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December 2005 Issue

Vol. 3, No. 12

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Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection on DVD is "Must See 3-D™"

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection DVD box setFinal cover art for The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Bonus Disc DVDThe Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection on DVD is "Must See 3-D™!" New Line Cinema has gone all out to bring together this seven-disc definitive collection of "The King of Daredevil Comedy." This is the way a DVD box set should be released. This set was authorized and endorsed by the Lloyd Estate. The quality shows it was crafted with love, care and respect. The wealth of films and bonus materials allow today's audiences to rediscover the classic comedies of this huge box-office star of the Roaring Twenties as well as his life beyond the movies.

Of interest to 3-D enthusiasts is the bonus disc, only available in the DVD box set. Harold Lloyd was the first president of The Hollywood Stereoscopic Society. He captured over 300,000 stereo images with his Stereo Realist camera. Many of those 3-D images have been published in books such as Hollywood 3-D and Harold Lloyd's Hollywood Nudes in 3-D. The DVD includes some 3-D images that have never been published, including several 3-D photos of Marilyn Monroe that Lloyd took at his Greenacres estate in the Hollywood hills. For the most part, the images are presented in anaglypic (red/blue) 3-D, but there are some surprises. There are several vintage stereoviews taken behind the scenes during filming during the silent film days featuring Lloyd dressed in a golfers outfit. The DVD has several mini-bios of silent film actors and filmmakers who worked with Lloyd. There is a publicity still showing Lloyd and leading lady Jobyna Ralston with a stereoscope and stereoviews in the mini-bio about Ralston.

Two silent film camera rigs shoot the same scene.  If both negatives could be found, you might be able to combine them into a 3-D film.One of the interesting featurettes on the disc, Keep 'Em Rolling, explains how silent films were made. According to some of the film historians interviewed on the feature, two motion picture cameras were used at the same time to film some silent movies. The second camera was not there as a back up in case something was wrong with the film in the other camera. The second camera was there so that another negative could be made for international audiences. This presents an exciting possibility for the 3-D community. If the negative for the U.S. audience could be reunited with the negative made for the international audience, the side-by-side exposures could be in 3-D. This means that some silent films could actually have 3-D versions.

The behind the scenes looks at Harold Lloyd's life are a real treat. The DVD bonus disc contains some of Lloyd's home movies, which were filmed using 35mm and sound. The Shriners video shows Lloyd along with other Hollywood stars including Red Skelton and Roy Rogers at a Shriner's Convention. Lloyd was Imperial Potentate of the Shrine and was instrumental in creating The Shriner's Hospitals for Crippled Children. There is even a short clip taken at Lloyd's funeral.

Easy to use navigation allows you five different viewing modes including a media vault to access materials by category, timeline, search and even favorites. The disc features tributes and interviews with family, friends and legendary celebrities including Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Tab Hunter and director John Landis. There are video biographies of many of Harold Lloyd's collaborators and stars of the golden age of cinema. Video of Harold Lloyd's Academy Award® speech, radio shows and much more.

Editor's Note: I particularly enjoyed seeing the photo of Lloyd with director Blake Edwards and actor Jack Lemmon on the set of one of my favorite films, The Great Race, which was a tribute to the kind of comedies that Lloyd created so masterfully. The bonus disk gallery holds more treasures that you will enjoy discovering and revisiting.

Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection DVD Variety Advertising Supplement in 3-D

Harold Lloyd Variety Advertising SupplementNew Line Cinema published a special 26-page glossy Variety advertising supplement to promote its release of The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection on DVD. The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection was released on DVD on Nov. 15, 2005.

The special publication contains a pair of 3-D glasses shaped like Harold Lloyd's trademark round glasses. There are 3-D photographs published in red/blue anaglyphic format on pages 13 and 19.

Well known movie historian Leonard Maltin serves as a host and commentator for The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection on DVD. Maltin contributed the article, A Funnyman for All Seasons.

"There is magic, as well as genius, in the work of Harold Lloyd," writes Maltin. "Not only does his comedy play to any audience of any age in any country, but it's just as funny today as it was in the 1920s. That's no small achievement. I base this statement on considerable fieldwork. I've attended screenings of Lloyd's comedies in many different cities over the past few decades, and I've never seen him lay an egg. His movies aren't just funny, they're foolproof."

"The irony is that Lloyd didn't make his films for posterity. He was as much a creature of his own time as any comedy star of the 21st Century. But unlike some performers who rely on topical gags, the source of his comedy was timeless: He was a student of human nature. He wanted audiences to identify with him; that's why he discarded his original clownish screen character and became the likable boy-next-door. He also knew the public loves to root for an underdog. No wonder his best films still speak so eloquently to moviegoers young and old."

Articles in the supplement include

  • A funnyman for all seasons
  • New Line Entertainment Introduces Harold Lloyd on DVD
  • All-American Boy Makes Good - The Life of Harold Lloyd
  • It's Not a Competition - From Silent to Sound: Conquering the Entertainment Universe
  • The Father of Romantic Comedy and the Grandfather of the Sitcom
  • How Grandma's Boy changed the Face of Comedy
  • After the films: Harold Lloyd's other life
  • The Boy with the Glasses
  • The Lloyd Gag
  • Harold Lloyd's Family of Comedy
  • The Public is the Doctor
  • Greenacres: The Estate built by Laughter
  • Daddy's Little Girl: Growing up with Harold Lloyd in the 1950s
  • The Mentor: Harold Lloyd and his circle of influence
  • Lloyd in Variety
  • Fun with Harold Lloyd and Preserving his films on DVD
  • The Extraordinary Skill of Harold Lloyd
  • The Lloyd Legacy Lives On

Three-Dimensional Thinking
As the digital-cinema era looms, so perhaps does a new era of 3-D
by Anne Gilbert - Reprinted with permission of In Focus Magazine © The National Association of Theatre Owners

Even critics who liked The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl In 3-D disliked its 3-D.
“An innocent and delightful children’s tale that is spoiled by a disastrous decision to film most of it in lousy 3-D,” is how the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert described the film. “Fully three quarters of [‘Shark Boy’] is in 3-D, which looks more like 1-D to me, removing the brightness and life of the movie’s colors and replacing them with a drab, listless palette, which is about as exciting as looking at a 3-D bowl of oatmeal.”

Chicken Little“Unfortunately, [‘Shark Boy’] was shot in the relatively primitive anaglyphic process, which requires the audience to watch action through cardboard glasses outfitted with red and green filters,” noted Variety’s Joe Leydon. “The tinted filters seriously compromise, and in many cases dim, the bright colors of Planet Drool. While the plot pivots on the threat of encroaching darkness, some scenes are too murky by half.”

“The audience is still stuck with 50-year-old, red-and-blue tinted glasses that strain the eyes and cause headaches,” groused the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Sean Axmaker. “(Note to [‘Shark Boy’ director Robert] Rodriguez: Please learn to pace your 3-D sequences and give our eyes a rest!)”

Rodriguez likely won’t feel obliged to heed Axmaker’s advice, as the filmmaker appears to have already embraced a newer, better type of 3-D. “Shark Boy,” in fact, may turn out to be the last 3-D entertainment mainstream moviegoers will ever have to watch through red-and-blue eyewear.

The age of digital cinema looks likely to usher in a new era of bright, full-color 3-D that is already winning praise from the same critics who disdain the muddy images that dominate Shark Boy and the earlier Rodriguez effort Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

And this new digital-cinema 3-D (or DC-3D) is getting positive notices not only from critics, but from exhibitors, studio heads and filmmakers as well.

False Starts and New Players

Glossary

active glasses (n.) battery-powered 3-D eyeware, which uses rapidly changing liquid-crystal displays

anaglyph (adj.) 3-D using glasses with red and blue filters

big d (adj.) high-end digital projection equipment on which the major studios allow their features to be exhibited

circular polarized (adj.) “passive glasses” that facilitate full-color 3-D without requiring viewers to keep their heads from listing from side to side.

