3D-News Archive May 2008


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Wild Ocean 3D : FotoKem Employs Quantel Stereoscopic Technology for 3D Imax Feature
3D-News Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2008 (11:03 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Giant Screen Films Wild Ocean 3D documents a natural phenomenon of staggering proportion: the annual migration of sardines "billions of them "along the coast of South Africa. It is a beautiful, moving and, sadly, endangered event that IMAX audiences worldwide will soon have an opportunity to experience in stunning 70mm stereoscopic 3D thanks to the work of a team of pioneering filmmakers and a bit of magic supplied by Quantel s Pablo 4K.

Wild Ocean 3D, which was produced by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, creators of the British stage sensation STOMP, reveals the feeding frenzy among dolphins, sharks, sea birds and other creatures that accompanies the migration of the tiny fish, as well as the efforts of business, government and people to preserve this fragile resource. Film crews spent nearly two years, working both above and below the water, capturing spectacular footage to tell this mesmerizing survival tale. The film, which recently screened at the Giant Screen Film Conference in London, will be released publicly later this year.

Post production work was completed at FotoKem, Hollywood, with conforming and final color grading performed in a DI theater equipped with a Quantel Pablo 4K with the stereoscopic 3D option. The entire 40-minute film was finished in 4K, for subsequent film out to 70mm film, making it the first Giant Screen 3D film finished as a complete 4K DI to be graded and conformed at the super high-resolution 4K format.

Daniel Rapo, a producer with FotoKem s Digital Film Services, oversaw the project. Rapo, who joined FotoKem late last year to assist with its growing docket of 3D films, said that one factor that has kept other large format films from finishing in 4K is the time and horsepower requirements for working with the massive files. 4K files are not twice as large as 2K, they are four times as large so there is a potential for things to move slowly, Rapo explained. But with the Pablo 4K the rules have changed. What we were able to accomplish working in 3D 4k with the Pablo 4k was simply not possible even 1 year ago. Compared to my previous experiences in large format post-production, this new workflow is lightning fast.

One of the challenges faced by the post production team was the fact that the film was shot with media of differing types and formats. Most of the above water material was shot on various 70mm film formats, while underwater sequences were recorded with pairs of HD cameras housed in specialty 3D camera rigs. In preparation for final post, film elements were scanned at 8K and down-rezzed to 4K. The HD media was up-rezzed and digitally enhanced.

It would have been more straightforward if everything had been shot in one format, but using different formats allowed the production to get shots they otherwise might not have gotten considering the challenges of working underwater in remote locations, Rapo explained. The end result made it all worthwhile as we were able to utilize the Pablo 4K to grade and balance each shot creating a flawless flow to the production.

Creating that balanced, consistent look for the various source media was the focus of much of the five weeks that were devoted to final post. The grade was performed by FotoKem colorist Walter Volpatto, with both Cresswell and McNicholas and the films underwater and above water DPs, D.J. Roller and Reed Smoot attending most sessions. Using Pablo 4K, Volpatto was able to grade scenes for review at 2K by the production team, projected in 3D onto the theater screen.

We were able to watch files in our DI theater on the fly, recalled Rapo. If the producers wanted to make adjustments to the grade or adjust the 3D offset, we could do it all right there in the theater and view the result.

Considerable time was also devoted to perfecting the 3D effects and creating dramatic visuals to dazzle audiences. Rapo recalls a shot of a massive bait ball (sardines swarming together to avoid a large predator) that was shot by Roller from below. By manipulating the 3D offset we pushed the bait ball far behind the screen to create the impression that it is far above your head, he said. An opposite 3D adjustment was used in a scene of dolphins swimming toward the camera. We brought them out over the audience to create the illusion that they are floating above the heads of people seated in front of you, Rapo observed.

As the Pablo 4K has made it practical to finish 3D films in 4K, audiences are likely to be in store for a lot more of such spectacular visuals. I ve worked on large format films for the better part of a decade, but this was my first exposure to Pablo 4K, said Rapo. It s a fantastic tool that has revolutionized the way we finish films for the Giant Screen.

