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December 2004 Issue

Vol. 2, No. 12

3-D Review is your headquarters for information about new stereoscopic products from around the world.

3-D Review does not sell any of the products featured on our Web pages. You can order directly from the vendors using the links or addresses provided.

The Incredibles View-Master® Reels

The Incredibles View-Master reelsIn conjunction with the release of Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles, View-Master® is releasing a three-reel blister card set featuring the Incredible family's adventure.

The images on the reels maintain the widescreen aspect of the film, a first for a View-Master® reel. The result is black bars at the top and bottom of the images.

Bob Parr used to be one of the world's greatest superheroes, known to all as Mr. Incredible, saving lives and fighting evil on a daily basis. But now, 15 years later, Bob and his wife, a former superhero in her own right known as Elastigirl, have adopted civilian identities and retreated to the suburbs to lead normal lives with their three kids. Now he's a clock-punching insurance claims adjuster fighting boredom and a bulging waistline. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.

The Incredibles View-Master® Projector/Telescope

Incredibles View-Master Telescope and ProjectorView-Master Incredibles projector telescopeIt’s incredible, a real telescope that doubles as a View-Master® projector! Telescope has a wide field of view and 17.5x magnification power.

Convert it to a projector to send images from any View-Master® reels onto walls, ceilings…just about anywhere! It can even project other View-Master® reels!

The folding tripod legs and handle make it easy to take the fun anywhere you go.

The projector use requires four “C” alkaline batteries (not included).

The Incredibles View-Master projector/telescope retails for around $20.

 

 

Incredibles View-Master Projector Incredibles View-Master Projector Incredibles View-Master Projector

Wonderfalls DVD features View-Master® Themed Artwork

Wonderfalls DVD cover artFox Home Entertainment has officially announced the complete series of Wonderfalls to be released on DVD. The Fox Network TV series starred Caroline Dhavernas, Katie Finneran, Tyron Leitso and Lee Pace.

The cover art features a View-Master® viewer. The individual DVDs look like View-Master® reels. The short-lived TV series featured scene changes that moved like advancing a View-Master® reel.

The three-disc set is scheduled for release on Jan. 18, 2005, and should retail at around $39.98. The episodes themselves will be presented in 1.33:1 full frame along with English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks.

Extras will include audio commentaries by Caroline Dhavarnes, Katie Finneran, Todd Holland and Bryan Fuller on episodes Wax Lion, Crime Dog, Lovesick Ass, Safety Canary, Cocktail Bunny and Caged Bird. Other extras will include a Greetings from Wonderfalls feature, a featurette entitled Fantastic Visual Effects and a music video.

Click to see a larger image of the DVD artwork
Click to see a larger image of the DVD artwork
Click to see a larger image of the DVD artwork

Lou Gehrig Stereoview at Auction Dec. 10 and 11

Morphy Auctions is selling a Keystone Company stereocard featuring Lou Gehrig in an eBay Live auction on Dec. 10 and 11.

It is Keystone card number 32597 and shows the Yankee first baseman near the dugout posing for a stereo camera.

The card has some damage to the lower right corner but the stereoscopic images are sharp and clear.

Another card being auctioned features an old time telephone operator. Of interest in the stereoview is a very collectible Indian and Bear Mechanical Bank sitting on the operator's telephone switchbox. The card is on a tan mount. It was originally published and sold by L.W. Halbe, photographer, from Dorrance, Kansas.

Mars 3-D Movies for Museums

A partnership of cosmic proportions may propel the Science Museum of Minnesota and Twist Films to the forefront of 3-D movie-making for museums across the country.

The first stop is Mars.

By working in tandem, the Science Museum and Minneapolis-based Twist Films collaborated with NASA and Panasonic. The result is Mars 3-D, the first film using footage from NASA's $820 million mission exploring Mars with two robot rovers. The film will debut Oct. 8, using a state-of-the-art digital 3-D projection system provided by Panasonic.

