The producers of a new R&D short film from the ETC@USC will discuss virtual production, remote workflow and on-set safety tools for post-Covid production.

LOS ANGELES —  SMPTE Hollywood will offer a glimpse into moviemaking in a post-Covid world as it hosts the production team behind The Ripple Effect at its virtual meeting scheduled for April 22nd at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Zoom.

Produced through The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC), The Ripple Effect is a live-action, sci-fi short film designed to test cutting edge virtual production technologies and remote workflow solutions. The production team leveraged real-time, game-engine rendering, cloud-based workflows and “SafetyVis,” a new tool for assessing on-set safety, to perform a range of pre-production and production activities, including pre-visualization, virtual set scouting, in-camera visual effects and smart-set generation. The goal was to explore critical steps in restarting film production in the wake of COVID shelter-in-place orders and social distancing.

Panelists will include Executive Producer Erik Weaver, Executive Producer/Head of Post and Production Technologies Greg Ciaccio and Executive Producer/Director of Virtual Production Kathryn Brillhart. Veteran journalist Debra Kaufman will moderate.

The ETC presented The Ripple Effect filmmakers Hannah Bang, Margo Sawaya and Sabina Vajrača with its 2020 Innovative Technology Award. The project received support from Amazon Studios, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Equinix and Seagate. In-kind project supporters include 5th Kind, ALT Systems, ARRI, DigitalFilm Tree, Halon Entertainment, ICVR, Lux Machina, Perforce, Pixit Media, REALTRA, Silverdraft, Stargate Studios, Technicolor, Unreal Engine, Verizon Media’s RYOT, Virtual Wonders, xR Stage and Xsens.


Erik Weaver is a specialist focused on the intersection of cloud and the M&E industry and is currently running Virtual & Adaptive production projects for the Entertainment Technology Center@the University of Southern California (ETC).  Project includes EP on The Ripple Effect, a production-focused on Covid safety and virtual production. Recently, he led Global M&E Strategy for Western Digital. Prior work at ETC includes spearheading the Production in the Cloud project, which encompassed many aspects of the cloud, including transport, security, metadata, long-term storage and the creation of an agnostic framework that unites key vendors and studios.

Greg Ciaccio, creative technologist, is currently working to advance Virtual and Remote Production pipelines, providing consistency imaging workflows and best practices for the industry.  He has served in executive operational roles with Technicolor, Deluxe, Sim and Ascent Media.  Ciaccio is also on the SMPTE Hollywood Board of Managers and Chair of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council’s Workflow Committee, which includes the ACES, Advanced Data Management and Cloud Architecture Subcommittees.

Kathryn Brillhart is a cinematographer, director and producer who leverages volumetric capture, visualization techniques and supervising visual effects to enhance projects.  For the past decade, she has helped to redefine best practices and standards in virtual production and has advocated for diversity in the film industry through her role on the Global Board of Directors for the Visual Effects Society. She is a member of the Virtual Production Committee within the ASC Motion Imaging and Technology Council.  Her most recent projects include The Ripple Effect, The Mandalorian S01, The One and Only Ivan and Call of the Wild.


Debra Kaufman is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in USC Entertainment Technology Center, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Reuters, Bloomberg American Cinematographer and International Cinematographers Guild Magazine.

What: SMPTE Hollywood April Virtual Meeting: “The Ripple Effect”

When: April 22, 2021, 6:00 p.m. PDT


The event will also be live-streamed on the SMPTE Hollywood Facebook and YouTube pages.

About the SMPTE® Hollywood Section

The Hollywood Section of SMPTE® was initially organized as the West Coast Section in 1928. Today, as its own SMPTE Region, it encompasses more than 1,200 SMPTE Members with a common interest in motion-imaging technology in the Greater Los Angeles area. The Hollywood Section offers free meetings monthly that are open to SMPTE Members and non-members alike. Information about meetings is posted on the Section website at

About SMPTE®
SMPTE is the global society of media professionals, technologists, and engineers working in the digital entertainment industry. The Society fosters a diverse and engaged membership from both the technology and creative communities, delivering vast educational offerings, technical conferences and exhibitions, the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, and access to a rich network of colleagues essential to their career success. As an internationally recognized standards organization, SMPTE also provides a vital technical framework of engineering standards and guidelines that allow the seamless creation, management, and delivery of media for art, entertainment, and education worldwide.

Information on joining SMPTE is available at

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