philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

20Feb/19Off

Diller and Spielberg on the Growing Dominance of Streaming

Netflix_FamilyIn the debate over whether a streaming release, such as Netflix’s “Roma,” should be considered for an Oscar for Best Picture, “Spielberg seems to be on the side that feels that streaming-service releases shouldn’t be eligible at big awards shows because, regardless of length or storytelling mode, they’re primarily intended for a home viewing platform.”

“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” Spielberg said last year. “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar.” But Spielberg has also championed the kind of smaller films made by outlets like Netflix and HBO, expressing concerns over the studios’ focus on blockbusters based on franchises.

See the full story here: http://www.etcentric.org/diller-and-spielberg-on-the-growing-dominance-of-streaming/

20Feb/19Off

Amazon Aims for Quality Not Quantity With 30 Films Per Year

Amazon_Studios_Logo_2018-2The New York Times reports that Salke, who was previously a successful executive at NBC and 20th Century Fox Television, said Amazon didn’t have “diverse-enough points of view in the storytelling.” Moving forward, Amazon plans to release about 30 original movies a year, with budgets ranging from “a few million dollars up to $50 million or more,” not all of which will be released in theaters.

Ten movies a year will have “exclusive runs in theaters,” including “The Aeronauts,” an upcoming movie that stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as hot air balloon adventurers, and the comedy “Late Night,” starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. The exclusivity window in movie theaters may be shortened to bring them to Prime Video more quickly.

According to Amazon’s Matt Newman, who along with Julie Rapaport and Ted Hope is one of three such execs Salke named to co-head the film division, “it’s really about creating that right marketing campaign, right distribution plan for each movie, allowing us to break through the cultural noise and really resonating with customers.”

See the full story here: http://www.etcentric.org/amazon-aims-for-quality-not-quantity-with-30-films-per-year/

20Feb/19Off

Hoorah Digital acquires Ritual Studio

Digital consultancy, Hoorah Digital, has acquired creative storytelling agency, Ritual Studio, the agency founded in 2017 by creative and former Hellocomputer ECD, Simon Spreckley. Under the terms of the deal, Ritual Studio will be fully merged into Hoorah Digital.

Shaune Jordaan

Shaune Jordaan

According to Shaune Jordaan, Hoorah Digital CEO and co-founder, the acquisition is a chance for the consultancy to ramp up its creative capabilities. Ritual Studio combines expertise in user experience (UX), user interface (UI) design, CGI, animation, and gaming to enhance storytelling; since its founding, it has worked on projects for Standard Bank, Dragon Energy Drink, and Sneaker Lab.

“Most people think of performance marketing as being all about data and dry numbers,” says Jordaan, “but the truth is that data is most powerful when its combined with world-class creativity and storytelling. By bringing Ritual Studio in the Hoorah Digital family, we’re getting a wealth of creative talent that also understands how brands can translate great customer interactions into tangible business.”

See the full story here: http://www.marklives.com/radar/hoorah-digital-acquires-ritual-studio/

20Feb/19Off

Facebook’s Kate McKinley to speak about augmented and virtual reality

5c6c9982cc8fd.imageEngineers week continues Thursday with Kate McKinley, a security leader at Facebook Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, giving the keynote lecture discussing her work of Virtual Reality (VR) technology and what the future holds for the platform.

"[McKinley] has worked previously at Mozilla, Netflix, iSEC Partners, and more as a developer, security engineer, and security expert," according to the Lectures Program website. Since then, she has been with Facebook to help develop virtual reality and augmented reality technology for the general public to use.

See the full story here: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/engineer-keynote-kate-mckinley-lecture-vr-virtual-reality/article_6e927012-349e-11e9-8bf7-f34878c747d3.html

19Feb/19Off

A Virtual Reality App that Reconstructs Ancient Rome May Have Exploited Its Developers

001_City-from-airAncient Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Rome Reborn. Since 1996, the Rome Reborn project has depended upon dozens of researchers to build sophisticated three dimensional models of antique structures that capture the dynamic architectural history of the Eternal City. Details such as painted (i.e. polychromatic) marbles and statues have been painstakingly inserted into the urban city plan. As a result, not only the structures, but also the vibrant color of the ancient world have been revivified. Helmed by project director and classicist Bernard Frischer, the ultimate goal of the project is to rebuild a shifting, interactive model of the city that extends from just before its mythical founding date in 753 BCE to the middle of the reign of the late Roman emperor Justinian around 550 CE, during the period of the Gothic Wars. Right now, viewers are limited to a bird’s eye flyover of the entire city, a tour of the Roman Forum, and a walk-through of the Basilica of Maxentius in the early 4th century CE.

