Sustainability, Cloud Technology and „The New Virtual”
How can we use media technologies to shape our society in a sustainable way? The big question of this year’s MediaTech Hub Conference 2022 hovered over the panels and workshops – international media professionals and tech enthusiasts discussed the latest trends and practices in media technologies – from Web3, Metaverse, NFTs and Synthetic Media to Green Production and Streaming to Virtual Production and VFX – over two days from September 28-29.
Presented live onsite and as an online event, the MediaTech Hub Conference was held on the studio lot in Babelsberg where innovative media technologies meet film heritage steeped in tradition. While cinema masterpieces have been created here for over 100 years in the best tradition of THE BLUE ANGEL, everything at the MediaTech Hub Conference pointed to the future over the two days: Germany’s only conference on media technologies provided the setting for industry representatives to exchange views and ideas about trends and innovations in addition to 30 sessions and 50 speakers.
Media technologies are increasingly determining our everyday lives. Every day sees us using touch screens at airports, in cars or supermarkets and mobile devices, we are permanently connected digitally – but that is only a small part of what media technologies constitute in our everyday lives and what significance they represent for companies. What is currently being conceived with Web3 and Metaverse to create a new virtual parallel world can drive overall societal developments and help other industries take a step into the future.
“It’s all MediaTech Hub now!” is the motto
The brand eins Opening Talk opened with two heavyweights among the tech pioneers and set the tone for the conference: Mei Lin Fung, founder of the People-Centered Internet, and blockchain expert and founder of the Democracy Earth Foundation Santiago Siri showed in conversation with the digital strategist and brand eins CEO Holger Volland that technology can support us and society in acting democratically, people-centred and environmentally conscious. Technology makes it possible – but humans are behind it all.
Mei Lin Fung invoked the power of community that the internet can offer us across the whole globe. She suggested that the MediaTech Hub Conference could be the place where we are given the space and tools for the next “gold rush”. A comparison to show how important it is to have the right tools in hand in order to respond to the upheavals of our age and shape resilient societies. Santiago Siri wanted to think along similar lines with the conference participants: ” Web3 can help us deal with these crises. It can help us to coordinate better, network across the globe and organise ourselves in a decentralised way. And become more resilient altogether as a society.”
According to Mei Lin, what one saw here at the Media Tech Hub and in games or videos could provide technologies for the whole of society. This potential should be exploited even further. She saw an advantage for Brandenburg of also bringing “clean IT”, i.e. sustainable media technologies, to the local area.
Media industry and sustainability
Reduced power consumption on set, less waste, no unnecessary journeys: Katja Bäuerle, Senior Creative Responsibility Manager at UFA, discussed how film production companies, in particular, could make a contribution here when she appeared on the panel “Decarbonising Film Production: Best Practices from the Pros”, together with Mercedes Eisert, CIO of Bavaria Film, Birgit Heidsiek, CEO/Founder Green Film Shooting, and Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London.
Bäuerle described how a working group had developed new sustainability standards for several film productions. It’s worth switching to green production in the long term, she said, and this was particularly the case for longer shooting periods for such productions as series and soaps which are more structured than those at temporary locations. She stressed that “in the future, green production must be just as taken for granted as occupational health and safety, but we also need time to relearn and adapt.”
The “Green Production” workshop led by the sustainability consultant and producer Korina Gutsche allowed delegates to delve even deeper into the subject. The participants were able to discuss their own film projects as well as gain practical insights into sustainable production.
And sustainability is not only about environmental protection. This was shown by the example of Berlin-based founder Seneit Debese, whose app Greta & Stark makes autodescription accessible for the blind and subtitles available for the hard of hearing and deaf in cinema films. The users just have to bring their own smartphone with the app to the screening in order to access this service. Debese made it clear to the audience just how easy and efficient it is to provide such a service if you use existing technology and workflows as well as a collaboration with the community.
The Metaverse: New Virtual World?
The second day of the conference was clearly centred on the subject of the Metaverse – and the panellists emphasised that the focus here is not on a short-lived trend or buzzword, but rather on something that we will all be regarding as a part of our lives possibly sooner than we had expected. Sven Slazenger, CEO of Interlake: “This is not an ominous cloud, it’s not something we are only just beginning to build, it is already here. We are working here with digital information that leaves our computer screen and is all around us. It’s like a lot of things: an exciting process that we’re now starting and then figuring out where it’s going to take us. A new level of technology that expands our universe. Media technology is for everyone.”
This also poses challenges for our media society, as Deepfake expert Henry Ajder predicted in his keynote. “Synthetic content, content created by artificial intelligence, has been around for a while, but what is new is its accessibility, its realism.
The two-day conference ended with an exclusive after-show party after ArtistConnect was named as the winner of the Start-up Award of the Digital Hub Initiative’s pitch session. The platform connects music artists with producers and the creative industry.
All content can be accessed via the digital conference platform until 30 October. Participants can therefore delve deeper into the programme, catch up on missed sessions and continue networking via the platform.
About MTH Blog
The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.