique set of demands on cloud-based infrastructure from a complete end to end solution point of view. A key goal for any solution of this nature is to keep costs low while not impacting availability, scale and compute performance. In this talk we will look at how to solve ingest, processing, storage and delivery of live and on-demand content for immersive media delivery, and present a reference design for 360 degree streaming using best-practice architectural patterns.
Konstantin Wilms, Principal Solutions Architect M&E, AWS and Chad Schmutzer, Specialist Solutions Architect SPOT, AWS
For the deck/ppt click here
1:00 pm - 1:30 pmThe Future of Visual Effects in the Cloud
"The Cloud has provided a fundamental shift in the way studios are able to approach large scale rendering workloads. We’ll examine the history of feature film workloads on cloud and how visual experiences such as VR are impacting the delivery pipeline and workflows."
Todd Prives, Google
For the deck/ppt click here
1:30 pm - 2:00 pmVisual Effects in the Cloud: Power and Control
Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Baillie had a hunch to bet on cloud computing 6 years ago. That bet birthed award winning visual effects studio Atomic Fiction and software company Conductor Technologies. Baillie will share visuals from blockbusters such as Deadpool and Star Trek Beyond to illustrate the cloud’s immense power, and share cautionary tales of the importance of control in the face of such massive resources.
Kevin Baile, CEO, Atomic Fiction
2:00 pm - 2:30 pmSupercharge performance using GPUs in the cloud
GPUs have thousands of compute cores and when coupled with lightning fast memory access they accelerate machine learning, gaming, database queries, video rendering and transcoding, computational finance, molecular dynamics and many other applications. With GPUs in the cloud, you can scale your calculation-heavy application without constructing your own data center. We'll give an overview of what we're offering in Google Cloud and talk about how to put GPUs to work. We will also showcase a number of commercial applications which require GPUs.
John Barrus, Google
For the deck/ppt click here
2:30 pm - 3:00 pmCloud Transition Patterns for Media Enterprises
On one hand media enterprises using workflows involving thick apps and traditional server based workflows have business opportunities of lifting and shifting from on-prem infrastructure to off-prem cloud or centralized data centers. On the other hand, cloud native micro-services architectures and web apps provide options to implement new services and apps rapidly and dynamically. This talk provides insights into the different hosting patterns observed from these media enterprises, and discusses a common framework provided by Avid’s Media Central Platform to realize the business opportunities under the different hosting models.
Shailendra Mathur, VP Architecture, AVID
For the deck/ppt click here
3:00 pm - 3:30 pmHybrid Redefined and the future of digital assets
Learn how HGST accelerates, simplifies and preserves digital assets in hybrid workflows. HGST’s scale-out object store provides a high performance and cost efficient data lake that prevents cloud lock-in for hybrid media workflows; from post-production to content distribution.
Joan Wrabetz, VP Marketing at HGST, Western Digital
3:30 pm - 4:00 pmThe distributive aspect of cloud on the digital world
The shift to digital is requiring all types of companies to implement new commerce and collaboration models to engage customers, partners and employees, and support new connectivity and data models for analytics, IoT, and other digital services. To sustainably survive digital disruption, traditional organizations in media and entertainment are transforming their business architectures and IT delivery architectures together. Jason will highlight some specific customer case studies in media and entertainment and talk about how preparing for this shift is of paramount importance to the industry.
Jason Sherwood, Sr. Manager, Equinix Global Solutions Architects, Equinix
For the deck/ppt click here
4:00 pm - 4:30 pmIP for Sports broadcast
Using IP technologies to replace traditional video transmission for remote event production has opened up a world of possibilities for increased production values and richer content exchange. This tech can bring improvements to productions, large and small.
Michael Harabin, V.P., Technology, Engineering & Media Management, Pac-12 Networks
For the deck/ppt click here
4:30 pm - 5:00 pmCloud Apps for Media Processing: IMF Packaging-on-Demand
This talk will address how IMF can benefit a facility where versions matter. It will briefly consider how IMF works and then look at use cases of where automation can be used to ensure optimal handling of titles both at the point of creation and also over time as versions are created, managed and distributed. Developed as an effort to reduce complexity and costs for multi-version content publishing for production, post-production and program preparation workflows, the Dalet xN IMF Maker service will be presented as an example.
