SMPTE Inks Partnership With the Entertainment Technology Center at USC to Study On-Set Virtual Production Solution

On-Set Virtual Production Will Be the First Solution to Come Out of SMPTE’s Rapid Industry Solutions Initiative

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Jan. 19, 2022 — SMPTE®, the home of media professionals, technologists, and engineers, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Entertainment Technology Center, a department within the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (ETC), an entertainment technology think tank and research center. The memo supports a partnership between the two organizations to collaborate on a SMPTE solution for on-set virtual production (OSVP) — the first in the Society’s planned series of Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) intended to address quickly evolving technologies and their application across the media and entertainment industry.

Recognizing that the challenges of OSVP demand a rapid response, SMPTE designed the RIS program to begin delivering results within a year. SMPTE enlisted ETC’s help to make it happen. In the SMPTE/ETC partnership, ETC will serve as the lead researcher in the RIS OSVP Advisory Group and will partner with SMPTE in reviewing and prioritizing the technology goals. The partnership gives the RIS initiative access to ETC’s research and testing infrastructure, with technology investigations running the gamut of ETC’s capabilities, including such things as proofs of concept, early prototyping, demonstrations, and lab testing.

Both SMPTE and ETC will continue to initiate and directly resource their own internal member-driven projects. Meanwhile, SMPTE may allocate funds to support ETC subject matter experts and resources to tackle specific problems, while ETC may contribute resources to support joint projects where the goals and objectives of ETC membership and the RIS initiative are closely aligned.

SMPTE will share the results of the RIS OSVP project, including the contributions from ETC, with the broader global media and entertainment industry to expand the knowledge base of the industry and to help alleviate known pain points in this rapidly developing technology.

“On-set virtual production is an area we at ETC have been considering and studying for a while, so this partnership with SMPTE adds another facet of investigation to a topic that’s of interest to both of our organizations,” said Ken Williams, executive director of ETC. “These joint projects will be the most efficient use of industry expertise and experimentation resources that benefit both ETC and SMPTE — and ultimately, the whole entertainment industry.”

“With its critical testbed infrastructure for collaborative investigation of emerging technologies, the ETC will play a critical role in the RIS Advisory Group’s OSVP project,” said Barbara H. Lange, executive director at SMPTE. “The collaboration with the ETC enables SMPTE to access ETC’s expertise and seek perspectives from a wide base of constituents, allowing for investigations that may not be part of the evolving studio and broadcast space. We expect the results not only to yield a playbook for OSVP solutions but to validate the RIS model as a means of addressing other emerging technologies.”

ETC will actively collaborate and partner with RIS Advisory Group member companies and individual contributors (see lists below) to leverage best-in-class approaches.

Further information about SMPTE is available at

RIS Advisory Group member companies include, Arri, Canon, Celtx, disguise, Dolby, ETC, EBU, Epic Games, ICVR, Lux Machina, Movie Labs, PacketFabric, Perforce, Pixotope, Portrait Displays, RIT, Samsung, Sony, SWR, Unity, RTT, and Whitling Woods International.

RIS Advisory Group individual contributors include, Greg Ciaccio, Gary Feather, Jim Geduldick, Ben Gervais, Nick Jushchyshyn, JoAnne Kim, David McKenna, Tony Ngai, Patrick Palmer, David Stump, Richard Welsh, and SMPTE’s Creative and Technology Advisory Council.

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About ETC at the University of Southern California
The Entertainment Technology Center@USC (ETC) is a think tank and research center within the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts that convenes executives, innovators, and thought leaders from the media & entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, and services industries along with the academic resources of USC to explore topics related to the creation, archiving, distribution, and consumption of entertainment content. Founded in 1993 at the suggestion of George Lucas, ETC drives collaborative projects among its member companies and engages with next-generation consumers to understand the impact of emerging technology on all aspects of the industry, especially technology development and implementation, the creative process, business models, and future trends. ETC has consistently been at the center of open and cooperative development that innovate the nature of our industry.

About SMPTE®
SMPTE is the global society of media professionals, technologists, and engineers working in the digital entertainment industry. The Society fosters a diverse and engaged membership from both the technology and creative communities, delivering vast educational offerings, technical conferences and exhibitions, the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, and access to a rich network of colleagues essential to their career success. As an internationally recognized standards organization, SMPTE also provides a vital technical framework of engineering standards and guidelines that allow the seamless creation, management, and delivery of media for art, entertainment, and education worldwide.

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