7 Innovations from Studio Tech Demo Day

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January 29, 2021

To showcase all the incredible work within the team, Studio Technology plans a Demo Day every quarter. The latest of these Tech Talks was hosted earlier this month, featuring innovative projects from across The Walt Disney Studios — including face swapping technology and remote tech solutions. 

Take a look at our recap below and watch the recordings here

Face Swapping

Disney Research Studios (DRS) pulled a “Face/Off” for their latest innovation, taking features from one person and splicing them onto another — using video clips or images. They created an algorithm for fully automatic face swapping. According to DRS, this is the first method capable of rendering photo-realistic and temporally coherent results at megapixel resolution. 

Presenter: Jacek Naruniec, Research Scientist (Disney Research Studios)

Quickly Denoising Rendered Images

Studio artists create assets (like 3D models, textures, and materials) that are then rendered into 2D images for animated films. But this converting process generates images with lots of noise. To correct this, you need to render more and more images, which takes additional time and money. So DRS’ Rendering Group created a denoising process that uses AI to quickly produce the final high-quality images. 

This technology has been quite successful, having been used on 11 TV shows and movies thus far, including “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Mandalorian,” “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

For more information, check out their denoising papers here and here.

Presenter: Marios Papas, Research Scientist (Disney Research Studios)

Remote Production Technology

The Production Technology team equips production locations with all their tech needs — from servers to routers to data storage. That used to mean setting everything up on site. But due to COVID restrictions, that wasn’t possible for overseas locations. Thus, they partnered with the internal Studio Production Networking (SPN) and Technical Services and Support (TSaS) teams to remote deploy the tech needs, so productions could get going quickly and (most importantly) safely.

PresenterElizabeth Kosearas, Project Manager (Motion Picture Production Engineering)

Debut App for Pre-Released Content

In this virtual world, there’s been a need for a secure system to stream and view pre-released Studio content. Thus, Debut was born, providing stakeholders, partners, and select guests the opportunity to view content by invitation only. Key customers of this iOS app include: theatrical marketing, franchise, distribution, and non-theatrical sales teams. Studio features and trailers are now available for awards consideration, special screenings, and more — anytime and anywhere!

Presenters

StudioLAB Lounge @ El Capitan

StudioLAB is field trialing a private, brandable microcinema that explores the possibilities of an end-to-end Disney experience for small groups of moviegoers. Guests would enjoy themed food and merchandise and the latest displays by technology innovation partner LG (including a one-of-a-kind 163” display). This new concept is constantly evolving based on COVID, presenting an opportunity for new audience experiences as small groups look for opportunities to see movies together with their families and quarantine pods.

The field trial is now complete and ready for guests — located in the lower lounge of the El Capitan Theatre and themed to Pixar’s “Soul,” as The Soul Lounge. From the vinyls on the wall to the props in the interactive photo area, the space is flexible and customizable (and can be reskinned in just 48 hours!). It’s projected to open once restrictions are lifted for audiences to return to theaters.

Presenters

  • Alexa Hale, Senior Manager of Content Innovation (StudioLAB)
  • Jenna Sklar, Manager of Innovation Partnerships (StudioLAB)

Collaboration Tool for Remote Reviews

During production reviews, it’s important that the whole team is witnessing everything in real-time. The Clearview Flex collaboration tool makes this possible, at 50-100 milliseconds of latency. It can also be used on multiple devices (including Chrome, iOS, Apple TV, etc.) and everyone can be remote — which is crucial during quarantine. Marvel Studios has heavily relied on this tool for productions across the world.

PresenterIsabelle Ward, Program Manager (Marvel Studios)

Securing Studio Content

Studio Technology’s Content Security team presented on how they’re continually improving and learning to better secure content through the pipeline (including protecting season two of “The Mandalorian“).

They’re also finding ways of adapting these efforts in the applications and tools the Studio uses to share secure content remotely

Presenters:

  • Jason Shea, Senior Manager of Content & Information Security
  • Eric Jasper, Senior Manager of Business Engagement & Advisory