Eric Carson, Senior Business Development Manager, Dalet
For the deck/ppt click here
5:00 pm - 5:30 pmEnd to End Media Workflow in the Cloud
How would traditional workflows of Production, Post Production and Content Distribution change with the scale and economics of cloud ? We’ll discuss the current of state of art with examples and demos.
Jeff Kember, Technical Director, Media, Office of the CTO, Google
5:30 pm - 6:00 pmThe Truth: Massive Scale Deployments in the Cloud
Although cloud is becoming the norm for most IT-infrastructure refreshes, the scale, growth and specificity of rich media content (HD, HDR, 4k, 8k) driving our industry seemingly prevent the wide-scale abandonment of long-term, on-prem “heavy metal” asset handling, processing and storage deployments.
Brian Campanotti, Director of Business Development, Oracle
6:00 pm - 6:30 pmMulti-cloud content workflows- leveraging the unique characteristic of Cloud
"Multi-cloud content workflows- leveraging the unique characteristics of each cloud infrastructure provider with high-speed content transfer and workflow automation across multiple cloud vendors."
Jay Migliaccio, Director of Cloud Services, ASPERA
6:30 pm - 7:00 pmHollywood at Netflix Scale
Netflix will release 1000 hours of Original programming in 2017. Learn how Netflix is building the infrastructure to manage assets at the world's largest studio.
Casey Wilms, Content Platform Engineering, Netflix
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmAvalanche - Global File Management with C4 is releasing a powerful new file navigator based on the open source C4 framework. C4 dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of remote file management, and Avalanche makes it drag and drop. This talk will go behind the scenes to show how C4 is used to solve the most fundamental challenges of production in the cloud.
Joshua Kolden, CEO, Avalanche
7:30 pm - 9:00 pmCocktail Reception

Tuesday March 21st, 2017

8:45 am - 9:15 amDoors open
9:15 am - 9:30 amLooking beyond the script – The practical use of computational linguistics for story adaptation and project development
A short case study on the use of natural language processing techniques to support the screenplay adaptation of a popular young-adult novel series. Rather than trying to ‘crack the code’, Double Bishop supports development strategies by revealing hidden insights and bridging interpretive feedback with objective analysis and recommendations.
Anton Andreacchio, Managing Director, Double Bishop/JumpgateVR
For the deck/ppt click here
9:30 am - 10:00 amIntelligence Content Discovery through Machine Learning
Machine Learning has enabled Google to change the experience within products like Photos and YouTube. ML has allowed us to understand the content of images and videos, so that we can recommend and search for your favorite clip or photo. With Cloud Machine Learning, we are now bringing that technology closer to you. With the new Video Intelligence and Vision products, you can now find entities and faces within your video content.
Ram Ramanathan, Product Management - Cloud and Machine Learning, Google
10:30 am - 11:00 amVideo metadata platforms: How to futureproof automation
With all the vendors, promises and demos around automated metadata and machine learning, it can be overwhelming to plan a path forward. In this talk we’ll cover a modular and futureproof descriptive metadata architecture and explain how we’re implementing machine learning and automation to avoid vendor lock-in.
Anthony Accardo , Director R&D at Disney ABC Television Group, Disney
11:00 am - 11:30 amImprove Efficiency by Double Digits – Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
How will artificial intelligence and machine learning help drive efficiency throughout the M&E Industry? In this talk, John Motz will explore the future of machine learning and how it is enabling companies to automate manual workflows to become more efficient and more productive.
John Motz, CTO, GrayMeta
11:30 am - 12:00 pmHow broadcasters can get in the VR game with sports
"With new distribution deals from the NFL on Twitter to ESPN on Sling ­ how we watch TV is now driven by the
consumer demand to do more while we watch tune in to watch our favorite team. Enter virtual reality. VR is the first truly transformative technology for sports broadcasting in years – to date, the biggest improvements we've seen have been HD (just better picture) and ""the yellow line."" With VR, we can actually take you to the game, like you're sitting courtside or on the 50­year line, while still being able to check their Twitter, trash talk and follow their team in real­time. "

Saswat Panda, CTO, Livelikevr and Michael Davies, SVP Fox Sports
For the deck/ppt click here
1:00 pm - 1:30 pmTechnical Introduction 360 / VR / AR / MR
All The “R”s. The technical basics, the differences, and real-world examples of 360 video, VR, AR, and MR. The emotional connection they each make, and where they shine in creative, B2B, and B2C presentations.
