Friday, February 24, 2017

Toolbox

  • Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Grass Valley switchers play part in Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s national upgrade
Grass Valley’s Karrera K-Frame S-Series
MONTREAL -- 

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has been relying on production solutions from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, for more than 20 years. When the company began its latest project to upgrade 13 studios in eight capital cities across the country, it selected Grass Valley’s K-Frame-based switchers for all 13 locations, with a mixture of Karrera and the new award-winning GV Korona switcher panels.

The ABC has turned to Grass Valley for switcher solutions because of the rich features, dependable operation and intuitive controls the switchers offer. The new K-Frame systems are replacing a fleet of older Grass Valley Kayak switchers and will continue to be instrumental in the production of news programming for the company.

Both Karrera and GV Korona K-Frame switchers combine ultimate video processing performance, proven workflows, simplified control of complex productions and multiformat support including 1080p and 4K UHD. These capabilities are offered as two system packages, with 3 M/Es or 2 M/Es, for exceptional affordability, while the compact 6 RU video frame delivers a high level of functional integration for space efficiency.

The ABC has taken advantage of the flexibility of the K-Frame engine to be paired with different control surfaces. The new switchers will join the existing fleet of Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frames currently in operation in the ABC’s studio production facilities. The 13 studios are responsible for the playout of ABC news and current affairs and will work closely with the ABC Integrated Media System (IMS) system that Grass Valley is providing to help the ABC renew its entire television, radio and web news production across Australia.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017
CES Report: Incremental Advances In TV Sets
Workers hang up a sign near a Samsung TV banner during setup for CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. The show runs from January 5-8. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- 

What's new in television sets this year? Incrementally better pictures, larger screens and cheaper prices — and that's about it.

True, set manufacturers are bombarding consumers with a whole series of buzzwords — OLED, 4K, 8K, HDR, QLED, wide color gamut — intended to spur excitement and generate sales. Flashy new sets with these supposedly "must have" features are getting the spotlight Wednesday at the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas.

But when it comes down to it, none of these amount to revolutionary improvements for your living room. Set manufacturers may not have run out of technological tricks yet, but for this year, at least, they're reduced to improving what's already out there.

"That's a good thing," said Gartner analyst Brian Blau, looking for the bright side. "Products need to be improved."

TRAPPED IN THE BOX
Set manufacturers are in a bind. Gadgets like virtual-reality headsets and smartphones have snagged much of the buzz that flashy new TVs once had.

And while all sorts of other gadgets are getting more intelligent, so-called smart TVs that manage streaming-video services and let you play games have largely left consumers cold . Instead, the brains behind such features have largely migrated to set-top boxes offered by the likes of Roku, Apple and Amazon — or by cable companies themselves.

So TV makers like Samsung and LG have doubled down on what they know best: screen technology.

These days, you're seeing a lot more marketing buzz about "4K" sets, which offer twice the screen resolution of today's high definition, or HD, sets. 4K technology is making a push into the mainstream this year, as prices come down and video providers offer more 4K streaming and channels.

The next step in picture clarity is on its way with so-called 8K sets, which offer four times the resolution of HD, although the technology remains out of reach for most people. During the Summer Olympics last year, for instance, experimental 8K broadcasts were limited to public viewing areas in Japan.

SEEING IN COLOR
Some TV makers are pushing curved-screen models, which aim to provide more immersive viewing by giving viewers a wider image via their peripheral vision. They're also touting improvements in color .

OLED screen technology produces better colors in part because it doesn't have to be backlit the way standard TVs do. But it's more expensive. So far, LG has sold the majority of OLED sets, though other manufacturers including Sony may announce OLED plans at CES.

Samsung, meanwhile, has been touting "quantum dot" technology, including a refined version called "QLED" announced Tuesday at CES. Quantum dot is essentially a layer of materials for purer colors and brighter displays. LG, Samsung and others also have "high-dynamic range," or HDR, for brighter whites, darker blacks, and a wider range of colors. TCL has an HDR variant called Dolby Vision.

