Thursday, October 27, 2011

SMPTE Members Honored

SMPTE Fellow Andy Setos received the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award, Wednesday night during the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 2011 Engineering Awards.
He received a standing ovation as he accepted the award, appropriately named after one of SMPTE’s founders. Setos thanked the Academy, its Engineering Committee, friends and colleagues.
He summed up: “Recently I had a couple of reporters ask me, of all the things I did, which one was my favorite. Was it doing MTV? Giving reality to David Hill’s desire to put the score on the screen? Was it HDTV, or Blu-ray, or Digital Cinema? No, none of those. My most favorite are the things that I will be doing next.”

This week during SMPTE, Setos shared his views on several conference topics:

“Doing live sports with 3D is awfully challenging. I think a lot of good work has been done. But it is very hard; I don’t think anybody has really got the magic formula that is going to make it universal, yet.”

“I think from a home standpoint, until 3D becomes glasses free—which is technical practical and there is work going on, but it has not matured yet to be a product for group viewing—there is going to be a limit to how much (3D) content people can watch.
"Once we get past glasses, I think things will get more prolific.”

"I think second screen is going to become very interesting. We tried to do this a long time ago, the challenge was inventing the second screen. … But now, second screens are practical. And that is an opportunity. The Internet can do some things really well, but it can’t do real time, high value content—not when it’s popular. It was never intended for that.
“The strength of Internet protocol is breath and choice. The strength of reserve bandwidth systems is that they can provide rich, high value imagery and sound to as many people as are out there connected.

Thursday evening, SMPTE will present its Honors and Awards ceremony.
Dr. Edwin Catmull will receive the SMPTE Progress Medal, Graeme Ferguson and Roman Kroitor will be awarded the John Grierson International Gold Medal, Joshua Pines will receive the Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Medal, Max Bell will accept the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal, Bruce Devlin will be awarded the David Sarnoff Medal, Linda J. Brown will receive the Kodak Educational Award, and Douglas Trumbull will accept the SMPTE Presidential Proclamation.
The SMPTE Journal Award will be presented to Regunathan Radhakrishnan and Kent B. Terry for their article, "Detection and Correction of Lip-Sync Errors Using Audio and Video Fingerprints.” The SMPTE Journal Certificate of Merit will be awarded to Sean McCarthy for the article, "A Biological Framework for Perceptual Video Processing and Compression” and to David Wood for the article "Understanding Stereoscopic Television and Its Challenges.”
David Horowitz will receive a Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society, and Michael A. Dolan has earned the Excellence in Standards Award.
Catmull, Todd Brunhoff, Gary Demos, Michael Karagosian  and Paul Michael Stechly were named SMPTE Fellows.
Alexander Michael Pagliaro, a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, was awarded the Louis Wolf Memorial Scholarship.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sen. Dodd Urges Industry to Address Content Theft

Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, encouraged Hollywood and Silicon Valley to come together—and urged both communities to join him in the fight against content theft, Wednesday at the SMPTE Conference in Hollywood.
“I will fight as hard as I possibly can to see that we bring an end to content theft,” asserted Sen. Dodd, who starting his work at the MPAA roughly eight months ago. “It must be a collective effort.
“Content theft is stealing,” he said. “It is not a victimless crime; 373,000 people have lost their jobs in this country because of content theft. Some $16 billion in earning are gone; $3 billion in revenue for taxes are gone because of content theft.”
Sen. Dodd pointed to search engines as one area of this problem that needs to be addressed. “When you knowingly provide a venue to an audience that wants to see (the content), you are an accessory to the crime. There is nothing neutral about providing a venue that tells someone how they can steal something.”
As to uniting stakeholders, he said: “Hollywood and Silicon Valley mutually benefit from their partnership. One of my top priorities at the MPAA will be to grow and strengthen that partnership. We cannot survive without each other. But together we can give our mutual customers experiences that defy imagination.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SMPTE Keynote: Scott Ross Talks VFX; 2D-to-3D Conversion

SMPTE opened Tuesday with a keynote address from industry veteran Scott Ross, whose topics ranged from the VFX business to 2D-to-3D conversion to standards.
Ross is a co-founder and former CEO of Digital Domain, whose credits include Titanic. Earlier, he served as the general manager of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic and as senior VP of LucasArts. He currently works as a professional consultant and producer and serves on the boards of multiple technology and entertainment companies.
Among his points:

On the VFX Industry:
Tackling the challenging business climate, Ross looked back and traced the rise—and many falls—of VFX companies.
“Frankly it is very difficult running these business,” he said, citing uncertain workflows, difficulty with pricing and competition driven by government subsidies.
He added: “Studios continue to ask for lower prices, higher quality, and more work in shorter periods of time.”
Ross suggested as a strategy that facilities move from service providers toward content producers. He commented that factors such as broadband could lead to the notion of “global content producers.”

On 2D-to-3D conversion:
“I believe 2D-to-3D conversion is analogous to the VFX industry,” Ross said. “We are now seeing the first generation of conversion companies, but it takes a lot of people—yes, tools are important, but it take a lot of people to do that.
“It is going to be much too expensive to have that work done in the US. It’s a service, it will go where (studios can get) high quality and lower costs. We are na├»ve to think that will come only from US.”

On Standards:
“There are also no standards (in 2D-to-3D conversion). There are tools just like in the VFX business that being developed that could talk to each other. Those organizations need to look to (SMPTE) to set those standards.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

IIF ACES Addressed At SMPTE Symposium

AMPAS’ SciTech Council co-chair Ray Feeney urged the industry to do some internal testing of the developing IIF (Image Interchange Format) ACES  (Academy Color Encoding Specification) “before it becomes a project requirement."
His remark came Monday at the SMPTE Symposium, dubbed “The Large-Sensor Imaging Revolution,” which was developed in collaboration with the American Society of Cinematographers.
IIF ACES was discussed as part of the conversation about workflow issues.
“The system has been proven to work," Feeney said of IIF ACES, which addresses workflow with emphasis on color consistency. "Some pieces still need refinement. We are making some very significant progress.”
He pointed out that with the IIF ACES pipeline, there are many pieces that need to be addressed in the workflow, “not just the major pieces. There are clean-up tools, restoration tools, conforming tools—and every facility has a different setup.”
“Looking at ACES as an archival format is a very good thing,” added speaker and moderator Michael Most of Level 3 Post. “It is a documented, open format. … It is about eliminating restrictions.”
Kicking off the day, SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange welcomed attendees to the symposium and shared the news that the Society has won two 2011 Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
One Emmy recognizes SMPTE’s work in local cable ad-insertion technologies that now help broadcast facilities – particularly cable head ends and unattended stations – to switch as easily between digital programming and advertising as they did with similar materials in the analog domain. The second award will be presented to the Society for its end-to-end system for describing a program’s aspect ratio and to allow users to control the ratio displayed.
The SMPTE conference officially kicks off at 9:30am on Tuesday at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel with opening remarks followed by a keynote address from visual effects veteran Scott Ross, co-founder and former CEO of Digital Domain.