The annual Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Conference was October 20-23 this past week and I jumped at the chance to attend.
The first day kicked off at Disney’s El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd displaying new advancements in HDR cameras by premiering an exclusive sneak peak at Hollywoods first feature film captured exclusively with HDR. The amazing 4K resolution mixed with HDR gave the film a unique look that is going to take digital film to an entirely new plain with detail so defined that makeup artist need to rethink the way they apply makeup and cinematographers and color grading artists can start thinking in a whole new way to take advantage of the low light capabilities and raw realities of what’s being captured. Keep an eye out for EMMA directed by Howard Lukk, film director at Pannon Entertainment.
Having learned about a few visual advancements, I had the opportunity to dive deep into immersive sound for motion pictures and TV broadcasting. More often then not, theater goers will soon be able to experience 11.1 ATMOS sound. Otherwise known as 3D sound. This technology expands the use of sound design and sound mixing into physical storytelling tools for filmmakers.
For the first time ever, a Student Showcase was organized to praise outstanding youth filmmakers for taking advantage of the new technologies available. SMPTE Foreign Governor and CEO of Sundog Media Toolkit, recognizes the importance of student filmmakers as they will shape the future growth in technologies and are the next generation of engineers and creatives who will take the industry to the next level. The event was hosted by director at Pannon Entertainment, Howard Lukk. Each participating student presented a film up to 10 minutes long, each having a theme of technology going along with the Showcase itself as each film was processed using Sundog Media
With 3D sound, mixers can play with specific isolation of certain sounds in certain parts of the theater. They can even control the height and power of each sound creating a powerful experience for the audience, making them feel as if they are inside the film. Immersive sound works a bit differently for TV broadcasting, or more specifically sports. Sports are a social interactive event so it only makes sense for the advancing tools to be the same. Viewers will be able to take control of what they are hearing with a push of a button. They will be able to control the volume and langue of the commentator or turn them off completely giving the viewer the ability to just listen to the stadium or click to hear your team’s walkie communication. Expect this interactive control panel in your home three to four years from now.Toolkit's cloud software. Students were able to screen their films in the SMPTE-DCP (Digital Cinema Package) format, which provides a stable and future-proof format for digital cinema playback. Expect this event to be the first of many, many more to come and for the second year running, SMPTE also hosted the Student Video Project during the week's activities. Under the direction of John Maizels, SMPTE Governor for the Asia/Australia Region, students covered the events of SMPTE 2014 through video and interviews. These stories and information about submissions to the showcase can be found at their website, www.smpte.org.
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Conference was a prestigious and unique experience providing deep discussions of weighty technology topics among the technology leaders of the television and film industries. The most brilliant engineers and innovators are hard at work creating interactive and spectacular entertainment experiences for us as the audience as well as groundbreaking tools for us as filmmakers. The learning never stops as technology is always expanding.