3D-News Archive May 2003

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Dimension Technologies Joins 3D Consortium
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2003 (14:19 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Dimension Technologies Inc., the world's only producer of commercially available large screen flat panel 2D/3D switchable displays and holder of most of the world's major patents on this unique technology, has joined the 3D Consortium, a worldwide organization dedicated to encouraging the growth and development of a full-fledged market for 3D applications and products. The Consortium's objective is to enhance the potential market for three dimensional images through the development and expansion of I/O devices for 3D stereographic displays, development and distribution of 3D content, and promotion of the commercial use of this new technology in a wide variety of application areas.

The five steering members of the Consortium are Itochu Corporation, NTT Data Corporation, Sanyo Electric Company Ltd., Sharp Corporation and Sony Corporation. In addition to the five steering members, the Consortium also includes more than 70 standard members, including hardware manufacturers like DTI, software vendors, content vendors, content providers, systems integrators, video production houses, broadcasters, academic organizations and other interested parties.

Consortium members believe that this groundbreaking 3D technology will open new worlds of video imaging that will provide a realistic sense of depth and presence never before possible. Subcommittees are being established to discuss specific issues such as devising image formats appropriate to various applications and I/O devices, and developing guidelines and authoring tools for content creation. The Consortium plans to aggressively promote educational activities to encourage widespread application and expansion of 3D, with the ultimate goal of generating an unprecedented new industry and market for 3D technology.

The Consortium's Executive Director is Minoru Taniguchi; the Consortium's business office is located at Digi-Book Japan Inc., 1-3-6 Nishi-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Inquiries from companies and organizations in the United States oe Europe interested in participating in the Consortium can be directed to Ian Thompson, Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd. in the UK. Thompson can be reached at +44 (1865) 747711 or via E-Mail at ian.thompson@sharp.co.uk

Warner Bros. Plans Cinema Chain in China
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2003 (14:53 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Warner Bros. is working to build a chain of cinemas in China, a company executive said, though it will have to overcome the country's regulatory barriers and rampant piracy to do so.

Indeed, investing in movie theaters in China — where digital videodiscs of the latest Hollywood blockbusters are sold on the street for less than $1 — could be thought foolhardy.

The key is to give consumers an experience they can't get watching movies at home, said Millard Ochs, president of Warner Bros. International Theaters, a unit of communications giant AOL Time Warner Inc.

That means upgrading the typically small and grotty Chinese movie theater to a comfy Western-style multiplex, complete with stadium seating and other amenities. But it also requires some creative thinking.

"We've stumbled into something that's quite silly," Ochs said in a telephone interview. "We're showing 3-D films made in the 50s. We've modified the running times down to 60 minutes, and we show them as many times as we can in the course of one day."

"People look at it as a novelty item," he said, but "there's a market for it. In Shanghai, there's eight different screens showing 3-D."

Of course, one of the main benefits of showing those old 3-D films — complete with the red and blue glasses — is that they can't be pirated by someone sitting in the theater with a camcorder.

Such exclusivity makes it easier to justify what is an expensive form of entertainment by local standards (news - web sites): a movie ticket starts at around 30 yuan ($3.62) in Beijing or Shanghai, about four times the going rate for pirated films on DVD. And new theaters often charge 60 yuan ($7.25) or more.

Getting theaters up and running also has proved a challenge for Warner Bros.

In early 2002, it took a minority stake — all that regulations allow — in a joint venture to run the nine-screen, 1,500-seat Shanghai Paradise cinema. Also participating was Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd., a unit of City Telecom (Hong Kong) Ltd., though a Shanghai government company has majority control.

Ochs declined to discuss the financial terms of Warner Bros.' investment, but said it costs about $2.5 million to $3 million to get a multiplex theater in China built and operating.

But the Paradise theater still doesn't bear the Warner Bros. name, as the partners only just received their business license for it. "It's been a lengthy process for us to understand the nuances of getting approval," Ochs said.

As one of the conditions of its membership in the World Trade Organization, China agreed to allow foreign companies to invest in movie theaters, but restricts them to owning no more than 49 percent. A separate joint venture is required for each cinema.

