Former Fox Exec Hanno Basse Joins Live Planet

Live Planet, creator of systems for virtual reality and blockchain tracking of entertainment content, has appointed Hanno Basse, former chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp., president of its Decentralized Media Solutions division.

“Basse brings Live Planet his extensive expertise in driving the adoption of emerging technologies to catalyze new media experiences and services, expanding the company’s innovations in immersive and linear video production, distribution and monetization,” according to a Live Planet press release.

Basse will expand the company’s global footprint, building on its end-to-end virtual reality video streaming and publishing solution and its blockchain-based video infrastructure platform, the VideoCoin Network.

He will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Live Planet founder and CEO Halsey Minor.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to mark the next stage of growth for Live Planet with the addition of Hanno to our world-class team of media and technology experts. Hanno brings a truly unique level of senior experience to Live Planet that will be extremely valuable to us as we help our customers meet the increasing demands of streaming video and next-generation on-demand services,” said Minor in a statement. “The addition of a technology pioneer of Hanno’s caliber is emblematic of Live Planet’s strategic direction and I look forward to an incredibly exciting journey ahead.”

“The media processing and distribution technologies Halsey and his team have built are among the most groundbreaking I’ve seen. They provide the basis for a new generation of solutions that media, telco and corporations will eagerly embrace as our world moves toward increased decentralization, higher-speed communication and edge-based compute,” said Basse in a statement. “I cannot wait to show the world what we will deliver next.”

Basse was appointed chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in 2012, At Fox, Basse was responsible for technology strategy for the film studio, covering production/post-production, theatrical distribution and home entertainment. He created partnerships with Samsung, Ericsson and Barco, among others, which led to the founding of the Fox Innovation Lab. While at Fox, he also served as the first chairman of the UHD Alliance where he helped launch the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc format and, in partnership with Samsung, established High Dynamic Range technology as a consumer product. He also served as the Fox board member of Movielabs.

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Prior to joining 20th Century Fox, Basse was with DirecTV, where he served as SVP of broadcast systems engineering. In that role, he was responsible for the design and implementation of DirecTV’s broadcast infrastructure and served as the technical lead for the introduction of many technologies to DirecTV’s platform, including HD, 3D and on-demand services.

Basse studied radio communications technology at the Engineering College of the Soviet Air Defense Forces in Kiev, Ukraine, and received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Officer’s College of the Air Force in Kamenz, Germany.

The Live Planet VR System is an end-to-end solution for easily creating and delivering live and recorded picture-perfect stereoscopic VR video programming and applications, according to the company.

The VideoCoin Network provides video infrastructure for the blockchain-enabled internet, delivering decentralized video encoding, storage and content distribution.

‘Gremlins’ Coming to 4K UHD for 35th From Warner

The 1984 classic Gremlins will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and digital for its 35th anniversary Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Joe Dante (Innerspace, The ‘Burbs) and written by Chris Columbus (The Goonies), the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton and Randall Peltzer, along with the voices of Frank Welker as Stripe and Howie Mandel as Gizmo. At times a horror film and others dark comedy, Gremlins follows a teenager who gets a new pet as a gift and finds it has strange transformative powers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Gremlins in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

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Extras include filmmakers’ commentary with Dante, producer Michael Finnell and special effects artist Chris Walas; cast commentary with Dante, Galligan, Cates, Dick Miller and Mandel; behind-the-scenes featurettes; additional scenes with commentary; a featurette on the creation of the creatures; and motion comics.

Dolby Vision Making Inroads at Fox After Disney Acquisition?

A byproduct of Disney’s acquisition of Fox may be more Dolby Vision titles, if the most recent announcement of a Fox home entertainment release is any indication.

Previously, Fox was a supporter of HDR 10+, a no-license-fee competitor to Dolby Vision, but Fox’s recently announced Alita: Battle Angel will be available in 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR 10, HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision, according to press release. Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ employ dynamic metadata, allowing the picture to adjust scene by scene.

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“Twentieth Century Fox aims to deliver the best possible viewing experience for consumers,” according to a Fox statement provided to Media Play News on the subject. “The formats for each title release are determined on a case-by-case basis in partnership with the filmmakers.”

Disney has been a supporter of Dolby Vision.

‘The Shining’ to Terrify in 4K UHD Oct. 1 From Warner

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining will come out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The 4K remastering, done using a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, is of Kubrick’s original 144 minute version of the film which premiered in the United States May 23, 1980. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Kubrick’s former personal assistant  Leon Vitali worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. during the mastering process. May 17 the restored 4K version of the film will be screened at The Cannes Film Festival.