Leaders at the Science Museum and Twist hope the movie will convince museums nationwide of the value of investing in digital 3-D. If they are successful, the duo plans to profit from the trend by making educational movies for those theaters.

"By getting in early and being a showroom facility, we hope to be out in front with a library of 3-D productions," said Mike Day, director and executive producer of the science museum's Omnitheater and 3-D Cinema.

The creation of Mars 3-D is an example of different groups leveraging common business interests to get something done.

At the end of 2002, Twist wanted to expand beyond its niche of producing commercials by entering the emerging education film market, said Melissa Butts, Twist's executive producer of branded entertainment.

Twist settled on the idea of a documentary about NASA's planned trip to Mars after a brainstorming session with staff at the science museum. "Basically, we were trying to create a calling card for the museum community, and we knew the community was intensely interested in Mars," Butts said.

Twist contacted NASA, which was looking for a way to tell the story of the mission to the public. NASA granted Twist access to the behind-the-scenes activities of the scientists leading the mission. This resulted in a short movie about building and launching the Mars rovers -- Future Frontier: Mars -- that debuted at the start of this year and has been shown at science centers around the world. Based on that success, the science museum provided Twist with $150,000 for Mars 3-D.

The science museum was interested in financing a 3-D movie because it needed content for its own 3-D digital theater. Panasonic, a branch of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan, sponsored the science museum's 3-D theater as a way to showcase $500,000 of its cutting-edge equipment.

The system has four digital projectors and uses polarized light to create 3-D imagery, rather than the red/blue lens filters of the past. Audience members wear polarized glasses to perceive the 3-D effect. The digital movies can be stored on a computer, so they are less expensive than film, don't degrade over time and can be distributed electronically.

Day and Butts say the big test of the digital technology and the 3-D movies starts this October. "Everyone expects this will be the proof of concept," Day said.

Market potential
Getting in early on a film trend is something Day knows about. Day and the science museum were early promoters of the IMAX/Omnimax format in the late 1970s. The science museum has produced some of the most successful IMAX/Omnimax movies ever, such as Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees and Ring of Fire. Science-museum movies have played to more than 60 million people in 24 countries.

Day believes the science museum can now do the same thing with 3-D digital movies. So does Twist Films.

"The first thing for Twist is that we are on the cutting edge of a new way that films are being shown ... especially to the museum community," Butts said.

Predicting how many museums will install digital theaters and clamor for digital 3-D films is difficult, Day said. Research indicates about 250 science centers and museums in North America are too small to build IMAX theaters, but they could accommodate the more flexible digital 3-D technology, he said.

"It's hard to do a business projection," Day said. "That's why we built the partnerships -- so everyone's risk in developing the content is minimal."

However, the science museum and Twist are already planning to make two more films.

Tim Thomas, president of Van Nuys, Calif.-based ParadiseFX, a 3-D, high-definition, film production company, said museums are typically slow to embrace new technologies, but the science museum is taking a forward-looking approach and positioning itself well for the evolution of movies toward a digital format.

Digital content will allow museums more flexibility, he said. "A science center could lease these films and pull them off a network and change films every day if they wanted to," Thomas said.

As for 3-D, for the past 10 years or more, it has mostly been relegated to theme parks, but Thomas expects the new digital technologies will make it more popular.

3-D is especially well-suited for science movies, since engineers and scientists are increasingly using 3-D imagery in their research, Butts said.

"If your perception is that 3-D is cheesy when you walk in the door, that will change when you walk out," Butts said.

Vladmasters

A Vladmasters performance.

Vladmasters are handmade View-Master® reels designed, photographed and hand-assembled by Vladimir. The images make use of toys, craft supplies and other small household objects, sometimes to re-imagine works of literature and sometimes to tell new stories.

Vladimir lives in Portland, Oregon where she projects movies at the Northwest Film Center and also works in the equipment room of their film school. She has been hand-making and selling her own Vladmaster disks for a little over a year. In April she debuted her first performance of the Lucifugia Thigmotaxis Vladmaster set at the Portland Documentary and Experimental (PDX) Film Festival where she was crowned, with more than a little tongue in cheek, the World Champion of Experimental Film.