Ochs said government officials recently have indicated they could consider allowing foreign majority ownership of a joint venture.

He said Warner Bros. is now discussing with its current partner, state-owned Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, the possibility of new cinema joint ventures in Shanghai that Warner Bros. would control.

Cameron at Cannes with Titanic's underwater cemetery
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2003 (14:43 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Cannes festival-goers will be armed with 3D glasses for a closer-than-reality underwater dive later this month with US film director James Cameron around the sunken remains of the "Titanic".

The US maker of the blockbuster movie is to present his 3D documentary, "Ghosts of the Abyss", revisiting the sunken luxury liner, during the May 14-25 festival.

Cameron, who also directed "Terminator", shot the hour-long documentary in 3D Imax format with small water-resistant robotic cameras developed by his brother Mike Cameron.

"Abyss" will be screened at the French Riviera festival May 17.

3-D Festival in Hollywood
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 2, 2003 (14:32 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

World 3-D Film Expo to Unspool at Egyptian Theatre With Over 30 Classic and Rare Feature Length Treasures and Over 20 Short Subjects, All Screened Using the Original Polaroid "Double-Interlock" 3-D System

3-D FestivalSabucat Productions will present the largest 3-D tribute show ever mounted anywhere in history, from Friday, September 12 - Sunday, September 21 at the Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Boulevard) in Hollywood, USA. The 10 day festival, which celebrates the golden era of 3-D filmmaking, will include many of the best known 3-D titles of the 1950's, such as HOUSE OF WAX, KISS ME KATE and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, but will also offer fans of the format an opportunity to see some of the more obscure 3-D movies, many of which have not been seen in 3-D in over 50 years! Some of these titles include: I, THE JURY, JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS, GOG, and GLASS WEB. In all, 33 features and 21 short subjects will be shown along with a "rarities" show consisting of rare, wonderful, stereoscopic images, many of which have never been seen in a public setting. In person guests will speak at selected screenings. Guests will be announced as they are confirmed. All prints will be 35mm and run in the "double-interlock", Polaroid System, the original method (and still the best method) for showing true 3-D.

Festival organizer Jeff Joseph says, "Many of the prints that we're running are the last in existence... and in some cases the original negatives no longer exist. Due to the complexity of projecting these films in the stereoscopic format, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience these movies the way they were meant to be seen."

Daniel Symmes, noted 3-D historian and 3-D filmmaker, is working with Jeff in organizing the technical aspects of the Expo, as well as providing background information on the films. "This is a totally unique event in film history," says Symmes. "It is my dream come true to see all this wonderful, stereoscopic art at one time. Nobody has ever seen all these films together - not even when they were originally released."

It has been over 50 years (November 26th, 1952) since BWANA DEVIL, opened at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood. While not the first 3-D feature film (which was POWER OF LOVE, U.S.A., 1922), the popularity of BWANA DEVIL was the direct cause of the production of over 60 3-D films from 1952 through 1955, often referred to as the golden era of 3-D.

The 3-D format is often thought of as "gimmick" filmmaking. While it was one of the many mid-20th century inventions of the motion picture industry to give audiences a big screen experience to compete with the new phenomenon of television, for the most part 3-D, (like the Cinemascope format for example), was used to great effect in high quality studio productions with some of the most talented industry professionals behind the camera. Such producers/directors as George Sidney, Alfred Hitchcock, William Cameron Menzies (THE MAZE), Budd Boetticher, Raoul Walsh, Ross Hunter and Douglas Sirk photographed films in the third dimension, as did cinematographers like John Alton (I, THE JURY), Karl Struss and Lucian

3-D Festival

Ballard (INFERNO). They often utilized depth as an integral aspect of the dramatic narrative. Seeing these films flat today on television or home video totally diminishes the impact of the original stereoscopic cinematography. The filmmakers composed, designed and intended these movies for 3-D presentation, and that's the way in which they should be seen. This unique series will give audiences that opportunity.

