SMPTE Signs Partnership With Entertainment Technology Center at USC to Study On-Set Virtual Production Solution

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), an entertainment technology think tank and research center. The memo supports a partnership between the two organizations to collaborate on a SMPTE solution for on-set virtual production (OSVP) — the first in the Society’s planned series of Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) intended to address quickly evolving technologies and their application across the media and entertainment industry.

Recognizing that the challenges of OSVP demand a rapid response, SMPTE designed the RIS program to begin delivering results within a year. SMPTE enlisted ETC’s help to make it happen. In the SMPTE/ETC partnership, ETC will serve as the lead researcher in the RIS OSVP Advisory Group and will partner with SMPTE in reviewing and prioritizing the technology goals. The partnership gives the RIS initiative access to ETC’s research and testing infrastructure, with technology investigations running the gamut of ETC’s capabilities, including such things as proofs of concept, early prototyping, 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.

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

SMPTE will share the results of the RIS OSVP project, including the contributions from ETC, with the broader global media and entertainment industry to expand the knowledge base of the industry and to help alleviate known pain points in this rapidly developing technology.

“With its critical testbed infrastructure for collaborative investigation of emerging technologies, the ETC will play a critical role in the RIS Advisory Group’s OSVP project,” says Barbara H. Lange, executive director at SMPTE. “The collaboration with the ETC enables SMPTE to access ETC’s expertise and seek perspectives from a wide base of constituents, allowing for investigations that may not be part of the evolving studio and broadcast space. We expect the results not only to yield a playbook for OSVP solutions but to validate the RIS model as a means of addressing other emerging technologies.

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