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NAB And SMPTE Examine Future Of Storytelling

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The road to the future of cinema is paved with a wealth of technical and creative innovations that will define the cinema experience of tomorrow, writes Richard Welsh, SMPTE Governor for EMEA and Central and South America Region and CEO at Sundog Media Toolkit.

The road to the future of cinema is paved with a wealth of technical and creative innovations that will define the cinema experience of tomorrow. From Saturday 11 April to Sunday 12 April, the 2015 NAB Show's Technology Summit on Cinema (TSC), produced in partnership with SMPTE, will take participants on a journey toward that future, examining both the art and science of storytelling.

Titled ‘Building the Future of Storytelling’, the two-day summit - held in conjunction with the 2015 NAB Show - is dedicated to exploring the technical and creative innovations that will define the future of the cinema experience. The TSC program offers a variety of session topics that give you the opportunity to engage with industry visionaries, as well as the technology innovators that enable creators to realise their artistic intent.

From advances in content creation tools and workflows, to the evolving cloud-based postproduction world and the next steps in theatrical exhibition, the TSC provides a roadmap to the what’s next on the cinema horizon. The event also explores potentially disruptive innovations, some of which are still in the lab and could redefine the ‘film’ experience or, really, any content as we know it. Thus, the TSC has gained a solid reputation as a much anticipated and must-attend event for technologists, strategists, and creatives that are interested in the future of storytelling.

The TSC opens with ‘How Successful Is the Digital Revolution and the Technology Future for Theatres?’ Speakers will examine the impact that all-digital distribution and projection has had on studios and theatrical exhibitors, as well as the costs and benefits of further technical advances. Picking up on the idea of technical innovations, ‘New Developments in Cinema Screen Technology’ will bring together top solution providers in the field for an examination of evolving screen technology including new surface materials, engineered particles, and the wider viewing angles now obtainable, as well as techniques for improving uniformity of illumination and for optimising laser illumination with polarised screens.

‘Immersive Sound for Cinema: An Update on Adoption, Standardisation, and Postproduction’ will consider new technologies from the perspectives of theatrical exhibitors, studios, and engineers. The session will discuss current progress on an interoperable standard for immersive sound, adoption of this technology in theatres, and content authoring implications. Gazing further into immersive cinema experiences, ‘Cinematic Virtual Reality, Multiscreen, and Immersive Cinema’ will engage representatives from top postproduction facilities and cinema technology suppliers in a conversation about the potential of virtual reality within the cinema space. The session will explore the latest experiments in immersive cinema and discuss how other adjacent technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, may be purposed for unique cinematic and shared audience experiences.

Shifting further toward the art of content creation, ‘Navigating Big Colour: Lessons and Opportunities for the Future’ will focus on image capture and display for enhanced colour gamuts. The session will highlight recent case studies in audience perception of increased colour gamut, including potential traps for observer metamerism and variability, as well as the use of the latest laser projection technologies to demonstrate the creative possibilities of ‘big colour’.

‘DCP Update and Future Delivery Options: Satellite, Fibre, and Internet’ will discuss topics including existing hard drive workflow and the distribution of keys to enable digital cinema playback, along with trailer and preshow advertising content distribution. The session’s panel of industry experts also will examine the SMPTE Digital Cinema Packaging (SMPTE-DCP) standard and the recommendations of the current version of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specification. Under discussion will be the value of the SMPTE-DCP with regard to captioning, object-based audio, stereoscopic 3D and higher frame rates (HFR), as well as its support for higher bit rates, dynamic 3D subtitles, Material eXchange Format (MXF), fully encrypted subtitles, and auxiliary data.

During the summit, participants also will have the opportunity to attend the ‘first-look’ of the SMPTE documentary, ‘Moving Images’, which is currently in production. Produced by Randall Dark and directed by Howard Lukk, with cinematographer Travis LaBella, and associate producer Aimée Ricca, the documentary will explore the exciting evolution of motion-imaging technology from the turn of the 20th century through the present, while speculating on what the future has in store. The filmmakers will be on-hand for questions.

The aforementioned sessions are just a sampling of the TSC’s full and wide-ranging, two-day program schedule.
As the pace of change for technology in the cinema has never been more rapid, this is an event that must not be missed for cinema professionals, engineers, and creatives alike.

The complete program is available online at

SMPTE members may use code SD01 through 27 March 2015 to take $100 off the NAB non-member rate for a SMART or Conference Flex Pass registration, or to get a free Exhibits-Only Pass.

The article is also available to read in BFV online.


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