Twenty-five years ago, when digital entertainment was nascent, filmmaker George Lucas and University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth Daley envisioned the Entertainment Technology Center at USC to bridge the divide between technologists and filmmakers. Today, ETC@USC is celebrating a quarter century as Hollywood's premiere think tank and research center dedicated to emerging technology's impact on professional content. This evening, at its annual Studio Technology Leader's Dinner, ETC will commemorate its anniversary and honor Dean Daley with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award.
"Since its inception, ETC has played a one-of-a-kind role, first in the transition from analogue to digital and now in the connected, converged and immersive world of personalized and specialized content," said Kenneth Williams, ETC's executive director. "We are celebrating our accomplishments and stating our intent to help lead the next round of innovation at this critical juncture."
"At ETC, Hollywood's creative forces interact with academic research, technology and distribution companies and last, but not least, USC's student body," said Hanno Basse, CTO, 20th Century Fox Film Corp and chair of ETC's board." As technology becomes an ever-increasing driver of consumer behavior, ETC is uniquely positioned to help develop new forms of entertainment that emerge from advances in technology."
Daley was ETC's founding dean and has served on the organization's board since its inception. Explaining her selection, Williams said, "Elizabeth has been instrumental in crafting ETC's agenda since day one. Plus, her importance as a technology enabler cannot be overestimated. By arming USC students with the latest digital tools, the Dean has reshaped how the new generation of filmmakers tells stories."
ETC's annual Studio Technology Leader's dinner draws a who's who of technology executives.
In addition to the award ceremony, Hanno Basse, CTO, 20th Century Fox Film Corp; Annie Chang, vice president, creative technologies, Universal Pictures; Eddie Drake, head of technology, Marvel Studios; Don Eklund, CTO, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Anthony Guarino, executive vice president, worldwide technical operations, Paramount Pictures and Justin Herz, executive vice president, digital product, platform & strategy, Warner Bros. Entertainment Group will partake in a panel discussion about the impact of emerging technology on their studios and the industry. Williams will moderate.
Over the past twenty-five years, ETC has produced educational events; published a daily newsletter and whitepapers; built models and apps, conducted tests and proof of concepts, and accelerated the adoption of industry specifications and best practices.
Its accomplishments include:
Published Storycipher Study, which uses machine learning to glean insights into the relationship between film narrative structures and box office returns.
Developed the Unique Digital Media Identifier (C4 ID), a system for managing and organizing content files across multiple clouds, technologies and creative teams. Standardized by SMPTE in 2017.
Produced Wonder Buffalo, a short film and POC for simultaneous creation of traditional narrative and interactive, virtual reality content with the same sets and talent. 2016-2017 Primetime Emmy Finalist.
Hosted the development of the Interoperable Master Format specification, a single, interchangeable master format for content exchange between entertainment companies worldwide. Standardized by SMPTE.
Hosted the research for Digital Cinema Initiatives Specification 1.0 published 2005, which enabled the transition from film to digital projection.
"ETC is and will continue to be an essential to the entertainment industry ecosystem," concluded Jamie Voris, chief technology officer, Walt Disney Studios and ETC board member. "The organization's ability to bring together business, technology and academic minds in an open and collaborative forum means that they're able to drive ideation and innovation in a truly special and unparalleled manner. "
The Entertainment Technology Center at University of Southern California http://www.etcenter.org