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21 2016 Jul

HPA Names Michelle Munson Recipient of Charles S. Swartz Award

Honor Will Be Presented to Aspera Co-Founder and CEO

During 2016 HPA Awards

Michelle Munson

Michelle Munson

19 July, 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has named Michelle Munson as the recipient of its 2016 Charles S. Swartz Award. Munson, co-founder and CEO of Aspera, an IBM Company, is recognized as one of industry’s most accomplished technology leaders. The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry. The HPA Awards will be handed out on November 17, 2016, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California.

Seth Hallen, President of the HPA, says of the announcement, “The Charles S. Swartz Award has special meaning to the HPA. It is bestowed with thoughtful consideration, and only when the Board and the Awards Committee feel that there is a worthy and undeniable recipient. Michelle Munson is such a person. Her intellect, talent, technical leadership, and entrepreneurial creativity represent the very cornerstone of what the Charles S. Swartz Award is meant to recognize. We are honored to present this award to Michelle.”

Michelle Munson is the co-inventor of Aspera’s Emmy award-winning FASP® transport technology and is responsible for overseeing the company’s direction in collaboration with co-founder, Serban Simu. Munson was a software engineer in research and start-up companies including the IBM Almaden Research center before founding Aspera in 2004. She has dual B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Physics from Kansas State University, was a Goldwater Scholar for achievement in Science and Mathematics, and later was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. The youngest recipient ever of the 2006 KSU College of Engineering Alumni Fellow, Munson has also received national achievement awards from Glamour Magazine and USA Today and is a frequent speaker on technologies and trends around big data transport, cloud infrastructure, and mobile.

Munson said of the award, “I am grateful to the HPA and to all our customers and partners in the digital media industry who have supported us since our original humble beginning, and continue to shape and drive the development of our products and technology. I am tremendously honored to have received this award, and will continue to support and promote the technology innovation and entrepreneurial business spirit embodied by this award.”

The Charles S. Swartz Award may be conferred on a person, group, or company that has made a significant artistic, technological, business or educational impact across diverse aspects of the media industry. The award was named in honor of the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California from 2002 until 2006, building it into the industry’s premiere test bed for new digital cinema technologies. In addition to a long and successful career as a producer, educator and consultant, Mr. Swartz served on the Board of Directors of the HPA. Past recipients of the Charles S. Swartz Award include Ben Burtt, Elizabeth Daley, and Ray Dolby.

In addition to the Charles S. Swartz Award, the 11th annual HPA Awards will recognize excellence in 12 craft categories, including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects. Other special awards will be presented to winners of the Engineering Excellence Award, the Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation, and the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tickets for the HPA Awards are now available, here. For further information about the HPA Awards, visit www.hpaonline.com.

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1 2016 Jul

HPA SCRG Moves to New Date and Time! Mark your calendars for August 3rd

Due to the July 4th holiday week, we received a lot of feedback from people who would like to attend our new revitalized SCRG event, but will be out of town on July 7th. So, we are moving the event to August 3rd, still at the fantastic London West Hollywood.

To capitalize on the change, we are going to move back to a lunchtime format. So, mark your calendars for an 11:30 am – 2:30 pm event.

For any of you who have already registered for the July 7th date, we’ll gladly transfer your registration to the new date and time. If you can’t make it, we’ll happily either refund your registration or transfer it to a colleague.

We are looking forward to an excellent session that includes industry experts from Netflix, Sony Pictures, DigitalFilm Tree, Microsoft, AMIA, Media Silo, 5th Kind, Fox, Sfera Studios, Technicolor, Deluxe and Sohonet in an interactive roundtable discussion format. Meet these experts to discuss important topics of the day in an intimate environment. Enjoy lunch and networking as a bonus!

Click here to register for the August 3rd event!

23 2016 Jun

Dave Ginsberg Named Principal Consultant at IMT

June - Dave GinsbergIntegrated Media Technologies Inc. (IMT) has acquired Elegant Workflow Consulting and it’s founder, Dave Ginsberg, has agreed to become a principal consultant to IMT’s roster of media technology industry thought leaders.

