DEFINITION April 2022 - Newsletter


One giant leap

How SMPTE is driving the future of virtual production, ensuring its technological evolution continues to benefit creatives

WORDS. Chelsea Fearnley

T he Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) brings together the best minds in the industry to explore the most exciting advancements in media and entertainment tech, with shared dedication to the collaborative process. Just as importantly, as SMPTE recognises innovations and their ability to enable fresh forms of storytelling, the society also understands the complexity this can bring to professional media workflows. That’s why, in 2021, SMPTE developed an initiative – Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) – to promptly address resulting challenges, aligned with the rapid rate of technological change. The goal of RIS is to provide a neutral, non-commercial platform to facilitate the creation of educational content and

standards on the emerging science and methods employed in the industry – which, at its heart, SMPTE has always done. RIS just puts a new twist on the process of creating those deliverables. The first major difference in the RIS is that it enlists an advisory group of industry participants, to guide the exploration of growing technologies and ensure that SMPTE always stays accountable to the needs of the field. Essentially, we don’t want people to spend a bunch of time evolving an innovation that isn’t going to work for us (3D, cough, cough). It’s also a different way of doing business for SMPTE, with advisory group members sponsoring projects and making the output free to all SMPTE members. These are the people that will benefit from it most.

OSVP INITIATIVE The first objective within the RIS initiative is OSVP – on-set virtual production. This has been a hot topic since the start of the pandemic and the success of Disney+’s The Mandalorian . Its many potential uses and advantages are causing content producers to re-examine how they could capitalise on its emergence. It combines traditional production tools with virtual and augmented reality, CGI and game engine technologies to film on a stage and view virtual graphics in real time. Things like changing location are made as simple as swapping out a background. The programme, with nearly 50 companies and individuals involved, will offer creatives, technologists and executives much-needed resources for education and professional development. One of the early RIS OSVP deliverables was a wallchart that defines the on-set virtual production workflow, breaking it down with taxonomies and ontologies, identifying key components as a

“It’s a different way of doing business for SMPTE, with advisory group members sponsoring projects and making the output free to all SMPTE members”

PIXEL PERFECT LED screen specialist 80six demonstrated the virtual set experience at an SMPTE event in February

25. APRIL 2022

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