MovieLabs, Hollywood Studios Publish White Paper on Future of Media Creation

Motion Pictures Laboratories (MovieLabs), together with member studios, has published a white paper presenting an industry vision for the future of media creation technology by 2030.

MovieLabs is a non-profit technology research lab jointly run by Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and Television, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The paper, jointly authored by MovieLabs and technology leadership teams from Hollywood studios, paints a picture of future technology and discusses the need for the industry to work together now on new software, hardware and production workflows to support and enable new ways to create content over the next 10 years. The white paper is available for free download on the MovieLabs website.

The 2030 Vision paper lays out key principles to form the foundation of this technological future, with examples and a discussion of the broader implications of each. The principles envision a future in which:

  1. All assets are created or ingested straight into the cloud and do not need to be moved.
  2. Applications come to the media.
  3. Propagation and distribution of assets is a “publish” function.
  4.  Archives are deep libraries with access policies matching speed, availability and security to the economics of the cloud.
  5. Preservation of digital assets includes the future means to access and edit them.
  6. Every individual on a project is identified and verified, and their access permissions are efficiently and consistently managed.
  7. All media creation happens in a highly secure environment that adapts rapidly to changing threats.
  8. Individual media elements are referenced, accessed, tracked and interrelated using a universal linking system.
  9. Media workflows are non-destructive and dynamically created using common interfaces, underlying data formats and metadata.
  10. Workflows are designed around real-time iteration and feedback.

The paper predicts that many mundane or repetitive production tasks will be accomplished through artificial intelligence-enhanced tools, automation, bots and processes.

The publication of the paper will be supported with a panel discussion at the IBC Conference in Amsterdam. The panel, “Hollywood’s Vision for the Future of Production in 2030,” will include senior technology leaders from five major Hollywood motion picture studios and will take place Sept. 15 at 2:15 p.m. at the IBC Conference in the Forum room of the RAI Amsterdam Conference Centre. More details can be found here.

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“While the next 10 years will bring significant opportunities, there are still major challenges and inherent inefficiencies in our production workflows that threaten to limit our future ability to innovate,” said Richard Berger, CEO of MovieLabs, in a statement. “We have been working closely with studio technology leaders and strategizing how to integrate new technologies that empower filmmakers to create ever more compelling content with more speed and efficiency. By laying out these principles publicly, we hope to catalyze an industry dialog and fuel innovation, encouraging companies and organizations to help us deliver on these ideas.”

“The MovieLabs 2030 Vision Paper is the culmination of the technological opportunities emerging today that the major stakeholders in entertainment — particularly movie studios — are committed to making available for mainstream productions over the next decade,” said Anthony Guarino, EVP, worldwide technical operations, Paramount Pictures, in a statement. “Ideally, the white paper becomes a catalyst for all participants in our industry to confidently make the technology development investments needed to underpin the next-generation workflows and guiding principles. Paramount Pictures looks forward to working with production service partners to encourage development efforts that will bring forward solutions that support this vision.”

“Sony Pictures Entertainment has a deep appreciation for the role that current and future technologies play in content creation,” said Don Eklund, CTO, Sony Pictures, in a statement. “As a subsidiary of a technology focused company, we benefit from the power of Sony R&D and Sony’s product groups. The MovieLabs 2030 document represents the contribution of multiple studios to forecast and embrace the impact that cloud, ML, and a range of hardware and software will have on our industry. We consider this a living document that will evolve over time and provide appreciated insight.”

“With film production experiencing unprecedented growth, and new innovative forms of storytelling capturing our audiences’ attention, we’re proud to be collaborating across the industry to envision new technological paradigms for our filmmakers so we can efficiently deliver worldwide audiences compelling entertainment,” said Michael Wise, SVP  and CTO, Universal Pictures, in a statement.

“Disney looks forward to working with the industry to strategically integrate technology developments into the production process over the next 10 years,” said Shadi Almassizadeh, VP, motion picture architecture and engineering, Walt Disney Studios, in a statement.

“In today’s entertainment landscape, creativity and technological innovation are inextricably linked,” said Vicky Colf, CTO, Warner Bros. Entertainment, in a statement. “The MovieLabs 2030 vision does the important work of focusing on technology tools and processes which enable content creator artistry and ingenuity, while delivering efficiency, agility, and security to the ever evolving production environment.”

