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SMPTE 2014 HPA: Leon Silverman on the Über Master

HOLLYWOOD—Consider the world of content playing across theater screens, TVs, mobile devices, a variety of pads and pods, etc., screens with a variety of resolutions and color ranges, and set up wrong by consumers.

“It’s essential to have predictable, consistent workflows… to make sure creative intent translates,” said Leon Silverman, Disney Digital Studios general manager and president of the Hollywood Post Alliance, which held a one-day symposium in advance of this year’s SMPTE Annual Technical Conference.

“There’s a lot of discussion about creating the ultimate master, or the ‘über master,’ optimized with highest resolution, the widest color range, for the brightest screen,” he said.

Silverman said tone and content-mapping will be employed for creating of these new masters.

“But even with new tools, our creative community will not be able to create these new masters with the push of a button. This will all take more time and money,” he said.

“Is there anyone who has a lot of extra time for delivery?” he inquired, asking for a show of hands, of which there were none.

“In understanding how filmmakers approach finishing, it will be interesting to see how this übermaster approach is adopted,” he said, noting it likely will entail starting with the highest quality in all aspects.

There’s just still that one sticky wicket: Infrastructure issues; “where we put stuff and how we move it around,” he said.

A 2K movie, is about 4 TB, versus 4K master at about 25 TB. Up to 16 times more capacity will be necessary to store these files.

Getting higher data-rate media files into homes is another matter, as well. Silverman said the average Internet connection speed in the United States is 2.72 Mbps.

“We’ll definitely need more bandwidth to stream to the home,” he said.