VisuMotion supports Philips' WOWvx format to Leverage 3D Visualisations
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 (10:45 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Germany-based VisuMotion GmbH has signed licence agreements in the past week with the Netherlands-based electronics corporation Philips. Under the agreements, VisuMotion has the opportunity to use some of Philips worldwide patents and technologies regarding processing of 3D content based on 2D-plus-Depth information, such as implemented in the WOWvx format of Philips. Thus, remarkable opportunities are opened up for VisuMotion for future software sales making use of the licensed technologies.

Besides VisuMotion is now preparing the next generation of its software products that will support the Philips defined WOWvx file format for 3D pictures and videos which is based on 2D-plus-Depth information. Thus, the most important products of the Jena based company will drive Philips' glasses-free 3D screens. The list of manufacturers of 3D-displays that can be powered by VisuMotion's software and 3D contents is hence enhanced to include 12 worldwide leading manufacturers.

"We are pleased to enable VisuMotion with Philips technology for real time applications. It supports our vision of interoperability via the 2D-plus-Depth standard as implemented by us in our WOWvx format", said Jos Swillens, CEO of Philips 3D Solutions.

"Philips is a strong partner for us that has an extraordinary position in the 3D market. The licensed technology as well as the support of the WOWvx format will bring a substantial benefit to the growth of VisuMotion", said Dirk Heinrich, Managing Director of VisuMotion GmbH.

The use of glasses-free 3D displays is rapidly increasing worldwide, particularly for digital signage applications, 3D gaming, research and development as well as for medicine and Virtual Reality setups.

Independent market researchers do foresee a worldwide turnover of 3D products of several 100,000,000 Euros as early as in 2010.

VisuMotion's product portfolio includes a multi-view 3D camera, 3D Rendering Plug-ins for Autodesk's 3D Studio Max and Maya, the Compositing and Editing Software "3D StreamLab", the 3D Application Driver "DeepOutside3D" supporting inter alia various 3D-games as well as the 3D video playback software "3D Movie Center".

TDVision Systems to Showcase Optimum HD-3D Stereoscopic Experience at SID 2008 Show
3D-News Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008 (6:31 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


TDVision Systems, Inc. will be presenting at SID 2008 (Society for Information Display), the convergence of stereoscopic 3D Samsung(TM) displays, the immersive TDVisor and the complete suite of TDVision applications including the stereoscopic virtual world, the AlterSpace, Dejaview, the 3D media player and a compelling demonstration of the 2D and MPEG compatible TDVCodec running on a Blu-ray(TM) disc.

The TDVCodec demonstration will demonstrate HD-3D compatibility with existing 2D infrastructures, having the same Blu-ray disc, read by any existing Blu-ray player as a 2D video stream in full High Definition, without any loss in quality, color, frame rate or resolution. When using an updated TDVReady decoder, the user will enjoy the best 3D experience at home, saving the need for a separate 3D release for Blu-ray(TM) and broadcast.

"TDVision has enabled a media breakthrough with our AlterSpace product by enabling the world's first and only stereoscopic virtual world featuring media sharing and viewing. Compatible with multiple 3D display devices, this will be the industry standard that others go by. We are proud to be a stereoscopic technology steamroller, and we are working hard to blur the boundaries between 3D cinema and gaming. Alterspace, our 3D working environment and interface is so realistic you won't believe your eyes," said Ethan Schur, Director of Product Marketing for TDVision Systems.

Attendees at SID 2008 will experience the possibilities of navigating the AlterSpace 3D environment, now enabled for Samsung 3D ready DLP, and even watch 3D videos inside this customizable AlterSpace environment. TDVision has erased the line between reality, pre-recorded images, and computer generated content.

"We see S-3D as mass consumer technology in both the gaming and home cinema space. Our management and thousands of our members are very thankful to TDVision Corp for helping make this effort a continued success. It's not enough to be working with people. You need to work with the right people, and we see that in TDVision," said Neil Schneider, President & CEO of Meant to be Seen (mtbs3D.com), the foremost authority group and leading website for consumer and industry interested in stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) entertainment.

