News Stories

vETC – ETC’s Virtual Conference: Call for Speakers

The Entertainment Technology Center at The University of Southern California (ETC) will produce “vETC  | The Grand Convergence 2019: Innovation and Integration,” its 5th annual virtual conference, August 27-28, 2019, in Los Angeles, highlighting significant presentations of emerging technologies and their impact on the M&E industry. The 25-minute presentations will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel. The Initial Expression of Interest seeking speakers and topics is open through Friday, August 9. Specific areas of concentration include 5G, AI, machine learning, adaptive production, blockchain, immersive media, virtual beings, and streaming. We Read More

Interactive Media Challenge Selected Entries

This past spring, the Entertainment Technology Center at USC invited students and recent grads to participate in our Immersive Media Challenge, organized by ETC’s Director of Immersive Media Phil Lelyveld and funded by NBCUniversal and Cisco. The competition required students to ideate an engaging experience that should be buildable in 3-5 years and explain what needs to happen to make its construction possible. Judging took place May 29th, and here are the four amazing entries that were selected: Viewfinder An emotion-reactive first-person creature-based exploration puzzle game.   placeLA Read More

Studio Technology Leaders Dinner 2019

Original article and reporting by Debra Kaufman, ETCentric. The Entertainment Technology Center @ the University of Southern California held its 8th annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner on June 26th, coinciding with the 26th anniversary of ETC’s founding. The event, underwritten by supporting sponsor Equinix and contributing sponsor WekaIO, honored industry leader Leon Silverman with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award and featured a panel on some of the industry’s most pressing issues in “Media Fundamentals in Flex: Conflict, Chaos or Collaboration.” Executive director & CEO Ken Williams (below) Read More

USC Students Speak on Media Habits and Consumption

At our June 20th All Members Meeting, ETC invited students from the University of Southern California to participate in a panel where they voiced their observations of current youth media consumption and to speculate the future of interactive media. The panel was moderated by ETC’s Immersive Media Initiative Director Phil Lelyveld. In order to engage with industry leaders on these topics, the students drew from observations of their families, analysis of their own personal preferences, and consideration of their academic studies.   Our participating panelists included:  Anil Ramakrishna Read More

ETC at NAB – Adaptive Production and AI

Adaptive Production and AI were front and center for The Entertainment Technology Center@USC at this year’s NAB Show on April 10th.  Under the NXT Tech Symposium, 3 sessions programmed by our Adaptive Production director, Seth Levenson, discussed current state, findings, and perspectives. Preservation in the Cloud 9:00 AM – 10:20 AM The cloud allows for revolutionary gains in speed, flexibility, and collaboration, but the supposed benefit of “weightless” and “floating” data poses a challenge of preservation. When the infrastructure is no longer under your control, how can you Read More

ETC’s Digital Town Square Discussed 5G

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC hosted a half-day forum on 5G as the next wave of media transformation on March 28, 2019, 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM, in Downtown Los Angeles. The advent of 5G technologies is poised to transform entertainment supply chain, workflows, Hollywood enterprise relationships, and the very nature of the content itself. The agenda included explorative talks, panels, and presentations to define the 5G system of technologies, its transformative prospects for content creation, distribution, and consumption, raise discussion over the technology’s allowance of Read More


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.

ETC Events

Adaptive Production – VFX Standards
March 20. 2019

ETC All Members Meeting
March 21, 2019

Adaptive Production – Blockchain
March 27. 2019

DTS 5G:  The Next Wave in Media Transformation – By Invitation Only
March 28, 2019

Adaptive Production – Archiving
April 3, 2019

ETC Nex Gen Tech Symposium @ NAB Show
LVCC – N257
April 10, 2019

ETC Executive Board Meeting – Board Members Only
June 6, 2019

ETC All Members Meeting 
June 20, 2019

ETC Studio Technology Leaders Dinner – By Invitation Only
USC Town & Gown
June 26, 2019


Industry Events