DC-3D (adj.) 3-D process using digital-cinema projection

Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) (n.) consortium of seven major movie studios formed in March 2002 and charged with establishing technical standards for “big d” digital cinema

In-Three (n.) Agoura Hills-based company whose 3-D process uses typical cinema screens and “active glasses”

linear polarized (adj.) “passive glasses,” which facilitate full-color 3-D as long as viewers do not let their heads list from side to side

passive glasses (n.) 3-D eyeware that does not use rapidly changing liquid-crystal displays

Real D (n.) Beverly Hills-based company whose 3-D process uses “silver screens” and “circular polarized” glasses

silver screens (n.) special movie screens, actually made with aluminum, designed to reflect polarized light.

DC-3D is designed to overcome shortcomings that doomed 3-D experiments of earlier decades The anaglyph (or red/blue) process was introduced commercially in the early 1950s, era of Bwana Devil, Creature From The Black Lagoon and House of Wax. Recently revived for Spy Kids 3-D and Shark Boy, the process produces purplish, almost monochromatic images that seemed less out-of-place in an era when black-and-white movies were still the norm.

In the early 1980s, movies like Friday The 13th Part 3: 3-D, Jaw s 3-D, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn were released with a process that traded the red-blue anaglyph glasses for clear “linear polarized” specs, and a revolutionary system that required only a single projector to create full-color 3-D. The downside to the 1980s process? The 3-D really didn’t work unless it was projected on specially designed, expensive “silver” (actually aluminum) screens. And if audience members tilted their heads (and audience members will almost always tilt their heads during the course of a feature), the on-screen images evaporated.

The new full-color DC-3D benefits from, among other things, glasses that do not require moviegoers to refrain from lolling their noggins.

Directors Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis all turned out last March to  support In-Three's 3-D presentation at Showest.Though James Cameron’s 2003 full-color 3-D documentary short Ghosts of the Abyss was released on celluloid, Mark Collins, manager of projection services at Marcus Theatres, remembers it employed a 3-D process that wasn’t particularly economical or convenient.

“The cost to have the Ghosts of the Abyss movie was tremendous,” he explains. “At that time, the producers helped pay for the conversion. That means a silver screen, a special lens, a higher-wattage bulb to get it to work correctly.

“Now, with digital, it will be fairly slick to say, ‘OK, I want to run a 3-D movie this week and a 2-D movie next week.’ It’s not going to be as much of an undertaking to get that conversion done.”

DC-3D benefits from digital cinema’s ability to project significantly more frames per second than the 24fps utilized by conventional celluloid projectors. A DLP Cinema digital projector in 3-D mode “accepts 48fps material (24fps per eye), and flashes it to each of our eyes at a 48fps rate, for a total of 96fps,” says NATO digital-cinema consultant Michael Karagosian. “The result is a much smoother appearance with motion, and a more believable 3-D experience.”

So the question arises: Given the hurdles that appear to have been overcome, is big-screen 3-D finally here to stay?

At this writing, mere weeks after the finalization of Hollywood-backed Digital Cinema Initiative’s three years-in-the-making technical standards, at least two separate companies are offering DC-3D processes.

The two Southern California firms, In-Three, based in Agoura Hills, and Real D, headquartered in Beverly Hills, each offer variations on how they create, install and project DC-3D images. Both operate strictly on “big-d” (or Hollywood-compliant) digital platforms, as bolt-on systems for auditoria that have already made the move to digital projection.

Both companies say their systems are compatible with the specifications for 2K digital projection and are also able to make the leap to the 4K systems that have very recently begun rolling out into the marketplace.

In-Three and Active Glasses
In-Three made a splash at ShoWest last March with a demonstration that featured the participation of not only Rodriguez and Cameron but fellow blockbuster directors Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express), and George Lucas (the Star Wars series), all expressing their excitement about and commitment to DC-3D.

In-Three's system uses battery-powered "active glasses" that are  cleaned after every show in a special washing machine.In-Three’s primary business is post-production; it takes the digital files of a completed film and “dimensionalizes” them, transforming conventional 2-D images into 3-D ones.

In-Three "active glasses"Additionally, In-Three offers equipment that enables digital projectors to exhibit DC-3D films. Upon installation, the In-Three attachment allows a projector to cast upon a standard cinema screen a layered image outputting at 48 frames per second (a standard capability of digital-cinema projectors).

The In-Three system allows audiences to view DC-3D images through a pair of specially designed “shutter glasses.” These battery-powered specs, synchronized to on-screen images via infrared signals, are lightweight and sturdy (but have no hinges, to help prevent patrons from folding them up and walking off with them after the show). They contain liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens in the lenses which alternate at a rate of 96 frames a second, twice as fast as the projected image. The LCD screens allow the right and left eye to view separate, discrete images at a rapid rate to create for the viewer the illusion of three dimensions.

At the end of each showing, these “active glasses” are collected by cinema employees, who take them to be cleaned for re-use (part of the In-Three package is a special washer – a sort of customized, free-standing dishwasher – that requires no plumbing hook up).

With the In-Three system, exhibitors purchase the projector bolt-on, the washer and enough glasses to meet their needs. Though many specifics have not yet been worked out, there are plans in the works to institute an exchange program for the glasses, as they wear out from repeated use and their batteries need to be replaced.

Real D and Passive Glasses
The other new DC-3D company, Real D, is strictly in the business of providing and installing equipment for exhibitors.

The Real D system works with polarized “passive glasses” which do not have the built-in LCD or shuttering systems. These far simpler spectacles are designed, and priced, to be thrown out after each showing.

Real D's system uses expensive screens but inexpensive glasses.Real D’s passive glasses differ from the “linear polarization” glasses of the 1980s in that the new glasses do not filter light at a 45-degree angle. The Real D glasses use “circular polarization” that filters light in spiral patterns. clockwise for the right eye; counterclockwise for the left. When wearing circular-polarization glasses, moviegoers do not lose the 3-D effect when they cock their heads.

As with the polarized systems of the 1980s, however, Real D systems must still project their images onto a pricey, specially coated “silver” screen that Real D says works for both 2-D and 3-D projection. (Normal cinema screens tend to de-polarize projected light, obliterating the 3-D effect.)

The special screen, the bolt-on projection equipment and the glasses are included in the package licensed by Real D. Exhibitors lease the Real D system rather than buy its equipment outright. Cinema owners pay a monthly fee or a percentage of profits on ticket sales for DC-3D shows, whichever is higher.

Troubleshooting
Exhibitors who have been privy to demonstrations by either In-Three or Real D tend to agree that the DC-3D is markedly superior to 20th century 3-D. They laud, for example, DC-3D’s “rock-steady” image, which eliminates the headaches and eye fatigue that can accompany celluloid-based 3-D.

This is not to say that DC-3D does not face its share of downsides and unknowns, as it is still an emerging. and therefore largely untested. technology.

  • In-Three’s process of rendering 2-D movies into 3-D is time-consuming. In order to allow for the availability of a steady stream of product, In-Three is currently working to reduce the length of time it takes to dimensionalize a feature, with a target goal to eventually achieve “a turnaround time of four months for a two-and-a-half hour feature,” says In-Three CEO Michael Kaye. “We are not at that point yet,” he adds.
  • Active eyewear is not cheap. NuVision, the manufacturer of the active eyewear used by In-Three’s system, continues to refine the design of its glasses in an effort to reduce per-piece price points and elongate the lifespan of each pair, hopefully to about a year and a half.
  • Though both companies report no evidence of eye fatigue or other harmful effects precipitated by their systems, neither company has yet conducted any formal long-term studies on test groups.
  • Some question whether Real D’s silver screen is able to reflect standard 2-D images with the same quality as a conventional screen can.
  • Troubling to many exhibition executives is the fact that Real D proposes to be a long-term partner of theatre companies, instead of an equipment vendor.
  • Some express concern also about Real D’s current status as a DC-3D “gate-keeper.” Exhibitors currently lack the in-house capability to engineer the “pre-process” necessary to exhibit product created for the Real D system. “It will take substantial (research and development) to develop the in-theatre solution,” says Karagosian. “The pre-processing can only be performed by Real D, which requires them to re-master every 3-D movie to be shown on their system.”
  • Until refinements are made, exhibitors may be uncertain as to which system they’ll want to implement. Millard Ochs, president of Warner Bros. International Cinemas, says it comes down to a glasses-or-screen decision: “If you use an active glass, then you don’t have to change the theatre screen, but the unit cost of the active glass is much higher than the passive glass.”