DOES IT MATTER?
Whether the average human eye can really appreciate all this — particularly on smaller screens — is another matter. 4K sets, for instance, offer sharper pictures than older HD screens, but the difference is nowhere as dramatic as the change from older standard definition to HD.

And some of these technologies improve video only for the few movies and shows that support them. For now, technologies like HDR are high-end features for high-end sets, just as 4K was a few years ago.

"There's always a push-and-pull between what TV companies try to sell consumers and what they actually need," IHS Markit analyst Paul Gagnon said.

Ed Morrissey, a writer in Minneapolis, recently bought a 55-inch Samsung 4K TV with a curved screen and HDR, in part to future-proof a purchase he could be living with for almost a decade. "If I'm going to do something new, I want to make sure I have the emerging technology," he said.

It's far from clear, however, which of the color technologies will become standard. Buyers like Morrissey could end up stranded if, for instance, HDR fails to take off — just as buyers of 3-D sets were after the technology flopped.

TV manufacturers are taking some other steps to make their sets more useful. Gagnon said he expects announcements from TV makers about how their sets will work with new home hubs such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. And Samsung, Philips and others are allowing people to use smartphones and tablets and voice control to better navigate through channels and streaming services.

RUNNING FOR 4K
About 19 percent of TVs sold in the U.S. in the past year were 4K, up from just 7 percent a year earlier, according to NPD. That's expected to increase to about one-third of TV sales in 2017, as TV makers unveil more models at a wider range of prices, including budget options.

But HDTVs still suffice for many, especially those uninterested in large screens. 4K makes a difference only when the screen is large enough and the couch close enough.

"4K is kind of too much for the amount of time I use it," said John Murphy, a Barnstable, Massachusetts, retiree who bought a 50-inch Samsung HD TV recently to replace his 10-year-old Sony 42-incher.

A BUYING OPPORTUNITY
High-end screens and other technologies that were out of reach for most TV shoppers are becoming much more affordable. Consumers are snapping up bargains. NPD says there were 37.4 million TV units sold in the U.S. in the 12 months ending in September, up 4 percent from a year ago. Over that time, the average TV selling price dropped 3 percent to $432.

For some buyers, lower prices means a chance to upgrade to bigger sets. Jon Abt, co-president of Abt Electronics retail store near Chicago, said the 55-inch "sweet spot" TV size for the family room seems to have jumped to 65-inch and larger.

NPD said that 23 percent of all TVs sold were 55 inches or bigger, up from 20 percent a year earlier.

"We've seen strength across all categories, small screen, large screen, older technology and newer tech," NPD analyst Stephen Baker said. He said the combination of lower prices, picture quality and screen size has "brought a lot of customers back into the market."

  • Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017
Telestream to showcase advances in live streaming, workflow automation at BVE
Telestream's live streaming advances will be demonstrated at BVE 2017.
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

Telestream® (stand N22), a provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, will use BVE 2017 (Feb. 28-March 2) to provide UK debuts for significant new developments in both hardware and software products for streaming and workflow automation. Furthermore, it will be the first UK trade show since Telestream acquired file-based quality control specialist, Vidcheck. The company will showcase the integration between Vidchecker and Vantage, highlighting latest updates in Vidchecker, and the operational efficiencies these two platforms bring to their users.

Forming the centerpiece of its technology showcase, Telestream’s Vantage® Media Processing Platform is the foundation for a broad range of enterprise-class transcoding and workflow automation software products that allow content owners, producers, and distributors to realize significant savings and efficiencies, elegantly streamlining discrete media processing tasks. At BVE, Telestream will spotlight new ways in which Vantage supports a diversity of trending technologies and standards. New at the show is a no-charge update to Vantage Timed Text Flip, which adds support for DVB subtitle conversion and insertion. In addition, Telestream will demonstrate how Vantage 16 bit video processing pipeline supports the emerging HDR (High Dynamic Range) formats. Telestream has long been a supporter of the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) and at BVE will be demonstrating continued Vantage support for the new DPP delivery specifications, along with support for the emergent IMF standards at both the simple and complex levels.