Elegant Workflow Consulting, a year old strategic consulting firm, provided IT, business process consulting, design and analysis to companies ranging from startups to major corporations in the media and technology industries. Ginsberg is a senior level technology consultant with over two decades of experience in the design and engineering of advanced digital media workflows for media and entertainment companies. An expert in IT systems, digital asset management and workflow methodologies, Ginsberg has implemented some of the most complex and sophisticated technology systems ever deployed in Hollywood.Before Elegant Workflow Consulting, Ginsberg was the CTO of the Sundance Institute, and prior to his role at Sundance, he was a senior technology executive at Warner Bros.

23 2016 Jun

My Eye Media Launches STORM

June - STORM_Logo_06_20_16My Eye Media has launched its innovative solution, My Eye Media STORM (Storefront Testing & Online Retail Monitoring). It provides content owners with the ability to confirm the accuracy of their avails across a myriad of digital retailers and MVPDs in territories worldwide.

The solution validates key avail information including release date, pricing, episode counts, enhanced content, local ratings and more. It provides time stamped screen captures of the product on each storefront. It also provides merchandising placement information (i.e. carousel, landing page, etc.).

My Eye Media STORM provides unique client logins allowing filters so each user can see only what they need to (i.e. storefront, territory, language, etc.). Data export to a variety of formats including API integration into other systems enable My Eye Media STORM to be very flexible for reporting or analytic needs. Automated email alerts notify clients of serious issues such as products releasing early or other criteria they wish to specify.

My Eye Media Storm is a cloud-based solution developed internally using our dedicated development team. This allows it to be very scalable, reliable and updatable to meet the needs and requirements of our clients and platforms.

23 2016 Jun

HPA Tech Retreat UK to Feature the Latest Cinema Display Environment

Event will Present Unrivalled Viewing Experience with Support of RealD and Other Key Companies

London (PRWEB) June 23, 2016

When the HPA Tech Retreat, a pivotal gathering of those supporting the creation, management and dissemination of content for the dynamic landscape of distribution environments, makes its UK debut in Oxfordshire, 13 – 14 July, attendees will be viewing content in one of the most advanced settings in the UK. HPA is collaborating with RealD, Dolby® and a select group of companies to create an exceptional screening environment at the HPA Tech Retreat venue at Heythrop Park Resort.

Richard Welsh, the former SMPTE governor who heads the conference alongside HPA VP Jerry Pierce, noted, “The support of RealD and Dolby at the Tech Retreat UK will take our screening environment to a new level, immersing the audience in a unique experience. With a combination of RealD, Sony, Dolby, Harman Kardon and Bell Theatre Services technology and talent, we can present our panellists’ incredible content the best way possible. The Heythrop auditorium is being transformed with a 26-foot RealD Ultimate Screen with a Sony high brightness, a dual 3D projection system, as well as a full Dolby Atmos sound system with JBL loudspeakers and amplification from Harman Kardon and Bell Theatre Services.”

The HPA Tech Retreat UK recently announced an expanded agenda for the two-day event. Highlights of the programme include presentations from ‘The Jungle Book’, experts from the record-breaking box office smash ‘Finding Dory’, an exclusive peek behind the scenes of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, an extensive look at the technology and innovation in Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynne’s Long Halftime Walk” and many other sessions that bring compelling information on topics relevant to attendees. These include the practical use of high dynamic range (HDR), immersive sound (object-based audio), cloud applications in media, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) and many other future-facing technologies. Two pre-conference sessions, DPP’s first Plugfest, and the Charles Poynton and John Watkinson colour seminar, will kick-off the event.

The HPA Tech Retreat features the Innovation Zone, a curated environment where attendees can explore the latest developments from prominent companies including Avid, BlackBox, Dell, Emotion Systems, Grey Meta, Omnitek, Ortana Media Group, Pixspan, Quantum Data, Rohde and Schwarz, root6, SAM, Sohonet, Sony, Southampton Solent University and Sundog Media Toolkit.

The event features back-to-back social networking opportunities with catered meals and cocktail events.

For more information, or to register, visit http://www.hpatechretreatuk.org.

22 2016 Jun

HPA Builds for the Future: Women In Post and Young Entertainment Professionals

Loren NielsenBy Loren Nielsen

About five years ago, a female colleague and I looked around the room at the Tech Retreat and counted the number of women in the room of 300+ attendees. We were saddened to count seventeen, and to see not one woman on the speaker stand throughout the day. We talked about how many talented, experienced, knowledgeable women we knew in the industry and decided to work toward change, toward creating more opportunity for the women we knew and those we hadn’t yet met.