Basilica-Maxentius_interior

La maquette de Rome à l'époque de Constantin (306-337) réalisée par Italo Gismondi entre 1933 et 1937. Cette maquette de 200 m de long est présentée au musée de la civilisation romaine à l'EUR à Rome. Elle est à l'échelle 1/250.

La maquette de Rome à l'époque de Constantin (306-337) réalisée par Italo Gismondi entre 1933 et 1937. Cette maquette de 200 m de long est présentée au musée de la civilisation romaine à l'EUR à Rome. Elle est à l'échelle 1/250.

Over two decades, the various versions of Rome Reborn have been developed by dozens of artists, classicists, archaeologists, and 3D modelers at numerous institutions. The virtual reality tour of the city started as a digital humanities project at the University of California at Los Angeles, where architectural historians like Diane Favro and 3D modelers such as Dean Abernathy contributed to its early development and later launch. Frischer then moved the project to the University of Virginia and then finally to Indiana University, while also developing a for-profit company that created games and media focused on ancient Rome.

Looking at the modest (but still not paltry) cost of the products connected to Rome Reborn, some digital humanists have questioned whether it is ethical to profit personally from a virtual project that has benefitted so mightily from the public investment in digital humanities and heritage preservation made over the last few decades. Although universities and funding agencies have developed mechanisms for allowing project directors to acquire the copyright to cultural heritage models, debates over this area of 3D modeling are still being waged. In comments to Hyperallergic, Ethan Gruber, now the Director of Data Science at the American Numismatics Society, noted his current unease with the project, which he previously worked on from 2007 to 2008, while at UVA:

As a staunch proponent of open data and open access to cultural heritage, I am disappointed to learn that the contributions made in good faith to promote the free and open proliferation knowledge have been commercialized. I am shocked that a project developed largely with taxpayer funding has been trademarked by a private company registered to Bernie Frischer himself.

In the future, Rome Reborn plans to expand into the area of the Colosseum and sell an interactive experience centered on the Roman Pantheon, as well as other well-known sites in Rome. The project is itself a testament to how far the field of digital cultural heritage has come and will no doubt spark interest anew in 3D interactions with the cities of the past. Yet for all the majesty that this virtual experience brings, the project and its products still pose questions about how we cite and credit those who have developed long-term digital heritage projects over the longue durée, who should profit from their sale, and whether such cultural heritage content should be more available to the public in an open-access repository.

See the full story here: https://hyperallergic.com/480239/a-virtual-reality-app-that-reconstructs-ancient-rome-may-have-exploited-its-developers/

19Feb/19Off

Walmart subsidiary Spatial& has crafted a VR experience for store parking lots

Walmart is bringing 50-foot tractor trailers to a few of its stores' parking lots that will contain a virtual reality (VR) experience with a "How to Train Your Dragon" theme, CNBC reports.

Walmart's E-Commerce Sales Year-Over-Year GrowthBusiness Insider Intelligence

By sitting in VR-powered chairs and wearing VR headsets, users can see, feel, and smell sensations that make them feel like they're in the movie.

And the new Spatial& VR technology has potential for future applications such as letting users test camping gear or visit the vineyard that Walmart's wine comes from, CEO of Spatial& Katie Finnigan told CNBC.

See the full story here: https://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-subsidiary-spatial-how-to-train-your-dragon-virtual-reality-experience-2019-2

19Feb/19Off

Heady Virtual Reality Helps Seniors Experience Another World

Heady-Virtual-Reality-grandparents-in-VR-696x392Brown says seniors love trying VR because it allows them to experience technology they may have previously viewed as mere science fiction. In using VR, they can experience locations, activities or events they’ve previously lived through, or immerse themselves in surreal fantasy worlds. Whatever they choose, it all brings a smile to Brown’s face.

Many seniors prefer less-complicated experiences, immersing in rides or scenes like the Apollo 11 simulation. Another woman, in her 70s, had a birthday party at Heady with two friends, who all had a blast riding a roller coaster simulator.

With around 125 titles, Heady has options to suit most any physical limitations someone might have.

See the full story here: http://www.whatcomtalk.com/2019/02/18/heady-virtual-reality-helps-seniors-experience-another-world/

19Feb/19Off

Nonny de la Peña, the Godmother of VR, Wants to Bring Virtual Reality to the Masses

19981_Reach_headshot1_NonnydelaPeaNot satisfied with just telling compelling stories, the Mexican-American creator wanted to put the tools that she has in her company in the hands of other VR users and enthusiasts. REACH, which just showed off its possibilities at the Sundance Film Festival’s expanding New Frontiers showcase, uses 3D captured video of a subject and places them in a volumetric online world where other VR users can see them talk. For instance, at Sundance, visitors could record themselves talking about their experience with one of the works at New Frontiers and then place themselves inside the work they’re describing, like VR criticism within a VR experience. The photos of REACH show a person walking through what looks like an art museum, like a guided tour of a place too far or too expensive to travel to, now available for whoever wants to watch the VR video online – no fancy VR glasses needed if you don’t have them.

There’s no elaborate training needed in order to play in REACH, just curiosity. “People can poke around the buttons and they can make stuff in 30 minutes or less, and then you publish it straight to the web. “I know how hard these tools can get, so I made these the simplest tools possible. It allows anybody to come and make volumetric, full walkaround virtual reality, not just 360 video.”

In addition to opening up the VR space to new creators, de la Peña is still creating immersive experiences with Emblematic Group. She has her sights on what’s happening on the border and has a new upcoming experience to share with audiences soon. “It’s the story of this young woman who comes to the U.S. from Mexico every day,” said de la Peña. “They had to cross these tracks and one day there was a train in the way. They knew if they went around, they would be late so they had to go under. She was going under and the train started moving.” In addition to this project, she has another one on the story of a survivor of one of the Japanese-American internment camps, a collaboration with Spectrum News and another with the company Scatter for their Depthkits that would allow users to film 3D images for REACH.

See the full story here: http://remezcla.com/features/film/nonny-de-la-pena-interview-reach-sundance/

19Feb/19Off

USA TODAY Launches First Entertainment Augmented Reality Experience Ahead of Oscars

“Unlike many other AR experiences, our goal wasn’t to use AR to tell part of the story. Our AR experience is the story,” said Ray Soto, Director of Emerging Tech, USA TODAY NETWORK. “Nothing demands a more up close and personal look than the incredibly detailed and awe-inspiring designs of this year’s Oscar costume nominees. With multiple layers of interactivity between the user and the costume designers, audiences can glean an almost one-on-one experience with the creators of their favorite costumes from these Oscar nominated films.”

See the full story here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pr/2019/02/18/usa-today-launches-first-entertainment-augmented-reality-experience-ahead-oscars/2904442002/

19Feb/19Off

Cornell Tech Aims to Assist the Visually and Hearing Impaired with Augmented Reality Software

unnamedAccording to Azenkot, there are no current tools to help the visually impaired with broad visual scanning tasks like visual search. This makes it difficult for impaired individuals to complete everyday tasks like shopping. As a solution, Azenkot and her team designed five different cues that help attract a user’s attention to where products are located in grocery stores.

“We designed visual cues based on principles from cognitive psychology and what is accessible to people with different visual conditions,” Azenkot said.

Azenkot is hopeful about applications of this research beyond grocery shopping. She is working on other accessibility projects, such as interactive 3D-printed learning tools for those who are visually impaired.

After interviewing people who are deaf or hard of hearing to identify needs, Caulfield and Bane created image and video prototypes to simulate the user experience of having a conversation with someone while reading captions of what they say.

See the full story here: https://cornellsun.com/2019/02/18/cornell-tech-aims-to-assist-the-visually-and-hearing-impaired-with-augmented-reality-software/