"The TDVisor exceeded my expectations for an affordable head-worn binocular 3D display. First, the image quality has a higher pixel count and wider FOV, but more important are the separate right and left video input channels. A number of other head-worn displays have a single video input, requiring two live camera outputs that must be multiplexed before being fed into the display's single input port and then again de-multiplexed by the display itself. The TDVisor keeps it clean and simple. Two channels of input are displayed on the two near-to-eye displays," said John Merritt, expert of stereoscopic displays and applications and Chief Technology Officer of The Merritt Group. "Combined with the versatile CODECs developed by TDVision, this is an unbeatable combination, making it simple to integrate into a wide variety of stereoscopic imaging systems. What's more, when combined with a fast head-tracker for intuitive interactivity, the TDVisor will provide a significantly heightened sense of immersion for gamers and tele-robotic systems operators," he continued.

TDVision provides the user with the freedom of choice to visualize High Definition in 2D, 3D on a Texas Instruments(TM) DLP based television like those made by Samsung(TM) and Mitsubishi(TM) or in a portable and immersive fashion using the TDVisor, a head mounted display.

Stereoscope Opens in Burbank with 3D Version of Quantel Pablo 4K
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (9:44 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Responding to Hollywood's growing demand for 3D production and post-production, Stereoscope has opened its doors to serve the creative community. Equipped with the new version of Quantel's Pablo 4K color grading system, which can handle real-time stereoscopic post-production, the studio has been designed from the ground up to provide a full range of stereo3D digital content services, from development through distribution.

Quantel's stereoscopic Pablo sits inside Stereoscope's 3D digital mastering theater and is designed to be the center of the studio's entire DI workflow. The system provides a powerful, integrated environment for assembly, editing, conforming, effects, titling, color grading and spatialization of digital stereoscopic images.

It can simultaneously play out and process two streams of synchronous high-resolution media, with no rendering necessary. This capability lets creative artists adjust stereo3D material in real time, allowing interactive experimentation in order to achieve the correct stereo depth.

In the summer of 2007, both Cummins and Pierce started thinking seriously about 3D. A few months later Stereoscope was conceived by company co-founder Jeff Pierce. Both have extensive backgrounds in post-production. They realized that 3D was becoming the next big thing in feature film production and exhibition, leading to a growing need for stereo3D post-production.

"We saw a marketplace in which there were many DP's knowledgeable about 3D, emerging 3D camera rigs, but no real focus on post," says Cummins. "There are already about 800 3D digital cinema theaters now," he continues. "Disney's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, which was exhibited only in 3D, turned out to be a blockbuster. It demonstrated the incredible potential of the format."

Stereoscope picked the Quantel tools based on years of combined experience working with post-production systems. "Jeff has extensive background in developing technologies and workflows for digital film and TV production," says Cummins. "He helped pioneer digital film scanning, recording, digital intermediates technologies and techniques for major companies."

Cummins' background also pointed him in the direction of Quantel. "Last year I was consulting for a studio on a 3D feature," he explains. "They wanted to do some of the work in-house and we examined different technologies that could project stereoscopically in real time from a single box, and we discovered that Quantel was making that happen."

"There are other boxes out there," Cummins continues, "but with those you ingest in one system, conform in another, and composite in yet another. The workflow is more difficult. The reason we went with Quantel is that it allows us to do all the functions in real time on one box. It simplifies everything and lets us be major players in this space. "

Although Stereoscope is starting out by offering stereo3D mastering and post, it plans to add services as it expands, including production, staging, 7.1 audio mastering, graphics and digital distribution. The facility has built a 30x40x15 feet three-sided stage as well as a 7.1 mix room centered on a Solid State Logic digital board, with Pro Tools. Also available is a Sony HDCAM SR deck "allowing the acquisition and output of RGB 4:4:4 images "as well as an Avid Nitris for editorial work.

"Our ultimate aim is to provide resources so someone can come in, shoot 3D images, capture those images into Pablo, and then do all the necessary previsualization and post-production, " Cummins says.