Shortly after that Tech Retreat, Kari Grubin came forward with the idea of creating Women in Post. The HPA jumped on the idea of a supporting a group to provide leadership and visibility opportunities for women working in content creation.

The first WiP meeting was held at the 2013 Tech Retreat. Since then WiP has garnered over 600 members, held over 20 events. WiP summer luncheons are popular, drawing 60 – 70 women to network on the third Thursday of each June, July and August. The SMPTE/HPA Women in Technology Lunch, held at the SMPTE Fall Conference, has seen exciting speakers, including last year’s Cheryl Boone Isaacs who discussed her diversity initiatives. WiP roundtable events regularly draw a dedicated group to hear from and talk with women leaders. Roundtable events have focused on a broad range of topics, including workflow, personal brand building, work-life balance and career development. Women in Post continues to raise industry awareness of the need to be more assertive and inclusive in the outreach to women.

Now, the WiP is turning our attention to another under-represented group in the HPA – those under 30. We’ve noticed a lack of awareness in college students and in young workers of the many opportunities in our business, outside of traditional careers in directing, editing and cinematography or entry positions in data, customer service and machine rooms. We know that HPA members are an experienced group with knowledge drawn from many years of technical and creative efforts and a desire to share. Our members’ history is an important part of our business, providing context and insight to new problems and opportunities as we drive forward into a largely digital world. We want to bring together our constituents to share and learn from one another and we’re confident that the content creation industry will benefit from the energy and ideas of our youngest members.

To further that cause Women in Post has created a new program for Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP). To kick it off, WiP will host a group of ten YEPs for a full day at the Centennial SMPTE Conference this October in Hollywood. This is an opportunity for young professionals from 21 to 29 years old, to attend a curated day of round tables, the hi-tech exhibition, and to be mentored by business leaders representing all aspects of content creation.

The YEP SMPTE Conference event will include private booth tours with technology providers, a roundtable luncheon with professionals from the motion picture and television industry and mentoring sessions from Women in Post, and HPA Board members. The all day event will include a reception and attendance at the second annual SMPTE/HPA Student Film Festival.

YEPs will need a recommendation from their employer or teacher and must submit a one-page application to qualify for consideration for the YEP day at the SMPTE Centennial Conference. Women in Post will look to HPA and SMPTE member companies to recommend young workers for the program. Applications will be available beginning in July.

Please reach out to me or to any of our Women in Post Committee, if you are interested in participating in the development of the next generation of professionals, or you know a young professional you would like to nominate for the YEP program. We need all of you.

 

The HPA is committed to fostering the development of the next generation of professionals working in the production, post-production, distribution and related fields. With a focus on these young people, we can be assured a strong future. We are excited to be launching new programs specially focused on young entertainment professionals which will be announced in the coming weeks.

22 2016 Jun

MTI Film Releases Updates of Cortex and DRS™ NOVA

MTI Film continues to add features and improve the user friendliness of its industry-leading dailies and media processing platform, Cortex. A new release, available this month, includes an Edit Tool that streamlines the production of IMF and AS02 packages and other deliverables. The Edit Tool comes with a new user interface that conforms with popular editing software making it simple to use.  “It allows complex functions, like IMF packaging, to be executed in an intuitive and organized manner,” says MTI Film Director of Development Randy Reck. “Users can quickly and easily take care of tasks such as adding head formats and multiple audio and video tracks.”

The latest version of Cortex also includes dead pixel correction (which alerts production when a camera sensor has a fault), Dolby Vision support and 4K up-resing—all of which were first announced at NAB 2016.  MTI Film is also releasing an update to DRS™NOVA, its digital film restoration software. New features include Tracking Offsets, which allows tracking and image stabilization to continue when tracking points travel off screen; and Grain Tool Presets, which allows film grain patterns to be stored and applied during restoration operations.

Improvements have also been made to the Color Breathing Tool, which automatically corrects for color fading or “breathing.” The new DRS™NOVA was recently used in the restoration of the 1928 silent classic The Racket, produced by Howard Hughes. The rarely seen crime drama, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, is being restored at the behest of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and & Sciences.