Shark Boy glassesPrognostication and Application
Outlooks on the future role of DC-3D range from confident to cautious.

Dave Ballew, construction technician at Wallace Theatres, says he was “blown away” by the In-Three show at ShoWest, but still wonders about DC-3D’s drawing power. “If you get a movie that is genuinely good quality that people want to see, and add 3-D to that, it could be a home run. But it will be a hard sell. Without having seen the demo, people will be skeptical, as I was.”

Ochs seems more optimistic. He mentions the potential for DC-3D “to create a ‘want-to-see’ to bring people back into theatres.” DC-3D is something, he says, that audiences “simply cannot get at home.”

At least a few major distributors are bullish. Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman touts DC-3D as something that “enhances and eventizes” projects. “I think it should have a very meaningful effect on what we do in the future,” he predicts.

Disney has announced plans to release a DC-3D version of its computer-animated Chicken Little in some markets this fall. Sony revealed a similar plan for its computer-animated Monster House, which hits cinemas next July. Both releases are expected to make use of Real D systems.

In-Three, meanwhile, is in the process of dimensionalizing the original three Star Wars films for special 30th anniversary re-releases in 2007.

Exhibitors are generally encouraged that the upcoming DC-3D features seem perhaps less gimmicky than recent 3-D efforts like Rodriguez’s.

Bill Menke, director of facilities for Wehrenberg Theatres, notes that “many of the more recent 3-D titles have used 3-D as a hook to try and get more attendance while the movie content was weak.”

“I would hate to see people make 3-D movies for the sake of 3-D only,” says Marcus’ Collins. “That’s usually a disaster. Is it a 3-D movie that people would still watch in 2-D? Then I would say it’s great, the 3-D effect really helps the way this film is done.”

Retro and Pre-Show, Ballplayers and Pirates
One great promise of the DC-3D era is its potential to transform any old movie into something new, and the “Star Wars” movies aren’t the only 2-D films being eyed for 3-D conversion.

Ochs was impressed with Warner Bros.’ recent experiment with scenes from Singing in the Rain. “Think,” he says, “of the library of stuff that could be done and brought back in a 3-D platform.”

Ballew says it was In-Three’s presentation of a scene from Casablanca that stuck with him. Seeing it in DC-3D, he says, “made it seem new again.”

Real D, meanwhile, is keen on the idea of DC-3D pre-shows, and plans to license its systems to pre-show companies such as Screenvision and National CineMedia.

The Real D principals say DC-3D pre-show ads could be created with a very short turnaround time, eventually as little as 24 hours. A Real D reel demonstrates how an ad for a local car dealer could feature three-dimensional cars, graphics and text. Creating such an ad is reportedly a simple process that incurs little additional cost.

Real D is also looking ahead to advancements in digital cameras that will allow the instantaneous creation of DC-3D. Live DC-3D transmissions of sporting events and concerts, say Real D’s execs, could potentially be piped into cinemas.

Both Real D and In-Three also stand firm on the assertion that DC-3D films are significantly harder to pirate, noting that any onscreen image camcorded from a 3-D screening would be difficult to transform into a watchable bootleg.

An End To 2-D?
If DC-3D does catch on in a big way, could it herald the extinction of 2-D?

It certainly couldn’t happen before significantly more auditoria are equipped with digital-cinema projectors, most agree. Fewer than 100 public U.S. auditoria currently utilize big-d equipment and, though that number is expected to increase significantly in the coming months and years now that DCI has completed its technical specifications, few are yet willing to predict that 2-D’s days are numbered.

“There are some projects that don’t actually work well in 3-D,” says Warner Bros.’ Fellman, “so there will be plenty of room for everybody.”

Ochs says the relationship between 2-D and DC-3D could be defined by release windows. There is much speculation as to how, or whether, the release of a film in DC-3D devalues the same film in 2-D.

“Maybe the thing to do,” Ochs speculates, “is release in 2-D and then, four weeks, five weeks, six weeks later, release the same film again in 3-D, giving it more hype. And then, a month after 3-D, it goes to DVD, so you’re talking about a whole new window set-up: 2-D, 3-D, DVD. Or do you go 3-D and then 2-D? That’s what will have all the business guys scratching their heads to figure out.”

Most imagine that DC-3D screenings will remain fairly rare in the early going, with perhaps one or two DC-3D screens per market.

While interested in pursuing DC-3D, Wehrenberg’s Menke says he would initially look to install DC-3D in one auditorium, for “test market/special venue application, eventually moving up to a site feature for each complex.” Wallace’s Ballew, too, foresees DC-3D as “more of a special occasion exhibition.”

In-Three’s Kaye acknowledges that a DC-3D rollout might start slowly, but says a major DC-3D blockbuster would likely lead to “a major push.” He imagines a day when 90 percent of the nation’s auditoria could be equipped for DC-3D.

Ochs, who spearheaded the outfitting of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood with a Real D system, admits to even higher hopes. “Five years from now,” he says, “I would love to see every theatre showing 3-D, or capable of showing 3-D.”

He likens the potential move to DC-3D to the exhibition industry’s years-ago switchover to Dolby sound. “When Dolby first came out, we put two Dolby auditoriums in a complex, if it was, say, a 10-screen complex. We put two in originally, and then as more films came out in the Dolby process, we put in two more, and then two more, and eventually the entire complex is Dolby. If you’re going to roll out a 2K system digital platform anyway, you might as well bolt on the 3-D application.” This form of rollout, Ochs says, has the potential to create a “strong and viable industry showing 3-D films. It’s an industry that says, ‘We’ve got something unique and different, and you can’t see it at home.’”

Editor's note: Although the In Focus article above mentions that polarized glasses were introduced in the 1980s, many of the 1950s 3-D films used the polarized system. Many people mistakenly think that the 1950s films were anaglyphic (red/blue). Those films were later converted to anaglyphic format, which has been an economical way of presenting 3-D films.

Night of the Living Dead 3-D could be in Theatres January 2006

Night of the Living Dead 3-D animated logoIts an all new dimension of the horror classic Night of the Living Dead filmed in 3-D by Lux Digital Pictures and Midnight Movies. This is a new 3-D motion picture is a re-imagining of the 1968 public domain motion picture Night of the Living Dead. George A. Romero is not affiliated in any way this this new film.

In this 3-D thriller, Barb and her brother Johnny arrive late for the burial of their aunt and walk straight into a nightmare. With zombies on her heels, Barb flees the cemetery and is rescued by Ben, a local college student. The two seek refuge in the nearby farmhouse of the Cooper family, where the laid-back residents aren't remotely prepared to have their lives turn into a horror movie. But, Barb is destined for an even grimmer confrontation, with the dark secret of the pyrophobic mortician, Gerald Tovar, Jr.

The Night of the Living Dead 3-D Web site includes a preview trailer for the film and will include a 3-D photo gallery.

The filmmakers comment about making the movie
Director/Producter Jeff Broadstreet: "I’ve always loved horror movies and the last film I directed (Dr. Rage) was an offbeat, darkly funny horror film. There have been a number of zombie films over the years that I’ve liked, I dug the original Dawn of the Dead when it first came out in 1978 and I thought the guys who did the 2004 remake did a pretty good job. It wasn’t just like the original and I think that was a good thing."

When I was approached by the production company about making Night of the Living Dead 3-D I thought it could be an interesting project. At that time, in early January of this year, I honestly wasn’t dying to do a zombie film. But I thought we could do something a little different with the premise. And, of course making the film in 3-D added a whole new dimension (pun intended) to the project. So, I told the people at Midnight Movies that I wanted to have Bob write the screenplay and he came up with some new, very clever ideas."