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The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel, was directed and produced by Kubrick, who wrote the screenplay with Diane Johnson. It stars Jack Nicholson in an iconic role as Jack Torrance, Shelley Duval as Wendy Torrance, Scatman Crothers as Dick Halloran, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance. In the film, Jack Torrance becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy and his son Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

In 2018, The Shining was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The film ranked 29th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Additionally, the quote “Here’s Johnny” from the film was ranked 68th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.

The Shining Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the special features in high definition, and a digital version of the movie. Fans can also own The Shining in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Shining will include more than three hours of previously released special features, including:

  • audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter;
  • “Video from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining”;
  • “The Visions of Stanley Kubrick,” a detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest visual storytellers and his unique ability to move audiences through the magic of unforgettable images;
  • “The Making of The Shining,” a cinema verité documentary offering a rare glimpse into the directing style of Kubrick as he interacts with Nicholson, Duvall and others;
  • “Wendy Carlos, Composer,” in which composer Wendy Carlos reflects on working with Kubrick and developing music scores for The Shiningand A Clockwork Orange.

Samsung and Universal in Content Pact on Next-Gen HDR10+

Samsung Electronics and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will bring to market titles mastered with HDR10+, according to a Samsung press release.

HDR10+ is an open source-based, next-generation high dynamic range video standard led by Samsung. HDR adds brightness and contrast dynamically for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deeper darks, according to the release.

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Samsung and UPHE will collaborate on a wide selection of new release and catalog fare with HDR10+ technology, according to the release.

“We are delighted to team with Samsung Electronics on HDR10+ to deliver this striking, cutting-edge technology to entertainment consumers, providing them the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled, state-of-the-art movie-watching experiences across an array of Universal physical and digital titles,” said Michael Bonner, EVP, digital distribution, UPHE, in a statement.

“We have launched a new era of picture-quality technology with HDR10+, providing an amplified vivid viewing experience for consumers” said Hyogun Lee, EVP of the R&D team, visual display business, at Samsung Electronics. “Based on Samsung Electronics’ unique technology and proficiency, we will continue to expand our alliances with premier partners like Universal to provide consumers with the best HDR content possible.”

Samsung Electronics has been collaborating with various companies such as movie studios and OTT operators since the formation of the HDR10+ LLC in August 2017, according to the release. In addition to efforts in Korea, Japan and the United States, Samsung will continue to strengthen the HDR10+ logo and certification program partnership in other territories around the world, according to the release.

Additional details on the HDR10+ certification/logo operating program can be found at www.hdr10plus.org. Logo and technology fees are free.

Dolby also has a dynamic metadata, scene-by-scene, next-gen HDR format, Dolby Vision, requiring a licensing fee.

Paramount to Bow 1989’s ‘Pet Sematary’ on 4K UHD in Time for Theatrical Release of Remake

Written for the screen by author Stephen King based on his bestseller, director Mary Lambert’s 1989 horror film Pet Sematary will stalk home entertainment on 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray March 26 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The film, which earned more than $57 million to become the highest grossing horror film of the time, according to the studio, is being re-released in time for the debut of the studio’s theatrical remake April 5. The story follows the Creed family who, after their cat is accidentally killed, takes the advice of a friendly neighbor and buries it in a mysterious nearby cemetery. When the cat comes back, it’s only the beginning of an unthinkable evil.

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Pet Sematary will mark its 30th anniversary newly remastered in 4K under the supervision of Lambert with new bonus content, which includes the cast and crew of Paramount’s new adaptation discussing the original film’s impact and the lasting legacy of its story; a new interview with Lambert about her memories making the film, the restoration, and King’s enduring influence; and new photo galleries with behind-the-scenes images, original storyboards and vintage ads.

The 4K Ultra HD disc also features Dolby Vision.  For the 4K restoration, Lambert and Paramount went back to the original film negative to rescan it in order to recapture the original detail.

“The shadows are much softer and the colors are richer…and it looks amazing,” said Lambert in a statement.

In addition to the new bonus material, both the 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray feature access to a digital copy of the film and previously released bonus material, including commentary by Lambert, a guided tour of the locations led by King along with an exploration of the origins of the novel, an introduction to the cast and characters, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

Jason Statham Actioner ‘Crank’ Due on 4K May 21 From Lionsgate

Crank, featuring action star Jason Statham, is heading to digital in 4K Ultra HD and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) May 21 from Lionsgate.

In the fast-paced thriller, Statham stars as professional assassin Chev Chelios, who learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops. Also starring are Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Carlos Sanz and Dwight Yoakam.

The releases feature Dolby Vision  HDR, and the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features Dolby Atmos audio.

Extras include five featurettes, two of which are new.