A particular focus for Telestream at BVE will be live video streaming. Telestream has been developing streaming solutions since 2009 and has over 50,000 active licence holders of its Wirecast live streaming production platform, which last year became one of the first streaming platforms to support Facebook Live. Response to this feature has been significant as Wirecast is allowing users to build bigger audiences with Facebook Live broadcasts that are richer in both style and content.

Also at BVE, Telestream will provide a UK debut for its Lightspeed Live Stream enterprise-class live multiscreen encoding, packaging and distribution system. It can be deployed as a standalone solution for live multiscreen streaming services or combined with the Vantage Media Processing Platform via the optional Lightspeed Live Capture product.

“We live in a rapidly evolving digital environment where broadcasters and service providers must remain laser-focussed on production and delivery technologies in order to create efficiencies, increase reach and engagement, and maximize revenue,” commented Guy Elliott, region sales manager, EMEA at Telestream. “At Telestream, the last 12 months have seen some key strategic changes, both with the introduction of new products and the acquisition of Vidcheck. BVE provides a fantastic opportunity to present the new, richer offering of products and services to the UK and wider European market. We’re bullish about the strategic and tactical advantages we can provide our users: look forward to some exciting discussions at BVE.”

  • Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017
Gadget Show: Annual CES tech show opens in Las Vegas
Fireworks explode over the Las Vegas Strip during a New Year's Eve celebration Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- 

TVs, drones, robots and a slew of other gadgets will showcase the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week.

CES is one of the world's largest trade shows and is the forum for many tech companies and startups to unveil their plans for the year. Its influence has waned over the years, given that many leading companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft hold their own events. But the CES show still draws a lot of attention.

The event starts Tuesday with two days of company announcements on new products and services. The show floor itself opens on Thursday.

Gadgets expected include TVs with new capabilities and better picture quality, as well as all sorts of household products with internet connections, including refrigerators, doors and security cameras.

  • Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
Humanoid robot Pepper is amusing, but is it practical? 
In this Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, photo, Emerson Hill, 6, plays with Pepper the robot at Westfield Mall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

While merrily chirping, dancing and posing for selfies, a robot named Pepper looks like another expensive toy at a San Francisco mall. But don't dismiss it as mere child's play.

Pepper embodies the ambitions of SoftBank Robotics, an Asian joint venture formed by a trio of major technology companies that's aiming to put its personable robots in businesses and homes across the U.S. over the next few years.

If the technology advances as SoftBank Robotics hopes, Pepper could become a playmate, companion and concierge. It could eventually respond to voice commands to retrieve vital information, make reservations and control home appliances that are connected to the internet.

That's the theory, anyway. For now, Pepper is more amusing than practical, Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder says. For instance, Pepper has been directing shoppers to stores in the mall through text messages because it still isn't advanced enough to say them out loud. And Pepper still has trouble understanding what people are asking, requiring shoppers to type in their requests for mall directions on a tablet mounted on the robot's chest.

SoftBank is trying to improve Pepper's capabilities by focusing first on the business market - retailers, hotels, auto dealerships and even hospitals. SoftBank hopes to use those environments to learn more about what consumers like and don't like about Pepper and, from that, teach it more tasks, said Steve Carlin, the venture's vice president for marketing and business development in North America..

The recently launched test runs in Westfield Corp.'s malls in San Francisco and Santa Clara, California, mark the first time that Pepper has made an extended appearance in the U.S. The robots began appearing just before Thanksgiving and will stick around through mid-February. Carlin says about 300 to 500 people per day engaged with Pepper during its first month in the San Francisco mall. During a recent visit, kids flocked around the 4-foot-tall humanoid as it spoke in a cherubic voice that could belong to either a boy or girl.

Westfield views Pepper as a way to make shopping in the mall more entertaining and enjoyable at a time when people are increasingly buying merchandise online. Three Peppers are sprinkled in heavily trafficked areas around Westfield's San Francisco mall and the two more are in the Santa Clara center. If all goes well, Westfield also plans to bring Pepper to its New York mall at the World Trade Center and Garden State mall in Paramus, New Jersey.