Screenwriter/Editor Robert Valding: "Which of course doesn’t mean I didn’t recycle a bunch of old ideas too. Every zombie movie should bring a few old story points back from the dead."

JB: "Night of the Living Dead 3-D is a different kind of zombie movie, it obviously has traditional “zombie movie” elements but also has some ideas and themes that, I think, will surprise the audience. And for a 3-D movie, it’s not particularly gimmicky."

RV: "Yes, zombies reach off the screen. But no, we don’t have blood spurting into the audience."

JB: "We did try to."

RV: "But it just didn’t work."

Is George Romero Involved?
JB: "No, George Romero is not involved in any way with this film. I have a lot of respect for Romero and as I said, I really like the original Dawn of the Dead. I think it’s his best zombie movie. This project was presented to me by Midnight Movies as a re-imagining of the 1968 film that had fallen into the public domain and the new production was going to be made in 3-D. So, I was offered the opportunity to produce and direct a horror film with a bigger budget than I had before and I thought I could make a good, small horror movie with the resources that would be available. I had flirted with 3-D projects in the past and had a pretty good working knowledge of the process and what would probably be involved."

RV: "Night of the Living Dead made a huge impression on me when I was a kid. It scared the crap out of me, gave me nightmares, but I also felt like it was saying some scary but true things about real life, society, human nature. It didn’t preach, but it hit you with a lot more than just mindless scares. So when this opportunity came along, I tried to write a script that commented on our society today the way the ’68 film commented on its own time. I’d like to think Romero would like the film, though I suspect he’d be a bit more open to it under another title."

JB: "Once we committed to the project and both being horror fans, Bob and I knew that the hard-core Romero/Night of the Living Dead fans would be not happy that a new production was being filmed and that Romero was not involved. It was the same reaction that Bob and I had when we went to see the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Like a lot of horror fans, we were convinced the remake was going to be bad, and when it was over our basic reaction was, “you know what, that was pretty good”. So, I went into this film with the approach that the first reaction to Night of the Living Dead 3-D from the hardcore fans would be that they would be convinced that our film was not going to be good and we were determined to make a film that was a little bit different, that works on its own terms. We want the fans and the audience in general to come out of the theater and say, 'that was a good movie.'"

Is the story the same as the 1968 film?
JB: “Night of the Living Dead 3-D is both an homage and re-imagining of the 1968 film. The basic premise is sort of the same, but the story doesn’t necessarily go where you think it’s gonna go."

RV: "A good horror movie should make you feel like it’s predicting your fate. I think that’s what Romero’s film did for audiences at the end of the sixties, it said “This is what all of this scary social breakdown and upheaval is leading up to.” The American apocalypse, if the flesh-eating zombies don’t get you, the vigilantes will. And you could laugh it off as just a tacky drive-in horror movie, but you couldn’t shake its effect because it touched on too many things that were going wrong in the real world. There was something deeply uncanny about it. Now, in 2005, zombies aren’t uncanny. Everybody’s seen a bazillion zombie movies. So more than anything I wanted to get back that feeling of uncanniness that Romero’s film had. What was the question?"

JB: "Focus."

RV: "Oh right, is the story the same? Ultimately no, but there is definitely some major déjà vu. Getting back to that idea of a horror film foretelling your fate… you could say that our characters have their fates foretold by Romero’s film."

Are the characters the same?
JB: "Some of the characters are similar to the ones in the 1968 film and there are characters in this film that are completely original. I don’t want to give too much away, but Sid Haig’s character, Gerald Tovar, Jr. is very loosely based on an actual guy who was running an unlicensed mortuary. Actually, my wife Nancy brought the story to my attention when Bob and I were first working out the story and I thought, this could be a very interesting jumping off point for that character in the movie. By the way, I don’t think Sid even knows this, but we wrote the character of Gerald Tovar, Jr. for him. I had been thinking about working with him ever since I saw House of 1000 Corpses when he came on the screen in the beginning of the film behind the counter at the gas station and flashed that crazy grin, I thought, “were has this guy been”? So, we got our first choice. Sid, thanks for doin’ the movie."

What kind of 3-D process is it filmed in?
JB: "It’s red and blue anaglyph projection, the same process that Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids movies were released in. For filming we had two custom built lightweight 3-D rigs made by Dan Symmes and his Dimension 3 company. The film features extensive handheld and Steadicam shots, a first in 3D films.

Will we need to wear glasses?
RV: "Yes, you will need to wear red-blue glasses. Which only intensifies the horror."

What was the film's budget?
JB: "Considerably less than Land of the Dead and considerably more than the 1968 film. It’s a small film with a lot of production value and very good 3-D. I had real-time 3-D monitoring on the set, it was fantastic to set-up the shots and be able to see the 3-D in real time as you are working out the blocking with the actors. Our two young stars, Brianna Brown and Josh DesRoches are really good in this film and Sid Haig is very memorable in a somewhat unusual role. Like most small films, the shooting schedule was tight, but our director of photography, Andy Parke, did a great job. Bob directed the second unit and they shot some really good footage for us."

RV: "I would have done it for free. In fact I did do it for free."

When will the film be released?
JB: "We’re finishing post now. The plan is for the film to be released theatrically in several markets in late January 2006."

3-D Films Hit the Screen at Britain's National Film Theatre Dec. 7 through 18

House of Wax lobby cardExperience the work of legendary film-makers such as Alfred Hitchcock with his Dial M for Murder, and actors Vincent Price in House of Wax, Rock Hudson and Lee Marvin in an extra dimension in films during a showing of 3-D films at the National FIlm Theatre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, Waterloo, London. Stereoscopic (known as 3-D) cinema is a method of producing and projecting films in such a way that it creates an illusion of three-dimensional vision. We are delighted that the films presented here are the celebrated 'twin projector' prints where interlocked projectors are run together, with the left-eye print on one machine and the right-eye print on the other. The viewer wears special glasses to create the 3-D illusion.

Stereoscopic (known as 3-D) cinema is a method of producing and and projecting films in such a way that it creates an illusion of three-dimensional vision. The National Film Theratre 3-D showings the celebrated "twin projector" prints where interlocked projectors are run together, with a left-eye print on one machine and a right-eye print on the other. The viewer wears special glasses to create the 3-D illusion.

Schedule of 3-D film presentations

Wed 7 Dec
6.15 p.m. Miss Sadie Thompson
8.30 p.m. Kiss Me Kate
Thu 8 Dec
6.15 p.m. Jesse James vs the Daltons
8.40 p.m. Fort Ti
Fri 9 Dec
2.30 p.m. Kiss Me Kate
6.10 p.m. The Nebraskan
8.30 p.m. Miss Sadie Thompson
Sat 10 Dec
3.50 p.m. Dial M for Murder
6.15 p.m.The Charge at Feather River
8.30 p.m.Gorilla at Large
Sun 11 Dec
3.50 p.m.Inferno
6.10 p.m.Fort Ti
8.40 p.m.Jesse James vs the Daltons
Mon 12 Dec
6.15 p.m.House of Wax
8.45 p.m.The Mad Magician
Tue 13 Dec
6.10 p.m.Gun Fury
8.30 p.m.Dial M for Murder
Wed 14 Dec
6.10 p.m.Gorilla at Large
8.30 p.m.The Stranger Wore a Gun
Thu 15 Dec
6.10 p.m.Man in the Dark
8.40 p.m.The Charge at Feather River
Fri 16 Dec
2.30 p.m. House of Wax
6.10 p.m. Drums of Tahiti
8.30 p.m.Inferno
Sat 17 Dec
3.50 p.m.Drums of Tahiti
6.10 p.m.The Mad Magician
8.00 p.m.Gun Fury
Sun 18 Dec
4.15 p.m.Man in the Dark
6.10 p.m.The Stranger Wore a Gun
8.20 p.m.The Nebraskan

StereoVision Announces Plan to Launch 200 SVX TRU 3-D Theatres

SVX Tru 3D logoStereoVision Entertainment logoStereoVision Entertainment Inc. announced that it plans to develop a 200 theatre SVX TRU 3-D theatre network. SVX TRU 3-D theatres will deliver the highest quality, lowest cost, polarized, 3-D film viewing experience available. StereoVision's founder and CEO, Jack Honour, stated, "Simply put, SVX TRU 3-D theatres bring amusement park quality 3-D to your local multiplex. Gone are the days of the anaglyph red and blue paper glasses. StereoVision's branded SVX TRU 3-D theatre plan has been a key component in SVE's business plan for several years. With the majors like Disney and Lion's Gate now following our lead, the industry is again buzzing about the enormous potential of the commercial exploitation of 3-D entertainment products.

