As new cutting-edge technologies have come to the forefront, the Society has been charged with “informing the content pipeline” of professionals in these emerging markets. 

Who are these professionals, and how did they become the front runners in Hollywood that drives innovation forward?

Introducing our new blog series, Meet The Members; we talk to some of our members and find out a little more about them, ask them to share their journey, and discuss their plans for the future. We love getting to know our members; next is the ever-so-talented Buzz Hays. If you are part of our community, then we are sure you’ve had the pleasure of meeting him.

As one of the world’s leading experts on advanced imaging production and technology in the media and entertainment industry, we couldn’t have a better Chairman for the Advanced Imaging Society. 

Thanks for sharing your predictions and insights with us Buzz!

Buzz, you’re the founding Chairman of AIS and one of the leading experts on advanced imaging production and technology for Google Cloud; that’s impressive! Can you tell us what it looks like day to day?

It’s a very interesting time to be in the Media & Entertainment business. We founded the AIS as an industry thought leadership group when the industry was faced with the new challenge of producing stereoscopic 3D content for cinemas. That effort became a much bigger journey as we found ourselves discussing all manner of new technologies as they would arise, and the AIS gave industry leaders a forum within which to discuss and address the constant flow of new technology and creative challenges. Day to day, I spend much of my time helping media companies in transforming not only their technology as it relates to content production and distribution, but I also help them to transform their thinking to see a bit further down the road of where technology and content are headed.

Why are you so passionate about what AIS does for the industry? 

We have created a safe space for industry leaders, peers, technologists, and creatives in which they can talk about how technology will affect their future and our members are so committed, open and honest about the issues at hand that it makes me very proud and honored to be part of a truly groundbreaking organization.

The Lumiere Awards are such an incredible milestone for all the players behind the scenes making such a significant impact in our industry; why do you think it’s important? 

The film and television industry is filled with high-profile awards opportunities for creatives, however, the technology side of the industry is often very much behind the scenes. The Lumieres have literally shined a light on the amazing technologies that enable these creative enterprises to flourish. The Lumiere awards are on par with the Emmys and Oscars in terms of importance to those who provide great technologies to support storytelling in all forms.

What predictions can you share with us that will happen in the next 18 months? 

We are starting to see a bit of democratization of some of the higher-end technologies that were once reserved for the ILMs, WETAs, and Digital Domains of the world. LED / Volumetric production is truly groundbreaking stuff, and with the proliferation of game engines in the industry, we are very quickly seeing the technology becoming available to productions of all sizes and budgets. It’s quite remarkable.

What’s your view on the metaverse? 

That is a very broad topic upon which to have a singular view, but I’ll give it a try! Much like any new technology, it begins with a lot of noise and chatter about the “new” thing VR, AR, XR, Bitcoin, Blockchain – the list goes on. As with many new approaches to technology that serves creative enterprises, there is a steep learning curve. We are in the initial steps of that learning curve as it relates to the metaverse. It will be a while before there is a singular definition of what “metaverse” actually means to the broader industry. In my view, the metaverse represents an all-in approach to digital content creation and collaboration where contributors can collaborate from anywhere in the world, with access to the resources and tools they need, without having to be in the same physical space as each other. It’s an expansion of what we already do in the cloud where all of the assets are in a centralized, accessible, and secure environment, and the people and applications come to the assets to create content. The metaverse is in many ways a complete virtualization of the environments and ecosystems within which we create content, whether it’s for film, television, or immersive media. In my mind, it’s less of a virtualization of the people into avatars and digital facsimiles and more of an ecosystem within which we create stories of all kinds.

Can you please translate if an alien came to earth and didn’t know what AIS was? 

The AIS is best described as the bridge between creative and technology for the media and entertainment industry. As thought leaders, we provide a forum within to explore, experiment with and adopt technologies that directly influence the creative needs of storytellers with a focus on support of the entire industry.

What’s the last movie you saw? And what was the childhood film that inspired you to want to be a part of the film industry?

The last movie I saw in a theater was One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at the Academy Museum in the Geffen Theatre. As a child, movies meant the world to me. I grew up in a small New England town that had a drive-in movie theatre and one indoor theater that was closed for much of my youth. In order to go to the movies, we had to travel an hour to the nearest city to get to a movie theatre, so any time we went to the movies, it was an event. We planned for that event weeks in advance as it was such a big deal to see a film on the big screen. I saw the Godfather when I was in Junior High School, and I was mesmerized by the storytelling. It was an intense experience that I carry with me to this day. There were plenty of other, more obvious films like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind that impressed me. What really got me interested in being a part of the film industry was right after college when I got a job with a small company called Boston Light & Sound. They built portable screening rooms for films shooting on location all over the eastern seaboard. It was there that I met the people who actually make movies, specifically Cinematographers like Gordon Willis, John Bailey, Stephen H Burum, and Stephen Goldblatt. These greats inspired me to become a filmmaker.

Do you have a hobby that, god forbid, doesn’t include the film industry? 

I’m a Magician Member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Need I say more?


About Our Member:

Buzz Hays

Global Lead Entertainment Industry Solutions for Content Creation, Google Cloud

Buzz Hays is one of the world’s leading experts on advanced imaging production and technology in the media and entertainment industry. Buzz and his team are responsible for Google Cloud’s Content Creation Solutions development in the Media and Entertainment Vertical. He works closely with the top M&E customers of Google Cloud to tailor and build solutions to transform traditional methodologies into cloud native workflows from production to post-production to archive migration.

Buzz has been involved in technology for media and entertainment for over 30 years with Google, Lytro, Sony, and Lucasfilm THX. He has produced numerous film and television projects for Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. He is a member of SMPTE, and he is the founding Chairman of the Advanced Imaging Society, and he is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where he serves on the Science and Technology Council.