Hollywood has started to align itself behind the idea that the movie industry, despite a healthy summer take 26% over this time last year, is still seeing 5% decline in people’s butts in movie theater seats.
They are meeting this challenge in a variety of ways, principally among them the idea that 3D is a movie viewing experience that can uniquely be appreciated in the IMAX 3D screening theater. The Hannah Montana movie of 2007 made almost 3 times as much on its 3D screenings as it did in conventional 2D theaters – earning almost 60 million in 3D showings off its meager 15 million dollar production budget.
The studios have taken notice, and there are no less than 25 3D movies in the production pipeline including comers from Dreamworks, Disney, Sony, Universal and even some independents.
Interestingly enough the companies that manufacture the 3D production equipment were caught off-guard by this sudden backing from Tinseltown. Caught with their pants down, they are now scrambling to get everything from cameras, lighting systems and stereoscopic editing solutions to market. And they are meeting the challenge – companies like Iconix, makers of the world’s smallest HD camera showed a high-def stereoscopic camera system at this year’s NAB show that can be had for somewhere in the ballpark of US$250K. Sounds like a lot, but that is just the first wave. Digital Ordnance showed a High-Def stereoscopic video playback system for newar realtime playback of your 3D content on set so you know you are getting things right. This is quite something considering the massive amount of bandwidth required to spit out synched, near parallel streams of full 2k HD of an array of hard drives.
But enough geek talk.
Another very interesting event that took place at this year’s NAB show was the live satellite 3D television broadcast from Howie Mandell in Los Angeles. The company behind the demonstration, 3ality, has managed to acheive this using a simple single stream no different than 2-D television.
Yes, you heard me right. Live. 3D. Single-stream. Broadcast.
Samsung and Mitsubishi are already selling 3-D ready digital televisions, and recently WIRED magazine featured an exclusive stream of Bjork’s new 3D video. They pointed out that the stream HAD to be viewed from their site because of a special encoder that permitted it to work. see the trick here? it requires a proprietary encoder for playback – that means, until some hacker/coder develops a freeware/open source version of a hi bandwidth 3D streaming encoder, people can control where viewers access content. Advertisers LOVE this. And so do the content creators because they get financed by the advertisers. So 3D is big business and mark my words, before you can say “What is Blu-Ray?” you will be getting a catalog from Fred Segal’s with a price list for the latest Gucci Polarized 3D glasses – you know the tortoise shell ones with the miniature diamonds in the arms.
Because in a year’s time, you won’t leave home without them.
ps. the above Gucci is FAKE and they had nothing to do with this article which is entirely speculative.
"Keram makes excursions into almost every style of music imaginable here and does it with such flair that these very pleased ears, he could have settled on any of these genres and made just as brilliant a record." - Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio