SMPTE Blog

SMPTE Blog

Aimée Ricca
Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 12:00

Our Centennial year has been a special time for SMPTE and no matter how you have contributed, you have helped to make 2016 an extraordinary year for the Society!

This video is a thank you for all you helped us accomplish in 2016:

We know it's long - there were so many highlights in 2016! We hope you'll watch it all the way through!

We wish you health, happiness, and joy in 2017! We look forward to SMPTE's Next Century knowing we have your continued support.
 
Here's to the Next Century - Happy New Year from the SMPTE Team!

SMPTE - The Next Century

Aimée Ricca
Monday, November 28, 2016 - 12:48

We are asking our Members to consider supporting SMPTE on Tuesday, 29 November 2016, by posting an #UNselfie on your Twitter, Instagram, and/or FaceBook.

Coinciding with the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of the media to create a moment around the holidays dedicated to giving. 

Download the #SMPTE100 #UNSelfie Template!

It's easy to show your support of SMPTE:

  1. Download the template by clicking the button above
  2. Print the PDF
  3. In the empty space, write your reasons for supporting SMPTE (if you need some ideas, we've included some examples on page 2 of the template)
  4. Hold up the sign and take your #UNselfie
  5. Post your picture to Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook on Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Be sure to include the hashtags #SMPTE100#UNselfie#GivingTuesday and feel free to include a link to http://www.smpte.org/donate too!

Thank you for your support!

With much gratitude,

The SMPTE Team

Aimée Ricca
Monday, October 31, 2016 - 12:54

Produced in Partnership with NewBay Media

NewBay Media


TODAY'S TOP STORIES - 10.27.16

SMPTE's Centennial Hall Offers View of Past, Present and Future
Centennial Hall highlights the organization's continued focus on innovation and collaboration. 
READ MORE»
 
SMPTE: Conjuring the Virtual Media Facility
To cloud or not to cloud… live 
READ MORE»
 
SMPTE: How Can You Ensure an Effective VR/AR Experience?
VR/AR sessions focused primarily on strategies to ensure end users a high-quality consumer experience 
READ MORE»

Full Newsletter


TODAY'S TOP STORIES - 10.26.16 

SMPTE Keynote Explores the Past and Promising Future of Film and Television
Trumbull and Seidel's opening keynote offered perspective, a look at processes and archival video of many pivotal moments in imaging innovation. 
READ MORE»
 
IP Standards, APIs and Moore’s Law 
Media transport infrastructure standards are mashing up the best of the old and the new
READ MORE»
 
Color Management: Is What You See What You Get?
Color management sessions examined some of the challenges content creators will face, both from technical and creative perspectives
READ MORE»

Full Newsletter


TODAY'S TOP STORIES - 10.25.16

The Digital Archive of the Future: What Will Be Involved?
Monday's opening sessions began with a challenging keynote from Daniel Teruggi.
READ MORE»
 
SMPTE: Victoria Alonso —Stopping Traffic, Stepping Up, Speaking Out
Alonso spoke during the Women in Technology Luncheon about the challenges of being a female working in Hollywood.
READ MORE»
 
SMPTE Bestowed Honors and Awards
With a Roaring ’20s theme, a speakeasy and a cabaret, SMPTE presented the 2016 Honors & Awards after its red carpet and dinner reception last night. 
READ MORE»

Full Newsletter


Aimée Ricca
Monday, October 31, 2016 - 10:59

Produced in Partnership With Broadcast Beat:

Broadcast Beat Logo

Gala  Honors & Awards  Exhibit Halls  Studio  Women in Tech  Membership Meeting  Home Theater Geeks Wrap-Up


Centennial Gala Playlist:

Hear from James Cameron, Billy Zane, John O'Hurley, Richard Edlund, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, and Barbara Lange live from the SMPTE Centennial Gala arrival red carpet!


SMPTE 2016 Honors & Awards Video Playlist:

Learn more about the SMPTE 2016 Award Recipients and Leadership! More videos being added!


Broadcast Beat Live from the Exhibit Floors Playlist:

Check back for more videos!


SMPTE 2016 Live! Studio Playlist:

More videos to come - please check back!


Annual General Membership Meeting (full video):


Women in Technology Luncheon

 

 


Home Theater Geeks SMPTE 2016 Episode:

 

David Cardinal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 18:06

Annie Chang of Walt Disney moderated a broad panel on this hot button topic. For many attendees HDR and wide-color gamut are more important than 4K resolution to image quality -- but they have received much less attention in the media and from consumers. Matthew Goldman, from Ericsson, started us off by defining HDR -- first as one of the five key technologies of UltraHD. However, he said many people use HDR (or HDR+) to mean High Dynamic Range plus Wide Color Gamut (WGC), and 10-bit sampling. Whichever of these definitions is used, he wanted to make it clear that it was not resolution dependent, and specifically does not require 4K resolution. That's particularly important in mobile where small screens might still be able to take advantage of HDR. While it might go without saying, Goldman also reiterated that HDR doesn't mean a brighter display -- it means more contrast. Using charts of color gamuts for both HD (Rec 709) & UltraHD (Rec. 2020) Goldman demonstrated that the combination of HDR & WGC were closely-linked in creating a better image.

Michael Zink, from Warner Bros., walked us through an analysis of the movie LEGO in HDR, and showed that high light levels were only used ina small number of frames, and only for certain highlights. So the HDR version of the movie wasn't overall significantly brighter than the SDR version.

Steven Robertson, Google software engineer, pointed out that content streamed to computers and devices have some major advantages in adapting to new technologies. As devices happen to come with higher-resolution or wider-gamut displays the content can be automatically adapted as it is delivered. This is particularly relevant since many of the latest phones have very similar quality displays to the high-end TVs. Robin Atkins, from Dolby Labs, agreed with Roberson, and said they have found that Vudu and other OTT services were able to incorporate new technologies very rapidly since they had end to end control over their content delivery.

Panelists agreed that another challenge was viewing conditions, both optimizing them, and using metadata to adapt the content stream to adapt to them where it is possible to determine what they are. Atkins also walked us through how dynamic (content-dependent) metadata can be used to assist in mapping the color volume (gamut and tone) of the input scene to particular displays. For example, some scenes might be designed to be dark (perhaps a night-time scene), and shouldn't be mapped into a more typical rendering, while others (perhaps a discussion between characters where facial expressions are important) might be designed to always be easily viewable and should be remapped. There are already over 50 titles available for streaming that use Dolby Vision's "Smart Content" dynamic metadata.

David Cardinal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 16:32

The conference's Day 2 keynote was given by Ron Sanders, CEO of Warner Home Entertainment, in the form of an interview conducted by  EnGadget's Roberto Baldwin. Ron started off by confirming what others had said -- that change is accelerating in the entertainment business. As fast as technology improves, customer expectations are increasing just as rapidly. The proliferation of devices has made the job of meeting those expectations much more difficult, but worth it as the overall demand for content continues to increase. 

On the topic of the profusion of new video technologies like 4K, UltraHD, HDR, wider color gamut, and Dolby Vision, Sanders said the first problem is deciding which of those formats are even worth promoting, but the improved viewing experience of all these technologies together is certainly justified by an improved viewing experience. Consistent messaging of the benefits, as well as refitting the retail purchase experience to showcase the new features. Warner is promoting versions of its movies -- about 100 this year -- that include a range of these features, along with immersive audio, as "4K UltraHD." To make these versions practical, they need to be considered early in the production process -- and part of what the Director thinks about -- especially since the theater-only window continues to shrink, meaning there is a need for shorter time-to-market for home releases. Sanders compared the difference between 1080p TV and 4K UltraHD being as large as the upgrade from VHS to DVD. Short term Sanders sees the new versions as a complement to the existing HD & SD versions, but over time more of the market will move to the higher-quality versions. Industry group DEG (Digital Equipment Group), chaired by Sanders, is trying to coordinate consistent messaging around the rollout of the new technologies.

