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August 13, 2019 10:00 am

How Netflix Is Using Its Muscle To Push Filmmaking Technology Boundaries

Carolyn Giardina from The Hollywood Reporter writes about the growing influence Netflix has from hardware and software development to industry display standards. For example, as recently as six months ago, Netflix forbid Hollywood cinematographers from using a highly-popular camera because the standard model employed a 3.2K resolution sensor instead of a 4K sensor required for the streamer's original programming. Netflix also pressured TV manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic to feature a "Netflix calibrated mode" and "Netflix Recommended TV" logo in their consumer TVs. From the report: To make sure its content is being produced how it wants, the streamer in September launched a Netflix Post Technology Alliance with MTI, Adobe, Sony and others. It shares its roadmap with these companies, and if these firms develop tools -- from cameras to editing systems -- that meet its requirements, they are permitted to use the "Netflix Post Technology Alliance" logo. The logo has been visible in the past year at industry trade shows -- a literal sign of growing influence. Netflix also is involved in industry standardization and development efforts. For instance, it recently joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Software Foundation, a forum for open source software developers. While Netflix is involved in collaborations, the company also maintains robust engineering efforts in-house -- beyond the teams working on its secret distribution algorithms. It is pioneering new interactive content, such as Bandersnatch, which was made incorporating Branch Manager, a software system developed in-house. Other homegrown advances include Netflix's scheduling software and its work to bring more automation to audio dubbing through artificial intelligence. There's likely much more in the works that Netflix does not share with the public. But one thing is certain: The company is having a penetrating impact not only on which content is made and how it is distributed and consumed, but also on the very tech that creates it.

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