Hollywood and high tech go together like Keanu Reeves and “Whoa.” Rogers and Astaire. Key and Peele. Over the last century, if there has been a technological advance that could make filmmaking more immersive, then movie makers have jumped in with both feet. Think about 3-D movie-making. It’s generally associated with the monster flicks of the 1950s and more recent computer-generated imagery, but the basic technology has been around since the 1920s. Whether it’s better audio, wider screens, amazing digital effects, higher frame rates or HDR, commercial filmmakers have never been shy about introducing and playing with the latest tech.
And next up — 5G technology. If you are scratching your head on how a wireless technology can transform the entertainment industry, let me see if I can help write the script for what might seem like a science fiction adventure.
First, it helps to understand how 5G will be significantly different from any other mobile technology that has been rolled out to date. There are three significant advantages of 5G compared to the current mobile broadband service 4G LTE:
• Incredibly fast speeds: 5G, which uses the millimeter wave spectrum, is the exotic sports car of wireless technology. In some tests, we’ve seen speeds up to 2 GB per second. That’s multiple times the average speed that most smartphone users get today.
• Lower latency: Think of latency as network response time. 5G — especially when combined with edge computing — means that applications like augmented and virtual reality run smoother. It means when you’re wearing those VR glasses and turn your head, the virtual world responds in what feels like real time. It also means that next-generation services like using video as a sensor can become a reality.
• Mass connectivity: Everybody reading this column will have a story about network congestion, whether at a concert or a sports event. 5G provides the ability to connect millions of devices in an area where 4G LTE could connect thousands. To put this in perspective, Wi-Fi can only connect to hundreds of devices.
With those in mind, let’s take a look at how the entertainment industry could take advantage of 5G. Faster speeds mean faster access to content. The advantages of 5G’s fast speeds provide a higher capacity for production. Traditionally, directors would view their “dailies” (i.e., raw unedited footage) the day after they were shot on film. It took time to process the film and sync the sound. That changed with the introduction of digital equipment. But 5G can further improve that process. The super-fast speeds of the network could allow filmmakers to transfer massive amounts of video to their editors extremely quickly — and not be bound by wireline connections.
Combining 5G with mixed reality will put viewers in the movie.
5G’s ultra-fast speeds and lower latency, when combined with augmented or virtual reality, hold a host of new possibilities for the entertainment industry. Already, companies are experimenting with putting viewers in the middle of the action of a movie.
In this use case, viewers wear virtual reality headsets and then find themselves as characters in the movie. They could walk around a scene and interact with other characters. For a generation brought up on a third-person perspective and open-world video games, this would be a completely natural experience.
And because processing times will be faster and latency will be reduced through a combination of 5G and edge computing, the issue that some viewers currently experience with nausea while watching AR/VR would be minimized.
It’s time to ‘feel’ the action.
I believe the interaction between film and viewer could be even further enhanced through the use of haptic vests, which — as many gamers already know — allow you to feel the action, including touch and vibration.
Some cinemas today already have their seats synchronized with the action on the screen, to immerse the viewer into the story. Imagine viewers wearing haptic vests, which would allow them to experience everything from a gentle hug to a (toned down and safe) fight sequence. 5G could make this possible by providing a wireless connection to the vest — no awkward wires tethering that vest to your seat. After all, you still need to get up to grab some popcorn sometimes.
5G could create new venue experiences.
Imagine arriving at your local movie theater to walk down the red carpet and pose with your favorite movie star for the paparazzi. Thanks to incredible video technology that allows for what’s called 3-D volumetric capture, that’s a possibility. You won’t be next to the real actor, but you could be photographed — or videoed — next to a lifelike digital image of the actor. And, most likely, it will be hard to tell which one of you is the real thing when you’re looking at the replay.
My team has already started creating experiences very much like this. We worked closely with the Dallas Cowboys to create four fan experiences powered by 5G. One of my favorites allows fans to join in a celebration dance with a digital version of Amari Cooper or another Cowboys player in 3-D video. The crazy thing? The digital versions of the Cowboys look more realistic than the fans do.
Of course, show business is not the only business where 5G will be making a massive impact. Manufacturers are examining ways to take advantage of 5G’s fast speeds, lower latency and mass connectivity to create highly connected smart manufacturing facilities. And as I’ve written about before, healthcare is in a prime position to take advantage of 5G.
The entertainment industry provides a blockbuster opportunity, though. Whether providing faster speeds for data transfer on set or creating innovative film or venue experiences, the combination of 5G, edge computing, artificial intelligence and mixed reality may just usher in yet another golden age of Hollywood.
- Lights, Camera, 5G: Transforming The Entertainment Industry With 5G – https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/11/27/lights-camera-5g-transforming-the-entertainment-industry-with-5g/?sh=140c9468467e