SMPTE: “Covid has forced real industry change”

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Barbara Lange, SMPTE’s executive director, suggests in a piece in the latest edition of SMPTE News that while many will consider the past year or so as a “lost year” because of the Covid pandemic, in fact, it has lead to exceptional creativity and innovation across the industry.

“Covid-19 was the biggest disruptor of the last 100 years, affecting every sector of the global economy and virtually every single industry. But chaos can lead to creativity and innovation. Innovators find their best opportunities during times of crisis, creating new solutions to popping up problems or blazing new trails,” she wrote.

“For the media technology sector, the chaos of 2020 brought considerable advancements in virtual production. It is amazing to me to see how many productions are happening today using virtual technology. Between hardware, software, and services, the virtual production ecosystem is predicted to grow by 14 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to a value of over $3 billion by 2026 (Source: “Global Virtual Production Market Report, 2020 to 2026” by Research and Markets, February 2021),” she added, and suggesting that without Covid the level of innovation would be hard to see.

Lange focussed on Virtual Production and saying that that it represented a “fantastic example” of innovation. “It sounds pretty simple, but the technology required to bring that desert scene into a volumetric sound stage is quite impressive. The coordination required to ensure that all aspects of the workflow are in sync and working flawlessly is astounding. Virtual production has upended how content is produced, but, at the same time, it has also expanded the creativity in storytelling.”

Indeed, SMPTE is using the pandemic to springboard a new innovation of its own. SMPTE is launching Rapid Innovation Solutions (RIS) with the intention to convene industry and academia to solve problems and support ongoing technological advancements. “RIS is intended to deliver results rapidly and free of cost to the industry. We hope it becomes a beacon for new projects and participants to solve common problems in an open-source format,” states Lange.


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