‘Godzilla’ Stomping to 4K UHD May 14 From Sony

Godzilla, the 1998 monster spectacle, debuts on 4K Ultra HD May 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the filmmaking team behind Independence DayGodzilla stars Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional) as the unlikely heroes out to save New York City from the giant, fire-breathing monster and its babies hatching in Madison Square Garden. Following French atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific, an unknown creature is spotted passing through the Panama Canal. Scientist Niko Tatopolous is called in to investigate the matter, and he quickly arrives at the conclusion that a giant, irradiated lizard has been created by the explosions. Godzilla then makes its way north, landing in Manhattan to begin wreaking havoc in the big city.

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Remastered in 4K from the original camera negative with High Dynamic Range, Godzilla also also includes Dolby Atmos sound. Bonus materials include a visual effects commentary, a behind-the-scenes segment with Charles Caiman, all-time best-of-Godzilla fight scenes, the “Heroes” music video by The Wallflowers, and three trailers.

Godzilla earned just over $136 million in U.S. theaters, considered a disappointment and prompting Sony Pictures to scrap plans for a sequel. It was the 23rd “Godzilla” movie, the first coming out in 1954 in Japan.

Panasonic 4K OLED TV Designed With Hollywood Help

Panasonic Jan. 7 announced the launch of the GZ2000, featuring a Professional Edition 4K OLED panel tuned in Hollywood that incorporates custom hardware improvements by Panasonic.

“Optimized by a leading Hollywood colorist, the new panel highlights unparalleled color accuracy and significantly better than average brightness levels,” according to a Panasonic press release.

Panasonic announced it is the world’s first TV to support the high dynamic range formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the HLG Photo format, the new still image format which brings still photography into the HDR world.

“Together, Dolby and Panasonic are bringing best-in-class audio and imaging technology to Panasonic’s TVs,” said John Couling, SVP, commercial partnerships, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos perfectly complement the GZ2000’s advanced display, transforming it into an entertainment powerhouse.”

The GZ2000 is also “the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio with total ease and convenience,” Panasonic announced. “The total audio system has also been tuned by Technics engineers.”

Supporting both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the GZ2000 can integrate with a smart home setup.

Available in 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, the GZ2000 OLED features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3, is “a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers,” Panasonic announced, applying his skills as a colorist to such features as A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and 300. He uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors in his daily workflow, according to the release.

The TV’s average brightness level has been boosted significantly and contrast handling improved, resulting in increased dynamic range, the release stated.

“HDR content now looks even more impactful, with the GZ2000 effortlessly able to reproduce tricky scenes of variable brightness and contrast — often found in live sports broadcasts and in action movies,” the release stated. “Because of this level of customization, combined with the exceptional color-optimizing skills of Sonnenfeld, Panasonic has created some of the most accurate, cinematic images ever seen on a TV.

“Additionally, in response to requests from Hollywood’s professional users, Panasonic has extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales.”

The GZ2000 is also compatible with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), an HDR format expected to be widely adopted by TV broadcasters, the release stated.

The GZ2000 also features Panasonic’s new My Home Screen 4.0, which allows viewers to tailor the TV user interface to their own preferences, the release stated. The layout of the home screen can be reconfigured to allow customized layouts. Access to VOD and broadcast content is also easier thanks to a redesigned GUI that includes icons for decks that provide shortcuts to live TV, connected devices and apps such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. Viewers can even add frequently watched TV stations to the home screen.

BluFocus First North American Authorized Test Center for HDR10+

BluFocus, a division of Blu., has been approved as the first North American Authorized Test Center (ATC) for HDR10+ technology.

HDR10+ advances the current industry standard of High Dynamic Range (HDR), HDR10, by including dynamic metadata for every scene and frame, enabling more accurate true-to-life pictures.

BluFocus ensures the compliance of products submitted for HDR10+ licensing with testing resources that include certification for display performance, metadata processing and display management.

“It’s always gratifying when BluFocus is selected by the media industry to help a new technology standard like HDR10+ reach its full potential,” said Paulette Pantoja, CEO of Blu. “Being approved as an HDR10+ Authorized Test Center is a logical extension to our ATC’s expertise in display technology certifications.”

HDR10+ Technologies, a joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, established the licensing and logo certification program for HDR10+ technology.

“A technological step forward for next generation displays, HDR10+ improves the viewing experience for audiences on a wide range of TVs and displays,” said Danny Kaye, EVP of 20th Century Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab. “In order to uphold this, ATCs, like BluFocus, are critical to ensuring that HDR10+ compliant products meet the highest quality standards.”

For more about the HDR10+ logo, license and certification program visit https://www.hdr10plus.org/.

For more information about Blu., visit http://www.BLU.team.