The presentation of 3-D has garnered a bad reputation over the years, mostly due to anaglyphic (red/blue) presentation, poor projection, lab problems, and so on. Actually, when shown with proper (Polaroid) presentation, good prints, professional projectionists, and so on, 3-D from the 1950's looks spectacular. The feeling of depth actually tends to suck you inside the action. It is not just a function of "coming at you" scenes (such as when objects are thrown at the audience), but is also used effectively in smaller, more intimate settings, such as in Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER.

This once-in-a-lifetime retrospective will give fans, historians and critics the unique opportunity to re-assess one of the most unjustly maligned aspects of cinematic history. Due to an awful succession of gimmick films throughout the 1970's and 80's, as well as poor quality re-issues of the older films in the inferior red/blue anaglyph system on television, 3-D movies of the 1950's have basically gotten a bad rap.

Detailed information about the festival, film schedule, etc. can be found at: http://www.3dfilmfest.com. There is a printable version of the schedule on the website. Tickets will go on sale on May 1, also on-line. Tickets are $10 with the exception of the rarities show which is $15. A festival pass ($320) includes admission to all 33 shows, plus a festival souvenir booklet.

The festival can be reached at: Phone number: 661 538-9259 Fax number: 661 793-6755

NIDEK Launches Industry First -- 3-Dx (Digital) -- "Six" Mega Pixel Digital Simultaneous Stereo Fundus Camera
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 2, 2003 (14:22 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

NIDEK Stereo Fundus CameraNIDEK Inc. announced that it has commercially launched the new industry first -- 3-Dx Simultaneous Stereo Fundus Camera (Digital) in the United States. The NIDEK 3-Dx Simultaneous Stereo Fundus Camera (Digital) is a "six"-mega pixel digital camera for high-resolution retinal imaging. The fundus camera comes with NIDEK's proprietary NAVIS-3D Imaging and Database Software for on-screen viewing of images in 3D stereo. The new camera will enable for repeatable simultaneous stereo color images of the optic disc, fundus and external eye with just one click.

"We are very excited about this new product and its commercial launch in the United States. This new digital stereo fundus camera is an ideal diagnostic tool for the assessment and further treatment of glaucoma and macular diseases," stated Hideo Ozawa, Founder and President, NIDEK Co. Ltd. "With the camera's specially designed 3 mm offset on the patient eye; repeatable stereoscopic images can be achieved year after year even when taken by different photographers and camera users. As such, this new camera is recognized as the leading standard among glaucoma and retinal specialists who require consistent stereo imaging. The camera is an ideal diagnostic tool used to document ocular changes associated with glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration and diagnoses of optic nerve cupping," added Mr. Hideo Ozawa.

NIDEK looks to provide a complete turnkey solution for upgrading and replacing existing 3-Dx Cameras in the marketplace and enabling them to the new six-mega pixel simultaneous stereo imaging platform. NIDEK's NAVIS 3D Solution System will allow a user to switch from a 35 mm platform to digital imaging by simply changing the camera backs.

With worldwide operations headquartered in Gamagori, Japan, NIDEK develops, manufactures, and sells laser systems and diagnostic equipment for ophthalmology, optometry, general surgery, gynecology, and cosmetic dermatological surgery. The Company's ophthalmic and optometric products are specifically designed for diagnosing and treating retinal diseases, glaucoma, refractive therapies, retinopathy of prematurity, and pre and post-operative cataract surgery therapy. Its surgical products are designed to treat patients in the growing applications of cosmetic laser surgery and laser skin resurfacing. NIDEK distributes its products through a network of distribution partners and a direct sales force.

Product Information: www.cquest.com/russo/

Digital Cinema Enters the Third Dimension
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 2, 2003 (14:13 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

New Cinema Server from StereoGraphics Offers Highest Quality Cost-Effective 3D Digital Projection

StereoGraphics® Corporation, the world's leading supplier of Stereo3D(TM) visualization products, announced the StereoGraphics Cinema Server(TM).

The Cinema Server is the world's first stereoscopic server designed for the digital cinema. It perfects digital 3D projection and makes it a practical product. It is ideal for theater owners and operators because it is so easy to operate and requires little maintenance, making the cost effectiveness obvious. Due to the robust nature of the Sun Microsystems hardware and operating system, there will be very little down time.

