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Government innovation agency backs BAFTA project with taxpayer cash

Project aims to improve visual quality of media

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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced on Friday that BAFTA Research, a commercial business unit operating within the organisation, is being financially backed by the government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

BAFTA Research, which aims to develop media processing and cloud computing technology, revealed itself to be one of roughly 10 winners that will share £14 million in government funding.

The funding is being issued through the TSB’s ‘Cross-platform Production in Digital Media’ competition. On the competition website, the TSB writes: "The competition aims to support projects addressing convergence in digital technologies, and covers film and television, online video, animation and video games (including pre-production, production and post-production processes, particularly in visual effects technologies)."

BAFTA received the award for its latest research project entitled ‘Resolving Visual Quality for Media’ (REVQUAL). 

REVQUAL proposes to solve problems concerning visual quality for moving images on the internet, helping audiences to receive high quality video online and helping producers ensure each distribution route is consistent.

Through the project, BAFTA Research is aiming to develop an automated service, known as a "web crawler", that continuously improves online video to generate the best possible versions for viewing. BAFTA said it hopes that REVQUAL will become an essential part of online quality control as video compression standards, bandwidth availability, and mobile and other platforms continue to evolve.

Pam Fisher, BAFTA Research Manager, said “REVQUAL will help us meet the needs of customers using our technology, addressing concerns about preserving visual quality throughout the workflow, from the point of content creation through to viewer presentation.”    

BAFTA Research will lead the project, supported by University College London (UCL) and Film London. BAFTA said the project will build on the academy's previous work in visual quality assessment and expand on past research conducted in collaboration with UCL.

REVQUAL will run for two years starting in late Spring, 2014.

The academy was unable to reveal exactly how much funding it will receive, but a BAFTA spokeswoman told Techworld that she understands there will be approximately 10 winners, to be announced in due course, that will receive between £1 million and £6 million each.  

The TSB is sponsored and funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. 


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