SMPTE Gathers in Hollywood for Annual Media Technology Summit, Where 8K Resolution Proves to Be a Contentious Topic

smpte Media and Technology Conference 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) held its annual Media Tech Summit for the first time since 2019 at the end of last month at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, where the associate professor of the University of Arizona. Ana Herruzoworking in new media and computing, gave the keynote address on “Enhancing Architecture Studies Through Computing Tools.”

Director Ang Lee received an honorary membership, smpte’s highest honor, “in recognition of his pioneering work in [the] using new technologies to enhance theatrical storytelling,” such as Charles H. Jablonski “In honor of his decades of driving the art world in entertainment and distribution, and his work in the education and leadership of young entertainment engineers.”

HPA Women in Post and smpte Hollywood joined forces to bring down-to-earth information with prominent players at the forefront of technological change in the M&E industry. Adapted by Universal Pictures’ Annie Changthe publishers are Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Emmanuelle Borde; Blu Digital Group’s Paulette PantojaLionsgate’s Theresa Millerand Building Block Labs’ Gia Elliott.

Chang first asked what new technologies these managers are looking at, Borde, Pantoja, and Miller said the cloud and automation, while Elliott mentioned the blockchain and the metaverse, in general.

“We’re looking at how to optimize the cloud,” Borde said. “The limitation is that the price is fixed up-front.”

Pantoja said his company is focused on cloud-based workflows and “as much as possible, automation so we can do human work.”

Miller added that “ML/AI is about data science on the enterprise side, to see what movies bring people to theaters.”

smpte Media and Technology Conference 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

All the managers said that staying motivated is the key to staying relevant in the industry.

“Technologists like to learn new things,” said Miller, adding that Borde likes to “see how other industries solve problems.”

When Chang asked them what technologies they predict will affect the future, Borde mentioned virtual manufacturing and AR; Miller pointed to “AI coming to the workplace,” and Pantoja pointed to AR and the metaverse.

“Blockchain is the wild west right now,” says Elliott. “I see a future where digital assets will dominate and the fan will be closer to the content creation process. That means better content, more diversity, and many other languages.

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Many managers started their careers as software developers. Miller started as a developer at MGM and then moved into technical evaluation work.

“I also did other types of audits so I really learned the business,” he said. “So I went back to IT in a management position.”

Elliott said he never thought he would get into technology. “I thought I should be really good at math,” he said. “I never thought of it as a creative project. Now that I’m doing it, I can’t believe I ever thought of that.”

Chang asked them if they had ever suffered from “the stigma” of being one of the few women in a male-dominated tech sector.

“It’s not a bad thing to keep questioning yourself,” says Pantoja. “It’s only a problem if it prevents you from asking for a raise or a different role within the company. In the end, you will find that no one has all the answers, but I keep asking myself, because I will always be.”

You have to “fake it until you make it,” Borde said.

The executives also talked about the many ways they can help women in their companies and students seeking STEM careers.

“We support local charities that target women and underserved communities from high school to women who want a second career,” Lionsgate’s Miller said. “I also support the STEM benefit matching Cal State University students and internships.”

Elliott said that as someone who runs brainstorming sessions, he likes to monitor who is speaking. “I always go back to the people who matter but say less, so they have a chance to listen.”

In another event, the data scientist Yves BergquistDirector of the USC Entertainment Technology Center’s Project Hedy blockchain project, discussed the development and promise of blockchain in the M&E industry.

“We’ve found about a dozen use cases,” he said. “They include content security, NFTs, the metaverse, community management, and archiving.”

Bergquist added that the ETC launched the Hedy Project “to create a metadata repository owned by the industry and managed on [the] block.” “Right now, it’s being funded by private companies,” he said. “Our goal is to have an industry-wide team for reliable, sustainable and secure storage.”

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

Later, smpte Hollywood published a statement about “new technology and its impact on creative options.” Compare (and work with Belinda Merritt) by Marvel Studios’ Mark Zornthe media is the Broadcaster David Stump, ASC; smpte Hollywood District Governor Kyle Pena; Marvel Studios’ Danielle Costa; It’s IMAX Bruce Markoe; Paramount Global’s Josh Limorand Barco’s Joachim Zell.

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Zorn first appeared in the virtual reality/production space as a new technology related to creativity.

“It’s been gone since there was a new book and a new technology to do another tool in the box,” says Stump. “And he has changed some models. We are used to leaving the options behind the production and making our decisions at the last minute, but XR does not pay you that luxury: now and commit yourself to something and you will be on stage.

Markoe added that “using these tools in live environments, there are many differences in knowledge and skills for producing these types of content.” “We did a lot of virtual tests in IMAX and some of them looked really bad,” he said, indicating the need for training.

Pena agreed, saying “there’s no word there…and it’s a domino effect of bad creative choices.”

Finally, Stump said the ASC is “just getting started” on a core glossary of relevant terms.

Limor also went on to point out that there are “a lot of changes” in virtual reality, starting with green screen and blue screen. “It’s about the foreground and background space that we need to focus on,” he said.

As Zell said, “we still have to combine the real images with the XR production images – it’s about making them look the same, and that’s where the color scientist comes in.”

Stump agreed that “color management is very difficult to create an LED wall,” and Limor insisted that “LED [screen] it’s not designed to be a light source.” “We know we need to add more lights,” Limor said. “When you get inside the volume, the bulbs turn different colors on each side of the volume.”

Costa revealed that Marvel Studios used LED walls for three movies, two of which have yet to be released. “The only thing we’ve found to be very successful is our work with the poor man’s work,” he said. But, he said, even if the LED monitors add a lot of costs, this is a good way to create 12 hours of magic hours, for work that cannot go to the place.

smpte Media and Technology Conference 2022

Image via SMPTE/Facebook

The issue of 8K resolution will be a controversial topic towards the end of the group.

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“We’ve done an endless test comparing HDR at 2K to 4K, and yes, you can see the differences in some shots,” Costa said. “But it’s rare, and in most cases, you don’t want things to be messy. Sometimes less is more. He reminded the audience that “all VFX shots were done in 2K” and upscaled to 4K when needed. “No one cares about 8K, but everyone is very excited about HDR,” Costa said.

Stump said “among cinematographers, the conversation always comes back to lenses.” “The percentage of time is very low, and you’re talking about getting the most settlement,” he said. “But most of the time they talk about lenses from the 1950s or 1960s and how great they came out.”

Pena — who most recently worked at Netflix and is about to move to Adobe — spoke strongly. “I think most of 8K is a waste of time,” he said. “There’s power in sports, but as a post-production guy, I don’t want you to shoot in 8K and throw all that footage into the editor to finish it in HD or 2K. The benefit-to-pain ratio doesn’t suit me.”

However, Pena mentioned the potential of Web 3.0 that will “change the concept of ownership and the creator/fan relationship” with next-generation AI.

“The tools of production do not drive innovation,” concludes Stump. “Innovation is what drives manufacturing equipment, and should continue to do so.” He added that he “wants to see technology in the hands of kids where technology has always been there.”

A group of those young people attended a speed-networking event hosted by smpte and smpte The Hollywood Section for M&E students. At twelve round tables, each dedicated to a topic such as broadcasting, editing, and sound, among others, two industry experts answered questions from students who moved from the table to the table in a “high-speed” format.

Judging by the energy of young people, cartoons, and networking, the future of technology will be great.

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