SMPTE gathers in Hollywood for annual Media Technology Summit, 8K resolution proves to be a controversial topic

SMPTE Media & Technology Summit 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

This Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) For the first time since 2019, ASU associate professor Loews Hollywood Hotel hosted the annual Media Technology Summit in person. Ana HruzzoWorking in emerging and computational media, his keynote was “Enhancing Creative Disciplines through Emerging Computational Tools”.

Director Ang Lee was awarded Honorary Membership, SMPTE’s highest honor,” in recognition of his [the] Deploying new technologies to enhance dramatic storytelling,” Charles H. Jablonski “In recognition of his decades of advanced technology advancing entertainment production and distribution, as well as his service to the education and mentoring of young entertainment engineers.”

HPA Women in Post and SMPTE Hollywood teamed up for down-to-earth conversations with established key players at the forefront of technological change in the M&E industry.Hosted by Universal Pictures Annie ZhangPanelists include Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Emmanuel Bird; Blu-ray Digital Group Paulette PantoyaLionsgate Theresa Millerand Blockchain Creative Lab Jay Elliott.

Chang started by asking what new technologies these executives were working on, with Borde, Pantoja, and Miller mentioning cloud and automation, while Elliott naturally mentioned blockchain and Metaverse.

“We’re looking at how to optimize the cloud,” Borde said. “The limit is the price compared to local.”

Pantoja said her company is focusing on cloud-based post-workflows and “automating as much as possible so we can take advantage of what humans do.”

Miller also mentioned “ML/AI in data science on the enterprise side, seeing which movies are going to bring people into theaters.”

SMPTE Media & Technology Summit 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

All executives emphasized that staying curious is the key to staying relevant in the industry.

“Technologists like to learn new things,” Miller said, while Bode added that she likes to “see how other industries solve problems.”

When Chang asked them which technologies they predicted would shape the future, Borde mentioned virtual production and AR. Miller points to “artificial intelligence entering the workplace,” and Pantoja points to AR and the metaverse.

“Blockchain is the wild west right now,” Elliott said. “I see a future in which de facto ownership of digital assets and fans are closer to the process of creating content. That will mean better content, more diversity and more voices.”

Several executives started their careers as software developers. Miller started out as a developer at MGM, then worked on a technical audit.

“I’ve done other types of audits, so it really taught me how to do business,” she said. “Then I went back to IT for an executive position.”

Elliott revealed that she never thought she would venture into tech. “I thought I had to be really good at math,” she said. “I never thought of it as a creative medium. Now that I’m doing it, I can’t believe I ever thought about it.”

Chang asked them if they experienced “impostor syndrome” as one of the few women in the male-dominated tech industry.

“It’s not a bad thing to constantly question yourself,” Pantoya said. “It’s just a question if it stops you from asking for a raise or a different role at the company. Eventually, you find that no one has all the answers, but I’m still questioning myself and that keeps me on my toes.”

You have to “fake it until you become it,” advises Borde.

Executives also talked about the various ways they mentor women in their companies and students seeking STEM careers.

“We support local charities that focus on women and underserved communities, from elementary school to women in need of a second career,” said Lionsgate’s Miller. “I also support STEM Advantage, which matches Cal State students with internships. “

Elliott notes that, as someone who facilitates ideation sessions, she likes to keep track of who’s talking. “I always turn to people who have opinions but aren’t as outspoken to make sure they have a chance to be heard.”

At another conference, data scientists Yves BergquistDirector of the Hedy Blockchain Program at the USC Center for Entertainment Technology, talks about the evolution and prospects of blockchain in the M&E industry.

“We found about a dozen use cases,” he revealed. “They include content security, NFTs, Metaverse, community governance, and archiving.”