David Cardinal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 16:01

Switching from video to audio, Sunil Bharitkar from HP led a panel on the challenges and future direction of audio as part of entertainment. Underlying the changes is a massive upgrade in the delivery technologies for audio, from VHS to DVD and now potentially very-high-bandwidth internet connections. The devices used to play the content has also improved in general, from mono to stereo, to mutlichannel. Mobile devices were a step backwards in many cases, but even those now have access to fairly-high quality audio reproduction. VR represents the next frontier, as spatial audio is a key component of realistic immersive experiences. 

Robert Fisher, Warner Brothers, traced the history of high-quality sound production from studio to cinema, and explained how they have been further extending their production pipeline to accommodate streaming and mobile devices. He stressed that WB wants to ensure that the tradition of excellent sound capture and production is maintained going forward, and called on the industry to help make that happen. As part of this effort, WB has been working with Dolby and others to create the right tools to create a high-quality remix for binaural headphones. Fisher reported that the early results of the new binaural re-mixing technology have been very impressive.

Tim Carroll, Dolby Labs, said there has been great progress in codec quality over the last year, but end-to-end system reproduction remains a problem, as distribution pipelines and players have such a wide range. Just because something sounds good in multi-channel theater audio doesn't automatically mean that it is the right mix for a pair of mobile headphones. This tied-in well with Fisher's call for doing binaural-specific remixes of content.

Deep Sen, Qualcomm, took the audience through how scene-based audio works, and why it is particularly important for VR. In particular, VR drives both a requirement for a true 3D sound field, and to be able to rotate that sound field in response to head movements. Object-based capture is very difficult in these environments, as there can be many sound sources, and they can also be moving. Scene-based Audio is a little like light field capture for video -- it includes sound pressure measurements based on space and time. A specialized array of microphones that captures sound from every direction is used, and the result is mixed with any desired object-based audio sources. Qualcomm helps support the production of scene-based audio by providing plugins for ProTools. The output can be rendered in MPEG-H format for use with VR. To support head tracking the final result also has to be dynamically rotated in real time -- with less than 50ms latency -- to support motion and head tracking. That is in addition to the initial rendering through a standard or personalized HRTF (Head Response Transfer Function). 

Phil Hilmes, Amazon Lab 126, addressed the progress and challenges of playing content in a consumer environment. Those range from synchronization across multiple devices and rooms -- for both audio and video, as well as with sensor and camera data. While there are vendor-specific solutions like Sonos's sound synchronization, Hilmes called for an industry standards effort so that a variety of devices from different vendors can all be synchronized with the user's needs. Sensor input can also be used to help optimize and personalize the audio experience -- especially if it can be standardized and shared. 

The panel discussed that arrays of simple devices, like the Echo, that could be calibrated, synced, and used to render a sound field, might be an alternative to more-traditional fixed -- and often hard to setup correctly -- multi-channel speaker arrays. Multiple sound bars used in combination was also discussed as an option.

 

David Cardinal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 13:21

Just as an increasing amount of content is being consumed on mobile devices, so too is the car a growth market for entertainment -- although one that has its own unique technical and safety issues. Allan McLennan of The PADEM Group moderated a panel including GM's Allan Messer, Michelle Avary from Aeris, and Marc Manus, a consultant to the entertainment industry. Messer kicked things off by stressing the upcoming explosive changes in the automotive industry -- comparing the changes expected over the next five years to the changes from the last 50. His vision video was focused on GM's well-known On Star connectivity platform, and its various applications in security, vehicle management, safety, mobile data access, and entertainment. He positioned connectivity as one of the four major themes driving changes to autos -- Electric propulsion, Sharing, and Autonomous operation being the other three.

Avary, formerly from Toyota, gave some background on Aeris, that brings connectivity and services to devices -- including cars. Their focus is primarily on vehicle information, more so than entertainment. She said that about half the cars being built in the US this year will have an embedded phone (distinct from those that can be used with a tethered smartphone). How many of those customers will actually subscribe to the optional services available for the car's embedded phone after a trial period was a subject for speculation -- with none of the panelists hazarding a specific estimate. Manus said that so far he'd seen the most interest from Hollywood in using the connected experience to help market and generate brand awareness -- through long-form commercials that merge a scripted narrative with a product. The panel tried to hash out how large the market needed to be before content is created specifically for consumption in the car. Right now, driver content is limited to audio, so radio and related models are leading the way. Most video in the car is simply the same content that might be consumed elsewhere, but either downloaded or streamed into the vehicle. McClennan said some of the MCNs in the UK are specifically targeting kid's and the car "back seat" for their programming. Panelists conjectured that when content is created for viewing in cars -- particularly shared cars -- it would need to be authored and produced differently from versions made for consumption in the home. As an example, Avary asked what might be possible if content creators could have access to the car's sensors, and incorporate their input into the experience (anything from location-based informational content to driving-related experiences based on vehicle speed and dynamics). 

