philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

15Nov/17Off

Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’

2806“The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbait is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy. So I am concerned,” said Berners-Lee, who in March called for the regulation of online political advertising to prevent it from being used in “unethical ways”.

Since then, it has been revealed that Russian operatives bought micro-targeted political ads aimed at US voters on Facebook, Google and Twitter. Data analytics firms such as Cambridge Analytica, which builds personality profiles of millions of individuals so they can be manipulated through “behavioural micro-targeting”, have also been criticised for creating “weaponised AI propaganda”.

“We have these dark ads that target and manipulate me and then vanish because I can’t bookmark them. This is not democracy – this is putting who gets selected into the hands of the most manipulative companies out there,” said Berners-Lee.

See the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/15/tim-berners-lee-world-wide-web-net-neutrality

15Nov/17Off

“Coco VR” Is The Best Way To Experience Pixar’s Artistry

Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR owners can explore the beautiful, stylized world of Pixar’s latest film with up to three friends.

i-3-coco-vrand8221-is-the-best-ever-way-to-experience-pixarThe result of a partnership between Pixar, Oculus, Disney, and the VR production studio Magnopus, Coco VR is a social experience for up to four people. In it, each person takes on the role of a well-dressed skeleton and embarks on a journey through a series of experiences–an art studio packed with concept art from the many years of the film’s production; a cinema showing test footage that wasn’t used in the final move; a photography booth where you can shoot silly selfies of your stylized skeleton; and others. The most fantastical, and most beautiful is a ride on a gondola high above a stunning floating cityscape of rich colors and endless lights.

Simply put, there has never been a better way to immerse yourself in the art of a Pixar film.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE ASSETS

One reason you see a lot of virtual reality projects tied to Hollywood films is that the VR producers have access to all the 3D models and art assets created by their motion picture counterparts.

For those at Pixar, setting VR users free inside this space meant surrendering the kind of control they’ve had over many years of making hit computer-animated movies.

EATING THEIR OWN DOG FOOD

At the same time, the project’s creators were able to take advantage of the social aspects of the experience they were crafting. It’s built to allow multiple users to explore the project together, and during production, that’s exactly what the producers did.

When in the creation stages of a film, Pixar’s producers will go into a screening room where they watch shots together and collectively comment on what they’re seeing. With Coco VR, they utilized the project’s social features to wander around on joint scouting trips where they could look for things that were broken or not working the way they were intended.

“Literally, that’s how we made it,” Sondheimer says. “Without the social aspect, it would have been hard to understand what the other person was seeing.”

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why movie studios make VR projects tied to the films other than because someone in marketing told them that’s the thing to do these days. But with Coco VR, you quickly understand that the point is to feel like you’re getting a taste of the universe around which Coco was made, and that the producers were entirely focused on making that taste as enjoyable as possible in its own right.

See the full story here: https://www.fastcompany.com/40495777/coco-vr-is-the-best-way-to-experience-pixars-artistry

15Nov/17Off

Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

Star_Wars_Force_AwakensAccording to The Verge, Iger’s announcement about new TV series means that, “Disney [is] winning the online streaming service wars without firing a single shot.” Since content is “the great differentiator” among streaming services, exclusive content is key. But “licensed exclusivity isn’t a stable platform upon which to build a business” because “any deal can be altered or broken … which is why original programming has become such an incredible focus for streaming services.”

Iger has built Disney’s “movie-business dominance on the power of multi-billion-dollar acquisitions” with Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, seeing “astronomical” returns. According to Iger, “the average global box office for Disney’s animated movies is now more than $665 million.”

That opens the possibility “where almost all of our blockbuster entertainment comes from a single source,” and could raise “a question of whether its service will so radically reset consumer expectations in the streaming market that a $9.99 Netflix subscription just won’t seem like a value any longer.”

See the full story here: http://www.etcentric.org/disney-looks-to-major-franchises-for-first-streaming-content/

15Nov/17Off

Theme parks are blurring the lines between physical rides, movies, TV and virtual reality

Attendees check out the offerings on the Trade Floor at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. (Photo by courtesy of Robert Niles)

Attendees check out the offerings on the Trade Floor at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. (Photo by courtesy of Robert Niles)

In addition to all the selling and buying of theme park attractions, food systems and merchandise line, there’s a lot of recruiting and hiring going on behind the scenes every year at IAAPA. The film and television industries have been tough businesses to break into in the past, but themed entertainment design firms have been hiring aggressively as they develop projects for parks in China and the Middle East. They’re not just designing theme parks, either. Design firms are creating projects for corporate factory tours, museums, touring productions and virtual and augmented reality installations all over the world.

See the full story here http://www.ocregister.com/2017/11/14/theme-parks-are-blurring-the-lines-between-physical-rides-movies-tv-and-virtual-reality/

15Nov/17Off

VIRTUAL REALITY HITS THE AMUSEMENT PARKS AT ANNUAL EXPO

1200px-Kraken_SeaWorld_Orlando_01It’s a growing trend in the amusement park industry, said IAAPA’s Communications Director Susie Storey, and it stemmed from SeaWorld Orlando’s success implementing the technology.

“What we’re seeing on the floor are ideas that are growing upon that. If you can put it on a roller coaster, can you put it on a water slide? We’re seeing examples of that debuting on the show floor,” said Storey. More than 1,100 companies are showing off their products this week at the annual expo in Orlando.

See the full story here: http://www.wmfe.org/virtual-reality-hits-the-amusement-parks-at-annual-expo/80394

15Nov/17Off

Google explains the Pixel 2’s super-stable video recording

Google is happy to explain: it just posted an in-depth exploration of how this stabilization works. As you might guess, Google uses some of its machine learning know-how to incorporate both anti-shake technologies where many phones can only use one or the other.

The system starts off by collecting motion info from both OIS and the phone's gyroscope, making sure it's in "perfect" sync with the image. But it's what happens next that matters most: Google uses a "lookahead" filtering algorithm that pushes image frames into a deferred queue and uses machine learning to predict where you're likely to move the phone next. This corrects for a wider range of movement than OIS alone, and can counteract common video quirks like wobbling, rolling shutter (the distortion effect where parts of the frame appear to lag behind) or focus hunting. The algorithmic method even introduces virtual motion to mask wild variations in sharpness when you move the phone quickly.

See the full story here: https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/12/google-explains-the-pixel-2s-super-stable-video-recording/

15Nov/17Off

Managing Virtual and Augmented Reality Assets as Content

2017-13-November-Virtual-Reality-PaintingGoogle built Poly from the ground up with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) developers in mind. ...managing 3D content is just as important as creating it. That's an important point for companies to remember as they rev up their own VR and AR initiatives.

“Some of our customers are already on top of this,” said Aaron Buchanan, vice president of emerging technology at HYFN. “They have identified console gaming opportunities, and they are organizing and digitizing their libraries in terms of the varying degrees of resolution, in terms of 3-D models and things like that.”

Larger File Sizes

New Standards

Industry watchers are predicting that ultimately there will be too many platforms and they will flood the market. Already there is fragmentation in the ecosystem just in terms of the number of ways users can experience content on Microsoft and Google platforms. Over time, it may be necessary to adopt new standards to make it easier to maintain and serve content across platforms.

New Modes of Content Discovery

New Mindset

See the full story here: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-experience/managing-virtual-and-augmented-reality-assets-as-content/

15Nov/17Off

LinkedIn rolls out its Career Advice mentoring program to US, UK and India

helpwanted-e1426002567534Career Advice, as the new product is called, is the full roll out of an online mentoring service that LinkedIn launched in a limited format this past summer, in San Francisco and Australia. The idea is to connect users with mentors who can help them figure out anything to do with their career, whether it’s ideas on how to find a new job, feedback for why they are not getting ahead or feeling satisfied at work, and maybe even to pivot to a new career altogether.

And ironically, we’re probably now at a point as a working society where mentoring and getting advice on how to steer your career needs to exist more than ever before. The idea of a career for life, let alone a job for life, is not the norm for many people in developed economies, due in part to the pace of technological development, and in part to other economic factors like globalization.

LinkedIn’s own survey of 6,000 people aged 25-33 found the majority of them have faced a “quarter-life” crisis, and job anxiety is the number-one reason for this, with 61 percent putting this at the top of their list above financial or social woes. This is what LinkedIn believes it can address with its online mentoring service.

See the full story here: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/15/linkedin-rolls-out-its-career-advice-mentoring-program-to-us-uk-and-india/?utm_medium=TCnewsletter

15Nov/17Off

HTC cancels plans to release wireless VR headset with Google in the U.S.

google-io-2017-0335HTC and Google both confirmed to TechCrunch that a Daydream-branded HTC standalone headset will no longer be coming to the U.S. market.

HTC says it will be focusing its resources on a Qualcomm-powered standalonefor the China market, which it is calling the Vive Focus. Pricing has not been disclosed.

While the US has been a slow struggle platform-wise for Vive, China has been a different story where the company has already grown its smartphone-based mobile VR brand thanks to a software launcher tied to its Viveport content store. At its Vive dev conference in Shanghai today, HTC announced the Vive Wave platform which pairs content development with syncing hardware partners behind their Viveport content store, which HTC is hoping to unify developers behind. The focus appears to be solely on China with this release as well.

See the full story here: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/13/htc-cancels-u-s-release-of-wireless-vr-headset-built-on-google-tech/?utm_medium=TCnewsletter

15Nov/17Off

PLNAR, APP GENERATES PLANS VIA AUGMENTED REALITY

0d3af29fb448803033a5fe2f86b1e687_clientImage_1280x853_xlarge_thumbnail_1PLNAR, the first app to generate floor plans using augmented reality, will be released in the App Store once iOS 11 is made available. The PLNAR app—built using Apple’s ARKit, an augmented reality development tool—was created by SmartPicture Technologies, an Austin-based software-as-a-service company that creates solutions to digitally automate the traditional in-home measurement process.

See the full story here: https://marketscale.com/industries/aecd/plnar-app-generates-plans-via-augmented-reality/