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25 2016 Aug

Young Entertainment Professionals Accepting Applications

HPA is now accepting applications for the inaugural class of Young Entertainment Professionals, sponsored and selected by HPA Women in Post.   The YEP program is designed to promote the participation of young people within the professional media content industry. It is open to any man or woman between the ages of 21 and 29 interested in expanding their industry knowledge and building their media and entertainment career.

Kari Grubin, WiP Chair, noted, “The HPA is committed to mentoring the next generation of professionals who will lead our industry.  YEP was launched to bring 10 young men and women into an environment of connection, education, and community.  If you work with or know someone outstanding, please encourage them to apply.  Or if you’re 21-29, apply yourself! It’s free, easy, and membership in HPA or SMPTE is not required.  The first YEP event is a full day of the SMPTE Conference, a networking mentorship lunch with industry leaders, and meetings with panelists and exhibitors.  You’ll be shepherded through the event by a dedicated team of HPA leaders.  This is the first of a series of YEP events.”

SMPTE and HPA Women in Post will host the YEPs at an exclusive day at SMPTE’s 2016 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, where they will build a peer community while participating in a full day of mentoring experiences, including private booth tours with technology companies, a roundtable luncheon, and entrance to the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival.

Applications will be accepted until September 15.


25 2016 Aug

SMPTE® 2016 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition

Society’s Flagship Technical Conference Will Feature Diverse, Expert-Led Sessions, and First-of-a-Kind Celebrations Honoring SMPTE’s Centennial

 The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) has details for the SMPTE 2016 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2016), Oct. 25-27 in Hollywood, California.

Papers will address ultra-high-definition (UHD) and 4K/8K resolution, higher frame rates (HFR), high-dynamic-range (HDR), and wider color gamut (WCG) in sessions that examine how these aspects impact and align with the director’s original creative intent. The “Future of Cinema” sessions will focus on delivering higher-contrast HDR images and increasing pixels per second by delving into the aesthetics of HFR capture, the psychovisual effects of HFR presentation, and the impact achieved by overfilling one’s field of view. Sessions dedicated to color management likewise focus on HDR while examining the art and science of preserving and enhancing creative intent. Presentations on display technologies will address the challenges of developing test patterns to evaluate and calibrate UHD HDR displays and also discuss the use of the 60 GHz radio spectrum to provide wireless high-bandwidth display connections.

Two sessions on new distribution modalities will discuss challenges in transmitting immersive-quality video for over-the-top (OTT) services and the influence of digital technology on distribution channels. In sessions on video compression, presenters will discuss both ends of the spectrum: low-bandwidth usage for OTT internet delivery to mobile devices and mezzanine encoding for high-end, intra-, and inter-studio/facility applications.

Sessions on broadcast infrastructure will explore the nature of continued broadcast signal distribution over coaxial cable and discuss the evolution of serial digital interface (SDI), including its potential to deliver 100 Gigabit services and enable a seamless transition to internet protocol (IP). Moving into the cloud, conference sessions will focus on how broadcast media-processing capabilities can be migrated to an IP architecture and virtualized across a data center and cloud infrastructure for encoding, master control, disaster recovery, and archiving.

Virtual reality (VR) will again be featured at SMPTE’s annual technical conference. Sessions will explore how standards, quality checks, and best practices can be counted on to protect, and even improve, the audience’s experience with VR. Speakers will present challenges, solutions, and metrics for VR workflows and content interchange, and they will review techniques to increase reliability and ensure the quality of VR productions.

Content security is an ongoing concern for the motion-imaging industry, and SMPTE 2016 conference sessions will investigate the security of Interoperable Master Format (IMF), particularly in the cloud, and the challenges of watermarking UHD/HDR content.

“Reinventing Entertainment Engineering: Merging the Experience of Today With Millennials’ Vision for Tomorrow,” features six millennials in entertainment engineering who will deliver presentations on their experiences, outlooks, and hopes for the future — on what it means to be a millennial in the motion-imaging field today.

Monday, Oct. 24 The annual Women in Technology Luncheon, co-produced with the Hollywood Professional Association’s (HPA®) Women in Post.