21 2016 Jun

Embracing Change

Seth HallenHPA President Seth Hallen recently published an article in the M&E Journal, entitled Embracing Change…

VUCA: Wikipedia definition as it applies to M&E

Volatility

The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts. Think about the rate at which new standards and formats are introduced.

Uncertainty

The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events. Not many predicted the impacts of OTT binge-viewing or Multi-Channel Networks.

Complexity

The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization. With so many stakeholders, formats, workflows and such a broad spectrum of consumer behaviors, this creates chaos and confusion for M&E professionals and ultimately consumers.

Ambiguity

The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion. Think about how many really smart individuals and companies in our industry have misread the market and failed in recent years.

Abstract: The rate at which our industry evolves is accelerating. Building and managing a company in an ever-changing environment such as ours comes with massive challenges. But there are some key principles that business owners and managers can apply that simplify the process of building a business that enables adaptability and agility to meet these challenges.

There are so many metaphors to describe the complexity within our industry. It seems like there are an unlimited number of cloud references, all cleverly comparing remote servers to the weather. Also weather-related, “snowflakes” are used to describe the infinite number of different workflows, unique but all perfect in their own ways. When it comes to formats, we’re in the Wild West, and when it gets real bad, we’re in a “war.” And it seems that a media and entertainment industry event isn’t complete until someone cracks a joke about the over-abundance of acronyms that we use to both simplify and compartmentalize our world.

Here’s another one: VUCA. But this one doesn’t represent a format or a standard or an organization. It represents a perspective. It’s a concept that the military began using in the 1990s when our armed forces were reinventing their strategies to meet the challenges of modern combat. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. I am sure every M&E professional is immediately panged with the strong familiarity of these words.

There is a great deal of information about VUCA on the Web as it applies to many different industries so we won’t cover it in much detail in this article, but here is an overview of how VUCA is defined and how it applies to the M&E industry.

An interesting approach to take when evaluating your market and building your strategy is to think in terms of VUCA. Rather than struggling to fight these realities or hoping they simply vanish one day, it is important instead to modify your organization to accept this environment and create adaptations that enable it to thrive. In the words of Leon Silverman, General Manager of Digital Studio at Walt Disney Studios, “Its time to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable”. It’s time to forget about everything we know about running a company in a predictable market and its time to build adaptability into the DNA of your organization.

So how the heck do we do that? As it pertains to the rapidly evolving M&E industry, how does this method of analyzing our environment help you make decisions, manage risks, forecast, plan and move ahead? How can you foster a culture inside your organization that will be more capable of thriving in a VUCA world?

Culture

The overall success of any change management initiative is directly tied to how well the culture of the organization can evolve in line with the desired change.

Organizational leaders tend to think in terms of technical capabilities, infrastructure, P&L performance and market positioning. But while their heads are focused on those areas, many managers tend to forget how vitally important the culture of an organization, and the mindset of the individuals are to impacting their goals. Managing organizational culture is at the very core of managing change and impacting performance in all areas of your business. But the concept of culture, and how to manage it, is a source of confusion and mystification for many business leaders. Culture is such an interesting dichotomy in that it is intangible, subjective and immeasurable but at the same time is directly tied to measurable performance. How can we take an intangible concept like culture and translate that into tangible, measurable results?

Principles to impact cultural change

  • Promote cross-functionality as a mindset

The only way to thrive in an environment where it’s increasingly difficult to predict the future is to ensure that your teams are agile enough to change course and adapt quickly. Having agility is often seen as an infrastructural or procedural capability. Although there are certainly organizational considerations to being agile, it begins with ensuring that employees are empowered to think more creatively about how they can participate in solving the company’s challenges. This has a significant cultural impact in that it enables individuals to have a much greater role in positive change management. The initial mindset of many employees is that they work within a very specific scope of responsibilities per the job description they were given when they were hired. Even though they may have skills to contribute in additional ways, they may not feel empowered to move outside of what they perceive as their specific role. Embolden them with a cross-functional mindset whereby they look for opportunities that might be outside their “scope”. This helps the organization become much better prepared to evolve in step with shifting customer and market demands.

