Netflix Hack Day — Winter 2021
Hack Day at Netflix has been a time for employees across the company to come together, meet, and collaborate on making fun ideas about Netflix come to life. Previously we have wanted to include Netflix offices across the globe, however, being fully remote finally unlocked seamless ways to make this possible. We leaned into creating a fully remote Hack Day called Hack@Home that allowed us to leverage zoom, chat, and a boundaryless experience that resulted in one of the most engaging hack days yet with participants from all parts of the company and the world together for a single event.
Innovation is the most important value of Hack Day. We believe in this work, even if it never ships, and enjoy sharing the creativity and thought put into these ideas.
Below, you can find videos made by the hackers of some of our favorite hacks from this event.
Like many companies, Netflix employees have video meeting fatigue and miss their watercooler conversations. We built NetSpace as an outlet to address both issues. In short, it is an internal, web-based, pixel art, digital workplace environment. We started the hack by creating pixelized versions of popular Netflix characters and placing them in an interactive 2D setting. Then we added bleeding edge audio technology to allow the players to have drop-in audio conversations. It’s not quite an “in office” experience, but it feels a little closer to home.
Where Was I?!
“Where Was I?!” automatically generates on-screen text summaries of what’s happening in each scene inside the Netflix UI. This helps people jump back into a series or movie after distractions and interruptions, especially built for those with attention and memory disorders or significant distractions, like kids at home during lockdowns! The scene descriptions are generated from data sources that already exist in the production workflow and have historically been discarded after production, such as one-liners or script breakdowns. “Where Was I?!” gives this dead-end data new life by using an open source framework called OpenTimelineIO to contextualize it and provide ongoing value to finished content.
Storyboard.ai is an internal hack day project to assist artists in bringing scripts to life with machine-assisted animatics. When the creators are visualizing and iterating over the look and feel of a given script, they have multiple versions of storyboards of the scripts. With Storyboard.ai, we leveraged research from the Fluid Interfaces group MIT Media Lab called “Paper Dreams” to automatically help artists draw characters with few lines of strokes. We are also helping artists discover existing drawings to reuse and add automatic colors and textures to bring hand-drawn characters to life.
Anime All you Want
There are a lot of anime lovers on the Netflix streaming platform. To better entertain them, we propose to convert the real-world visual assets shown in our service including artwork images and trailer videos into the Anime style. We explore leveraging the latest “Generative Adversarial Neural Network” technique to perform pixel-to-pixel transformation and obtain high-quality animized visual assets.
By: Dong Liu