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26 2018 Feb

HPA Panel Examines Road To ATSC 3.0 And Repack

Broadcasters at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat discussed two timely television technical topics: the introduction of the ATSC 3.0 DTV transmission standard and the on-going TV spectrum repack initiative.

The “Broadcasters Panel” included Dave Siegler, vice president of technical operations for the Cox Media Group; Del Parks, senior vice president and chief technology officer for the Sinclair Broadcast Group; Skip Pizzi, vice president of technology education and outreach at the NAB; and Fox Network’s Rich Friedel, who also chairs the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s board of directors.

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23 2018 Feb

Colorfront unveils HDR image analyser

Colorfront has unveiled its ‘cost-effective’, next-generation Colorfront HDR Image Analyzer at the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Springs.

The software has various tools for the analysis of HDR standards – including HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), PQ (Perceptual Quantizer) and Rec.2020 – on 4K/UHD content. It runs on commodity hardware and so negates the need for ‘expensive hardware-based video analyzer solutions.’

Included in the software’s toolsets are waveform, histogram and vectorscope monitoring, plus image analysis features such as nit light level meter; error logging; pixel picker; framestore with split-screen; line mode, which can focus the region of interest onto a single horizontal or vertical line; out-of-gamut false color, and audio phase metering.

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23 2018 Feb

HPA 2018: RealD’s TrueMotion Finesses HFR Footage in Post

At the HPA Tech Retreat, RealD senior scientist Tony Davis and cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC shot and mastered imagery in a variety of high frame rates. One of the chief challenges, said Bennett, is achieving a result with a cinematic aesthetic. “As we move towards HDR displays, we’ve discovered that high contrast images tend to judder as they move across the screen,” said Bennett. The two proposed a solution whereby images are acquired at a very high frame rate, but then adjusted in post.

RealD’s TrueMotion is software that creates a synthetic shutter that adjusts motion blur, sharpness and judder to create a more real look and/or allow the creation of another look. The cinematographer acquires with a 360-degree shutter at 120 fps or more, then in post can adjust the shutter to create the desired look.

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23 2018 Feb

HPA 2018: Direct View Cinema Displays to Displace Projectors

Film, and later, digital projectors have been the standard form of displaying movies since the art form’s beginning. But now, says veteran engineering executive in advanced imaging and sound Pete Ludé, so-called direct view cinema displays are poised to displace them. In an afternoon of HPA Tech Retreat sessions looking at new display technologies, Ludé drilled down into the use of emissive displays using millions of RGB LEDs. These giant displays, he said, offer tremendous dynamic range and beautiful pictures in moderate ambient light.

Ludé, who is now chief technology officer of Mission Rock Digital, also pointed out that microLED technologies in development may ultimately provide affordable, DCI-compliant displays. He listed all the reasons why emissive LED displays are desirable. “It has dramatically improved HDR, blacker blacks and very high peak luminance,” he said. “There’s also very low surface reflection, which allows for new screen configurations.”

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23 2018 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat Plays to Sold-Out Crowd

PALM DESERT, CALIF.—The annual Hollywood Production Association Tech Retreat convened on Feb. 19, bringing together television and cinema engineering and production professionals to participate in five days of presentations and discussions covering the latest developments in technologies and practices in content production and distribution.

Artificial Intelligence, HDR preparation, live event streaming, cutting-edge display technologies, intellectual property law, IMF technology and applications for content storage and exchange, VR, blockchain applications in content production and distribution processes and much more made up the agenda this year. The conference attracted some 680 attendees, making it once again a fully sold-out event.

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23 2018 Feb

HPA Panel Examines Road to ATSC 3.0 and Repack

PALM DESERT, CALIF.—Broadcasters at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat discussed two timely television technical topics: the introduction of the ATSC 3.0 DTV transmission standard and the on-going TV spectrum repack initiative.

The “Broadcasters Panel” included Dave Siegler, vice president of technical operations for the Cox Media Group; Del Parks, senior vice president and chief technology officer for the Sinclair Broadcast Group; Skip Pizzi, vice president of technology education and outreach at the NAB; and Fox Network’s Rich Friedel, who also chairs the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s board of directors.

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22 2018 Feb

HPA 2018: Washington Update on the Future of Net Neutrality

In his annual HPA Tech Retreat address covering all the events in Washington, DC related to copyright law and other entertainment-related issues, Thompson Coburn attorney Jim Burger gave a tutorial on copyright basics he dubbed Copyright 101, and provided an overview on some of the issues related to the Library of Congress and the Music Modernization Act. But the majority of his focus was on the brouhaha over net neutrality and its recent repeal by the Republican-dominated (and chaired) FCC.

Burger showed a video of FCC chair Ajit Pai showing “all the things you can still do after the Obama era net neutrality is gone,” which included putting photos of your meal on Instagram, posting photos of cute animals, shopping for Christmas presents online, binge-watching TV shows and staying part of “your favorite fan community.”

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22 2018 Feb

HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

IMF (Interoperable Master Format) came of age, and two hours at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat were devoted to progress made and reasons for its adoption. Led by NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) chair of the working group on file formats Clyde Smith, a senior vice president at Fox Network engineering and operations, the block of speakers covered the business benefits of IMF and how Hollywood, broadcast and OTT would benefit from adopting it. Other topics focused on integrating IMF into the production pipeline.

From the United Kingdom, DPP (Digital Production Partnership) head Andy Wilson and technical director Andy Quested described how their organization and SMPTE are now working together. DPP is a UK-generated standard that enabled the common file format, structure and wrapper of any file-based programming delivered to a UK broadcaster.

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22 2018 Feb

HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

At the HPA Tech Retreat Wednesday breakfast roundtables, program director Yves Bergquist led a discussion on the work he is doing at ETC on storytelling and artificial intelligence. “We’re doing a lot of research around how to create a more semantic understanding of narrative structures and create a machine-readable understanding of storytelling,” he explained. HPA Tech Retreat regular Jim Burger, an attorney who sat at the table, engaged in a conversation with Bergquist about the copyright infringement potential of AI and storytelling.

Bergquist described how the basis of his AI research is that, “stories have a very algorithmic structure.” “Our brain being unable to represent of the complexity of the universe compresses it into scripts and reductions,” he said, adding that we are culturally biased towards specific pre-existing stories. “We do a lot of work about how to recognize the various semantic structures of stories and try to understand which ones perform better.”

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21 2018 Feb

LED Panels as a Cinema Screen? The First L.A. Installation Could Be Ready by April

LED panels — the types of displays you might see used to make up a video wall for digital signage — will not replace the motion picture projector, but they will soon bring competition and disruption, a prominent cinema technology veteran forecast during the Hollywood Professional Association Tech Retreat, which is taking place this week in Palm Desert, California.

In fact, Pete Lude, CTO of engineering firm Mission Rock Digital and a former exec at Sony and RealD, reported that Los Angeles could have its first LED cinema screen (from Samsung) installed by April. He added that at least 10 Samsung displays could be installed in cinemas worldwide by the fall. Samsung has already installed two (both 34-ft. screens with 4K resolution) in Korea, and more are on the way, including one in Switzerland, one in Beijing and one in L.A, Lude reported.

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