From children's matinees to creature features, 3-D concerts and documentaries, there are a wide variety of commercial applications for our SVX TRU 3-D theatres. The enormous grosses at the limited number of IMAX 3-D theatres for feature films such as Polar Express 3-D have garnered the attention of even the most skeptical studio execs. And with the theatre operators anxious for solutions to losing huge market share to the DVD home-viewing explosion, they're welcoming the 3-D surge with open arms. In contrast to the enormous cost of Disney's digital 3-D theatre retrofit of approximately $150,000 per theatre for their planned 85 theatres, the SVX TRU 3-D theatre uses a theatre's existing film projector with our 3-D projection lenses, and a comparable silver screen for a total installation cost of under $5,000 per theatre.

The company believes that the earnings potential for its plan is substantial for a number of reasons. The viewing quality in our theatre system is equal to digital and much less expensive to install. StereoVision will "four wall" its theatres thus allowing it to keep a portion of the distributors' and exhibitors' cut of the gross as well as, for self produced films, the producer's share of the gross. We believe that StereoVision's commitment to high quality, low cost 3-D film content will resonate with viewing audiences. Lastly, SVE will make its theatre network available to any producer who delivers an acceptable quality 3-D product, along with a fair profit sharing agreement. StereoVision plans to finance its SVX TRU 3-D THEATRE network with a combination of equity and debt."

SVE's principal partner and Director of Film and Television Production, Doug Schwartz, co-creator of Baywatch, stated, "I'm thrilled about the recent commercial acceptance of 3-D entertainment content. I believe this is the perfect time to get our SVX TRU 3-D theatre network operational. I've been in discussions with many of the major studios about StereoVision's plans for the development of 3-D products and we've consistently received positive responses. I'm looking forward to participating in the evolution of StereoVision's 3-D business plan."

The company's financial advisor, Ted Botts, stated, "Given the widespread interest in 3-D content being shown by the major Hollywood studios, we believe that our plans to launch a chain of theatres devoted to exhibiting 3-D productions, along with our plan to produce high quality low cost 3-D entertainment content, will have a very positive impact on the company's ability to secure funding."

NASA's STEREO Spacecraft to Scan Sun in 3-D

NASA STEREO mission logoIt is probably the world's largest stereoviewer and the most expensive, costing over $500 million. NASA's STEREO space mission, short for Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory, will use stereoscopic vision to construct a global picture of the Sun and its influences.

Launch of the STEREO spacecraft is planned for April 11, 2006, aboard a Delta II 7925-10L rocket out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida. Once launched, the two STEREO probes will take up Sun-watching positions ahead and behind Earth to record the first real-time 3-D images of our nearest star.

The two NASA probes are running a gauntlet of tests and checks in preparation for their mission to watch some of the Sun’s largest explosions in three dimensions.

Engineers are ensuring the space worthiness of NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft for their upcoming hunt of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), enormous solar eruptions of high-energy particles that can interfere with satellites and pose a danger to orbiting astronauts when directed at Earth.

“From the space weather standpoint, this will be very important,” said Michael Kaiser, STEREO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) where the probes are currently being tested. “The events on the Sun that you’re very interested in are the one’s coming right at you. We’ll be viewing them from the side.” "Keeping tabs on CMEs and the radiation spewed from the Sun will become even more important in the future, when astronauts leave the relative protection of the Earth’s magnetic field on long-duration spaceflights," Kaiser added.

By launching two spacecraft instead of one, researchers hope the STEREO mission will shed new light on how massive CMEs form and propagate throughout the Solar System. "Previous 3-D observations of the Sun taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) used images caught one at a time, during which time conditions may have changed," Kaiser said.

Scanning for space explosions
Artist's rendition of NASA's STEREO  mission positioned to take 3-D stereo photos of the Sun. NASA’s STEREO probes carry four instrument suites to study CMEs as they blast outward from the Sun out past the Earth’s orbit.

“In terms of technology, STEREO is sort of an odd mission,” said Andrew Driesman, spacecraft systems engineer with Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which built the probes. “We tried to get two spacecraft for the price of one.”

The STEREO mission has an estimated NASA cost of about $460 million, as well as $60 million in support from European partners, NASA officials said.

Each of the Sun-watching probes carries a set of coronagraphs and imagers similar to those aboard SOHO, which has spent nearly 10 years observing our parent star. Both STEREO will relay real-time observations of the Sun to Earth, where researchers expect to combine the to build three-dimensional views of the star, as well as its CME and solar wind activity. A trio of antennas on each spacecraft will also record the radio signal bursts from the energetic solar events.

“They’re set up to take observations within half a second of each other,” Kaiser said of the STEREO probes. “This is kind of a poor man’s formation flying.” "But the probes are not completely identical, and carry subtle differences due to their different orbital destinations. Each probe’s launch position and final destination gave the spacecraft their tentative names," mission team members said.

“Right now they’re [STEREO] A and B for ‘Ahead’ and ‘Behind,’” Driesman told SPACE.com, adding that the A probe will also sit atop the Delta 2 launch stack, while the B spacecraft will be positioned below it.

The Sun in 3-DSTEREO A is slated to fly just inside Earth’s orbit but ahead of the planet, completing one full orbit in about 347 days. Because it will fly closer to the Sun, the star will appear larger to the probe’s coronagraphs and required larger occulting disks used to blot out the Sun’s body during corona observations.

Additional care to thermal protection was needed on the STEREO A than its companion, which is slated to trail the Earth in an orbit just a bit farther from the Sun and complete one orbit in 387 days, NASA officials said

“They end up on orbits slowly moving in opposite directions,” Driesman said.

According to their flight profile, each spacecraft will move further from Earth during the STEREO mission’s two-year mission, though the gradual separation should not hinder its science goals.

“Eventually, you run into a point where they’re both on opposite sides of the Sun,” Kaiser said, adding that it should occur well after the primary mission. “The mission could probably go on for five or six years, depending on funding.”

Dynamic duo
Poster art from the 1969 motion picture "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" showing twin Earths.  The STEREO mission won't have us seeing double Earths, but it will have a double view of the Sun.Despite their joint mission, the two STEREO probes won’t be the sole observers of the Sun during their spaceflight.

Spacecraft such as the successful SOHO, and other missions such as Wind and Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), have provided bonus observations from relatively close to Earth when compared with the planned STEREO flight. Data and observations from those spacecraft can be added to STEREO’s findings to build a more comprehensive picture of the Sun’s behavior, researchers said.

“It’s nice to have that one [location] right in the middle,” Kaiser said. “That third vantage point from SOHO, that helps.”

Kaiser added that the STEREO mission is a reunion of sorts for Sun-focused researchers, many of whom are either working together or collaborated in the past on the other Sun-watching missions.

Rounding the Moon
It should take the two STEREO probes about three months to take up their respective sun-watching positions.

Both spacecraft will swing past the Moon, using its gravity to fling them toward their final orbits, though STEREO A will have to fly past the grey satellite twice in order to accelerate past Earth to its intended station, NASA officials said.

“We’re sort of hooked to the lunar cycle,” Dreisman said, adding that while the STEREO mission plans to launch sometimes between April and June 2006, there is actually more flexibility to make the space shot. “We have a launch window almost every month of the year.”

While most months have a period of about 14 days, each with a 15-minute launch window, to loft the two STEREO probes, a December liftoff would require an extended coast phase that could prove too long for the probes’ batteries, he said.