While a worldwide stereo3D standard has yet to be adopted, Stereoscope "with the Quantel stereo3D-enabled Pablo 4K as its hub "is ready to apply its artistry and knowledge to all projects, irrespective of standards. "We're in the production and post-production business. We're display-agnostic," says Cummins. "Whatever standard comes about, we're going to be part of it. And with the Quantel Pablo at the center, we can master for everything, from IMAX all the way to video for handheld mobile devices."

There's a sense of excitement at Stereoscope about upcoming projects. "We're developing a new vernacular," says Cummins. "We can now master for the 3D space and apply spatialization treatments suited to each screen size. It's a great time to be in this business."

Silhouettefx Introduces World's First Stereo Roto, Paint, Keying And Effects Suite
3D-News Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008 (6:45 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Available immediately is a major new release of the industry leading rotoscoping and paint system, Silhouette. v3 breaks new ground and greatly raises the bar in the post-production tools industry. Leading a list of major improvements and innovations is an entirely stereoscopic workflow. All capabilities of Silhouette including its award winning roto and paint as well as its new keying, effects and compositing features are stereo enabled. EXR integrated stereo footage can be used as well as media in any of Silhouette's newly expanded range of file formats. Clips can be previewed as anaglyphs, side-by-side or stacked.

Many of the world's foremost special effects systems are "node-based". Silhouette has always been node-based as well but the nodes have been hidden. In v3, Silhouette's node basis is brought out to the user with roto and paint being just two of the available nodes.

The keyer node quickly and simply creates mattes with minimal parameters even if you are dealing with fine hair detail, smoke, or reflections. It is easy to use, yet provides the needed tools when faced with good, bad, or ugly shots - tools such as DV/HD de-artifacting, multiple matte creation, color suppression and sophisticated matte manipulation.

The Effects node allows you to apply the many brush types available in the Paint node as filter effects to shapes or layers. The ability to apply the brushes as filter effects was previously available in Paint, but has been separated out into a separate node laying the basis for future additions.

Another major enhancement to Silhouette is its new planar tracker. A markerless image tracking system, planar tracking uses thousands of points within the areas defined by user created shapes. You can select either single or multiple layers as well as multiple shapes within layers for planar tracking. Each layer will have a different tracking result based on the shapes contained within that layer and is transformed automatically during the tracking process. Other additions to Silhouette's tracking capabilities include the import of Shake® tracker files and many new options for exporting or converting tracker information.

Silhouette's paint system (which formerly had been an option but is now standard) has been greatly enhanced. Of its stereo integration, Aidan Fraser of Laika had this to say: "I just finished one of the most difficult rig paint-out shots I've ever seen. It simply wouldn't have been possible without the stereo tools in Silhouette 3." Silhouette paint now allows four simultaneous clone sources backed by an unlimited number of clips and sources can be flipped, flopped, and automatically match moved against any layer.

v3 adds support for X-Splines, an extremely flexible yet easy-to-use shape type. On export to systems that are not X-Spline capable, the shapes are automatically and faithfully converted into Bezier splines.

The Foundry's Ocula Plug-ins Remove Headaches From 3D-Stereo
3D-News Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008 (6:30 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Leading visual effects software developer The Foundry (http://www.thefoundry.co.uk) has announced the development of Ocula, a unique collection of plug-ins providing a powerful armoury of tools that solve common problems with 3D stereoscopic imagery, boost productivity in post production, and ultimately help to deliver a more rewarding 3D-stereo viewing experience.

The new plug-ins, previewed at NAB 2008, are designed to take the headache out of 3D stereo post production by automatically replicating key processes on left and right channels, and to remove headaches from the final viewing experience by providing tools that help artists to polish and refine 3D-stereo material.

The Ocula tools are based on brand new disparity-mapping algorithms, created by The Foundry's Academy Award-winning R&D team. Disparity maps track and correlate the differences in positional space and movement between corresponding pixels in the left and right cameras, and then deliver pixel-level control over images. Knowing where disparities occur, Ocula tools apply corrections by warping, stretching and squeezing only those areas of an image that require treatment. Image manipulation using disparity maps is different to the X, Y or Z-axis shifting of images, where only whole image planes are being shifted.

