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What’s Brewing in Qube Labs?

Hello André. Perhaps you could start us off with a brief introduction of yourself?

Certainly! Hi there, I’m André Lopes, father of two wonderful girls, a huge fan of movies and other forms of storytelling, and I am driven mostly by an insatiable desire to understand how things work and to learn new things. 

I have been on quite the journey with Qube Cinema, as I joined right around the time that the transition from Film to Digital Cinema was picking up steam. I initially took on a technical support role and later contributed to our expansion into the European markets. After a couple of years, I transitioned into product management, where I’ve had the privilege of working with most of our products and across the various business units.

Starting this year, I took on a new challenge as Director for Qube Labs, for which I am most humbled and excited about!

Can you provide a brief overview of Qube Labs and its main goals?

Qube Labs is an enthusiastic expression of two of Qube Cinema’s key values, innovation and excellence. We’ve started this unit so we can better support our research initiatives, and nurture a culture of curiosity and experimentation. We believe that by fostering continuous improvement and raising the bar of excellence, Qube Labs can help us realize our leadership role within the industry.

Our main goals speak very directly to this purpose, in short, to enable and conduct research, within and beyond the natural boundaries of our existing products and business units, and to advance the science and technologies of storytelling.

What could we expect from a collaboration with Qube Wire?

One theme with a lot of potential for future collaboration is the MovieLabs 2030 Vision. This is a technical vision that we find to be deeply aligned with our own, covering the domains of content creation as well as distribution, and so very relevant to our various products.

I must note that there’s a remarkable diversity of talents working on the various Qube Wire teams, from business development to customer service, operations, and product engineering. Qube Labs is fully committed to supporting the ideas and experiments for each and every one of these functions. We’ll be figuring out together what initiatives to put our energies on, and naturally, we welcome and encourage suggestions and inputs from everyone at every step of the way.

Are there any initiatives planned so far, can you share some examples?
While we already express some of the MovieLabs 2030 principles today, we have barely scratched the surface, and so Qube Labs and the Qube Wire product engineering team may work together to craft a compelling submission for the MovieLabs 2030 Showcase program.

The MovieLabs 2030 principles might inspire other immediate or future opportunities, and this is something we’ll be exploring with the Qube Wire team. I am particularly excited about the intersection of zero trust, cloud-native workflows, and their potential to transform the user experience, but this is really just one of the many possible dimensions of interest.

We are also planning to curate and host a series of workshops and other activities, placing curiosity and innovation at the very center of the experience. These will aim to introduce our various teams to the most recent developments in the relevant technology domains, while also providing a safe space to explore and learn new things.

Let’s switch gears and address the future of storytelling. Given the current pace of technology progress, how do you see the cinema landscape evolving over the next decade?

That’s a tough question!

I’m anticipating an ever-closer partnership between the various forms and mediums of storytelling, where extended reality (XR) will complement the Cinema Experience, allowing viewers to step into the narrative and experience new levels of immersion.

New display and audio technologies are poised to reinforce the Cinema as the most accessible in-person, larger-than-life experience for families and local communities, while new offerings emerge for very large crowds in specialty venues. The proliferation of high-quality XR and spatial computing will bring about whole new layers of social experience.

Artificial intelligence will transform, or better put - is already transforming - how stories are crafted, but also, how stories are experienced, as Generative AI and Large Language Models will enable a seamless, flawless experience of any media in the viewer’s native language.

These are just a couple of advances that appear very likely given the present trends, but there are a multitude of other domains that will be coming to stage in the years ahead - may be topics for a follow-up interview sometime?

Is Qube Labs working on some of these technologies?

Absolutely! We have started experimenting internally around these topics, and we are looking to explore a lot more as we go forward.

Recently, together with the subtitle team, we’ve been exploring the latest advances in automatic speech recognition powered by machine learning and large language models, and we have already captured some improvements in our transcription and translation workflows, with more certain to come. 

Recently as well, working with the virtual production team, we had a wonderful experience crafting and co-hosting a workshop on generative AI for visual storytelling, delivering a proper hands-on, creative experience for the entire virtual production team.

We’re working on a few other initiatives addressing the foundations of a continuous learning culture, for example, a Technology Radar, building upon the interests and the immense knowledge that today sits dispersed across our brightest minds and looking to spark wider, deeper reflection.

Finally, we are also scouting and discussing with potential partners in industry and academia, with plans to kickstart future research initiatives. Hopefully, we’ll be able to speak some more about these soon. Do stay tuned!

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