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Association of Moving Image Archivists President Andrea Kalas Looks Ahead

AMIA President Andrea Kalas recently moderated a panel at the NAB Show’s popular weekend conference, Future of Cinema, entitled, “Next Generation Mastering: Where Do We Go From Here?” In addition to Kalas, the panel featured: Rod Bogart (HBO,) Annie Chang (Disney,) Chris Clark (Netflix) and Thad Beier (Dolby), all recognized experts who regularly confront the challenges and opportunities in the world of content that they own or manage. In a lively discussion, where PowerPoints were not invited, the group dove into the complexities of future-proofing next generation storytelling.

L to R: Rod Bogart, HBO; Annie Chang, Disney; Chris Clark, Neflix; Thad Beier, Dolby; Andrea Kalas, AMIA 2016 Future of Cinema Conference, NAB, The Future of Mastering

L to R: Rod Bogart, HBO; Annie Chang, Disney; Chris Clark, Neflix; Thad Beier, Dolby; Andrea Kalas, AMIA 2016 Next Generation Mastering: Where Do We Go From Here?

I was fortunate enough to have some of the smartest stakeholders in Hollywood join me in the recent discussion at NAB. Our commonalities of problems and questions across studios, networks, and technology companies help us to collaborate to keep the future safe for filmmakers. It will take a group effort to bring order to a field that is perpetually changing.

The panel addressed an array of complex issues, from the growth and focus on Ultra High Definition (UHD), High Dynamic Range (HDR), higher resolution and color space technologies, to the fundamental questions of what must be preserved. Issues arose around the lack of a common naming protocol for assets, which is in need of clarification. “Digital preservation master,” “Super D.I.,” “No LUT source master,” and “Graded HDR master,” are used in various settings, all of which imply different yet overlapping aspects of the assets. It’s clear that managing and streamlining the changing technologies will warrant continued exploration and mind-sharing. In spite of the differences of approach and the inherent challenges, there is commonality in the dedication to preserving the permanence of creative authorship, saving what is necessary, deciding what is not, and building a rule-set that helps keep all the elements of the creative effort secure.

AMIA is the place where complex issues such as these and many others are explored. Our organization combines both archival and technical expertise, in a manner that does not exist anywhere else. It is the one place where the expertise formally resides to discuss moving image preservation in the digital world.  I bring a strong perspective about the role of the archivist in the changing media landscape. The role of archivists is to listen to stakeholders and ensure that the right things are preserved. During the NAB event, it was clear that members of the audience and the panel all wanted to find ways to make sure that the work of directors, cinematographers, sound designers, visual effects artists, and colorists are preserved into the future.

Just think, a format that was invented for special effects is now an integral tool for all types of moving images, because at some point now, all images are ultimately made by computers. There are going to be more such advances, not less, as our community continues to invent and expand. Helping to manage the process and educate the constituents at work in it, is a core part of AMIA’s mission.

AMIA is everyone. Our members come from everywhere – studios, small archives, giant archives, broadcasters, technology innovators, universities, filmmakers and technology companies – and they are in the trenches on these issues. I always say that one way to solve your issues is to hire a moving image archivist!

The AMIA Annual Conference is set for Pittsburgh, PA, in November.

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