Vladimir also makes and shows Super8 films with the Portland Super8 collective the Tiny Picture Club. Currently she is hard at work figuring out how to make a 3-D Super8 film for their next screening. Vladimir occasionally mass produces form letters and has created her own line of scratch-it Vladland lottery tickets. She enjoys riding her bicycle fast, building electronic circuits and the very early films of Rene Clair.

A Vladmaster performance is a simultaneous Vladmaster experience. The first of these performances occured on April 17, 2004, at the PDX Film Festival. A packed audience of 380 people at the Guild Theater in Portland were treated to a live Lucifugia Thigmotaxis experience. Each was given a View-Master® viewer and a set of four Vladmaster reels. The soundtrack was played over the theater sound system and all 380 people followed the adventures of a cockroach named Stanley through narration, music, sound effects and ding noises to cue the advancing of the reels.

Additionally, if you would like to be a part of the mailing list and be informed about upcoming performances and the creation of new vladmaster sets, please e-mail Vladimir and she will add you to the list. Visit www.vladmaster.com to send an e-mail request.

Starlight Express 3-D Opens in UK

Starlight ExpressStarlight Express, the world's second longest running musical, opened Nov. 3 with an all new 3-D movie as part of the new United Kingdom production. According to producter Tim Wellspring, the Manchester opening night went very well.

Wellspring told 3-D Review Online Magazine that the film uses polarized glasses instead of anaglyphic (red/blue) glasses, as earlier reported.

For more about the production, see the Starlight Express article in our June 2004 issue.

View* Productions Introduces New View-Master® Viewer Packaging

View* Productions transparent viewer packaging concept artView* Productions has redesigned the retail package for its special edition View-master® viewer. The new package (item code VML) is entirely transparent, enabling the customer to see the viewer itself and even view the 3-dimensional image by holding the package up to a light source.

The viewer contains a new sampler reels, which contains one image from each of the company's seven 3-reel packets featuring the work of Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Charles and Ray Eames and Hans Scharoun. Two of the images are taken from the packets themselves, while five of the images, including a stunning view of Fallingwater in the autumn, have never been released before.

Suggested retail price for the viewer and sampler reel is $18. Special terms are available for academic institutions.

Old Photo Process Gives Clarity to Past
Medina man an authority on stereoscopic images
by Paula Schleis - Akron Beacon Journal staff writer

John Waldsmith leafs through a collection of photos, finds one to his liking, and slides it into a special viewer. Four Akron rubber factory workers, their bare arms and work overalls filthy from hauling tires out of a curing pit, pop into three-dimensional clarity. It's as if a moment frozen nearly 80 years ago is on the verge of springing to life.

That's the magic of stereo views, a photography process that most folks today would recognize in a child's View-Master®.

But long before being used to show Bugs Bunny in mid-stride or Superman in mid-flight, stereo views were recording human history. And Waldsmith, a Medina County resident who is a national authority on the topic, has collected 40,000 scenes during his lifelong hobby.

Waldsmith still remembers the day he found a stereoscope while helping to clean out his parents' closet in 1971. ``I had never seen one, so I had to stop and take a look,'' Waldsmith said. As he looked at some of the images, he said to himself: ``Wow, these are incredible.''

His fascination led him to learn everything he could about the history of stereo views, and in the process made himself an authority. He helped found the National Stereoscopic Association, he's a professional auctioneer and appraiser and his book Stereo Views has sold 30,000 copies in a narrow-interest field.

In recent years, Waldsmith has focused on collecting images taken in Ohio or by Ohioans. ``I have views of factories that no longer exist. Memories are fading, but these (images) keep them alive,'' Waldsmith said.

He also has stereo views of schools, churches, cemeteries, famous people and everyday life, some snapshots reaching back to the mid-19th century. In one scene, four women pause in front of a Wadsworth home. One of them is painting on a canvas, her brush ready to make the next stroke. Another view shows water rushing to fill in a lock so a boat can continue its progression through the Ohio & Erie Canal in Akron. An image of the old Portage Hotel is so crisp, it looks as if the pedestrians might trip over uneven bricks that make up Market Street.

