Hollywood Professional Association Tech Retreat II

Last time, I talked about the events on Monday and Tuesday before the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Tech Retreat began. This time, some notes about the actual retreat—the first day. I kept calling it the Hollywood Professional Alliance because for years it was called the Hollywood Post Alliance; this time I have it right.

These are the things that stuck out for me. I know that some of the topics aren’t directly related to editing but they represent what’s going on in the Media and Entertainment industry. I find it useful to pay attention to what’s happening there.

Tech retreats usually start Wednesday morning with a review of the past year by Mark Schubin. Schubin has been the backbone of the retreat year in and year out, making sure interesting topics are presented and discussed.

A few interesting facts in the review:

  • The Super Bowl (even with a decrease in NFL viewership) was one of the top ten most watched television events of all times in the US (it was 10th)
  • There were 487 Scripted TV shows in 2017
  • Streaming shows rose 30% last year
  • 75% of people have skipped a social event to watch TV
  • Nokia kills off OZO VR camera

Interoperable Master Format (IMF) was a big topic on Wednesday. IMF is really a method for Studios and Networks that have to deliver a plethora of deliverables — think language, captions, credits, titles — without having to store the same content over and over (more about local versioning next post). For example, the main body of a show might be stored once, but multiple title sequences in different languages are stored separately. By doing this, storage for a show’s deliverables might drop from 70 TB to 7 TB.

After the morning discussion on IMF, the afternoon started with a recap of CES. I talked about CES in a previous blog post but with this recap and other discussions at breakfast roundtables, I learned that all the OLED panels are manufactured by LG, regardless of the label on the TV.

And I was reminded how much TVs have become a commodity. My favorite line was from the presenter Peter Putman from ROAM Consulting www.hdtvexpert.com who suggested the following conversation, “While you are at the grocery store, can you pick up some milk and an HDR TV?”

There was a session on Advanced Cinema technology that included a presentation provocatively titled “Projecting the End of Projectors: The Birth of Direct-View Cinema Displays.” This talked about using LEDs to create cinema screens and noted there are already 10 installations of LED cinema screens worldwide.

The highlights:

  • LEDs need to get smaller for direct view cinema screens to take hold, and they are increasingly getting smaller (there’s an oxymoron for you).
  • LED screens are more expensive than projectors, but that can change.
  • Benefits of using LED include good black levels, improved brightness and power efficiency.
  • LED screen have a higher tolerance for ambient light, which can help theaters that do dine-in movie-style presentations.

Next was a technical presentation about a study that aims to measure “the variations of artistic intent” across direct-view and projection. In this study, material was separately graded on both systems and then presented to viewers who responded to questions about the creative aspect of the viewing experience. It was interesting that they were trying to quantify viewers’ feelings, not just looking at scopes.

After that, Dolby had a presentation important to HDR. They performed a study to determine how the human visual system’s ability to capture detail is affected by ambient light level. With displays getting brighter and brighter, viewing rooms and suites can be brighter and brighter. But should they be? Can we see detail in the blacks?

The afternoon ended with a presentation by Real D (www.reald.com) showing their frame rate interpolation technology called TrueMotion™. First, they presented the usual examples of the problems with frame rate and motion: judder and wagon wheel effect were some of the issues shown. Then they showed footage shot at a high frame rate with an open or 360º shutter. This was followed by that same footage processed with their synthetic shutter software to change the frame rate and shutter angle in post.

All that in just one day. Next time, day two.