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Meet Recap: Fox, Paramount, Disney, Deluxe, and Sony

Discussion in 'Home Theater Forum Meets' started by Adam Gregorich, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Adam Gregorich

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    Earlier this month a group of Home Theater Forum members gathered in Los Angeles for an incredible week. Here is a brief recap for those who weren’t able to attend. I’m sure other attendees will fill in any gaps. This was my fifth HTF meet and my favorite to date.


    Sunday

    A few of us die-hards got together for pizza and watched the season 6 premier of AMCs Walking Dead. The hotel TV left a lot to be desired with the SD broadcast, but the company made up for it.


    Monday

    Monday was a free day. Most people went to Disneyland for the day, some even dined at the exclusive Club 33, while others went exploring on their own.


    Tuesday

    Things started in earnest on Tuesday with our visit to Fox. We had parking on the lot right next to where we were set up in the Little Theater and kicked the morning off with a continental breakfast outside, followed by a series of presentations beginning with Mary Daily. Rio Cyrus discussed the Digital Evolution (TV). She mentioned that Blu-ray for TV is really expensive, so they are selective on which titles they release on Blu-ray. X-Files is coming and with some shows they have seen a Blu-ray sell through rate as high as 30%. Dave Shaw and John Schad talked about the legacy and library of Fox. They have a real and significant catalog budget and work hard to protect the studio’s legacy. There are approximately 1100 Fox, 400 MGM and 44 DreamWorks catalog titles that are active. Their objectives are to maximize the library to the fullest extent, provide customers with the ability to own any title, and demonstrate the rich legacy of Fox. In addition to releasing their own titles, they license to both Criterion and Twilight Time. Over 400 titles have been released as part of their Cinema Archives series and they recently announced 100 titles as part of their Digital HD initiative. Schawn Belston was an unscheduled guest. He started restoring titles on an as needed basis 20 years go. They have now restored 450 titles, 20 at a time all getting 4k scans. Bowery, Boy and a Dolphin, Omen, Independence Day, Farewell to Arms, Payton Place (original negative was in terrible shape, only good elements are 35mm) and Heaven Can Wait are all recent examples. Ted Schilowitz, David Greenbaum and Ted Gagliano then talked a bit about Immersive experiences. At this point half the group went to lunch and then visited the studio store while the other half went to spend some time hands on with UHD and VR.


    For UHD, we saw a demo reel that included clips from Exodus, The Maze Runner and other films. The reel was streamed from HDs to two side by side 4K TVs, one was using a non-specified flavor of HDR (High Dynamic Range), and the other wasn’t. The HDR made all the difference with richer, deeper colors and improved contrast. The VR demo used an off the shelf Samsung Galaxy phone that plugged into an adapter that made it a VR headset. I saw a several minute demo of Wild, a recent Reese Witherspoon movie that was very immersive. There was a bit of screen door effect, but we were told that the higher screen resolution on the newer Samsung Galaxy fixes that issue. I didn’t see the Jurassic Park demo, but was told it was spectacular. I should note that this was special content recorded for VR.


    WP_20151013_13_42_21_Pro (Medium).jpg


    After these sessions we had a lot tour and then were scheduled for a 45 minute Q&A with Mike Dunn the President of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and someone who Variety has called the leading futurist in the home entertainment sector. We spent closer to 90 minutes (maybe longer) with Mr. Dunn. When the dust settled he asked us more questions than we did him. The phrase of the day was “Write that down” – his response to a lot of answers/comments we gave him. It was great having someone in his position engage directly with consumers. In separate conversations I’ve had since with Fox, I confirmed that he enjoyed his time with us and they are investigating and even acting on the feedback received from us. After meeting with Mr. Dunn, Fox hosted a cocktail reception and then screened the Martian in 3D for us.


    Fox was adamant that all their upcoming UHD releases would have HDR.