But before STEREO A and B can leave Earth, engineers must be sure they’re fit to fly. Over the next few months, the probes will be locked away in vacuum chambers, subjected to the intense vibrations and noise they will experience at launch and witness the extreme temperatures they must endure in order to successfully perform their mission.

“It’s been such a long road here, we’ve been looking forward to this,” Kaiser said of the testing phase. “I think the mission is going to open up a whole new world for us.”

NASA has a several Web pages devote to the STEREO mission loaded with images, videos and information.

NASA Web Software Zooms to Moon Images in 3-D

NASA logoWeb users can now take virtual 3-D trips to nearly anyplace on the moon, thanks to a NASA program first designed to show aerial views of the Earth.

The newly expanded NASA World Wind computer program can transport Web users to almost anyplace on the moon, when they zoom in from a global view to closer pictures of our natural satellite taken by the Clementine spacecraft in the 1990s. Computer programmers at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley originally designed the World Wind program to deliver satellite images and data of Earth to the Internet. Users can see detailed 3-D pictures of the Earth's land surface, including its elevation and climate.

"We have just digested the best of the Clementine images, so we can now deliver the moon at 66 feet (20 meters) of resolution," said Patrick Hogan, manager of the World Wind Project Office at NASA Ames. "This is a first. No one has ever explored our moon in the 3-D interactive environment that World Wind creates," noted Hogan.

Launched in early 1994, Clementine took 1.8 million pictures of the lunar surface during a two-month orbit of the moon. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and NASA jointly sponsored the Deep Space Program Science Experiment that included the Clementine spacecraft. Its principal objective was to 'space-qualify' lightweight imaging sensors and component technologies for the next generation of Department of Defense spacecraft.

"Imagine riding a magic carpet through the world and being able to zoom down to any point, or appear magically at any location. That's what World Wind is like," said Mark Leon, chief of the Education Division at NASA Ames. "Not only has Hogan's team produced new technology with World Wind, but they have done so as open source computer code, so it is free for all who would download it," Leon added.

"NASA World Wind allows users to explore their (computer) environment at will," Hogan said. "This leads to much greater engagement with, and by, the users and personalizes it for their own discovery." In contrast, movies are not as engaging, or immersive, in that the user does not control them, Hogan observed.

The personal computer compatible World Wind program is available free of charge via Internet download. Computer users from more than 100 nations have acquired the free World Wind program, though most users are from the United States. To download World Wind, visit worldwind.arc.nasa.gov.

NASA World Wind is delivering terabytes of global NASA satellite data that are a result of years of daily observations of precipitation, temperature, barometric pressure and much more. Recently, hurricane Katrina data have been added to World Wind’s collection of images. There are an estimated 10,000 daily users of World Wind.

In addition to improving World Wind by adding images of the moon, NASA programmers recently have increased the resolution of images of Earth from 3,281-foot (one-kilometer) resolution to 1,640-foot (500-meter) resolution in an upgrade called 'Blue Marble, Next Generation Earth.' Also, some World Wind data sets include images of the entire Earth at 49-foot (15-meter) resolution. The United States data in World Wind is at 3.3-foot (one-meter) resolution with some urban areas at one-foot (0.33-meter) resolution.

World Wind has been enabling hundreds of thousands of Internet users to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth to see across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps or along the African Sahara. World Wind accesses public domain United States Geological Survey aerial photography and topographic maps as well as Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and Landsat satellite data.

Although the World Wind images are created from various data to make computerized 3-D representations of the moon (and Earth), stereo enthusiasts could try to tweak the GPS positioning to create true stereoscopic separations of the images. Maybe someone can try to zoom in on Tranquility Base to create a 3-D view of the first moon landing site?

King Kong may roar in 3-D
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

King KongThe Hollywood Reporter published a story that In-Three, an Agoura Hills, Calif. based postproduction company that converts traditional live-action and animated movies into 3-D, already is at work applying its patented and trademarked "dimensionalization" process to King Kong, which opens domestically on December 14.

Although there has been speculation that King Kong eventually could reach out from the screen, that talk is taking on added urgency. In-Three offers 3-D shutter glasses, which exhibitors could use to show films without specially treated screens, though so far exhibitors have shown resistance to the idea of using the elaborate glasses, which are expensive to replace and require washing after every screening. In-Three president/CEO Michael Kaye declined comment.

Real D, which joined with Industrial Light & Magic, Dolby and the Walt Disney Co. to turn Chicken Little into a 3-D event, could be another candidate to usher a 3-D King Kong into theaters. Real D is promising that it will announce as early as next week the next film it will tackle. Asked whether that film was King Kong, Real D CEO Josh Greer declined comment. Even if Real D were to take on the assignment, though, it doesn't look feasible that it would be part of Kong's initial bow. For one thing, the Real D-equipped theaters probably still will be showing Chicken Little.

But the betting is, whoever is involved, a 3-D King Kong will appear in theaters several months into the movie's run. A Universal spokesman denied that any plans are afoot to give King Kong a 3-D boost during its run, saying, "No, (King Kong) will not be shown in 3-D." But 3-D fans can still dream, can't they?

The Daily Mail in England offers 3-D posters in Weekend Magazine Promotion

3-D tiger running poster imageNow you can claim for your favorite pictures as a glossy 3-D wall poster. Over three weeks in November, The Daily Mail published a further 15 sensational 3-D images in Weekend magazine. Readers were able to claim for one poster, five posters or all 20 in brilliant 3-D style.

To get the posters, readers collected 12 differently dated tokens from those printed in The Daily Mail until Dec. 2, 2005.\

Readers are able to send off for one poster plus £1.99 for p&p plus 12 tokens, five posters plus £4.99 for p&p plus 12 tokens or the full set of 20 tokens plus £12.99 for p&p plus 12 tokens.

Readers could also send off for extra pairs of 3-D glasses.

Poster terms and Conditions: Each poster measures 84cm x 59cm and comes delivered in a protective postal tube. Only one application per reader, multiple applications are not permitted.

Delivery will begin on receipt of applications, however due to the special process that 3-D printing involves, posters may not be dispatched until the end of January 2006.

2006 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) Conference Advance Program Now Available

Stereoscopic Displays and Applications logoThe Advance Program for the 2006 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) conference is now available from the conference Web site.

The conference is scheduled for Jan. 16-18, 2006, at the San Jose Convention Centre, San Jose, California as part of the SPIE/IS&T Electronic Imaging: Science & Technology Symposium. SD&A is held the week before Photonics West.

Oorganizers are sending thanks to all the authors who submitted abstracts. According to conference chair Andrew Woods, "We have a very interesting and full program ahead of us."

The three days of the conference will see sessions on applications of stereoscopy, medical applications, human factors, stereoscopic projection and stereoscopic cinema, stereoscopic image processing, stereoscopic rendering, autostereoscopic displays, integral 3-D imaging, stereoscopic software, and stereoscopic developments.

Plus there are several other special 3-D events: the demonstration session, keynote presentation, 3-D screening session, discussion forum and hosting the 3-D Phantogram Exhibit.

Registrations are now open for the 2006 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference and other conferences, which are part of Electronic Imaging 2006, including The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference. Registrations are also open for the Electronic Imaging 2006 short courses including SC060 Stereoscopic Display Application Issues.

India's 3-D Soap Serial Should Debut Before Christmas

India 3-D TV glasses Mukesh Khanna, star of India's 3-D TV project, ParamapadamSome time between Diwali and Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of three-dimensional television in your home, if your home is in India. A south Indian firm called GV Films has scheduled for debut the Hindi serial Paramapadam shot in 3-D format.

The one-hour-long weekly show can be enjoyed on any television, with the help of special 3-D glasses that are, thankfully, cheap. Mahadevan Ganesh, chairman of GV Films says “The show is inspired by the ancient game called Parmapadam in Sanskrit, but more commonly known as Saanp-Seedi.

“It will star Mukesh Khanna (of Shaktimaan fame). We have bought the copyrights of 3-D television technology from the U.S. and have flown down a technical crew from Los Angeles.”