"We put her in our (human resources) system and have given her a name tag," says Shawn Pauli, senior vice president for Westfield.

Pepper got its start two years ago in Japan before expanding into Europe. In those two markets, more than 10,000 Peppers are already operating in grocery stores, coffee shops, banks, cruise lines, railway stations and homes. Most of the robots are in businesses. SoftBank hasn't disclosed how many have been sold to consumers.

Carlin acknowledges the U.S. will be a tougher market to crack than Japan, where he says consumers tend to embrace new technology more quickly.

In addition, Pepper's price is likely to be out of reach for most consumers. The robot currently sells for about $2,000; a three-year subscription covering software upgrades, insurance and technology support increases the total to $18,000 to $20,000.

Softbank Robotics is controlled by Japan's Softbank Group, a technology conglomerate that recently pledged to invest $50 billion in U.S. startups. A remaining 40 percent stake is equally owned by China's Alibaba Group, Asia's e-commerce leader, and by Taiwan's Foxconn, which assembles Apple's iPhone and is considering a U.S. expansion.

Despite its pedigree, Pepper already lags behind a cruder-looking robot that home improvement retailer Lowe's has been testing as a way to help shoppers find merchandise in its sprawling stores, Gownder says.

The "LoweBot," a box-like machine on wheels, began patrolling a San Jose, California, store last month and will begin showing up in 10 other stores in the San Francisco Bay area in early 2017. If all goes well, it could become a fixture in all of Lowe's stores.

Gownder gives LoweBot the early edge over Pepper because Lowe's machine has a detailed database of the store's inventory, enabling it to quickly determine if something is in stock and then guide shoppers to the aisle where the requested item is located.

"While Pepper offers a lively, appealing interface, it remains to be seen whether it will fill the role that retailers want," Gownder says. "Does it have enough intelligence to answer customers' questions effectively?"

While LoweBot is a one-trick pony, focused on retail tasks, SoftBank's ambitions with Pepper are greater. Pepper has enough artificial intelligence to recognize smiles and frowns, helping the robot understand the mood of a person interacting with it. But it also tends to lock its electronic eyes on someone standing in front of it and continue to follow people as they look away while ignoring the next visitor.

A recent visitor to the San Francisco mall, Sharif Ezzat, noticed some of Pepper's shortcomings and concluded that the robot is still a long way from having mass appeal.

"I can't see it right now, but I can see where it's going," Ezzat said of Pepper's potential.

Chaz MacSwan, a puppeteer in San Francisco, was more impressed.

"Look at the joy it's bringing to people, especially the kids," MacSwan said. "I'd love to have one, especially if it could clean the carpets."

  • Monday, Dec. 26, 2016
WOWOW's remake of "Cold Case" graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio
A scene from WOWOW's remake of the hit show "Cold Case"
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that the remake of the worldwide hit drama series “Cold Case” was graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio. The new show, graded by Tetsuji Yamashita, a colorist/technical director of IMAGICA, was delivered in both HDR and SDR versions.

WOWOW’s “Cold Case” is the Japanese version of the American hit drama series, starring Yo Yoshida. WOWOW currently broadcasts all its programming in SDR but decided to also create an HDR version of the show for both their own broadcasts and for selling them to oversea markets.

“As we decided to make this series in HDR, we wanted to give a unique look that we couldn’t give to the SDR version. HDR is usually said to be realistic, yet some people are against it as it looks too graphic in some situations, which rather prevents the audience from getting into the story. So, we created a new look while still aiming the picture not to look too graphic, even in HDR, “ said Yamashita.

The drama’s overall tone is a hard and bit greenish look. “HDR has some unique characteristics in the highlight. Even very bright parts, which do not have any color in SDR, you can see in HDR. With Resolve, I was able to make a look that showed slight green on white, and used the tracking tool a lot for the actors’ faces so that I could control the face tone with a more natural look.”