    That evening, Mark Seaton from Seaton Sound provided a complete subwoofer system that really rocked the room. He walked us through how to get the best sound out of your system through proper calibration. We will be posting a video of the session in the next week or two.


    Wednesday

    Wednesday morning we went to Paramount. They provided a full breakfast and then divided us into two groups. Each group went on a lot tour, a tour of the archives (including film vaults!) and for the first time for us, a tour of Technicolor. At Technicolor they played a few Dolby Atmos demo clips and we got to meet with an Oscar winning sound mixer for some Q&A. They then took us to an ADR room and a Foley room where we met with 8 time Emmy winning Foley artist Zane Bruce. Prior to this I had always assumed that they had a library of effects that they would use when they needed a specific sound, and I had never thought of Foley performer as an artist. I was wrong on both counts. What Bruce does is art pure and simple. When I talked to his recording engineer about why he just doesn’t go to a library and pull out effects, he told me that by the time he could pull an effect out of a library archive, Zane could do the effect, and do it perfectly synchronized to the program. Zane described for our group the sounds we made as we entered the room: footsteps, jewelry and fabric sounds, etc. He did a demo of bones breaking and a horse galloping through the desert.


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    After the tour we had a nice lunch outside with an executive sitting at each table allowing for one interaction between members and executives. Here are the executives who were in attendance:

    Buchi, Bob - Pres WW Home Media Distr

    Giannascoli, Peter - SVP WW Home Media Mktg

    Kalas, Andrea - VP Archives

    Hoxsie, Edward - SVP WW Prod Prodn & Fulfillmnt

    Kaprelian, Annie - VP Dom Product Production

    Walker, Cindy - Exec Dir Creative Content

    Kenny, David - Dir Creative Content

    Sullivan, Emily - Mgr DVD Content

    Smith, Josh - Dir Brand Mktg

    Klein, Scott - Dir Brand Mktg


    After lunch we went to the main Paramount theater in the lot where Christopher Landon introduced a special early screening of his upcoming film: A Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. They asked us not to discuss the film prior to its Halloween release.




    After leaving Paramount we made our way to a restaurant where Panasonic treated us to dinner, and then back to the hotel to watch a movie.


    Thursday

    We started out with a tour of Walt Disney Studios Burbank (normally closed to the public). Our guide Drew took us around the lot. We got a history of the lot as we toured. In addition to the lot we got to take a peek into the archives where we had the option of holding an actual Oscar. After the tour we were able to hit the studio store.


    WP_20151015_09_35_51_Pro (Medium).jpg


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    After lunch we went to Deluxe were we got an overview of the post production process and an overview of UHD/HDR and the different flavors available. Most interesting for me is we were taken to a secure room where they were scanning the original plates (negatives?) for all the DC comics.


    Thursday night we had the opportunity to watch Robert Harris’ amazing restoration of My Fair Lady thanks to Paramount who sent a copy over via courier. It looks amazing and is a must purchase.


    Friday

    Friday we spent most of the day at Sony Pictures. We started with a light breakfast and then broke into two groups for some technology sessions. Our first session was a 4K/UHD/HDR demo. This demo was a bit more subtle than some of the others we had seen earlier in the week, but you could still see the difference the extra brightness, colors and contrast made. Our second session was a VR demo created as a promotional piece for The Walk. They took the original FX files and used them to create the VR experience. You started on the top of one of the World Trade Center towers where you could walk out halfway on the tightrope turn around and walk back. To make it even more convincing they had a half inch half round piece of pipe taped to the floor to make it feel like your feet were on the wire. Between the wind, and the photo-real visuals it was hard to convince your mind that you weren’t on top of the WTC. It was so convincing that we had several people in our group who refused to look down or step off the roof onto the “wire”. Our third session was with Grover Crisp along with colorist Sheri Eisenberg. They showed us some before and after clips of some recent projects. Sheri also mentioned the upcoming Fifth Element release and said it was a new scan from the original negative and looked Amazing. The release will have all the DVD extras, and some additional extras from international versions. After the sessions we had lunch, a lot tour and a 3D screening of The Walk.


