The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers(R) (SMPTE(R)), a leader in motion-imaging standards and education for the media, entertainment, and technology industries, today announced that the NAB Show's "The Future of Cinema Conference: The Immortal Movie," produced in partnership with SMPTE, drew crowds of 2016 NAB Show attendees to both its conference sessions and special screenings. These events featured top industry minds and creative talents, who joined to discuss forward-looking techniques and challenges related to making content for theatrical release and beyond.
"An array of remarkable presentations, screenings, and panel sessions at this year's event made 'The Future of Cinema Conference' a show highlight for many 2016 NAB Show attendees," said SMPTE President Robert Seidel. "Featuring an impressive gathering of industry leaders and showcasing the latest advances in motion-imaging technology and creative techniques, the conference reflected the high degree of interest -- from content creators and technical practitioners -- in the incredible potential of new formats such as high-dynamic-range and higher frame rates."
On April 15, the day before the official conference start, show attendees flocked to screenings of high-dynamic-range (HDR) clips from acclaimed theatrical releases including "Inside Out," "Zootopia," "Tomorrowland," and "Jungle Book," which were shown in Dolby Vision HDR along with full-length versions of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice," thanks to SMPTE, Advanced Imaging Society, and Dolby with support from The Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, and Warner Bros.
Many of the technical and creative minds behind these releases took part in the subsequent conference sessions titled "First Forays: High Dynamic Range in Animation" and "First Forays: High Dynamic Range in Live Action and Visual Effects." Cynthia Slavens of Pixar Animation Studios moderated the first session, which included panelists Dominic Glynn of Pixar; Kim White, director of photography and lighting on "Inside Out"; Mark Dinicola, colorist on "Inside Out"; Stefan Luka, senior software engineer, color science, at Walt Disney Animation Studios; and Brian Leach, director of lighting on "Zootopia." Moderated by SMPTE Education Vice President Pat Griffis of Dolby Laboratories, the second session featured Thad Beier of Dolby; Rick Sayre of Pixar Animation Studios; Jeroen Schulte of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM); Ben Rosenblatt of Bad Robot; Stephen Nakamura of Deluxe's Company 3; and Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor and second unit director/cameraman.
Award-winning director Ang Lee, known for films including "Life of Pi," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain," and "Sense and Sensibility," presented the conference's April 16 keynote address along with editor Tim Squyres and production systems supervisor and engineer Ben Gervais. The trio, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd, described their vision of cinema and the creative opportunities for the future of filmmaking. "I'm not a technical guy at all," stated Lee. "I just have a lot of curiosity to see drama, examine humanity, storytelling & that's my thing."
The keynote followed the first public screenings of Lee's upcoming release, "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," in its native 120 frames/sec, 4K, 3D format. An extra session was added to accommodate the popularity of the screening. During the follow-up session titled "Deep Technical Dive Into 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk,'" Lee, Gervais, and Squyres were joined by stereographer Demetri Portelli of Sony Pictures, along with Scot Barbour, vice president of production technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and David Cohen of Variety, in a discussion of the technical challenges of production and postproduction in 120 frames/sec, 4K, stereoscopic 3D. The session demonstrated that constant collaboration between the studio and the technical and creative teams enabled the efficient use of technology to tell a story in a way that is both emotionally moving and comfortable for the viewer to watch. The official trailer for "Billy Lynn" was just recently released by Sony Pictures and is now available on their website at http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/billylynnslonghalftimewalk/.
Further conference sessions delved into the creative use of HDR; the use of content captured on 35 mm film to feed into high-end digital exhibition formats; the filmmakers and projects testing the limits of cinema; and the next-generation filmmaking efforts of students and recently graduated filmmakers. Other sessions addressed questions related to next-generation distribution, HDR mastering and delivery to the home, the impact of advanced technologies -- 4K, 8K, and wider color gamut -- on event cinema, and the potential of light field imaging. A session focused on diversity engaged panelists and attendees in a discussion of how to build a richer, more expansive, and more dynamic filmmaking community.
The conference program committee included program chair, Richard Welsh of Sundog Media Toolkit; writer and director Abi Corbin; media technology consultant Christy King; motion picture consultant Bill Hogan; Pete Lud© of RealD; digital cinema consultant Jim Whittlesey; Chris Witham of The Walt Disney Studios; Griffis of Dolby Laboratories; and Slavens of Pixar Animation Studios.
Photos and video of conference proceedings, including the Ang Lee keynote, are available at www.smpte.org/2016NAB. A complete recap of "The Future of Cinema Conference" will appear in the May/June issue of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, available in the SMPTE digital library (online at journal.smpte.org).
Further information about SMPTE is available at www.smpte.org.