The SMPTE Honors & Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, Oct. 25, SMPTE 2016 opening keynote, The Annual General Membership Meeting and the Fellows Luncheon, which is open exclusively to SMPTE Fellows and Life Fellows. The day concludes with the Welcome Reception in the Ray Dolby Exhibit Hall.

Wednesday, Oct. 26,   Oktoberfest Reception in the Centennial Exhibit Hall, as well as the HPA Student Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre.

Thursday, Oct. 27, SMPTE will host a box lunch in both the Ray Dolby and Centennial exhibit halls.

Friday, Oct. 28, in the Ray Dolby Ballroom, the Centennial Gala will celebrate SMPTE’s past, present, and future. SMPTE will honor director James Cameron with Honorary Membership and Douglas Trumbull with the Progress Medal.

Further details about SMPTE 2016 are available at Centennial Gala tickets and tables may also be purchased independently of SMPTE 2016 registration at




25 2016 Aug

David Stump, ASC Talks New Technology

BYLINE: By Debra Kaufman

David Stump smFrom Toronto where he’s overseeing visual effects cinematography on American Gods, David Stump, ASC shared his experiences working with the Lytro camera. “I’ve engaged with technologies and techniques for ten years, heading towards the goal of deriving depth on a pixel-by-pixel basis,” he says. “I’ve been telling anyone who will listen – and some who won’t – that I know it’s do-able. When that camera is invented, it’ll become ubiquitous and invaluable.” Stump bought one of Lytro’s Illum cameras online. “Anything interesting photographically is my wheelhouse,” he says. “I had to have one.”

When Lytro began developing its cinema camera, company executives approached the American Society of Cinematographers to talk to the Technology Committee, where Stump heads up the camera subcommittee. Lytro also went to VRC (The Virtual Reality Company), a division of Third Floor, to talk to director Rob Stromberg and Stump about shooting a demo film for the camera, to be shown at NAB. “I shot this short, Life, as a representative of both entities,” he says. At NAB, people saw the five-minute short, a visual poem on different paths that people follow in life, which was shot with both ARRI and Alexa cameras, with Lytro cinema camera footage intercut.

Life was a surprise hit at NAB 2016, putting Lytro on the radar screen for many in the production and post industries. For Stump, the experience of shooting it clarified the strengths of the Lytro camera system. “The most obvious capability that everyone associates with the Lytro is the ability to refocus in post and synthetically vary depth of field,” he says. “But I was as interested – or even more interested – in its ability to capture depth on a pixel-by-pixel basis. When you capture depth, you can do things you never could do before with a camera.”

Specifically, Stump points to a scene in Life when a couple in wedding attire are on a dais with a preacher reading their vows. “Besides the path leading to the couple, everything else was lamps and C-stands and grips walking behind them,” says Stump. Without green- or blue-screen, Lytro created a depth map that enabled them to place the couple in a matte painting. Even better, in the foreground, they shot mountains of Mylar confetti being thrown. “Then we were able to map the reflective Mylar confetti in the scene and get another take for the actors in the background and combine those two things, just using depth information,” says Stump. “It was awesome.”

Because Stump works quite a bit with visual effects, he notes that the possibilities of using a depth map to discriminate images are bountiful. “There are some visual effects in American Gods that are total head-scratchers – really difficult to pull off,” he says. “If I could use that camera to do them, it’ll be 20 times easier. Computer artists will have endless flexibility with what they can do with the data in vastly less time. As this technology evolves and matures, it will vastly simplify the work of doing virtual reality, will enable very accurate 3D acquisition and will radically enable VFX production. With no downside I can see.”

He also addresses the common perception that a light-field camera such as Lytro will put focus pullers out of work. “That’s not true at all,” he says. “What it’s going to do is just change the job of pulling focus, by adding a different set of parameters. You won’t just pull focus but you will also control depth of field capabilities. The job requires more education, as it does with any of the technologies we’ve had to learn in the last 15 years.” Other cinematographers are exploring the use of Lytro, but not all of them are ready to come forward with their experiences.