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.

DEG, EMA and MovieLabs Release Updated Digital Supply Chain Specs

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the Entertainment Merchants Association and Motion Pictures Laboratories (MovieLabs), together with member studios, retailers, and service providers, have approved and released four updated supply chain specifications for digital distribution of film and TV.

The specifications were developed and reviewed jointly by the three organizations through the Digital Supply Chain Alliance announced earlier this year. The new updates are designed to expand support for international distribution to ensure all territories receive the right content and facilitate more sophisticated business engagement and improved automation among participants in the digital supply chain.

The updated documents include two comprehensive specifications developed over many years and two more targeted specifications for “core” requirements and use cases. The core specs enable content owners and distributors to start small with a simpler initial deployment, then grow the implementation as needed to meet requirements.

“The Digital Supply Chain Alliance was created to allow us as an industry to move faster and more efficiently towards standards adoption industrywide,” said John Powers, executive director, DEG, in a statement. “We are happy to demonstrate, with the release of these first specs, that this is successfully happening. This is a meaningful step in keeping up with the pace of change in digital distribution.”

“As our members continue to expand the scope and scale of their content offerings, it’s important that our specifications adapt to support them,” said Eric Hanson, VP of industry leadership, EMA, in a statement. “It’s been great having such engaged support from retailers, service providers, studios and TV networks in agreeing on technical solutions to increasingly complex use cases.”

“Working together with the DEG and EMA, we incorporated improvements into the specifications to make them complete enough and robust enough to handle a wide range of situations encountered by our members,” said Craig Seidel, MovieLabs VP of distribution technology, in a statement. “We are very pleased to make these the first specs approved through the Digital Supply Chain Alliance.”

The updates include:

• Common Metadata 2.7 — New features have been added to the Common Metadata specification, including support for franchises and brands, related works, more sophisticated TV internationalization, and technical metadata improvements (e.g., dynamic metadata and additional encoding parameters). The new spec also includes general updates such as new codec-controlled vocabularies, minor corrections and clarifications.
• Media Entertainment Core 2.8 — The Media Entertainment Core Metadata spec defines the core requirements for transferring metadata from publishers to retailers. MEC has been updated to conform to Common Metadata 2.7.
• Media Manifest 1.8 — The Media Manifest spec has also been updated to follow Common Metadata 2.7, as well as adding data to support additional workflow use cases, ability to handle cards in playable sequence, and improved support for TV that reduces the need for territory-specific experiences.
• Media Manifest Core 2.0 — Media Manifest Core 2.0 is the targeted core specification based on Media Manifest 1.8 and Common Metadata 2.7. It includes all the improvements from those specifications and adds full support for episodic content.

The latest specifications can be found on the MovieLabs website www.movielabs.com/md.

DEG, EMA and MovieLabs Form Digital Supply Chain Alliance

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the Entertainment Merchants Association and MovieLabs have formed the Digital Supply Chain Alliance to strengthen the digital supply chain.

The Alliance is designed to improve cooperation among DEG, EMA and MovieLabs members “in service of improved efficiency, standards adoption and the sharing of best practices,” they stated in a press release.

A new Digital Supply Chain Steering Committee has been established and will work under the stewardship of DEG executive director John Powers, EMA VP of industry leadership Eric Hanson and MovieLabs VP of distribution technology Craig Seidel to provide oversight, guidance and direction for the groups’ combined efforts.

The new Alliance will enable the three organizations to set common goals and timelines for adoption of supply chain specifications and best practices, according to the joint release, which stated that “a shared adoption plan and roadmap will help member companies drive automation faster and more efficiently keep up with the pace of change in digital distribution.”

“I’m really excited about streamlining how ecosystem participants collaborate on improving the digital supply chain,” said steering committee member Bill Kotzman, partner product manager at YouTube/Google, in a statement. “The formation of the Digital Supply Chain Alliance is a very positive step towards increased organizational efficiency that will enable us to spend less time on deciding which problems to solve and more time on actually solving problems.”

“This new framework for collaboration will bolster the sharing of best practices and allow us to move faster towards standards adoption industrywide,” said steering committee member Mark Sgriccia, VP of content operations and strategy at Lionsgate, in a statement.

The Alliance will hold monthly working group, quarterly and biannual meetings, according to Hanson.