    That evening after dinner we had a Q & A with Nick and Julie from Twilight Time.


    I want to thank not only our attendees for coming out, but Fox, Paramount, Panasonic, Disney, Deluxe, Sony, Twilight Time, Seaton Sound and our sponsor Definitive Technology for making this meet possible.


    Here are some photos taken by Joe Wong at Fox, Paramount and Disney
     
  2. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor

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  3. Josh Steinberg

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this up and for sharing what the studios had to offer.

    I think it's really cool that Mike Dunn at Fox was so interested in asking HTF members questions! It's obviously impossible to give 100% of their fans 100% of what they want 100% of the time, but it's encouraging to hear that they're interested in hearing from us!
     
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  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Wow, folks, it all looks and sounds great.


    I loved the 2012 meet and am sorry to have missed this one. I'll be back next time!
     
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  5. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor

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    Wow.... I expected more comments on this post :(
     
  6. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Thank you Adam for the recap and pictures.


    Thank you Raul for your pictures also.


    Thanks to everyone for a great time. Can't wait the next one!
     
  7. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Seriously.


    I wonder if these posts are invisible to much of their potential audience because many HTF members might not have this sub forum selected in what they normally view.


    But I'd also enjoy hearing from other folks who did attend.
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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    Normally a picture is worth 1000 words, but not in this post. What were your thoughts about what you saw (and heard) Raul?
     
  9. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    It all looks very jolly and everyone is having a good time, but for those of us who weren't there it's a bit like seeing your friends & family holiday snaps.


    My interest is in the reports of what is coming out on catalogue blu-ray/UHD and it seems to be very little.


    I wish I had been there though!
     
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  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    This recap is great (thanks Adam), but I think things have shifted a bit more towards favoring the "live tweet" concept. Or doing what Ron did and opening a thread for member questions in advance of a studio visit.


    The problem is, I don't think most attendees are social media connected to the degree required to make live tweeting work.
     
  11. Adam Gregorich

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    I would agree Cameron, but being that most of us aren't that up to date with the Twitter (that was a joke) and considering we saw some interesting things, I'm curious what some of the other attendees thought of UHD with or without HDR, the push for VR, etc.
     
  12. Andy_Munich

    Andy_Munich Stunt Coordinator

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    I tried to Tweet as best I could. My Social Media game isn't that strong, but I'm learning.
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

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    You were the one person I was thinking of as the exception to that. I saw lots of @HTForum tweets from you! You are the youth and vigor of the HTF Meets! :)
     
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  14. DavidMiller

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    It looks like a total blast, man I wish I could have gone.
     
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  15. Cameron Yee

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    I recently had to find a replacement for my plasma TV and took the approach of viewing anything I get now as a stop gap for when OLED becomes affordable. After seeing the high dynamic range (HDR) demos, that approach was reaffirmed. OLED was on my radar, but not HDR, so I see the combo of the two as a one-two punch for the quality black levels and contrast we enthusiasts all long for. Now it's just a matter of waiting...
     
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  16. Joe Wong

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    I loved the seeing the new advancements in video technology (4K/UHD) and HDR. While such improvements may be subtle to the general populace, I am one who would love to see studios and CE companies push the envelope. After all, we may not have had progressive scan players or 16:9/anamorphic discs during the early days of DVD if the quest for improvement halted in the face of, "it's good enough."


    To that extent, I asked the studios about their plans for UHD Blu-ray, and the responses were mostly along the lines of wait and see. Hmmm. Time will tell.


    Joe
     
  17. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I'm more excited about HDR than UHD, but if I can have both, all the better.
     
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  18. RolandL

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    I could see the difference between the two Samsung 4K sets but not as much on the Sony ones. The first VR we saw was not as impressive at the last which was from a PS4.
     
  19. Cameron Yee

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  20. Andy_Munich

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