JWR Articles: Commentary - NAB Show 2019 - Future of Cinema (Featured speaker: Charles Lee) - April 10, 2019
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NAB Show 2019 - Future of Cinema

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NAB Show peers into the future

Even before the main events begin as usual on Monday, hundreds of delegates spent their weekend looking into future trends for cinema and software.

The Future of Cinema Conference (presented by SMPTE: Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has much to say about where filmmakers might take us next, beginning with Todd Miller’s keynote, The Making of Apollo 11. On day 2, there were a pair of different takes on The State of Global Cinema. Chaitanya Chinchlaker (Vice President - Business Development and Chief Technology Officer at Whistling Woods International) brought his perspective from the Indian film industry where the age-old discussion of quality versus quantity still rages, “Data is the new oil,” he said in relation to understanding just what is going on. From Taiwan, Charles Lee (Chief Executive Officer at TWR Entertainment, Inc.) shared a variety of statistics including the fact that Chinese films have eclipsed North American features in box office revenue, beginning with the 2018 Chinese New Year celebrations, and that the top three out of our productions were “local”. He also remarked about the current trend that Chinese tastes appear to shift every couple of years (Sci-Fi being most recently in vogue) and that “comedies are welcomed anytime”. Who doesn’t need a good laugh in the 21st century? His statement, “audiences are more attentive to online reviews, especially in the first week [of a new release]” certainly brought a smile to this film critic’s face!

The closing session, What Comes After the Movies: Is That All There Is?, dealt primarily with how people are accessing the cinema (from streaming to their phones to new venues—e.g., the 18,000-seat MSG Sphere set to open in Las Vegas in 2021), for those movie lovers wanting to ratchet up their “immersive experience.” From speakers Richard Welsh, Alexis Macklin and Andrew Shulkind, the big difference for the future is whether or not audiences want the shared experience that bums on seats in the cinema provides or would rather have a singular experience in their own homes, commuting or anywhere where video is downloadable. Already, live concerts can be inserted into many games. The trend towards choosing individual scenarios (stemming largely from video games) will likely send a chill down creators’ and directors’ spines. But why shouldn’t I be king of the castle in the dramatic space? (Corollary: which “version” would a critic review?) Stay tuned.

For those who like their NAB Show more hands-on, the nearly three-hour session, In Depth: Working Faster & Smarter in Adobe Premiere Pro (video editing software) was full of attendees, tips and tricks—almost all of which worked! “Master Trainers” Abba Shapiro and Jeff I. Greenberg kept the capacity crowd entertained and informed. Can’t wait to try the keyboard shortcuts!

The day closed off with Dalet Pulse—a detailed look at what is coming next from this globally focussed company.

What’s new?

  • Remote Editing
  • Dalet Meta Cortex (AI infused: “smart captioning” sounds intriguing)
  • Dalet OnePlay (essentially and automated control room)

Many of these advances centre around bringing AI into the workflow; saving money (but reducing jobs). Partnerships—particularly with Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC editing suite (physical and literal) and Amazon Web Services—likely means that Dalet’s future looks bright, so long as everything plays out as expected. The team from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (engagingly led by Michael Zemaitis and Rebecca Waters) both remotely sung the praises of their Dalet experience with the value of a “content factory” for multiple sports teams seeking attention on a variety of platforms, and some of the inevitable challenges with the necessary learning curve to integrate everything into one seamless whole.

What could possibly go wrong? JWR

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Featured speaker - Charles Lee
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