Each one-hour episode will take 15 days to film, at a cost of over Rs 40 lakh.

They are currently looking to strike a deal with a Hindi channel.

Production underway
Production has already started and the company has signed agreements with Jaya TV, ETV Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali for the purchase of its 3-D software and dubbed versions of the serial.

Mukesh Khanna said, "It’s a great experience to work on India’s first 3-D soap. I play a 70-year-old man who narrates tales to children. The first few episodes are ready and they look great!"

Aspiring Filmmaker turns room into 3-D Museum
by Courtney Chua, The Tufts Daily Senior Staff Writer

View-Master reelsMost college students decorate their dorm rooms with pictures, posters, magazine ads, interesting newspaper articles or the occasional random item from Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond.

But for Tufts freshman Matthew Diamante, the inside of a dorm room is much more than a place to sleep, procrastinate and procrastinate some more. Diamante's Hill Hall room features something that can't be purchased during the fall poster sale in front of the campus center: a rotating stereoscopy museum.

Stereoscopy, which means "stereo photography," was popular in the 1970s, when people used to go door-to-door selling the machines. But the stereoscopy Diamante dabbles in is a bit different. It involves the red plastic Fisher-Price View-Masters that were owned by many children (and children at heart) in the early '90s.

Three-dimensional slides of anything from Disney characters to views of the Grand Canyon are placed into the View-Master®, and an orange switch is clicked to rotate through the images.

When people ask to see his museum, Diamante just hands them his View-Master®, which contains a new image every week. He places a sign on his door to inform visitors of which image set is the current feature attraction.

Diamante's collection contains scenic pictures of different areas of the United States and Canada, from urban (San Francisco, New York City) to rural (Yosemite and Petrified Forest National Parks). Other slide subjects include the history of flight, the White House, the interior of George Washington's home in Mount Vernon and Civil War battlefields.

"3-D is making a comeback," Diamante says, going on to say that he thinks magazines should publish today's news in three-dimensional photographs.

"Time should release 3-D pictures of, say, Yushenko in Ukraine," he says. "Or Sports Illustrated should release 3-D pictures of the Red Sox winning the World Series."

Diamante's interest in 3-D is fairly recent. His parents live separately, so he "doesn't really have a said room at home." Though he attended boarding school for two years before coming to Tufts, Diamante didn't have a rotating museum in his room there.

But as he was digging through boxes at home at the beginning of the school year, he came across his old View-Master®. Remembering recent 3-D spreads in National Geographic and three-dimensional motion pictures like Chicken Little and The Polar Express, he started to search for 3-D images and View-Master® slides on eBay.

Diamante believes that much of the interest in his rotating museum revolves around the mystery behind what the image will be each week.

"[This] is just for college, to spice things up," he says. And spice things up he has: Diamante says that though his Hill Hall rotating museum had a slow beginning, word is starting to get around.

Diamante says his biggest proponent is a friend who lives in Hodgdon. She viewed the museum and told others about it, spreading Diamante's visitor base further across campus. The freshman now gets many inquiries as to what the new image for the week is - or if they can see the View-Master®.

"Guys were a bit more hostile at first, but now a lot of them knock on my door and ask to see it," he says.

Diamante plans on majoring in political science, his interest in photography, three-dimensional images and film may seem random. The California native, however, has a strong interest in filmmaking and has even made a few short films of his own.

In high school, Diamante created an 11-minute film about 13th-century Vatican cardinals, as well as a six-minute humorous documentary of the Democratic National Convention.

According to Diamante, his "most interesting" film is probably one that features a friend of his who bears a resemblance to the character Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Diamante cut out the "real" Gollum and inserted his friend in the character's place.

Moviemaking has always been Diamante's dream, and he even has a plan for how to market 3-D images and fuel interest in them throughout the Tufts community.

"If Tufts used 3-D images to advertise pictures of the Hill to sell to alumnae, it could be a great fundraising tool," he says.

But Diamante is managing his museum within the confines of his dorm room. It's 212 Hill Hall, for anyone who need a View-Master® fix.

Surfari in IMAX® 3-D

IMAX logoAt the 2005 Giant Screen Theatre Association (GSTA) International Conference, IMAX Corporation announced that it is in active development of Surfari, the first ever IMAX® 3-D film to profile the thrilling and globally popular sport of surfing. The adrenaline-pumping IMAX 3-D feature will showcase top surfing talent and examine the worldwide phenomena through the prism of global surf travel and exploration. IMAX will serve as executive producer of Surfari, which is scheduled for release in 2007.

Through the magic of The IMAX 3-D Experience®, Surfari will take moviegoers to the top of vertiginous 40-plus foot waves and to tropical surf destinations around the world. Audiences will visit the exotic beaches where the one-time Polynesian sport was conceived, and trace its development into a pervasive cultural symbol of freedom, romance and enduring youth.

"The popularity of Hollywood blockbusters in IMAX's format is driving expansion of our theatre network, and in turn presenting IMAX with opportunities to develop more groundbreaking, original productions, such as Surfari," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "This film is going to profile the hottest surfing talent and make moviegoers feel like they're inside the tube, attempting to conquer Mother Nature's biggest and most dangerous waves. IMAX 3-D is a proven box office draw in both commercial and institutional venues, and surfing has a large built-in global fan base, so we're confident this film will be a valuable addition to our 2007 film slate."

Surfari is written by Sam George, long time editor of Surfer magazine and an accomplished surfing author and filmmaker. He will co-produce with Paul Taublieb, chief consultant to ESPN on the creation of the X Games, as well a writer and producer of action sports programming for ABC, ESPN, NASCAR, NBC and Fox Sports Net. Both men are accomplished surfing veterans who have traveled the world on a quest to ride the biggest waves, and they will bring their first hand knowledge and experience to Surfari.

Happy Feet in IMAX® 3-D

IMAX logoIMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Happy Feet, a computer animated musical comedy about a tap-dancing Emperor Penguin and his adventures in the Antarctic, will be released domestically in IMAX® 3-D simultaneous with the film's 2-D premiere in conventional theatres on Nov. 17, 2006. The film is directed by George Miller (the Babe films, Lorenzo's Oil and the Mad Max trilogy) with an all-star ensemble cast, featuring the voices of Nicole Kidman, Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy. Happy Feet will be digitally converted into IMAX 3-D and use proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of the film to the growing worldwide IMAX® theatre network, as well as to conventional theaters worldwide.

Said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures, "People who have seen footage of Happy Feet have been tremendously entertained and IMAX 3-D is going to amplify that experience."

"Happy Feet has everything we look for in an IMAX release: cutting edge visuals, a heartwarming tale for audiences of all ages, an unforgettable musical score, and an incredible filmmaker with a unique vision. The film is going to look and sound spectacular as An IMAX 3-D Experience®," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "There were a number of outstanding titles to choose from for our 2006 holiday release, and given the great working relationship we've established with Warner Bros. Pictures, as well as the fantastic character of this film, we feel Happy Feet is the perfect choice."

Happy Feet is a comedy adventure set in the land of the Emperor Penguins in the heart of Antarctica. These penguins sing, each needing their own special song to attract a soul mate. Unfortunately, our hero Mumble (Elijah Wood), son of Memphis (Hugh Jackman) and Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman), is the worst singer in the world, but he can tap dance something fierce!

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Kennedy-Miller Film, Happy Feet, directed by George Miller. Written by George Miller, John Collee, Judy Morris and Warren Coleman. Produced by Doug Mitchell, Bill Miller and George Miller. Executive Producers are Graham Burke and Bruce Berman. Music composed by John Powell.

More Star Wars III-D Items

The third chapter in George Lucas' Star Wars saga, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith brings with it many 3-D related collectibles. Here are more of the Star Wars 3-D items available.
Editor's Note: All Star Wars images are © Lucasfilm 2005. All rights reserved. Check out our past issues to see more Star Wars III-D items.