WOWOW and the drama’s creators decided all the looks for the series before initial shooting took place. “This way, everybody can share the same look, even at offline edit. If we would choose looks in postproduction, it causes a big gap between the look the director was watching and got used to and the look the DP wanted to make. For ‘Cold Case,’ we needed to deliver both SDR and HDR versions. By deciding looks earlier, the actual grading session was very smooth.”

IMAGICA also did production work for the show, and in its workflow from shooting, dailies creation, conform and grading, DaVinci Resolve was used in a number of different roles. IMAGICA offers a service uploading all dailies, offline edits and VFX shots so that everyone on staff can check the same thing at the same time.

Masahiro Saito, data manager of IMAGICA, said; “We need to export our footage to various formats for various circumstances, such as H.264 for uploading to the cloud, DNxHD and ProRes for offline edits. Resolve is very handy as it supports almost all codecs that we need and allows us to export multiple clips in one shot. Also we use Resolve for editing when we pull out shots for VFX work.”

Yamashita added; “Many members of the production teams, such as camera men and camera assistants, can now use Resolve. If I make and save nodes with my grade or LUTs, anyone can see the same look. We could do the color management with minimum effort.”

Yamashita aimed to create a rather hard look for this series, where he often brought up sharpness. “If you bring up the sharpness, the picture tends to get noisy especially in 4K HDR. I wanted to keep the picture as clean as possible. I used the noise reduction plug in to compensate. In such situations I usually send the master to another system for noise reduction, which causes extra work. Resolve allowed me eliminate that. I could decide how I control the noise while grading, that is, decide the texture and the picture, which was a great advantage of the Resolve.”

Throughout the series, each episode includes a flashback scene. The flashback scenes take place in various eras, so they gave a unique look for each scene to match its time frame. “To make a look to represent the time, we shot all flashback scenes with 16mm film. We were particular about matching the look to the time of the scenes. If a scene was set in the time when video cameras appeared, we used a video camera with a DV codec and shot at 60i. In scenes of the 70’s, I was requested to make an old reversal film look. I used Resolve to turn the shadow balance towards red and created a contrasty look to bring vigorous and a somewhat cute atmosphere in the picture,“ said Yamashita.

“In this drama, the same actors play the same person, yet the time difference between a current scene and a flashback scene could be very big, maybe even 20 years. When showing such a difference, skin tone control is a key factor. I used Mid tone detail and Curve grading a lot for this. I especially felt the superiority of Resolve’s curve grading when I grade for both SDR and HDR versions. It lets me control very slight details, which I cannot pull out with the track balls. I had to grade in different color spaces between Rec 709 and Rec 2020, and the curve grading is easier to understand how I control the curve in each color space,“ concluded Yamashita.

  • Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016
Mobile game "Pokemon Go" lands on Apple Watch 
In this Friday, July 22, 2016 file photo, a Pokemon Go player attempts to catch a Charmander character in New Delhi, India. The popular augmented reality mobile game is coming to the Apple Watch, squashing rumors that the game's maker was scrapping such plans. (AP Photo/Thomas Cytrynowicz)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The popular mobile game "Pokemon Go" is now available on the Apple Watch, squashing rumors that the game's maker was scrapping such plans.

The game involves catching digital pocket monsters in an augmented-reality version of your surroundings. The Apple Watch version will let you discover nearby Pokemon and collect special items, such as potions, from nearby "PokeStops." But once you encounter a Pokemon, you will need to use your iPhone to catch it.

Still, the Apple Watch should make it easier for players to log their steps (needed to advance in the game and to hatch new Pokemon out of eggs), and to avoid walking around with their phones held out to search for nearby monsters.

"Pokemon Go" was a huge success when it came out in July. It's not clear how the Apple Watch version will do, especially now that it's too cold in much of the Northern Hemisphere to be outside catching Pokemon. Plans for the watch version had been announced at Apple's iPhone launch event in September.

The game's maker, Niantic, hasn't announced any plans for Android Wear and Samsung Gear smartwatches.

  • Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016
Avid launches music creation and cloud-enabled collaboration innovations for Pro Tools
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) has announced a new version of its fully cloud-enabled Pro Tools® application, the digital audio workstation software used by award-winning artists and the largest media companies. Powered by the MediaCentral® Platform, Pro Tools 12.7 brings new music creation workflows, plus improvements for artists and audio professionals to connect and collaborate anywhere in the world via the cloud. As part of Avid’s commitment to offering the best and most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to create, distribute and optimize media, Pro Tools 12.7—the seventh consecutive quarterly Pro Tools release since Avid introduced Avid All Access Plans and Cloud Subscriptions—delivers powerful new features for music creation and collaboration.

“With music creation tools being so accessible, there’s more independent talent competing to be heard, so artists and producers need a creative edge to break through,” said Tim Claman, VP, platform and solutions, Avid. “With this latest version of Pro Tools, we’re continuing to deliver innovations that give our preeminent community of customers—from artists, songwriters, musicians and producers to sound designers, editors and mixers—the tools they need to create without bounds and cut through the noise in a crowded market.”

Pro Tools 12.7 dramatically improves searching and creative exploration of loop and sound effect libraries with Soundbase. This tag-based search interface complements the existing Workspace Browser by enabling users to browse content using the standard metadata tags embedded in nearly every sound library. With Soundbase, users have much better insight into the types of content available and can explore content more efficiently. Users can search sound libraries by instrument, genre, tempo, key, time signature, or their own customized tags, and audition content in sync with their projects. Plus, Soundbase makes it easy to create, add or modify tags to ensure the best experience.

To complement the Soundbase capabilities and inspire music creators, Pro Tools 12.7 comes with a 2 GB high-quality sample library from Loopmasters. The sample library features a newly curated selection of content created by some of the industry’s leading producers and sound designers, and is thoroughly tagged for easy browsing in Soundbase.

Revision History enables artists and audio professionals to create and manage multiple versions of projects, as well as backups, media and descriptive project metadata, all powered by the cloud. This makes it easy for users to explore new versions of a song or soundtrack, make notes, share ideas with others, and quickly jump back to any previous state from anywhere. By organizing all version history, audio and video files, notes and other data, Pro Tools gives users the flexibility to experiment with new ideas without having to interrupt the creative process to deal with cumbersome file management.

Pro Tools 12.7 is available now with flexible deployment models and licensing options, including cloud-based subscriptions or traditional license options.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016
HPA unveils 2017 Tech Retreat schedule 
Seth Hallen, HPA president
LOS ANGELES -- 

The HPA unveiled the schedule for its 2017 HPA Tech Retreat® set for the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, near Palm Springs, Calif., from February 20-24, 2017.
   
The HPA Tech Retreat is a curated week, designed to stimulate discussion between stakeholders in all aspects of production, broadcast, postproduction, distribution and related endeavors for media and entertainment. Session programming is decidedly non-marketing in nature, and must be so in order to be considered.  From breakfast roundtables and sessions to dinners and fire-pit conversations, the schedule creates an environment conducive to the exchange of knowledge and information. Mark Schubin, the program maestro of the HPA Tech Retreat, commented, “We receive many more proposals than we can possibly use from the most thoughtful and engaged experts inside and outside of our industry, from and around the world.  They cover ‘scene to seen and gear to hear.’” He continued, “From ransomware to AI and 8K to the cloud and all sorts of creative applications of technology, the Tech Retreat is the place we explore a broad panorama of topics and how they interact.  As I like to say, no matter what your question is, someone will be there who knows the answer.”

Envisioned as a retreat, the event offers attendees and speakers the opportunity to find a fresh perspective in stepping out of their daily routines, readying them to explore the most compelling topics facing the media and entertainment landscape today with a group of peers. Featuring five days of solidly scheduled sessions (including TR-X), demonstrations and events, the HPA Tech Retreat delivers a forward-looking perspective on an industry continuing a dynamic and rapid evolution.

Seth Hallen, president of the HPA, noted, “The HPA Tech Retreat defies explanation in a certain sense, but once you have been, you will never miss it again. That’s because of so many factors – the curation by Mark Schubin, the SuperSession, the retreat atmosphere that takes you away from the office and sets you down with a lot of thoughtful and passionate people who become even better friends or colleagues. The mix of attendees who are young experts to top–level network executives and creatives. The topics addressed here are the ones that shape the industry, and the discussions actually move the needle. Developments at Tech Retreats directly lead to substantive changes in the way we work.”

