We’ve pulled together our list of the most popular technology features of 2023, a top 10 that encompasses movies, music, a coronation, neon-drenched darkness and a giant Las Vegas sphere. Let’s start with…

10. Volumetric Video: 3D Capture Technique Finding Favour In Sport And Entertainment

While high processing and hardware requirements have limited the reach of volumetric video, costs are decreasing, making it more accessible. The technique, intersecting with virtual production, is increasingly used in sports and entertainment, with growing applications across various sectors. The good news is that the global market for volumetric video is expected to grow significantly, driven by enhanced viewing experiences and rising investment in AR/VR technologies.

9. Behind The Scenes: John Wick: Chapter 4

We talked to Danish cinematographer Dan Laustsen about how he enhanced the visual intensity of John Wick: Chapter 4 by amplifying its colours, while not compromising the franchise’s signature neon-drenched darkness. 

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Go behind the scenes with Dan Laustsen on John Wick: Chapter 4

Emphasising powerful imagery and colour authenticity, Laustsen’s approach included single light sourcing and real location shoots. With this approach, the film’s distinct visual style, influenced by classical westerns and anamorphic lenses, reflected a blend of artistic restraint and innovation in action cinematography. For more, go behind the scenes on John Wick: Chapter 4.

8. If TikTok Is Killed Off, How Long Will Short Form Video Live?

Amid growing global scrutiny over privacy concerns and data security in 2023, TikTok faced potential bans in the Western world. But what would happen if that became a reality? 

As we speculated in this article, a ban could lead to a major shift in the short-form video landscape, with platforms like Snap, Meta, YouTube, and others poised to fill the void. The TikTok community, especially the thousands of creators who rely on the platform for income and exposure, would face significant challenges in adapting to alternative platforms. There’s a complex dance between geopolitics, digital entertainment, and social media here. Read the full article.

7. 5G In Broadcast: 5G TV Online

5G technology is proving transformative in broadcasting and media, offering significant advancements in production and content delivery.

For instance, during King Charles’ coronation, a large private 5G network facilitated seamless broadcasting. Sports broadcasting has also benefited, with 5G enabling more efficient remote production with low latency. Additionally, 5G’s potential as a broadcast medium is being explored, with projects demonstrating its use in emergency situations and live events like Eurovision 2023. Find out all you need to know here.

6. Behind The Scenes: Avatar - The Way Of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time, aimed to revolutionise cinema in 2023 with its advanced approaches to 3D, HDR and high frame rates. It also featured groundbreaking underwater performance capture, where its actors performed in a large, specially designed water tank to capture realistic movements.

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Avatar’s production blends performance capture, live action and CG post-production seamlessly.

Going behind the scenes on Avatar: The Way of Water, we learned that production design on the movie was split between Dylan Cole and Ben Procter, one focusing on Pandora’s natural elements, the other on the human industrial aspects. The film faced numerous technical challenges in blending performance capture, live action, and post-production seamlessly, while the costume design involved creating tangible items for realistic movement simulation. 

The film’s production has already laid groundwork for future sequels, with many scenes already shot for Avatar 3 and 4.

5. CapEx vs OpEx: Technology Investment Bounces Back

In 2023, the media and entertainment industry was transitioning from a focus on capital expenses (CapEx) to operating expenses (OpEx), a shift accelerated by cloud adoption and the pandemic. Moreover, this change reflected companies’ reluctance to commit to large upfront costs and a preference for more manageable ongoing expenses.

Craig Bury, CTO of Three Media, noted the growing preference for OpEx, driven by financial strategies and cash resource availability. The Arena TV scandal, where loans were secured against non-existent equipment, has made lenders more cautious, requiring physical verification of assets, especially for significant investments.

Guy Symmons, Director of GSM Finance, observed increased caution in lending and highlighted the need for more stringent asset verification, impacting long-standing customer relationships. Despite these challenges, optimism in the market is returning, albeit cautiously. Read the full interview here.

4. Behind The Scenes: Glastonbury 2023

BBC Studios provided over 40 hours of TV and 85 hours of live radio, plus digital streams from five major stages at Glastonbury 2023. The production, involving complex technical setups by Timeline TV and Cloudbass, included UHD HDR broadcasting for the Pyramid stage and a comprehensive sound mix. Go behind the scenes here.

3. MSG Sphere: Not Only In Vegas

The Madison Square Garden Sphere in Las Vegas, which opened this year, represents a revolutionary leap in live event experiences. Built at a cost of $1.9 billion, it features the world’s highest resolution and largest curved LED screen with over 170 million pixels. 

MSG Sphere proposed London

After causing a stir in Las Vegas, could London get its own MSG Sphere?

This immersive venue aims to transform audience experiences through multi-sensory storytelling and a 16K x 16K resolution screen that wraps around the audience. With groundbreaking technology in video and sound, the MSG Sphere offers a new paradigm in immersive entertainment.

2. Behind The Scenes: Eurovision 2023

Eurovision 2023, hosted by the UK on behalf of Ukraine, was a unique and technically complex event. The show required intricate sound and lighting designs to manage a new live song every four minutes for an audience of over 160 million viewers. 

Behind the scenes, Robert Edwards, the Head of Sound for Eurovision, focused on inclusive, efficient production, adhering to strict EBU rules for song structure and live vocals. His team worked with 37 country delegations, managing a vast radio mic system and ensuring fair treatment for all participants.

Meanwhile Tim Routledge, the creative lighting designer, crafted a large-scale, visually spectacular show, accommodating each country’s creative aspirations. The production incorporated innovative lighting effects, video content, and complex automation, ensuring a dynamic and transformative visual experience. Read all about it here.

1. Streaming vs. Cinema: What Does The Future Hold For Film?

The most popular feature article of 2023 was this discussion of the growing preference for streaming movies at home and the importance of original content for platforms. 

Barbie, Oppenheimer and Succession Lead Golden Globe Nominations

Barbie dominated the global box office in 2023, pulling in over $1.4 billion.

That said, cinemas are experiencing a resurgence as the industry recognises the value of theatrical releases in building a movie’s brand and revenue. Just look at the biggest worldwide box office hits in 2023 - Barbie ($1.4 billion), The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($1.34 billion) and Oppenheimer ($951.4 million). 

Major studios are re-embracing exclusive, albeit shorter, theatrical windows, realising that cinema releases often yield higher returns and add cultural value - this was especially true of the Barbie phenomenon. Yet despite global box office recovery, challenges remain for 2024, including a lack of diverse film releases and competition from streaming platforms. Overall, while streaming remains influential, the traditional cinema experience is regaining its importance in the film industry after being brought to its knees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And that’s it. These were the top news stories on IBC365 in 2023. Stay tuned to ibc.org for more in-depth features and insight in 2024.