Each stereo view is made up of two nearly identical photos that are mounted side by side on a card. The left and right eye have a slightly different perspective, and a dual-lens camera records both viewpoints. It takes a special viewer to make the two photos appear as one three-dimensional scene.

Because most of the views involve a process called contact printing, the photos are sharper than typical modern photographs. Stereo views became a sensation after Queen Victoria marveled over them at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

The optical wonder continued its heyday until about the 1920s, when there was new technology to marvel at: 35mm film. But Waldsmith said stereo photography is far from a lost art. It's commonly used by science, the film industry has used it to create 3-D films, and stereoscopes are used to test your vision when you renew your driver's license. And of course, the View-Master® is one of the most recognizable toys of the last century.

Even with other technology at our fingertips, the simplicity of stereoscopes can still take our breath away. As Waldsmith talked about his hobby in the Barberton Public Library history room, he attracted a small group of onlookers who asked to see the images. The library's historian, Beth Swartz Khan, was even moved to haul out nearly 100 unique stereo views of town founder O.C. Barber and his famous Anna Dean Farm. The photos were taken in 1917 by Lynn Skeels, a Ravenna man who traveled the world taking images.

The Internet has made the hobby of collecting stereo views easier, but more expensive, Waldsmith said. He has seen cards he would have valued at a few dollars bid up to more than $100. Waldsmith said he's spent as much as $300 apiece for views of a Goodyear airship. ``I've never lost my fascination for them,'' Waldsmith said. Even 30-plus years after beginning his collection, ``they are still incredible to me.''

Paula Schleis can be reached at (330) 996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com.

Polar Express Opens Big in IMAX 3-D

The Polar Express, the first full length feature converted into IMAX 3-D, set a record for IMAX Theatres, selling out one performance after another. The Polar Express: An IMAX 3-D Experience is the first full-length feature ever converted into IMAX® 3-D. The film opened Nov. 10 in select IMAX, IMAX Dome and IMAX 3-D Theatres on screens up to eight stories tall with 12,000 watts of digital surround sound.

This holiday themed film, based on the classic Caldecott medal-winning children's book written by Chris Van Allsburg, is directed by Oscar® winner Robert Zemeckis and stars two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks. Using state-of-the-art CGI and performance capture technology to create a unique blend of realism and fantasy, it tells of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Some Polar Express collectibles

  • Polar Express 3-D one-sheet movie poster (not in 3-D but has IMAX 3-D printed on the poster)
  • Polar Express Lionel Train Set
  • Polar Express Digital Press Kit (promotional - distributed to media)
  • Polar Express Activity Book (promotional - distributed to media)
  • Polar Express bookmark (promotional - distributed to media)
  • Polar Express giant holiday cookie (promotional - distributed to media)
  • Polar Express Gameboy Advance
  • Polar Express Hallmark Christmas ornaments:
    North Pole Table Decoration with Gold Foil Embossed Round Trip Hologram Ticket
    Magic Bell
    Talking Plush Santa

List of IMAX Theatres showing The Polar Express in 3-D

Polar Express Digital Press Kit

Polar Express Digital Press Kit Warner Bros. Pictures released a digital press kit to promote the release of the holiday film, The Polar Express. The film, starring two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks in five different roles, was released in 3-D at selected IMAX Theatres and in 2-D in theatres nationwide.

The press kit contains a DVD with interactive menus for film reviewers to browse digital photos, notes from the production, a film trailer preview, conceptual artwork and a Web link. The DVD features several short film clips, music and sound effects from the film. Unfortunately, there are no 3-D versions of the photos on the press kit, which was released to promote the 2-D version of the film.

The press kit contains a 38-page booklet containing additional production information including an itinerary of promotional appearances by author Chris Van Allsburg, who wrote the book on which the movie is based.

   

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