Thursday, May 10, 2018

Watch Out: Revolution Ahead!

Jim Chabin, the President & CEO of the US-based Advanced Imaging Society talks about new trends in entertainment, while on a recent visit to Kochi

By Shevlin Sebastian

There are three professionals. One is in Los Angeles, another is in London, and the third is in Kochi. All three put on their Virtual Reality goggles. They connect with each other. And then they decide to go to the Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives. “Physically we are not there,” says Jim Chabin, President & CEO of the US-based Advanced Imaging Society. “But we will be able to talk to each other and look out of the window at the sunset.”

Jim pauses and says, “Alternative reality is the most revolutionary development in the film industry. In future, we will go to school, watch movies and meet our friends in virtual reality. In Steven Spielberg's blockbuster hit, 'Ready Player One', for most of the movie, you don't know what is real and what is artificial.”

A new invention is high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR) which increases the luminosity of the image. “Thanks to HDR, the future of the flat screen is doubtful,” says Jim, who had come to attend the Global Digital Summit at Kochi. “The brightness, colour and the contrast on the TV will be as good as it is in the movie theatre. We are getting to the point where the experience of watching a movie at home is going to be every bit as good as watching it in the hall.”

Of course, 3D has already made its mark. Last year, Hollywood sold 1.2 billion 3D tickets last year. “For the opening weekends of a Star Wars or Marvel movie, around 50 per cent are 3D tickets,” says Jim. “[Director] James Cameron, who is shooting Avatar 2 in Los Angeles, has said that he is working on a technology where you don't need 3D glasses. James does not want us to wear a pair of glasses while watching his movie.”

Clearly, things are changing at a rapid pace. At Doha Airport at 4 a.m., while on the way to Kochi, Jim saw a girl in a baby carriage looking intently at an Ipad Tablet. “She must have been less than two years old,” he says. “These children when they grow up – it is unlikely they will watch TV or go to movie theatres.”

Everybody in Hollywood is very aware that the 12-year-olds of today are very different from earlier generations. “I am not sure these children, who have short attention spans, will have the patience to sit through a two-hour-long movie,” he says.

One who is anticipating this is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former owner of the Dreamworks studio. He has started a new media and technology company called WndrCo. in Los Angeles that is making 10-minute movies for You Tube. “So there are seven or eight episodes of six or seven minutes each,” says Jim. “It might have stars like Leonardo De Caprio or Chris Hemsworth.”

And will they read the printed word, like the book? “I don't know,” says Jim. “I, myself, am not reading a lot. Again, while coming to Kochi, I brought a novel along because I am an avid reader. But I never took my book out. Instead, I watched ‘The Dark Tower’, ‘Victoria and Abdul’, and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. I learnt so much about life by reading books. So, this is a loss for me.”

Meanwhile, when asked about the functions of the Advanced Imaging Society, Jim says, “It was set up in 2009 by the leaders of the industry like Walt Disney Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Sony, Paramount, IMAX, Dolby, Panasonic, and others. The aim is to advance the creative arts and sciences of stereoscopic 3D. But as new cutting-edge technologies have come to the forefront, the society is sensitising industry professionals about these innovations.”

Asked about his views about India, Jim smiles and says, “I love India because it is the world's largest democracy, a multi-cultural society, so rich is in so many ways, including its stories. The market is so huge. There are 300 million comprising the middle class. That is bigger than the population of the United States. We would like to make relevant films, which the people will like.”

So far, they are on the right track. The latest release, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ by Marvel Studios has set the Indian box office on fire. Asked the reasons behind the success of the Marvel series, Jim says, “When I asked Victoria Alonso of Marvel how they managed to do one great movie after another, she said, ‘Our movies are based on very good comic books that were written by great writers and illustrators. We are just taking good source material’.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)

No comments:

Post a Comment