Ocula plug-ins allow artists to apply a multitude of adjustments to stereo image pairs. All corrections can be made to the left and right eye channels either together or separately, and the results of these corrections ultimately help to minimise or eliminate discomfort from the 3D viewing experience.

Users can correct horizontal alignment issues with Ocula's Interocular Distance Shifter. Using disparity map data, a new "virtual view" is created between the original left and right eye positions, with the result being that objects of different fore, mid and background depths are resolved more accurately for the viewer. This is different to an X-axis shift where only the image plane is moved.

Ocula's Vertical Aligner will automatically attempt to vertically align corresponding image features in each view, to minimize or eliminate the effect known as key-stoning . This is not a single Y-shift for the whole image " with disparity mapping the correction varies across the entire image.

A key feature of Ocula plug-ins is the dramatic reduction in the amount of manual labour required when artists undertake rotoscoping work, paint effects or other operations dependent on image locality. Many position-dependent image manipulations can now be applied to just one eye with paint strokes, keyframed roto masks, and the like being automatically generated for the other eye, substantially improving productivity.

"Our new Ocula tools are designed to make the post production of 3D-steroscopic imagery easier and much more efficient than before, "said Dr Bill Collis, CEO, The Foundry. "Along with boosting productivity, and enabling precise manipulation of 3D stereoscopic imagery, Ocula plug-ins will ultimately help artists to refine footage to new levels. This means fewer headaches in post, and fewer headaches at the cinema. "

Nuke 5 is currently the only visual effects compositing system with an embedded 3D stereoscopic workflow, where left and right eye channels can be manipulated separately or together. Ocula plug-ins will be available for the next point release of Nuke, version 5.1, expected to be July 2008.

Nuke is available on Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms, and Nuke delivers unparalleled speed, an efficient multi-channel scanline rendering engine, and powerful feature set unrivalled in the desktop market. Nuke 5 is available for existing customers with valid maintenance at no extra cost, and can be downloaded now from The Foundry website.

The Foundry is a world-leading innovator of visual effects and image processing technologies that boost productivity in motion picture and video post production. On February 10th 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded a Sci-Tech Award® to The Foundry's development team for the Furnace image processing suite. The company now holds a trio of Academy Award® winning products including the high-end compositing system Nuke, and keying application Keylight.

The Foundry's products support a wide range of host platforms including After Effects, Autodesk® Media and Entertainment Systems, Avid DS, Baselight, Film Master, Fusion, Nuke, Scratch and Shake. The company has also driven OpenFX, an open standard for visual effects plug-ins, now broadly adopted by host and plug-in developers such as Autodesk®, Assimilate, FilmLight, Digital Vision, eyeon Software Inc, Grass Valley, Soluciones Graficas por Ordenador (S.G.O.), Photron and others. Customers include: Digital Domain, The Moving Picture Company, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros and Weta Digital Ltd.

University of Houston Researchers Bring Data to Life in 8 Megapixel Stereoscopic Visualization Theatre Installed by Mechdyne
3D-News Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008 (6:23 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


To advance its mission of fostering and supporting collaborative interdisciplinary research, education and training, the Texas Learning & Computation Center (TLC2) contracted with Mechdyne Corporation to design and build a 34-seat visualization theatre with 8 Megapixel (MP) stereographic projection. The new theater provides all of the academic departments of the University of Houston, as well as partners from the community and industry, with the ability to collaboratively view and work with complex data and computer generated imagery.

"While our first generation visualization laboratory was set up as a working space for individuals or small groups, the new theater is designed to provide unique capability for both researchers and developers of rich graphics imagery to share data and images," said Erick Engquist, Manager of the Visualization Laboratory. "In addition to the traditional fields that utilize computer visualization, such as medical imaging, molecular dynamics and geophysical sciences, the theater will enable faculty and students in our schools of architecture and fine arts to share their work in new and exciting ways."