Stump, who is also following virtual reality and multi-cam capture, notes that, as new technologies emerge, they should be embraced. “If we don’t embrace them, we risk being run over by them,” he says. “You’re either driving the bus or you are under its wheels.” And lest anyone should think he’s a shill for Lytro, Stump reminds everyone he continues to watch the progress of depth capture technologies. “I like that we’ve succeeded with Lytro already,” he says. “But I don’t work for anyone. It’s a foot race. Whoever gets there first wins.”

27 2016 Jul

Testronic Opens Groundbreaking Virtual Reality Test Center in U.S.

Jason Gish

Jason Gish

Testronic, the leader in quality assurance (QA), localization services and compliance, has unveiled a dedicated virtual reality (VR) test center in its U.S. headquarters in Burbank, California. The VR test center opened in the company’s 1st Street office this week, making it the second VR testing location launched by Testronic this year with a successful operation already up and running in Warsaw, Poland. The VR centers further bolster the full-service QA testing services that Testronic has offered to studios, content holders, and game developers for nearly 20 years.

“A great service company must always stay ahead of its clients’ needs,” said Jason Gish, senior VP Film & Television for Testronic. “This requires being at the cutting edge of consumer technology in order to provide the industry with the highest quality service offerings.

“Virtual reality is going to have a huge impact in entertainment, and Testronic is here to ensure consumers get the best experience,” added Gish. “This is an exceptionally complex technology, requiring a new and innovative test approach that utilizes Testronic’s unique depth of experience across games, apps, software, film and television. We are excited and ready to take on the challenge.”

Gish continued, “Consumer VR is in its infancy and nobody knows what it will become years from now. We are only beginning to see some of its potential in a variety of industries. As VR evolves, consumer expectations will grow, requiring more exploratory and inventive QC processes. VR content must be robust, compliant, and deployable across a variety of apps and devices. Testing VR content has unique requirements, and the integrity of VR content is crucial to its functionality. It is critical to have an understanding of aspects like head tracking, and other core VR functions, in order to develop a thorough test approach. Issues in VR can not only take you out of the experience, but can cause simulator sickness. Beyond testing for the usual bugs and functionality imperfections, VR is deeply rooted in user experience and Testronic’s test approach reflects that understanding.”

Testronic was also an early testing pioneer of User Experience (UX), developing one of the first UX labs in the U.S.

“Testronic’s ultimate goal on every single project is to ensure a high quality experience for the audience regardless of the format or device,” noted Gish. “We’ve built an unparalleled reputation in that area.”

Testronic’s first VR test center, which opened in Testronic’s Poland office in March, is working on a number of titles. Gish concludes, “We are in close collaboration with our studio and developer clients and partners to make sure that we are in front of the trends that they are responding to. It’s a very exciting time in the industry and at Testronic.”

26 2016 Jul

SAVE THE DATE – VES Summit on Saturday, 29 October 2016 at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills

VES logoJoin the Visual Effects Society (VES) for their annual one-day summit devoted to shaping the future of the visual effects industry. This interactive forum will bring together top creatives, executives, thought leaders and visionaries from diverse disciplines to explore the dynamic evolution of visual imagery in a TED Talks-like atmosphere.

This year’s theme “What is Real?” explores the realities of virtual and physical experiences, new technologies, new business platforms and the latest storytelling forms through:

  • Expert Panel Discussions
  • Thought-leading Speakers
  • Networking Roundtables
  • Product Display and Demo Booths

This year’s speakers to be announced soon. Over the years previous VES Summit Speakers have included current and former AMPAS Presidents Cheryl Boone Isaacs,  Sid Ganis and Hawk Koch; Illumination Entertainment Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri; director/writer/producer Dean Devlin; Executive Producer/EVP of VFX & Post Marvel Studios Victoria Alonso; former head of the MPAA Bob Pisano; former Chairman of Fox Bill Mechanic; President of Digital Production Animation & VFX at Warner Bros.  Chris deFaria and President of Feature Post-production at 20th Century Fox Ted Gagliano, among others.  Additionally, we have included more esoteric speakers, such as Nagin Cox from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who spoke about the Mars rover Curiosity, and George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic who spoke about the future of space travel.

