Canon and HitRecord make animated short film with smart camera collaboration

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A charming animated short film commissioned by Canon from Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s production company/creative community, HitRecord.com, is an unlikely but effective demonstration of the practical potential of the new AMLOS system of smart cameras and software, which have were created to make the hybrid meetings of the future much more efficient and collaborative.

A forest lair debuted recently at a screening at the Ross House, a sprawling and stylish film/live performance sound editing house/studio perched on a steep hill in Laurel Canyon above Hollywood

The AMLOS system is unusual, and perhaps exceptionally powerful compared to competing conferencing systems, as it combines Canon-designed cameras with intelligent software.

Kohei Maeda, Canon’s new business development adviser who designed AMLOS, said he was inspired by his years in Canon’s printer division, where the products are something ” to help people share their ideas… with as many people as possible. I realized that this is how we can use imaging technology, to help people collaborate together.

The pandemic-forced shift to video-based remote meetings ran into all sorts of limitations, especially when it came to sharing large presentations or graphics that ran into the file size limitations of business, Maeda said.

AMLOS stands for Activate My Line of Sight. Maeda designed it to improve the experience and efficiency of hybrid in-person and remote conferencing. It allows presenters to work with whiteboards, drawings, and similar large images, then quickly capture and share them with remote participants.

The system software allows each AMLOS camera to focus on the speaker in the room, but also to understand a small vocabulary of hand signals to control what the camera is looking at while the speaker is talking. This cue vocabulary includes zooming in and zooming out, and “capturing” (taking a screenshot, initiated by bending a hand in a “C” shape).

The system is built around Canon’s 4K resolution PTZ cameras, which are mounted in flexible mounts that allow them to swivel and move up and down. The accompanying software is, so far, optimized for Microsoft

MSFT
Teams, and is Windows-only, though Maeda said his organization creates software interfaces for other companies’ collaboration software.

Gordon-Levitt and HitRecord won two interactive TV Academy Emmys for past collaborative projects that relied on web-based and browser-based tools. So the AMLOS system promised to further reinforce that ingrained instinct to work with creators wherever they are, Gordon-Levitt said.

“This is a system they built for collaboration,” Gordon-Levitt said. “And that’s the premise of the HitRecord community. People on HitRecord don’t just post their own art as isolated individuals and say, “Hey, world, look what I did.” The whole point of HitRecord is, “Hey, let’s do it together.” So when Canon approached us and said, “We have this new system that’s aimed at making remote collaboration easier,” we thought, “Well, that’s what we’ve always done. » »

As Gordon-Levitt noted, the pandemic lockdown, #WorkFromHome and related workplace changes have meant that “remote collaboration has really come to the fore”.

“It just makes it flow,” Gordon-Levitt said. “I’ve briefly used digital whiteboard solutions before and found them a bit cumbersome, so I gave up. In my experience, these weren’t really solutions yet, when it actually allowed us to just use a good old fashioned whiteboard, but make it easily visible to everyone in the space remote work.

And A forest lair involved a lot of people. The film’s credits list, which is about five minutes long, includes more than 300 contributors who participated in nine story development sessions over three days at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Gordon-Levitt acknowledged that, of those approximately 300 contributors, “I think a lot of those people were…it was nice to kind of have them watching. And that was a really fun part of the creative process. I wouldn’t say each of these people contributed to the short.

But many others have, building up the storyline and imagery of a cocky, independent forest imp trying to scare off axe-wielding intruders.

The project was then given to the same animators behind the Apple TV+ series Wolf Boy and the Factory of Everything, including directors Edward Jesse and Toff Mazery and character designer Natalie Andrewson (Gordon-Levitt is also an executive producer and lead voice actor on this show).

The animators and HitRecord then embarked on a few months of intense work to complete the project in time for its recent showcase at the Ross House, which is also home to the Laurel Canyon Live streaming service.

Gordon-Levitt said the ease of sharing and collaborating through a system such as AMLOS could make hybrid or remote writers’ rooms much more sustainable, even as Hollywood productions and other workplaces revert to something close. of pre-pandemic “normal”.

“Those little rubs just cause fatigue,” Gordon-Levitt said. “Whereas in a writers room where everyone shares the physical space, you can usually work all day. But in remote writers rooms, I think everyone tends to get tired faster. A big part of the reason for that is that there are little imperceptible bumps in the road to connect with each other.And that just impacts your energy levels.Innovations like this, which don’t are just beginning to iron out those bumps in the road, are what we need to regain all the benefits of being able to work remotely, because there are a ton of real benefits.

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