Located in the TLC2 facility on the University of Houston campus, the new theater provides state-of-the-art large-scale immersive visualization capability based on Mechdyne's Beacon stereographic projection technology. The PowerWall 4K-S system includes two theater-quality Sony SXRD digital projectors each with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. Mechdyne's patented Beacon technology electronically shutters the two projectors to generate distinct left and right eye viewpoints, which are perceived as active stereoscopic images on an impressive 9 x 18.5 ft screen. Beacon is the only technology that can create high quality active stereo with these ultra-high resolution projectors. To make the imagery even more realistic, a real-time motion tracking system enables users to move freely in front of the screen and interact with the virtual images as if they were real objects. The display is driven by a 4-node PC cluster.

Mechdyne hosted the first in a series of open house demonstrations at the Visualization Laboratory on April 30 and May 1.

Founded in 1999, the TLC2 is the University of Houston's hub for advanced computing resources, providing computing and communications infrastructure for campus and community collaboration. TLC2 also is the lead organization for the Research and Education Network of Houston (RENoH), a fiber optic network supporting collaboration between the University of Houston, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Medical Center.

Singapore Hosts World's First Fully 3D Based Film Festival
3D-News Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008 (6:08 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Singapore has been named the host city of the world's first fully 3D based film and entertainment technology festival taking place from November 19 – 23, 2008. The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) will host the festival officially named 3DX: 3D Film Festival & Entertainment Technology Festival. Jim Chabin of 3D Partners Ltd will serve as 3DX executive producer of the five day event taking place in Asia. It is also supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Said Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer, MDA: "The development of a world class 3D festival in Singapore highlighting the creative talent and technology in 3D film underlines Singapore's commitment to play an active role to expand the boundaries of 3D. 3DX will provide a world stage and convergence point for filmmakers and technology companies to showcase their works for audiences and consumers. It will also provide industry players the opportunity to generate discussions on the latest trends and developments."

In highlighting what will be an international selection of films and properties for 3DX, the first two films chosen for the festival are the FLY ME TO THE MOON, an animated family film from Belgium's nWave Pictures, featuring characters voiced by Buzz Aldrin, Kelly Ripa, Nicollette Sheridan, Tim Curry and Ed Begley Jr., and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, a live action adventure from New Line Cinema and Walden Media, starring Brendan Frasier, Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem.

The current list of 3DX organizations and media sponsors includes the Motion Picture Association (MPA), NBC Universal TV Asia, Star TV India and Star Movies.

Other Singapore Government agencies backing 3DX are the Singapore Economic Development Board and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

"We are honored that Singapore is the host destination for the first-ever 3DX World 3D Film Festival and Entertainment Technology Forum. The event will augment our position as a thought leader in the media, design and content development cluster, as we continue to work with partners such as Media Development Authority to establish related business events that can bring synergistic value to this key economic cluster in Singapore and the thriving global media industry. Hosting shows such as the 3DX World 3D Film Festival and Entertainment Technology Forum will elevate our status as an exchange capital and help cement Singapore's standing as one of the pioneers in embracing and supporting 3D technology and film production in the world," said Mr Aloysius Arlando, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel and MICE Group, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, a group of the Singapore Tourism Board.
Highlights of the 3DX festival will include screenings of 3D films submitted by participating media organizations and partners, forums featuring guest speakers, directors, 3D pioneers, visionaries and catalysts, red carpet reception and event gala celebration along with special entertainment based events for the public.

More information on 3DX can be found on http://www.3dxfestival.com

Moving in Stereo: Display Week goes 3D with special session on 3D in Cinema
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 2, 2008 (16:39 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


XThe Society for Information Display (SID), the leading global organization dedicated to the advancement of electronic-display technology, announced a unique 3D technology-focused addition to its program line-up for Display Week 2008, May 18-23, 2008, at the Los Angeles (California) Convention Center. The Special Session on 3D in Cinema, slated for Wednesday, May 21, will feature invited talks from leading experts in the field, on topics spanning the full 3D movie process - from content creation (animation and live action) and editing, to post production and theatrical display.

