The Entertainment Technology Center at USC held it’s 7th annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner at USC’s Town & Gown on June 26, 2018. Presented by Western Digital and co-sponsored by Equinix and Salesforce Analytics, this event celebrated the ETC’s 25th anniversary and honored Elizabeth M. Daley, Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts as this year’s Bob Lambert Award recipient.
ETC’s Executive Director and CEO Ken Williams kicked off the night by noting the role the ETC has played as neutral grounds to explore trends and venture into advanced technologies in the past quarter-century. Williams also acknowledged sponsors as a driving force in enabling the production of new industry solutions and technologies. After describing a few of the ETC’s current initiatives including immersive media and adaptive production, Williams also honored CAO Edie Meadows, who has been with ETC virtually since its establishment.
We also had a few words from our sponsors. Senior Director of Strategic Markets & Alliances at Western Digital Stefaan Vervaet reported development of industry workflows and growth in storage sales, then extended an invitation to collaborate with the company on machine learning and videography innovation. Representatives from supporting sponsors Equinix and Salesforce also spoke during the evening. Equinix senior director of sales Jeff Bender expressed his company’s pride in sponsoring the work being done at the ETC, and also noted the company’s 20th anniversary: “Today, we’re the global leader, operating over 200 sites around the world, with 90 percent of Internet traffic going through Equinix.” Salesforce’s Amruta Moktali reported the company’s role in increased employment opportunities as well as the deliverance of a more personalized customer experience.
This year’s Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award recipient was Elizabeth M. Daley, Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. With a tenure of 27 years, Daley has been working at SCA since before ETC’s inception. Recognized for empowering new generations of filmmakers at the University, Daley pushed for the access to new technologies that brought SCA’s reputation to where it is today. In accepting the award, Daley firmly highlighted the importance of technologists and creators to come together. “It’s the most exciting time I can imagine in this industry,” she concluded.
We also welcomed a panel of professionals from various reaches of the industry including 20th Century Fox CTO Hanno Basse, Universal Pictures Creative Technologies VP Annie Chang, Marvel Studios Head of Technologies Eddie Drake, Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Don Eklund, Paramount Pictures EVP Anthony Guarino, and Warner Bros. Technology EVP Justin Herz. The panel explored innovations surrounding modern technology, including the recycling of digital assets, the development of cloud workflows, the potential of big data, the future of artificial intelligence, and the disintermediation of distribution channels.
ETC’s next Studio Technology Leaders Dinner will be held on June 26, 2019 (Invitation only).