Press Release – January 19, 2017 – A consortium of European film and technology organisations – reelport, Spin Digital, Sunny Side of the Doc, the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes, Tampere Film Festival, and Sheffield Doc/Fest – have come together to collaborate on a joint venture designed to significantly enhance the end-users’ virtual reality online experience.
Virtual reality technology is being used increasingly and innovatively by filmmakers, artists and journalists to tell their stories in new and exciting ways. However one major obstacle for the distribution of VR content remains -current technology means that the files are too huge for the capacity of the viewing gear, resulting in distributors reducing the size of the files which therefore greatly reduces the quality of the content they show online – if they can show it at all.
With the support of the European Commission H2020 programme, the new project – DDD60 – starting in January 2017, seeks to improve the compression technology and transcoding mechanisms in order to make the distribution of VR more accessible, less costly, and deliver a higher quality viewing experience. The goals of the project are to help the online screening of VR content develop into a more viable business – ultimately increasing audiences for great VR projects.
The technological development work of DDD60 will be carried out by Spin Digital, who develop high-performance video codecs for the next generation of high-quality video applications, and reelport, an online film submissions and screenings platform for filmmakers, film festivals and film markets, both Berlin-based.
DDD60 will run until 2018, during and after which the project’s findings will be made available to film and TV industry professionals at DDD60 partner events, who between them represent four of the leading film festivals and markets in the world: Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle and the Marché du Film in Cannes, France; Tampere Film Festival in Tampere, Finland; and Sheffield Doc/Fest in Sheffield, UK.
DDD60 will introduce cutting edge video compression and delivery technology to deliver high-quality VR content to film and TV professionals. DDD60 will show immersive content in some of the leading film & TV markets worldwide.
DDD60 has gratefully received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732717.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
Reelport GmbH has been working with film professionals online for 14 years. Its mission is to provide innovative and smart solutions that make managing film files and film data more effective and to contribute to the exposure of films worldwide. PicturePipe is a full range of VoD services for the film and TV industry. PicturePipe can upgrade any existing website to implement video-on- demand services, from uploading to streaming, including user registration, submission forms, quality control, viewing statistics, permission management, payment systems, advanced security features, etc.
Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH (Spin Digital) develops high-performance video codecs for the next generation of high-quality video applications. Spin Digital codecs enable applications that require very high resolution (4K, 8K, and beyond) as well as emerging formats (HDR, high frame rate, and extended colour). Spin Digital has released a complete solution including an encoder and a media player that allow content creators to reduce the file size of super high resolution videos, while keeping the very high quality demanded by emerging media applications such as 4K & 8K UHD-TV, immersive projection, and virtual reality. The company license its software IP as complete applications (media player, transcoder) as well as SDKs (decoder, encoder) ready to be integrated into customer applications.
Sunny Side of the Doc
Sunny Side of the Doc is the international marketplace dedicated to documentary and specialist factual content, each year bringing together broadcasters, decision makers, financing bodies, distributors, content creators and producers from around the world to sell or buy projects and programmes, and to find coproduction partners.
The 4-day event creates unique opportunities for all +2,000 professionals from 60 countries, to follow the latest industry trends, present 700 untold stories, make new connections and embrace interactive forms of storytelling including virtual reality, through a variety of high-level pitching sessions, panel discussions, networking activities and the added value of an exhibition space.
The 28th Edition will be held in La Rochelle from June 19 – 22 2017.
Tampere Film Festival
The Tampere Film Festival is a short film festival held every March in the Finnish town of Tampere. It is accredited by the film producers’ society FIAPF, and together with the short film festivals in Oberhausen and Clermont-Ferrand, it is among the most important European short film festivals. The first festival was held in 1969, and since 1970 it has been held in its current form, which makes it the oldest short film festival in Northern Europe.
Approximately 500 short films are screened during the five days of the festival each year, and there are lots of seminars and other activities surrounding the festival. The festival gathers an audience of 30,000 each year. It is an important meeting place for film professionals and enthusiasts, as well as a traditional local event.
Marche Du Film
The Marché du Film is the most important event of the film industry and the meeting point of more than 11,000 professionals, including 3,200 producers, 2,300 distributors, 1,500 sellers and 790 festival organizers. The 2016 edition has closed with a record in registrations, including 11,902 registered participants who attended the Marché du Film, with 1,747 buyers, a total of 5,201 companies and 3,450 films presented. From these titles, 1,426 films had screenings, 790 of which were market premieres. Also, many networking and business opportunities are available to the participants during the market through its industry programmes. Amongst these programmes, NEXT is the innovators’ hub at the Marché du Film. It is both an exclusive venue that brings together creative companies as well as conference/screening rooms hosting a daily programme of round-tables, workshops and screenings, all focused on the future of cinema. Since 2016, its VR theatre offers a curated selection of the best VR films on the market.
Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction visual storytelling.
Operating in the heart of the UK, Sheffield Doc/Fest is a hub for all documentary and non-fiction content across all platforms, from feature length to shorts, and including interactive and virtual reality projects.
The Festival comprises:
– Film programme for the very best international screenings;
– Alternate Realities for digital and interactive innovation;
– Talks & Sessions to inspire, inform and debate;
– Marketplace for international business;
– Live events and networking;
– All Year screenings and training for outside the festival period.
Sheffield Doc/Fest returns 9-14 June 2017.
The DDD60 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732717.
(Photo credit David Chang – Sheffield DocFest)
Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.