Panel Shares Glimpse of the ‘Shape of Media Soon to Come’

The media and entertainment industry is a constantly changing landscape. What kind of media future will arise for Hollywood, TV and the Internet out of current production changes? A glimpse into where the digital content creation industry is headed will be presented during today’s Super Session “Hollywood Preview: The Next Generation of Consumer Experiences Is NOW,” at 2:30 p.m. Moderated by Carolyn Giardina, contributing editor of technology to The Hollywood Reporter, this event was produced in partnership with the Advanced Imaging Society.

“The next generation of consumer experiences is already being produced to wow audiences watching every media outlet,” said Jim Chabin, president of the Advanced Imaging Society, “and the producers who can differentiate themselves are the ones who will create absolutely jaw-dropping productions using both audio and video technologies. This session will provide attendees with a look ahead at the shape of media soon to come.”

Panelists include Jim Mainard, head of digital strategy and new business development, DreamWorks Animation; JoDee Freck, senior vice president, mastering and technical services at LionsGate; Michael DeValue, director of advanced technology, Walt Disney Studios; and Bryan Barber, vice president, digital initiatives at Warner Bros.

According to DreamWorks’ Mainard, the move to higher-image resolutions is at a turning point where the display hardware is catching up to the new capabilities of software and content creation, making this one of the most important topics this panel will discuss. “The move from the current Rec 709 color standard to the proposed Rec 2020 for UHD and 4K will give audiences the opportunity to appreciate the breadth and depth of this expanded color capability,” Mainard said. “After all, DreamWorks’ digital movies already contain the data for this enhanced color content, and future displays will gain brilliance by finally being able to show viewers at home and in theaters how appealing it can look.”

These new imaging technologies will involve more than just increased color space, but also a major increase in color range. “Some people refer to this as HDR, or high dynamic range,” said Freck of LionsGate, “and to me, in addition to a wider color gamut, this also includes a greater contrast ratio meaning more brilliant whites and darker blacks. Today, when people go to purchase a new home TV they gravitate toward the brighter screens. With 4K displays benefitting from HDR, people will notice the improvement immediately, and it will undoubtedly affect their media investment decisions.”

Of course, consumer displays that meet these standards are only recently emerging onto the marketplace.

“We now have competing proposed systems coming from various different companies,” Freck said. “Shaking out the unique benefits of each will require an informed production community because content creators need to understand how important this will be for the future of home theater. This ‘Hollywood Preview’ session will discuss the way this evolution will affect
our whole industry.”

Warner Bros.’ Barber is looking forward to discussing the need for unified standards to govern the next generation of video production quality.

“One of the factors that made DVDs such a successful consumer experience was the fact they were all based on the same technical standards,” said Barber, “and the industry is in the process of coming together to provide a unified standard that will make future technology more reliably accessible to consumers. With all the proposals filtering through the industry, the final outcome is still in flux. So we need to settle on the best way we can drive technology forward, and that will involve a discussion about all aspects of production. People who attend this Super Session will be better prepared to contribute to this exciting evolution.”