It is the only product of its kind that uses a single machine to play 3D movies, unlike other approaches requiring the hassle of two synchronized machines. As important, the StereoGraphics Cinema Sever is the only server that outputs uncompressed high-resolution movies free from the compression artifacts that plague the quality of competing approaches.

Stereo pioneer and CEO of StereoGraphics, Lenny Lipton proclaimed: "This is one of the highlights of StereoGraphics' history. The Cinema Server offers the best quality projected stereo images in history."

The new server is the keystone of a stereoscopic projection solution when used in conjunction with various models of cutting edge stereo digital projectors from Barco and Christie that use the renowned Texas Instruments DLP(TM) image engine. A single Sun Microsystems server and a single projector can fill an auditorium with thrilling 3D movie content. Prior projection systems required two projectors to produce the desired result.

The StereoGraphics Cinema Server uses a robust Sun® Blade® 2000 workstation as a platform, and it features an intuitive StereoGraphics Media Player that takes advantage of the Sun StorEdge(TM) MultiPack Fiber Channel disk array architecture to deliver high definition uncompressed stereoscopic images to the projector.

The Cinema Server and a single projector can show 3D movies with polarizing glasses using the industry-standard StereoGraphics Projection ZScreen® for large audiences. The image quality of this approach matches that of the current system used in theme parks all over the world. StereoGraphics' CrystalEyes® can also be used in conjunction with the StereoGraphics theater emitter for the ultimate quality for smaller audiences demanding perfection.

Pricing and Availability

The StereoGraphics' Cinema Server is available immediately for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of US $64,995 for Hardware & Software. This includes the Sun Blade 2000 workstation, 360 GB Disk Packs, StereoGraphics Media Player, and an initial 8-hour training for up to 5 people. The StereoGraphics Media Player can be purchased separately for US $22,995, and includes the initial 8-hour training for up to 5 people. The Cinema Server is also available with increased movie storage. Please visit http://www.stereographics.com/products/cinema_server/index.htm for full details.

Paradigm Inaugurated its State-of-the-Art Visionarium in Houston
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 2, 2003 (14:10 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

With VoxelGeo, Offers a Real Production Environment for Integration And Visualization

Paradigm(TM), the premier provider of advanced petroleum geoscience and drilling technology, announced the inauguration of its new, state-of-the-art Visionarium in Houston. Offering stereoscopic vision and advanced control facilities, the Visionarium has already seen extensive use by oil and gas professionals for software demonstrations and integrated service project reviews, as well as for industry events. The inauguration, held in the beginning of April, featured presentations from Paradigm's senior management.

David Cox, Senior Vice-President and Manager of Paradigm's North America Operating Unit, said, "With the lion's share of the market in 3D visualization solutions through our VoxelGeo® volume-based seismic interpretation solution and Reservoir Navigator(TM) 3D visualization canvas, Paradigm is a major supplier of visionarium software suites to the energy industry worldwide. In fact, we have equipped visionaria around the globe since the inception of large-scale collaborative systems. This new facility provides an environment in which our customers can experience the dramatic impact of stereoscopic, large scale displays on the critical details of their seismic, reservoir and drilling features."

CEO Eldad Weiss added, "Paradigm has a culture of technology leadership and innovation. Our VoxelGeo solution was not only the first volume-based seismic interpretation solution to be widely adopted for desktop use, it was also the first to be used extensively in the Visionarium, for the purpose of making practical and timely E&P decisions. By combining the visual acuity of its voxel rendering engine with Paradigm's industry-acclaimed 3D Propagator(TM) horizon autotracker and the fully integrated Reservoir Navigator, we have reinforced VoxelGeo's position as the geoscientist's tool-of-choice for the Visionarium."

The Paradigm Visionarium includes a panoramic, 18-foot wide, rear-lit screen from Mechdyne, with edge-blended Christie Mirage(TM) 4000 projectors. It is located in a special facility in Paradigm's Houston offices.

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