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February 2006 Issue

Vol. 4, No. 2

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3rd Rock from the Sun 3-D DVD

3rd Rock from the Sun Second Season DVD boxset cover art3-D fans will want to add the DVD boxset of 3rd Rock from the Sun Season Two to their collection. One of the highlights of the season two boxset is the 3-D episode. The 3-D episode originally aired as a one-hour show. The boxset includes the syndicated version, which makes it into two 3-D shows edited to run within half-hour broadcaster windows. There is also a behind the scenes featurette about the filming of the 3-D episode. The set includes a never before aired alternate 3-D ending, too!

3rd Rock from the Sun features a group of aliens who have come to Earth to learn about its population and customs. To avoid detection, they have taken on human form which gives them human emotions and physical needs, without the understanding of what they mean or the inhibitions normally present in humans.

Their leader "The High Commander" (John Lithgow) takes the position of college professor Dick Solomon, their military expert Sally Solomon (Kristen Johnston) as his sister, their intelligence expert, supposedly oldest of group takes form of his teenage son Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the final member of the group is Dick's brother Harry (French Stewart) who occasionally receives transmissions from "the big giant head" (WIlliam Shatner) back on their home planet. The uninhibited reactions turn everyday events into unusual situations.

As a special selling point, Anchor Bay Entertainment included a surprise with the DVD boxset. When you push the front of the package, the box talks to you. John Lithgow says, "You're a winner!"

DVD Features
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
All 26 episodes, complete with 3-D Glasses
Brand new John Lithgow Interview
Hilarious Bloopers
Behind-the-Scenes of the 3-D episode
Season 2 Highlights
Never Before Aired 3-D Episode Alternate Ending

3rd Rock from the Sun Season Two Episode Guide
1. See Dick Run (2)
While Evil Dick hatches a plan to impregnate all women in Ohio, the original Dick remains trapped in the basement.

2. See Dick Continue to Run, Continued (3)
After the real Dick is freed and overcomes Evil Dick, Dennis Rodman (who turns out to be an alien) escorts Evil Dick back to their home world.

3. Hotel Dick
Aghast with how humans portray aliens in films, the Solomons attend a sci-fi convention to set the record straight. Sally gets hooked on room service.

4. Big Angry Virgin From Outer Space
While Sally fights with Mr. Randall (John D'Aquino), Harry goes on a blind date after making a video and August (Shay Astar) tests Tommy's loyalty to her.

5. Much Ado About Dick
Mary is afraid to let others know about her relationship with Dick, Sally wants to be a cop after meeting Don again and Tommy wants a car.

6. Dick the Vote
Complications arise when Harry decides to run for city councilman.

7. Fourth and Dick
While Dick learns about obsessions with football and Sally makes Nina her best friend, Tommy gets a crush on his glee club teacher.

8. World's Greatest Dick
After Dick enrolls Tommy in a school for gifted children, Sally gets mistaken to be a drag queen.

9. My Mother The Alien
Dick accidentally kills Mary's fish while taking care of her home.

10. Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick
After Dick invites Mrs. Dubcek and her daughter Vicki (Jan Hooks) over for Thanksgiving dinner, sparks fly between Harry and Vicki.

11. Dick Jokes
When Mary asks another professor to emcee an event she's organizing, Dick gets very jealous and tries to prove how funny he can be.

12. Jolly Old St. Dick
For Christmas, Sally wraps presents at the mall where Harry gets a job assisting Santa while Tommy bemoans finding the perfect present for August.

13. Proud Dick
Dick quits his university job after being denied a parking space, then works serving burgers to his former students. Harry gets amnesia and thinks aliens are taking over the world.

14. Romeo & Juliet & Dick
Things go awry when Tommy asks Dick to direct their school production of Romeo and Juliet.

15. Guilty as Dick
After Dick sprains his ankle while helping Mary, he really plays it up. In the meantime, Harry moves into a tree house.

16. Dick on One Knee
Sally accepts when a Frenchman (Jim Pirri) asks her to marry him so that he can stay in the country.

17. Same Old Song and Dick
Dick thinks that he and Mary are getting into a rut.

18. I Brake for Dick
Dick becomes a crazed animal rights activist after accidentally running over a chipmunk and Tommy gets into trouble with August.

19. Dick Behaving Badly
Everyone accuses Dick being in Mary's control, but Harry offers to make him a man.

20. Dickmalion
Dick becomes disillusioned after being accepted into high society when Mary isn't.

21. Sensitive Dick
While Dick is forced to take sensitivity training, Don tries to teach Tommy how to drive and Harry takes Vicki to her high school reunion.

