REVIEW 2015

 

The CHANGING THE PICTURE Technology Conference in Babelsberg took place for the third time on Nov. 19th 2015.

The CHANGING THE PICTURE discussed, at the highest international level, technologies for high-end serial drama, and addressed immersive storytelling and new ways of distribution for film, TV and internet. Special focus was placed on the current development of virtual reality and 360° Content. Award-winning business journalist and media commentator Kate Bulkley (The Guardian, Broadcast Magazine) moderated the conference.

In his INTRODUCTORY KEYNOTE, Michael J. Brown (Optimist Design, Los Angeles, USA) showed how completely new narrative worlds of production design can be developed based on approaches from architecture. The integration of such approaches for the use of VFX in the pre-visualization phase of the script frees storytellers from physical boundaries, making it possible for their stories to be more immersive and universal.

In the panel, MODERN TECHNOLOGIES FOR SERIAL DRAMA, Producer Camilla Hammerich (DR Fiction; Borgen) from Copenhagen, Denmark, Producer Jonas Baur (UFA; Verliebt in Berlin) from Potsdam, Germany, and BAFTA winner Nigel Stafford-Clark (Deep Indigo; Titanic) from London discussed the influence of tech on production. The early integration of technologies into the creative process of production played a significant role for all the discussants. Modern technologies such as camera, VFX and the networking of workflows provide the opportunity, in spite of financial and time pressures, for maximum production value and creative freedom. Producer Michael Klick (Homeland), Director of Photography Jonathan Freeman & Producer Chris Newman (Game of Thrones) also shared their experience and expertise through video content.

Established international industry professionals like Rainer Gombos (2012, Sin City) from Los Angeles, USA, and Thomas Wallner (Polar Sea 360°) from Toronto, Canada, together with Henry Stuart, CEO of Europe’s leading virtual reality production company Visualise (London, UK) discussed in the panel VR & AR - A NEW MEDIUM FOR NARRATIVE FILM-MAKING? how these ground-breaking immersive technologies are already influencing future production techniques and audiences. All three panelists agreed that high public interest puts heightened pressure on the industry to provide innovative, high-quality user experiences. VR technology is still in its infancy: “We are all newbees!” say the experts. However, the opportunities are tremendous if investments are placed wisely.

IS TECH A BRIDGE TO SELF DISTRIBUTION?: this question was discussed by Vimeo Vice President of Global Content Acquisitions and Business Development Sam Toles (New York, USA), Managing Director of Red Arrow International Henrik Pabst (Munich, Germany) and writer and producer Stephen Follows (London, UK). Future-proofing Content, IP Ownership, Creative Control and new Windowing monetization models were the key discussion themes. Tech is actually opening up a new conversation – between traditional and self-distribution channels. Each can offer the other access to audiences and quality content. Because the separation between distribution and production is disappearing, both sides have never worked closer than they do today. This changing relationship poses the question how to find steady monetization models.

In the following Fireside Chat TRANSCENDING STORYTELLING THROUGH TECH, two leading women of the industry, Melissa Eccles (Elastics, Los Angeles, USA) and Grimme Online awardee Lena Thiele (netwars, CTRL), Creative Director of miiqo Studios, Berlin, Germany, shared their expertise about the thoughtful use of immersive storytelling. Using Game of Thrones and the arte-show Netwars as case studies, both highlighted the potential of transmedia tools including social media and messaging services to extend storytelling. Specifically programmed software, designed to deliver selected aspects of the story to different fans and followers, enabled them to become viral multipliers. Melissa Eccles concluded: “We need faster technologies. We will have to be able to reach our target audience with more than 100 messages per second.”

In his FINAL KEYNOTE, Hasso-Plattner Institute Director Prof. Uli Weinberg made an appeal for the concept of multi-disciplinary team work. He called for a change of perspective from “IQ” to “WeQ”, a radical departure from linear processes in the film industry.