Bergquist added that ETC launched “Project Hedy” to create an industry-owned and operated metadata repository [the] blockchain. “Right now, this is being monetized by private companies,” he said. “Our goal is to build an industry-wide team that builds a repository that can be trusted, resilient and secure.” “

David Stump, Bruce Markoe, Kylee Pena, Josh Limor and Joachim Zell/SMPTE/Debra Kaufman

Later, SMPTE Hollywood discussed “Frontier technology and its impact on creative choices.”hosted (and with Belinda Merritt) at Marvel Studios Mark ZornPanelists include cinematographers david stumpin ascending order; SMPTE Hollywood Regional Governor kerpena; Marvel Studios Danielle Costa; IMAX Bruce Marco; Paramount Universal Josh Limoreand Barco’s Joachim Zell.

Zorn first proposed the extended reality/virtual production phase as an emerging technology that affects creativity.

“It’s really gone from being a novel, very new technology to another tool in a box,” Stump said. “It changed several paradigms. We’re used to leaving choices to post-production and making last-minute decisions, but XR doesn’t give you that luxury: now you have to commit when you go on stage.”

“There is a wide variety of knowledge and skill sets to use these tools in a live environment to produce this type of content,” added Markoe. “We tested a lot of virtual sets in IMAX and some of them looked pretty bad,” he said, emphasizing that the need for training.

Pena agreed, adding that “the vocabulary doesn’t exist … and poor creative choices create a domino effect.”

Finally, Stump revealed that ASC is “just getting started” on the general vocabulary of related terms.

Limor went on to point out that virtual production has been “multiple iterations,” starting with green screens and blue screens. “It’s about foreground space and background space that we have to pay attention to,” he said.

“We always need to mix real photos with XR made photos—the trick is to make it look the same, and that’s where color scientists come in,” Zell said.

Stump agrees that “color management in LED wall production is very difficult”, Limor insists that “LED [screen] It was never designed to be a light source. “We knew we had to add extra lights,” Limor said. “Once you got into a volume, the bulbs would tilt a different color on each side of the volume.” “

Costa revealed that Marvel Studios has used LED walls in three films, two of which have yet to be released. “The only thing we’ve found to be very successful is what we’ve done with the poor process,” she said. But, she adds, while LED displays can add a lot of cost, it can be an ideal way to create, for example, a 12-hour magic time or for productions that can’t afford on location.

SMPTE Media & Technology Summit 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

The emerging 8K resolution quickly became a contentious topic at the end of the panel discussion.

“We’ve done endless tests comparing HDR in 2K and 2K. 4K, yes, you can see the difference with certain types of footage,” Costa said. “But it’s rare, and generally speaking, you don’t always want something that crisp. Sometimes less is more.” She reminded viewers that “all VFX shots were done in 2K” and that when needed upscaling to 4K. “No one is interested in 8K, but everyone is very excited about HDR,” Costa added.

“In a cinematographer, the discussion always comes back to the lens,” Stump noted. “In rare cases, you’re talking about getting most of the solution,” he said. “But most of the time, they talk about 1950s or 1960s lenses and how good they look.”

Pena — recently hired by Netflix and about to join Adobe — made the strongest statement. “I think 8K is largely a waste of time,” she said. “It works in sports, but as a post producer I don’t want you to shoot in 8K and then throw all the footage to the editor and finish it in HD or 2K. The benefit-to-pain ratio comes to me It’s not worth it.”

Instead, Pena cited the potential power of Web 3.0, which “will change the concept of ownership and the creator/fan relationship” and generative artificial intelligence.

“Production tools don’t drive creativity,” concludes Stump. “Creativity is what drives the tools of production, and it should always be.” He added that he “wants to see technology in the hands of children all the time.”

A group of young people participated in a quick networking event organized by SMPTE and SMPTE Hollywood for students in the electromechanical industry. In a dozen roundtables, each focused on topics such as broadcasting, editing and sound, two industry experts answered questions from students who moved from desk to desk in a “speed-dating” format.

Judging by the strong presence of young people, lively conversations and networking, the technology of the future will be in our hands.

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