To purchase tickets, go to:

To enjoy sponsorship recognition while networking with 200+ entertainment professional and thought leaders, please contact Nancy Ward at

About the Visual Effects Society
The Visual Effects Society (VES) is the entertainment industry’s only official organization representing over 3,000 visual effects practitioners including studio executives, supervisors, artists, producers, technology developers and educators in 30+ countries with 10 global Sections. Our global members contribute to all areas of entertainment from animation, hybrid films, films, television, VR&AR and commercials to music videos, games and new media. The top grossing 100 films of all time are visual effects driven or animated films: To learn more about the VES, visit and follow us on Twitter @VFXSociety.

26 2016 Jul

HPA Tech Retreat UK Makes Auspicious Debut

During the week of July 13-14, in a glorious Oxfordshire location, HPA Tech Retreat brought 150 of the industry’s best and brightest together to share, converse, and consider the most important developments in the industry.  The HPA Tech Retreat UK is the first global event from HPA, and brought much of the flavor of the US event with a decidedly UK flavor.

Richard Welsh, former SMPTE governor and CEO of SunDog Media ToolKit, pulled a great event together.  Panelists took attendees behind the scenes and into their work on The Jungle Book, Game of Thrones, Finding Dory, and Billy Lynne’s Long Halftime Walk. The Innovation Zone featured 20 of the most compelling technologies and companies. Take a peek at some of the engaging times had by attendees.

A special thank you to our sponsors Bell Theatre Services, Black magic Design, Dell, Dolby, Harman Kardon, Pixspan, RealD, Sohonet, Sony, and  Visual Data Media Services.


26 2016 Jul

HPA Engineering Excellence and Judges Award for Creativity & Innovation

Judging 2

IMAX opened its doors for the judging of the Engineering Excellence and Creativity Innovation presentations this month. The judging sessions featured two rooms of judging, top tier judges and outstanding presentations. Winners will be announced soon.


26 2016 Jul

Scale Logic offers Post Warranty support

For customers who want to stretch their ROI on EMC/Isilon, NetApp, HDS, Cisco, Brocade, and others at 50% of the OEM’s price.  SLI provides 24x7x4HR support to 120 countries worldwide and with terms from six months to five years in length.

“Grow what you have” with options on refurbished/certified nodes and full clusters from Isilon, NetApp, Hitachi, and more at 40-60% off OEM pricing. We wrap our refurbished hardware with 24x7x4hr support, or run with our one year replacement warranty. When you are ready for a refresh we can assist with data migration, trade-ins or certified recycling of your old hardware.

26 2016 Jul

20 Emmy-Nominated Shows Supported by Services from the SIM Group

The SIM Group is proud to announce that its companies provided production and post-production services to 20 television productions nominated in the 68th Emmy® Awards. The 20 productions received a total of 123 nominations. Among them are Game of Thrones, The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Fargo with 23 nominations, 22 nominations and 18 nominations, respectively.

The 68th Emmy Awards will air Sunday, September 18th on ABC; Chainsaw is editing the nominee packages and doing all picture finishing.

26 2016 Jul

FuseFX Applies an Inspired Touch to AMC’s “Preacher”

Visual effects production for the first season of AMC’s drama Preacher is in high gear at FuseFX, Los Angeles, as artists work to enhance the series’ ample servings of supernatural mayhem. The pilot episode alone featured more than 250 VFX shots with a high degree of integration that achieves a seamless marriage between the practical photography and the digital effects.

FuseFX’s Kevin Lingenfelser serves as Production and Facility VFX Supervisor on the series (Paul Linden was Production VFX Supervisor for the pilot), with Casey Conroy as VFX Producer. They lead a compact but focused team of animators, visual effects artists and compositors whose work includes FX simulations, CG animals, blue screen/green screen composites, digital set extensions, fully-realized matte paintings, CG chainsaw blades, muzzle flashes, and elaborate blood and gore, or as Lingenfelser puts it, “everything AND the kitchen sink.”