Sony reveals Spatial Reality Display, a 4K screen with glasses-free 3D

Volumetric 3D displays are neither easy to produce nor common, as holographic imagery generally requires a mix of stereoscopic screen technology and unique optics, sometimes backed by high-speed eye tracking. Today, the display experts at Sony are throwing their hat into the ring with a new option called the ELF-SR1 — also known as the Spatial Reality Display — which is initially being targeted at professional users in content creation businesses, but with an eye towards future use in consumer-facing applications.

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Walmart’s movie plan will transform parking lots into drive-in theaters

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Walmart just made a surprising announcement: it will turn some of its store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters, using its existing real estate to revive a largely defunct way to view movies. The drive-in theaters will start going live in early August, according to the company, but they won’t be available at every Walmart destination. In case you’re wondering: yes, there will be popcorn.

Walmart announced the new plan on Twitter and has already launched a website dedicated to the new move. The drive-in theaters will arrive in partnership with Tribeca, according to Walmart, which says that its new plan will help the public watch movies while maintaining social distancing.

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What is the most profitable movie ever?

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‘Avatar’? ‘Blair Witch Project’? ‘Star Wars’? The Hollywood Reporter crunches the numbers to see which film has earned the most hard cash.

What’s Hollywood’s most profitable movie ever? The answer depends on how you define “profitable.”

If you think of profit purely as a ratio of production cost to box office gross, 1999’s The Blair Witch Project and 2007’s Paranormal Activity run neck and neck.

Blair Witch involved an initial outlay of $35,000 — but that was just for the shoot; once postproduction was completed, the real budget was over $200,000 (and may have been as much as $500,000), including a sound remix and a transfer to 35mm. Artisan Entertainment’s Bill Block bought the picture for just over $1 million and (after a hefty marketing spend of $6 million to $8 million domestically alone) it earned $249 million globally.

Paranormal only cost $15,000 to make. Later, however, its sound was redone for an additional $150,000; and producers Oren Peli and Jason Blum spent an extra $50,000 to reshoot the ending at Steven Spielberg’s request, bringing the total budget to $215,000. As a return on investment (ROI), looking at the initial outlay alone, that beats Blair Witch — unless you also factor in the marketing costs, in which case Blair is in pole position.

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Brain-Machine interfaces could give us all superpowers

 

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I Am Human investigates the real-world possibilities of brain-computer interfaces.

ONE RAINY DAY, Bill was riding his bicycle when the mail truck in front of him suddenly stopped. Bill didn’t. The crash left him paralyzed from the chest down. His autonomy, or what’s left of it, comes from voice controls that let him lower and lift the blinds in his room or adjust the angle of his motorized bed. For everything else, he relies on round-the-clock care.

What It’s Like to Regain Your Sense of Hearing, Smell, or Touch

Bill doesn’t know Anne, who has Parkinson’s disease; her hands shake when she tries to apply makeup or weed the garden. Neither of them know Stephen, who went blind in adulthood from a degenerative condition, and needs his sister to navigate the outside world. Imagining the three of them together sounds like the setup to a bad joke—a blind man, a tetraplegic, and Parkinson’s patient walk into a bar. But their stories come together in a new documentary, I Am Human, which premieres today at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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Carnegie Mellon researchers create the most convincing deepfakes yet

Ever heard of “deepfakes”? Videos generated with artificial intelligence (AI) that learn to superimpose the face of one person onto the body of another have been used to swap Harrison Ford for Nicolas Cage in countless movie clips, and for far more nefarious purposes, like fake celebrity porn and propaganda. Now, for better or worse, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new AI system that’s more powerful — and versatile — than previous attempts.

It’s called “Recycle-GAN,” and the team described it as an “unsupervised, data-driven approach” for transferring the content of one video or photo to another. “Such a content translation and style preservation task has numerous applications, including human motion and face translation from one person to other, teaching robots from human demonstration,” the researchers wrote, “or converting black-and-white videos to color.”

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AI program writes ‘perfect’ horror script, seeks crowdfunding

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Artificial intelligence has evolved enough that it can now take care of daily chores, drive a car, function as a trusty shopping buddy, and… write a screenplay?

Impossible Things, an independent horror film project from Greenlight Essentials’ Jack Zhang, was reportedly produced (in part) by an augmented intelligence software tool which analyzes audience response data to help writers craft plot points that connect with viewer demand. The result is Impossible Things, a project billed by its creators as “the scariest and creepiest horror film out there.” The software co-wrote the film’s script.

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