The EFM examines the tech trends that will affect the future – Berlinale 2022 – EFM

– BERLINALE 2022: The industry session focused on the innovations that are emerging in the tech world and are inevitably changing the landscape of the entertainment industries

Clockwise from top left: Alvaro Longoria, Samantha G Wolfe, AC Coppens and Mark Harrison

The host of this EFM Industry Session, AC Coppens, founder of The Catalysts, mentioned that key trends such as AI, blockchain, streaming, virtual production through to XR, started as buzzwords but are becoming a reality and merging. The first guest of the session, Mark Harrison, CEO at the Digital Production Partnership (DPP), delved into the five trends that are predominant in the market.

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At this year’s CES, the main talk was on the metaverse, although the leading trend was environmental sustainability, with the investment on green start-ups going from $20 billion in 2020, to $60 billion in one year. By 2025 the communication industries will be responsible for 20% of the world’s carbon emissions, so sustainability must go into production in all areas. The consumers’ behaviour is also shifting to cloud-based services, giving them the agility to become more “disloyal” to their services, switching providers and paying for what they need. A 30% decrease in streaming services is predicted for 2023, and a possible aggregation of video services into easier to use platforms could be inevitable.

'Metaverse' is the new hype word but still in development, with the robotics market valued at $1.5 trillion and increasing by 1000% by next year. We already see virtual humans being part of low-cost avatar productions, and more are coming. Screens are becoming bigger and better, with over 60% sold last year being UHD, leading to new higher resolution content that can also be seen out of the home as displays become more portable. Finally, everything becomes media, cars are seen as new entertainment hubs, and internet trends change with TikTok overpassing Google in popularity, another factor of the consumer’s empowerment for content. For the producers, Harrison suggested that soon they should demonstrate that have zero emissions impact, their content should be at least 4K and above so it can be consumed in the near future, and if they don’t become innovative today the new trends will be faster than they expect.

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Samantha G. Wolfe, founder of PitchFWD, explained that the metaverse is almost like bringing together VR and AR, with then the Internet of Things and AI being added, as machine learning starts taking over everything. It's the combination of a wide variety of emerging technologies maturing simultaneously and this new tech revolution will create a new interactive dimension impacting our everyday lives.

For the film industry, the metaverse has the potential to impact different levels of the development process, from virtual production collaboration to even the creation of scenes, with interaction via avatars in an interconnected world. It will also make it possible to have more embodied virtual film festivals or bring filmmaking promotion into the virtual world. Regarding ownership, things are already changing for AR and VR, and there’s still a lot of confusion around NFTs and rights holders. The metaverse is not just the new internet of the fourth industrial revolution, it is much more than that.

Alvaro Longoria (Morena Films) mentioned that producers have become more adaptable to this revolution over the past few years, especially during the pandemic, with changing consumer needs and the fact that it takes a long time to develop a series or a film, during which process things change, including clients and their behaviours. He believes that producers can get the information straight from the consumers, which is ideal, and not through the algorithm. Formats have also changed, and viewers demand different content than before, in duration but also regarding the impact of the stories. For the metaverse, he feels that the customers will be breaking the world between interactive video games and fiction, so they need to be ready to produce content for people to be part of the movie.

Wolfe agreed that this is where the industry is going, and also pointed out that the younger generation is expecting that the world travelling of video games will be part of future creativity. Harrison was more sceptical about this innovation, since huge amounts of money were wasted on VR in the recent past, and expressed uncertainty about how these new trends will manifest in the next decade.

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