M+E Daily

VR, HDR and Ang Lee: Content Gets Top Billing at NAB Show

The NAB Show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center may first open the morning of Monday, April 18, but if you’re interested in where the technology of Hollywood content is headed, you’ll be a few days late to the game.

The show’s Future of Cinema Conference and Post-Production World session tracks take place during the weekend, both packed with sessions covering everything from high-dynamic range (HDR) to virtual reality (VR) storytelling.

The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the Advanced Imaging Society (AIS) have even that beat: the two are co-hosting special screenings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice” in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on Friday, April 15, with the panel sessions “First Forays: High Dynamic Range in Animation” and “First Forays: High Dynamic Range in Live Action and Visual Effects.” Executives from Dolby, Pixar, Warner Bros. and Disney will be on hand.

But if there’s one potential “must-attend” for those arriving early in Las Vegas, it’s Saturday’s Future of Cinema Conference keynote by filmmaker Ang Lee (2:45 – 3:15 p.m., S222). His upcoming film, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” will be the very first to be shot in 120 frames per second in 4K resolution, with 3D to boot. He and editor Tim Squyres and production systems supervisor Ben Gervais will give NAB Show attendees a look at what’s on the technology horizon for Hollywood.

“With his fearless approach to filmmaking, Ang Lee has brought us breathtaking, groundbreaking films that certainly have pushed the limits of cinema,” said Richard Welsh, Future of Cinema Conference program committee chair for SMPTE. Chris Brown, NAB EVP for conventions and business operations, added: “Ang Lee is a creative legend, and we are honored to have him presenting footage from his upcoming film at NAB Show. In many ways NAB Show is about showcasing the tools that creative people use to make great content. In films such as ‘Life of Pi’ and now ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,’ Mr. Lee has used 3D and other cutting-edge techniques to advance the craft of cinema itself.”

The only thing missing from Lee’s film is VR. NAB will have that emerging technology covered in spades, with a dedicated VR/AR (augmented reality) Pavilion, a three-day content showcase from more than 30 virtual reality producers, and an entire Virtual Reality Summit track scheduled for Wednesday, April 20.

“Virtual Reality is rapidly changing the media ecosystem, providing audiences with experiences that were previously impossible,” Brown said. “We are pleased to showcase the brightest minds in the virtual reality world, as well as showcase the latest VR content and technology to our attendees who are hungry to experience firsthand what the future of media technology has in store.”

The Saturday (2:15-3 p.m., S222) session “Building Worlds – Cinematic Storytelling in VR and AR,” will have attendees hearing how the design of a film will change with VR, and a series of Sunday sessions during the Post-Production World track will focus on VR, including “VR and 360° Video: Taking a Look Around” (8:30-9:45 a.m., N252), “The Future Filmmaker: How Technology is Impacting Storytelling” (4-5:15 p.m., N252) and “Virtual Reality Productions: What’s it Mean to You” (5:30-6:45 p.m., N252).

And the entire Virtual Reality Summit track set for Wednesday will be geared toward VR creators (S219), with the sessions “The Current State of Virtual Reality,” “Live Streaming Virtual Reality,” “The Business of Virtual Reality,” and “Virtual Reality Audio.”

Other NAB Show sessions of note on the content side:

• “First Forays: High Dynamic Range in Animation” (Saturday, 8:45-10 a.m., S222) has a group of Disney and Pixar tech experts talking about the benefits of HDR.

• The Saturday panel “How Does Event Cinema Deal with Advanced Technologies?” (noon-12:45 p.m., S222) looking at the potential of new technologies for live events, as well as the potential problems.

• The Sunday panel “Next Gen Distribution” (9:15-10:15 a.m., S222) has a panel of CTOs and CEOs looking at the changes theater owners are seeing with how they store and deliver their products.

• “Next-Generation Mastering: Where Do We Go From Here?” (Sunday, 10:45-11:45 a.m., S222) sees reps from Dolby, Netflix, HBO and more looking at the challenges behind delivering HDR and object-based audio.

• On Monday at 11 a.m. at the VR/AR Pavilion, Technicolor will host its presentation “Immersive Experiences Vision,” offering insights into how it’s tackling VR and AR, and what its partners are doing to make next-generation content work.

• On Monday (1:45-2:45 p.m., S220) executives from Fox, Lucasfilm and more will take part in the panel “Virtual Reality: Immersive Storytelling Meets Interactive Technology,” discussing the opportunities and limitations behind VR storytelling.

• The Tuesday panel “Being There – Virtual Reality News and Documentaries” (10:30 a.m.-noon, S222) has a group of experts on the news and documentary side talking about how VR has the capability to revolutionize the storytelling behind real-world footage. The audience will be able to experience examples thanks to Google, which will provide Google Cardboard headsets.