  • Think small

Smaller companies have certain advantages over their larger competitors. We see so many examples of how the nimbleness, agility and the ability to evolve quickly all play leading roles in successful disruption and market share growth. Leaders who work inside large companies often find it more difficult to mobilize and execute their ideas as quickly. But most of the trouble is rooted in the habits and perspectives of some individuals who have worked inside this large corporate environment for a long time. Regardless of your company’s size, anyone can adopt a small business mindset and gain some of the benefits. One effective way to do this is to ask your department heads to imagine their business unit as their own small company. Then encourage them to develop and execute their strategies in that frame of mind. Once you get them thinking this way, you will find the individuals in your organization better able to make decisions and execute more quickly and efficiently.

  • Always be new

It’s mind-boggling when we look back at our industry and recognize how much things have changed in such a short time. At this exponential rate of transformational change, we know that organizations that lack adaptability can quickly find themselves increasingly irrelevant to the current market. So an effective, and sometimes vital, exercise is to pretend you’re starting a new company every 6 months. Look at your current business base (clients, revenues, etc.) and make your best guess at where you’ll be in 6 months. Then decide exactly (and sometimes painfully) what you would ideally need to service your customers and how you would structure your “new” business. The insights gleaned from this exercise will guide your decisions on organizational structure, job descriptions, cost management and future revenue generation. It will help transform the culture and DNA of an organization to ensure that it can adapt and evolve at the same speed as the market.

  • Everyone knows everything

When an executive or employee is navigating a company in our dynamically changing M&E environment, there is great value in consistently ensuring you are aware of these changes through colleagues and peers in realtime. There is no better way to keep your “finger on the pulse” of the industry than by participating in technology communities, trade organizations and industry events. By engaging and interacting with other thought leaders, you will understand the broader shifts that are taking place as well as the nuances of change that may strike specific strategic ideas that you then incorporate into your own initiatives. No single person or company knows everything but the power of collective knowledge and community collaboration can only assist us in making sense of this VUCA world.

Seth Hallen has 16 years of senior leadership experience in the digital media and post production industries. With a proven ability to lead teams toward the successful tactical execution of strategies designed to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities, he has been building profitable, innovative and market-dominant companies for over 25 years. Hallen is also President of the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA).

21 2016 Jun

Roundabout Entertainment Breathes New Life into “NYPD Blue”

Facility completes sparkling 2K restoration of eight seasons of the Emmy-winning series that defined police dramas in the 1990s.
In a project for 20th Century Fox spanning nine months, Roundabout Entertainment restored and remastered the first eight seasons of the classic procedural police drama NYPD Blue. More than 170 1-hour episodes were scanned and finished in 2K, restoring the show to pristine quality for a new domestic release.

The new restoration was created from 35mm cut negative—the first eight seasons were shot on film—and other original elements. 2K scanning was performed by Roundabout Colorist Juan Zorn using Lasergraphics archive scanning system The Director.

Smollin and his crew found missing scenes by combing through original production dailies. They used a Steenbeck flatbed film editing system to view 20-year old film elements and match them against video reference.

All of the material underwent a scrupulous digital process of removing dust, scratches and other artifacts conducted by Roundabout’s restoration experts using MTI Film’s DRS Nova. During the color grading process that followed, particular attention was given to replicating the gritty, cinema-verite look of the series—one of its signature elements.

Roundabout also restored the series’ soundtrack. The original stereo surround stems were remixed in 5.1 surround.

21 2016 Jun

Juan Reyes Joins My Eye Media

June - Juan_Reyes_Headshot_smEntertainment industry veteran Juan Reyes has joined My Eye Media. An industry vet, he’s been very involved with home entertainment technologies in various capacities including working at the standards and specification levels. He’s been involved with a number of groups including the Blu-ray Disc Association, Ultra HD Alliance, SCSA (Vidity), DECE (UltraViolet), DEG, International 3D Society, MESA, CTA and SMPTE. He served as the SCG (System Compatibility Group) Chair for the Blu-ray Disc Association and has been an active speaker at entertainment and technology conferences in the US and abroad.

He’s developed highly efficient, precise and automated workflows to handle various requirements in digital media servicing for content owners, OTT companies, broadcasters and independent production companies. He has consulted for some of the largest entertainment companies in the world who rely on his diverse knowledge and skill set.