This year, in addition to the main program, the HPA has unveiled TR-X, half day sessions to be held Monday, 20 February. As value-add eXtras, TR-X will offer sessions in VR/AR and the annual ATSC update. The Tuesday SuperSession, moderated by HPA past president Leon Silverman and HPA board member Jerry Pierce, begins the official Tech Retreat with a full day’s deep dive into the changing viewing habits of consumers. With a long list of compelling speakers and topics, this day will challenge our ideas on how and what consumers of today and tomorrow are watching. Silverman will kick off the afternoon session with a mini-keynote that sets the stage for the afternoon events, outlining the challenges and opportunities in creating content across a wide array of formats, devices and environments. The SuperSession will include the now familiar Tech Retreat feature “The Leon and Jerry Show,” hosted by Silverman and Pierce. This end-of-day “what did we learn today” wrap-up session is one of the most popular aspects of the Tech Retreat, where the audience adds their insight and observations and continues to prove that the Tech Retreat is as much about who is attending as who is presenting.

Wednesday through Friday is under the direction of Schubin.  A diverse array of breakfast roundtable discussions, led by key industry experts, kick off the day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. The Innovation Zone will return from Tuesday through Thursday, presenting the opportunity to explore emerging and innovating technologies from nearly 60 companies at the vanguard of the industry, with a special focus on VR/AR.

The 2017 HPA Tech Retreat is a limited attendance event, strictly capped at 600 guests, and is expected to sell out.  Registration is open, and both day passes and full conference passes are available. Because this event will sell out, onsite registration is not allowed. Registration includes conference sessions, breakfast roundtables, demo room, some meals, and social events. TR-X is an additional registration and fee.

Speakers and Sessions

Monday February 20 TR-X
Two half-day sessions run concurrently:

VR/AR Session
The HPA Tech Retreat brings together top industry experts for uniquely unbiased and authentic discussion, deliberation, debate, and needle-moving for important technologies and workflows. Co-Chairs Lucas Wilson (Founder-Executive Producer, SuperSphereVR) and Marcie Jastrow (SVP Immersive Media, Head, Technicolor Experience Center) will lead a discussion focused on the changing VR-AR landscape in the context of rapidly growing integration into entertainment and applications.

ATSC Seminar: ATSC 3.0
ATSC 3.0, the next generation television broadcast standard, is nearing completion, and offers a wide range of new content delivery options to the TV production community. This session will explore new possibilities that the new standard provides in video, audio, interactivity and more. Presenters and panelists will also discuss the complex next-gen television distribution ecosystem that content must traverse, and the technologies that will bring the content to life in consumers’ homes.

Tuesday, February 21 SuperSession
Consumer Choice Changes Everything: WHO is watching WHAT, WHERE and WHEN?
Technology continues to drive and enable consumer choice for media creation and consumption. The SuperSession will look at demographics of the changing consumption landscape, what they are watching, and when are they watching.

Wednesday, February 22 Highlights
•    Mark Schubin’s Technology Year in Review
•    Jim Burger, Thompson Coburn LLP, returns to the Tech Retreat for his highly anticipated Washington Update
•    Geoff Tully: Graceful Evolution to Beyond HD
•    Clyde Smith, FOX Standards: Specifications and the NABA DPP Library Master Format
•    Chris Lennon, MediAnswers: File Delivery Automation: The Final Frontier?
•    Mark Harrison, Digital Production Partnership: Will Online Video Revolutionize Production?
•    The Broadcasters Panel, moderated by Matthew Goldman (Ericsson)
•    Peter Putman, Kramer Electronics Technology Consultant: CES Review
•    Masayuki Sugawara, NEC: The World’s First 8K/4K Regular Broadcasting
•    Goran Stojmenovik, Barco: HDR in a Cinema: Achievable Contrast
•    Gary Demos, Image Essence: Single-Master HDR
•    Keith Slavin, isovideo: Automatic SDR/HDR Conversions