Lucas Wilson, CEO, Superspherevr
For the deck/ppt click here
1:30 pm - 2:00 pmThe future VR and Panoramic Cinema experiences. - Panel Moderated by Lelyveld
Multiplexes and arcades are once again faced with the challenge of drawing an audience as home entertainment improves and an explosion of entertainment and social engagement options vie for their time. This series of talks will explore ideas multiplexes and arcades are considering; from offering wider and bigger screen experiences to rethinking the spaces as multi-sensory group immersive experiences.
Ted Schilowitz, Greg Downing, Richard W. Taylor II, Phil Lelyveld, Greg Ciaccio, ETC
2:00 pm - 2:30 pmVR For Everyone: Daydream and Google Play Apps
Google Play has become a critical platform for app developers to reach a wide and diverse audience. As VR is a nascent technology, both platform and developers have an opportunity to create a marketplace that offers a similarly broad and diverse catalog. In this talk, Serge Kassardjian shares how Google Play is adapting its store management approach to programming the launch portfolio of apps for Daydream – with the goal of moving VR from a novelty to a mainstream movement.
Serge Kassardjian, Global Head of Media Apps Business Development, Google Play
2:30 pm - 3:00 pmFrictionless Adoption: Removing Barriers to Creating, Distributing and Experiencing Immersive Experiences
Marcie Jastrow, SVP of Immersive Media, Technicolor and Head of the Technicolor Experience, discusses the current state of immersive experiences and how we are working toward a ‘frictionless’ adoption by consumers. By exploring the methodology of how consumers embraced past technologies, Marcie explores what needs to happen in order for immersive media to be accepted into mainstream culture. What is that breakthrough piece of content that will bring people into the headset, and how do we keep them engaged? Marcie explains how, through education, the Technicolor Experience Center is working toward a seamless ecosystem to drive the adoption of this emerging medium.
Marcie Jastrow, SVP Technicolor Immersive Center
3:00 pm - 3:30 pmBeyond Gaming: Incredible, Useful & Interesting Ways VR is Used Today
When you think of VR you likely picture a gamer wearing a VR headset, immersed in an animated battle against dark and evil forces. But VR goes so far beyond gaming - cutting across music, non-profits, sports, filmmaking and commercials to name just a few. In this session, you’ll hear from experts who have focused their life’s work on creating immersive experiences thanks to VR.
Laura Williams Argilla, Adobe
3:30 pm - 4:00 pmCreating a Diverse and Inclusive VR/AR Industry: A Cornerstone for the Future of Storytelling
Diversity has long been an important yet misunderstood topic, and this appears to be especially true in the emerging industry of VR/AR. This session will explore VR as a storytelling medium, the impact of diverse voices on culture, and current initiatives in the VR/AR industry to create an inclusive industry. The talk will also cover best practices for fighting our own biases in the workplace.
Jenn Duong and Julie Young, Co-founders, SH//FT
4:00 pm - 4:30 pmFinding the Superhero Within: Social Change in VR
Explore how VR experiences can be an effective tool in understanding social issues with the creators of Wonder Buffalo.
Ned Atkins, Christina Berg, Drew Diamond, Brian Frager, ETC
4:30 pm - 5:00 pmSidestepping the Uncanny Valley: Physical Asset Capture in Wonder Buffalo VR
Let’s talk the Holy Grail of this emergent storytelling medium: photoreal fidelity in a real-time rendered experience. Light fields hold immense promise to break down these barriers in time, but what can be done today? The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC teamed up with major studio and technology partners to explore the cutting edge of physical asset capture in an interactive VR experience, exploring the very real computing and workflow challenges along the way. Learn best practices and pitfalls uncovered in the creation of Wonder Buffalo VR, a real-time rendered Unity experience that made waves at Sundance and SXSW 2017 through its integration of photogrammetry, volumetric video and interactive CG elements.
Brian Fager
For the deck/ppt click here
5:00 pm - 5:45 pmVolumetric Capture, Panel Moderated by Schwartz
Rainer Gombos (Realtra), Tim Milliron (Lytro), Ben Stein (8i), Andrew Schwartz (Radiant Image)
5:45 pm - 9:00 pmCocktail reception

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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SMPTE Entertainment Tech in the Connected Age – 
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Siggraph 2017 
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IBC Conference and
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