SMPTE and USC’s ETC will collaborate on an on-set virtual production system, the first of SMPTE’s Rapid Industry Solutions addressing new techniques now evolving across M&E.

SMPTE etc ris

SMPTE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Entertainment Technology Center, a department within the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (ETC) serving as a research centre combining input and ideas from a range of related disciplines. The memorandum supports a partnership between the two organisations to collaborate on a SMPTE system for on-set virtual production (OSVP) – the first in the Society’s planned series of Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) intended to address quickly evolving techniques and their application across the media and entertainment industry.

Recognising that the challenges of OSVP demand a rapid response, SMPTE designed the RIS program to begin working on projects within a year, and enlisted ETC’s help. In the SMPTE/ETC partnership, ETC will serve as the lead researcher in an RIS OSVP Advisory Group and will work with SMPTE to review and prioritise technical goals. The partnership gives the RIS access to ETC’s research and testing infrastructure, with systems investigations running the gamut of ETC’s capabilities, including proofs of concept and early prototyping as well as conventional demonstrations and lab testing.

Both SMPTE and ETC will continue to initiate and directly resource their own internal member-driven projects. Meanwhile, SMPTE may allocate funds to support ETC subject matter experts and resources to tackle specific problems, while ETC may contribute resources to support joint projects where the goals and objectives of ETC membership and the RIS initiative are closely aligned.

SMPTE will share the results of the RIS OSVP project, including the contributions from ETC, with the wider global media and entertainment industry to expand the knowledge base of the industry and to help ease the recognised challenges of these techniques as they develop.

SMPTE etc ris2

“On-set virtual production is an area the ETC has been considering and studying for a while, so this partnership with SMPTE adds another facet of investigation to a topic that is of interest to both of our organisations,” said Ken Williams, executive director of ETC. “These joint projects will be the most efficient use of industry expertise and experimentation resources that benefit ETC, SMPTE and, ultimately, the whole entertainment industry.”

“The ETC will play a critical role in the RIS Advisory Group’s OSVP project,” said Barbara H Lange, executive director at SMPTE. “This collaboration enables SMPTE to access ETC’s expertise and seek perspectives from a wide base of constituents, allowing investigations that may not be a regular part of the evolving studio and broadcast space. We expect the results not only to yield new approaches to on-set virtual production but also to validate the RIS model as a means of exploring various emerging systems.”

ETC will actively collaborate and partner with RIS Advisory Group member companies and individual contributors to consider and take advantage of available approaches. These include Arri, Canon, Celtx, disguise, Dolby, ETC, EBU, Epic Games, ICVR, Lux Machina, Movie Labs, PacketFabric, Perforce, Pixotope, Portrait Displays, RIT, Samsung, Sony, SWR, Unity, RTT and Whitling Woods International.