 

 

David Cardinal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 12:35

After opening remarks from SMPTE's Executive Director Barbara Lange and Pat Griffis, Tom Coughlin kicked off Day 2 of ETCA 2016 with an all-star panel focused on how media experiences can be truly personalized. Jim Burger started by educating us on the legal issues involved, especially the impact of FCC decisions. Burger presented the FCC's rulemaking as an attempt to apply facility-centric rules typically used to regulate cable providers to the new, non-facility-based, OTT (Over The Top -- e.g. Internet-based) providers. This would give OTT providers access to content, like over the air broadcasts, they don't have currently. However, Burger explained that key OTT players like Netflix and those represented by the CTA believe the obligations outweigh any possible benefits. Separately, the FCC has proposed rules that would open up the STB (Set Top Box) market to provide more competition and more choice for consumers. This has been a long time coming, starting with 1994 legislation that called for consumer options. Burger lauded the goals of the effort, but relayed industry skepticism that the actual rules would achieve the desired result without excessive or inappropriate government regulations. He concluded with a quick update on the recent cable industry counter-proposal for HTML5-based video apps, although keeping full control over the interface, and potentially not allowing the recording of content. Erik Ramberg of Ericsson said that outside the US, open standards were very common for set top boxes, and speculated that the STB rental model common in the US was partially responsible. Mike Dolan, consultant to the entertainment industry, spoke about how future versions of ATSC would be able to incorporate various content streams, including all of OTT, OTA, STB-baed, and potentially even wireless delivery integrated into one consumer device for the home.

Milo Medin from Google stressed the importance of open standards, and said he was pleased to see at least some movement on this topic from the cable industry -- and felt that opening up the set top boxes would be good over the long term for the cable industry. He also echoed what we have heard throughout the conference -- that the wide-availability of consumer-friendly content creation tools and user-contributed content platforms like YouTube and Facebook has democratized entertainment content (although ironically, those platforms themselves become well-compensated gatekeepers, as we've seen recently with concerns over Facebook's possibly playing favorites). Tim Baharin brought a tech industry perspective to the discussion, stressing the potential for both 360-video and Virtual Reality to up-end the entire personal entertainment experience. He also pointed out that from his research with Millenials they are using a streaming box plus a simple OTA antenna to replace more-traditional, and more-expensive, cable plans.

David Cardinal
Monday, June 27, 2016 - 18:16

In addition to the technical challenges in delivering VR, there are substantial challenges involved in re-thinking storytelling to work with the unique features and constraints of VR delivery. Moderator Ajit Ninan set up a poll of audience members that started by asking when audience members thought VR would beat conventional 2D entertainment -- with most of the audience estimating never, while the rest were split between 2020 and 2025. On the brighter side for VR advocates, 80% of the audience said they would be willing to wear a VR headset to watch a VR story. Most attendees also said they would not be willing to give up some resolution and field of view in exchange for having an un-tethered solution. 

Madhu Athreya from HP Labs explained that in the short-term, a compromise solution is to use a backpack with the tethered computing power, so you'd be mobile, but the VR headset would still be tethered to the backpack computer. Almost all attendees have watched VR content on a headset, while only about 10% of us said we had created VR content. YouTube's Sanjeev Verma explained how it has tried to make uploading 360-degree and VR content easier for its users. Facebook's David Pio has helped develop technology that allows the company to only stream the portion of a VR video that you are looking at. It does this by pre-rendering many views and having the client software request the one it thinks it will neeed. Coupled with a new projection format that allocates more bandwidth to the center of your view, the combination of technologies is greatly reducing the bandwidth required to display usable VR content.  

 

 

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