Star Wars III Australian Lenticular Pins

Star Wars III lenticular pins

Star Wars III lenticular pins

News Limited in Australia partnered with ESP Global (Australia) to bring out a series of exclusive collectable lenticular pins to celebrate the final Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith movie. These pins feature characters from all six Star Wars episodes, each featuring two different photos of the characters that flip as you move them. Also included with the collection is a free pin display album which features photos and information on characters, starships and a synopsis page of all six Star Wars episodes.The pins and album were available at participating retailers in New South Wales, Queensland in May 2005.

M&M's Candies Star Wars III Round Lenticular Collector's Tin

M&M's Star Wars lenticular tins

M&M's candies released two collectible tins with lenticular images from Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. One tin features Darth Vadar and Anakin Skywalker. The second tin features Yoda and General Grevious.

3-D Center of Art and Photography to present Mike Wilder's The Carnivorous Syndrome in 3-D starting Dec. 1
An exhibition of 3-D Time Lapse Video

3D Center of Art and Photography  logoThe 3-D Center of Art and Photography will present a special showing of 3-D time lapse video from Dec. 1 through 4, 2005.

Portland filmmaker Mike Wilder presents the mysterious lives of carnivorous plants around the world in the unprecedented 3-D time lapse video, The Carnivorous Syndrome. With a single camera mounted on a robot built out of Lego© bricks, Wilder was able to capture these fascinating plants on film and then convert them to 3-D video.

You will not want to miss Mike Wilder’s fascinating 3-D project The Carnivorous Syndrome in 3-D. This in depth 22 minute nature movie about carnivorous plants takes the audience on travels through Australia, Japan, Venezuela, Africa and Borneo, while teaching the viewer about the mysterious plants which live there.

Mike Wilder's The Carnivorous Syndrome in 3-DIt is likely that this macro 3-D time lapse video is unprecedented. The film also features an incredible electronic soundtrack composed by John Teagle. The Carnivorous Syndrome in 3-D will play in the Center’s stereo theater Dec. 1-4 during the Center’s normal open hours. Wilder’s film is also available on DVD. The project was generously supported by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Of this project Wilder says, “ I realized that a properly designed robot, which moved a single camera back and forth at intervals, could in principle produce the 3-D films I desired. In effect, the robot is a mechanized slide bar, though it also operates the cable release, and in some cases, rotates the subjects."

"Since I didn’t really know anything about robots, I built mine out of Lego ® bricks. I am very pleased that I was able to produce a precise machine with these toys! Obviously, the camera simply produces stereo pairs. In order to convert these into anaglyph video, I used the batch processing capability of the free program Stereo Photo Maker. By shooting e.g., 1,000 stereo pairs over the course of a week, the pairs could be converted into 1,000 anaglyph images, which could then be used as frames in 30 fps video (in another program). Thus, one has to shoot 1,000 stereo pairs to yield 33 seconds of 3-D time lapse video!"

"For over a year, my robot worked diligently for weeks at a time, filming the growth and flowering of carnivorous plants. Meanwhile, I used the free Pov-Ray program to make anaglyph 3-D animation. The process is very similar. An animation is designed, and each 2-D frame is rendered as an image. Then the virtual camera is moved within the scene, and another series of frames is rendered. Stereo pairs are isolated, and processed as above with Stereo Photo Maker."

"I combined all of this material in my film called The Carnivorous Syndrome in 3-D.”

The 3-D Center of Art and Photography is located at 1928 NW Lovejoy in Portland, Oregon. Hours: Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. First Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m.

Montreal company credited with technology for NBC-TV's Medium 3-D episode

Sensio logoWhen NBC's supernatural series Medium went 3-D for an episode that aired on Monday, Nov. 21, the credits showed that a Montreal-based company had a leading role in the technology required for the stereoscopic effect.

Sensio is a young Canadian company that was hired by the series' producer to engineer and encode the episode for 3-D, something that hasn't always worked effectively on television screens.

"I think people will be surprised by how vivid and dynamic 3-D has become," says executive producer Glenn Gordon Caron.

In Canada, CTV has joined the campaign to make one million pairs of 3-D glasses available to viewers in time for the telecast. The episode apparently will still be viewable by people watching in ordinary 2-D.

3-D Medium on the Small Screen is a Large Disappointment

NBC-TV Peacock logoThe 3-D episode of Medium, aired by the NBC Television Network in November, missed the mark for many viewers. The Medium 3-D experience was not ready for prime time.

Although the opening sequence had some good 3-D effect, with the artist's paintbrush virtually reaching halfway across the living room floor, the remaining 3-D sequences were nearly unwatchable.

The anglyphic separations seemed to be off-register, with the beginning of some scenes in perfect focus and then being separated so much that the scenes became hard to view. The extreme ghosting (no pun intended) in the episode highlighted the limitations of anaglypic 3-D and brought back the stigma of 3-D movies of the 1980s.

One wonders if the producers took extra time to create a good 3-D opening sequence (introduced by a digitally-enhanced Rod Serling) in order to keep the viewers watching the rest of the episode.

Jay Leno, on that Monday’s Tonight show, joked that NBC actually was distributing two kinds of glasses: the 3-D ones for Medium and blinders for all other NBC shows.

Rolling Stone No. 1,000 May Issue to feature first ever 3-D Cover

Rolling Stone logoRolling Stone, the "bible" of rock 'n' roll magazines, will publish its first ever 3-D cover for it's 1,000th issue in May 2006.

No word yet as to who will be the featured rock 'n' roll legend to appear on the cover.

3-D Auction Results

Here are a few auction results on 3-D items from the past month.

Stereo Realist countertop display

A 1950's View-Master® Store Counter Display sold for $615 with 17 bids. The display can hold over 600 reels. This fantastic item was found at sale for an old Rexall Drug Store in Kansas.
It is 15" tall, 26" wide and 19" deep. It is made of high quality wood, metal and plexiglass. The top of the display, where the graphics are, light up from a flourescent bulb in back compartment. It still lights up nicely. Over 200 original printed index cards for reels are included with display. Display is in excellent condition with minor scuffing on lower front. Plexiglass is nice as is wood. The viewer was missing, which would've been attached near the white-frosted Pick Up and Look window.

 

A Stereo Realist Counter Display sold for $300 with one bid. These were sent to camera stores in the early 1950s to show customers the 3-D effect of the Stereo Realist system.

It's basically the front end of a Realist viewer mounted on a metal box that contains a carousel of 12 Realist format slides and an AC powered light source. This one has both focus and interocular adjustments. This display has a series of slides that depict various interior designs from famous department stores.

 

 

Jim Maloney test issue 3-D baseball card

A lenticular movie poster for The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe sold for $500 with 7bids.

The 27" x 40" poster was released to movie theatres then recalled by Disney.

A test issue variation 1968 Topps 3-D baseball card featuring Cincinnati Reds player Jim Maloney sold for $380 with 26 bids.

   
Keystone Alaska 50 stereoview set

A Kodak No. 2 Brownie Stereo Camera sold for $676 with 26 bids. The original case is included with the camera. These were built from 1905-1910.

A Keystone 50 of 50 Alaska Box Set of Stereoviews containing 1 through 46 in black buckram box sold for $900 with 10 bids

Civil War dead soliders stereoviews

A pair of stereoviews featuring dead Yanks and Rebs sold for $700 with 17 bids. One view includes an early Anthony yellow mount Photographic History War for the Union card No. 2506 Burial of dead at Fredricksburg, VA. showing blanket draped bodies and wooden coffins and an orange mount Anthony No. 3181 Rebel Artillery Soldiers, killed in the Trenches of Fort Mahone.

A scarce Brady Stereoview of Dead Irish Brigade at Antietam sold for $950 with eight bids. The stereoview features a cream glazed mount with square corners, with an early Brady's Album Gallery on verso and Alexander Gardner's 1862 copyright line on recto. This dramatic image is No 550 Group of Irish Brigade, as they lay on Battle-field of Antietam, 19th Sept., 1862. An exceptional image, probably taken not long after Gardner arrived on the battlefield. This is the only image taken depicting Union casualties. Frassanito, in his 1978 book on Antietam, calls this image "among the rarest of the rare."

   

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