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DCS 2011: The NAB Event Not To Be Missed

If you have any interest in exploring the latest innovations in digital image and sound, and how these innovations can migrate from the cinema to the home, industrial, or corporate arena, then SMPTE’s (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) DCS Conference are two days you shouldn’t miss.


Marking it’s tenth year collaborating with the National Association of Broadcasters in providing a weekend summit prior to the NAB Expo, DCS 2011 is replacing the name Digital Cinema Summit.  When the summit was originally offered there was a great deal of evolution occurring in cinema projection and technology.  With much of these innovations finding ways into the home and corporate markets, SMPTE wanted to encourage all members of the communication, media and entertainment industries to take part in the two day exploration of standards, innovations, and educational efforts.


“A lot of the things we are discussing were pioneered in digital cinema exhibition, but have since gravitated into the home and industrial and corporate uses,” said Peter Lude, President. SMPTE.  “The weekend symposium is focused on advanced motion imaging that you may see in the cinema first but not last.”


The first day of DCS 2011 will focus on 3D, beginning with a keynote presentation by VFX  Supervisor, Director, and DP Rob Lagotto and featuring a number of practical conversations including a case study of “Yogi Bear 3D.”  Unlike SMPTE’s June Stereoscopic Symposium that will be focus on evolving technologies that are pushing the format forward, such as holigraphy, 3D motion capture, and volumetric displays, the DCS workshops will provide explanations of 3D innovations that will benefit both technique and the creative process, making it beneficial to producers, and business executives considering working on 3D productions.  The two programs are meant to compliment each other, with a practical component offered at DCS and a theoretical exploration in June.


“For many years we’ve known how to measure hi def; we have scopes and quality tables that inform us what’s good high def versus bad hi def.  That hasn’t been true for 3D because it is much more complex in terms of capturing the geometry of the signal,” said Lude.  “In viewing the many abstracts that have been submitted for the June conference we are seeing tremendous advancements on what we call the area of 3D metrology.  Our June conference will be more theoretical.  At DCS you’ll see practical and real lessons learned from people who have been in the trenches making pictures today.”


Knowing  there are a great deal of 3D events and lectures sprinkled throughout the year, the SMPTE committee charged with obtaining speakers for DCS focuses on finding individuals who have been working with the most recent innovations who haven’t had a great deal of exposure on the expo circuit.


“Our program committee members get together and talk about what the major issues are that are facing the community and invite speakers, allowing us to really target a particular topic,” said Barbara Lange, Executive Director, SMPTE.  “The interesting element about the case study with ‘Yogi Bear’ is that it is a combination of animation and live action.  You see a lot of 3D and animation being displayed and discussed at 3D events but this is a slightly different animal the audience will not have heard too much about.”


“We want to hear from people that have first hand knowledge of the technology and not just from an engineering lab standpoint,” said Lude.  “We’re trying to bring to the stories technologies and perspectives that are otherwise not readily available.”


In addition to advancements in 3D, DCS will be focusing on current advancements in audio, such as advancements in audio mixing and developing multi-track soundtracks that are designed for distribution to a variety of environments ranging from the theater to the home.  Stuart Bowling, Technical Marketing Manager at Dolby will be leading a case study that explores the use of 7.1 surround sound technology used on Disney’s “Toy Story 3.”  In addition to audio, DCS will present other technologies that affect image quality and explore how these technologies can be utilized to their greatest benefit including higher frame rates and higher resolution such as 4K resolution, and bit depth.


“Bit depth is basically increasing the contrast relation and further expanding color gamut,” said Lude.  “There are new display technologies that will, for the first time, allow colors to be seen that have never been seen before in a movie theater or at home.  If you were able to display these kinds of colors, what would you do with them, how would you control them, how would you shoot them?  Those are the kinds of things that we’ll all be struggling with in years to come, and now is the time to start talking about it and bring it to the public forum.”


DCS 2011 will conclude with a session entitled “What’s Next – 3 Big Trends for the Next 3 Years.”  Led by Chris Cookson, Sony Pictures Technologies President, and Gary Arlen, the president of Arlen Communications, the session will focus on the high-level, far-sighted perspectives of where the motion imagery business is head and developments they should be closely following.

“There are always challenges as we move into this digital eco system,” said Lange.  “The 3 Big Trends for the Next 3 Years session focus on the major issues that this environment is going to encounter over the next three years: it could be in technology, this could be in commerce, in media, in legislative things that are going on.  It’s going to be a very exciting session.”

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