Leading 3D technology and experience provider RealD will provide stereoscopic projection equipment and viewing glasses for audience members, enabling speakers to screen illustrative clips.

DreamWorks Animation, Dolby Laboratories, Quantel, Real D, Sony Pictures Imageworks and 3ality Digital Systems will present at the session.

The session topic is timely, given viewer attendance at 3D versions of recent films such as Beowulf and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds. Both generated record-breaking per-screen averages from 3D locations, delivering eight times the box office revenues of theaters showing the films in standard format. Moreover, conversion to digital cinema technology continues to escalate rapidly, according to U.K.-based Dodona Research. The cinema-focused consulting and research firm estimates that by 2013, half of all cinema screens worldwide will have converted to digital technology from traditional 35mm projectors, whereas about 5 percent of the global total had made the conversion as of late 2007. And, Dodona emphasizes, 3D will serve as the driver for this explosive growth.

According to the 3D in Cinema session co-chairs, Brian Berkeley and Brian Schowengerdt, "Today's 3D experience isn't, as they say, your grandparents' 3D movie. Some people still associate 3D with the gimmick-filled horror films that first emerged in the 1950s, but the technology today is both more impressive and more subtle. To truly appreciate it, you have to not only see it but understand how it works, as well."

To help Display Week attendees gain this in-depth understanding, SID created the 3D in Cinema session, inviting speakers who are working at the cutting edge of contemporary 3D movie-making to explain how the characteristics of 3D display technologies shape every aspect of the movie creation process. Topics and speakers for the session will include:

  • It's Not Real Life: Stereoscopic Content Creation - Phil McNally, DreamWorks Animation
  • Adapting "3D" CG Films for "3D" Presentation: The Technique and Technology - Rob Engle, Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • Stereoscopic Live Action: Content Capture and Post Production - Steve Schklair, 3ality Digital Systems
  • Post Production for Stereoscopic Movies - Norman Rouse, Quantel
  • Making 3D An Integral Part of Today's Cinema Experience: A Pragmatic Approach - Jeff McNall, Dolby Laboratories
  • 3D Exhibition in the Digital Age: Bringing a New Dimension to Entertainment - Rod Archer, RealD
Throughout the presentations, session attendees will be treated to clips of such 3D features as Beowulf, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Monster House, The Polar Express and U2 3D. These and other 3D pictures have each played a part in helping digital cinema continue to move to the next level. The 3D in Cinema special session will kick off with a luncheon keynote address by Andy Hendrickson, VP of technology for Walt Disney Animation Studios, who will delve into the evolution of display technology and the various display-related challenges and opportunities specific to the entertainment industry.

Jeremy Devine, vice president of marketing for Dallas-based Rave Motion Pictures, the United States' largest digital-only movie exhibition company, noted that revenues for 3D features can be up to three times those generated by a 2D film. "If you didn't have the killer app of 3D cinema, digital would be limited to running other alternative content, like operas, rock concerts, some sporting events, and some animated and anime products coming down the pike. The reality is that the return on those has simply not been as dramatic as 3D, so it probably would have slowed our adoption process," said Devine.

The technology has implications beyond the movie theater, as well. Gamers have embraced stereoscopic 3D in rapidly growing numbers, as evidenced by the popularity of stereoscopic 3D certification and advocacy group Meant to be Seen (MTBS) - its year-old website has more than 3,000 registered members and 10,000 unique visitors a month. Other markets poised to make the shift to 3D digital within the next few years include home entertainment and professional displays.

The 3D in Cinema special session will be held in the L.A. Convention Center on Wednesday, May 21, from 2:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., with a question-and-answer period to follow. The cost to attend is included in the fee for the Symposium technical program, which features additional sessions on 3D display technologies and applications ("3D Applications and Measurement Techniques" from 3:40 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20; "Novel 3D Displays" and "Stereoscopic Displays" from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the morning of the Special Session; and "3D Integral Imaging and Autostereoscopic Displays" from 10:40 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 22). For those not attending the full Symposium, the session registration cost is $100. More information, including synopses of each talk, is available at http://www.sid.org/conf/sid2008/program/3d.html

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