Thursday, February 23 Highlights              
•    Mark Chiolis (Grass Valley) moderates Remote and Mobile Production Panel, including George Hoover (NEP)
•    Debra Kaufman moderates AI/Machine Learning Panel featuring Philip Hodgetts (Intelligent Assistance), Mark Christie (Piksel), Yvonne Thomas (Arvato), and Mark Testoni (SAP National Security Services)
•    Wendy Aylsworth (Walden Pond) moderates Production in the Cloud: Pitfalls and Epiphanies, featuring Alex LoVerde (SyncOnSet), Joshua Kolden (Avalanche), Rich Welsh (Sundog Media Toolkit), Scott Squires (Pixvana), Gurparkash Saini (Avid), and others
•    Clyde Smith (FOX) moderates IMF and Automated Mastering, featuring Stephen Wilson (Avid), Arjun Ramamurthy (20th Century Fox), and Rohit Puri (Netflix)
•    Laurence Claydon, Motion Picture Solutions Limited: Security Holes and How to Fill Them
•    Chris Taylor, Warner Bros: What Security Does Your On-Location Network Have?
•    Rob Gonsalves, Avid: Protecting Against Ransomware Attacks
•    Siegfried Fößel, Fraunhofer Institute: Lightfield Data Worklow
•    Andy Maltz, AMPAS:  Academy update

           
Friday, February 24 Highlights
•    Howard Lukk, SMPTE: SMPTE update           
•    Review of the HPA UK Tech Retreat: Rich Welsh, Sundog Media Toolkit
•    Future Media Infrastructure: Software Defined Hardware, moderated by Eric Pohl (National TeleConsultants)
•    Matt Frost, Google: Lessons Learned from Open Source Technology Development
•    Jean-Pierre Evain, European Broadcasting Union: Semantic Metadata
•    Iris Wu, Ambidio: Are You Surrounded? Immersive Sound Outside of Cinema
•    Sensor Size and Resolution Tradeoffs: Peter Centen, Grass Valley
•    Steve Lampen, Belden: Improvements in Data Cables and Connectors

Breakfast roundtables: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Among  dozens of roundtables currently slated, select topics include:
•    AI in the Cutting Room
•    IP Video Distribution & PTP Timing
•    IMF for Broadcast Users
•    MAM in Post
•    Conversion between HDR & SDR: Opportunity or Problem?

  • Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016
MTI Film enhances digital film restoration software
MTI's DRS™Nova 2.3
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

MTI Film announced the release of DRS™Nova 2.3, a significant update to its industry-standard software for digital film restoration. The new release includes a host of new and enhanced features created in response to requests from restoration professionals worldwide.  All are aimed at making such tasks as dust-busting, image stabilization and de-warping faster and easier.

“We listened to people who use the product every day,” said MTI Film director of product development Randy Reck. “This latest release is focused on streamlining routine tasks and making the software more responsive to the way artists work.”

New features of DRS™Nova 2.3 include offset tracking for image stabilization. It allows users to track objects even when tracking points move beyond the boundary of the frame. The feature makes it simpler to stabilize shots with camera movement or complex motion. The same functionality will soon also be available for de-warp operations.

Other improvements include:

  • Mouse magnifier. Pan, zoom in and zoom out via a mouse button.
  • Mouse preview. View import frames in reveal or clone mode.
  • Dirt map generator. Generate dirt maps utilizing data from the alpha channel of a film scanner.
  • Stabilization and de-warp presets. Save used settings and perimeters for routine tasks.
  • Improved clip import. Import large files faster.
  • Streamlined management for OpenEXR files.

MTI Film’s original DRS™ software, released in 1997, was the industry’s first and revolutionized the process of restoring films through an integrated suite of tools for addressing dust, debris, scratches, mold, warping and a host of other problems quickly and seamlessly. MTI Film software is currently used worldwide by motion picture studios, postproduction facilities, film archives and others seeking to restore motion pictures, documentaries and other archival material to pristine quality.