22. Will Work For Dick
When Nina quits, Harry takes her secretarial job.

23. Fifteen Minutes of Dick
Sally and the family learn what it means to be a celebrity after she beats up Mark Hamill (himself) in a restaurant.

24. Dick and the Single Girl
A shy librarian (Christine Baranski) is attracted to Dick and Sally realizes that she's attracted to Don for his uniform.

25 and 26. A Nightmare on Dick Street (1 & 2)
When Dick suffers a nightmare after asking Mary to marry him because she wants to go to Borneo for a year, the rest of the family returns home for maintenance.

Actors: John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Curtin
Directors: Robert Berlinger, James Burrows
Format: Box set, Color, Full screen, Ntsc, Academy, Full Screen 43
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

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Superman Returns View-Master® 3-reel set to be released March 23

View-Master will release a Superman Returns 3-reel blister pack set on March 23, 2006 featuring 3-D images from the Warner Bros. film starring Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey.View-Master® will release a Superman Returns 3-reel set on March 23, 2006. Superman Returns will be released in theatres on June 30, 2006, by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world's most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman's bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Directed by Bryan Singer (X2: X-Men United, X-Men, The Usual Suspects), Superman Returns stars newcomer Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth (Beyond the Sea, Blue Crush), James Marsden (X2: X-Men United, The Notebook), Frank Langella (HBO's Unscripted), Academy Award-winner Eva Marie Saint (North By Northwest), Parker Posey (Best in Show), Sam Huntington (Detroit Rock City), Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea, American Beauty, The Usual Suspects).

The film is based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics.

Editor's Note: 3-D Review Online Magazine's January 2006 issue featured a look at Superman's 3-D Adventures including previously released Superman View-Master® packets. Thanks to View-Master® for providing information about the forthcoming Superman Returns 3-reel set.

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3-D Baseball Cards

Topps 3-D Baseball Stars 1985 and 1986In 1968, Topps released one of its scarcest issues, a limited test issue of 3-D baseball trading cards. In 2006, the 12-card set is valued at $12,000. The lenticular cards feature an image of the featured ballplayers against a blurry background image to create the 3-D effect. (See the checklist below.)

Predating the better known Kellogg's sets by a couple of years, Topps first and apparently last attempt at "true" 3-D was absolutely spectacular. Too bad these weren't snapped up at the time they were issued, because if you want one now, it's gonna cost you. Commons go in the mid to high three figures and the stars, well forget it. Roberto Clemente will run you a mere four grand or so. These 2 1/4" x 3 1/2" cards came two to a pack and there is an insert as well: a small easel to display one 3-D card. Getting back to the 3-D's, a proof card is also known to exist, as well as a salesman's sample, which features part of a card cut into a circle and slapped in a plastic pin. Topps must have had high hopes for this set, which were probably dashed when production costs soared. The insert was a little stand designed to display the 3-D card of your choice.

1968 Topps 3-D test issue  Maury Wills baseball cardThat test issue never took off with Topps, but in 1970, Kellogg’s cereals began using 3-D baseball cards as promotional item. Except for 1973, all years featured 3-D cards in the same Topps style with the blurry background.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Kellogg’s cards were very popular among collectors. Upper Deck introduced the 30-card 3-D Sluggers subset as part of its 2003 Vintage issue. It was popular enough to return as a 90-card subset in the 2004 Upper Deck Vintage set. The 2004 3-D Sluggers cards are slightly more common, inserted in two per box rather than one per two boxes, like the 2003 issue.

Topps 3-D Baseball Stars 1985 BoxThe 1985 and 1986 Topps 3-D Baseball Stars were sold in a box of 24 wax packs. The word 3-D on these cards is slightly deceptive to the true stereoscopic collector as the card inside is actually a plastic embossed card. These packs have one 3-D card measuring 4 1/4" x 6". It must have seemed unusual to card collector's to have to buy a wax pack that contained only one card in it. Collector's note: The boxes were issued with various player photos on them. One of the boxes has Rickey Henderson. Another known variant has a photo of Mike Schmidt.

Other attempts to create a true 3-D image on a card. The 1995 Topps D3 set a new quality standard for 3-D baseball trading cards. The technology was reaching out to the card collectors offering a true, full 3-D image without needing to use special glasses. A gloved hand was reaching out of it to make a catch, or dirt was coming up to hit you in the face as a player slid into a base.

So, why haven't you heard about them? There were seemingly countless sets being issued in 1995, including a very similar brand from Sportflix, so it wasn’t hard for the Topps D3 cards to get lost in the shuffle.

The only insert set was a six-card "D3 Zone" series, issued at a generous rate of one in three hobby packs, so collectors really didn’t have any scarce chase cards.

Upper Deck’s numerous 3-D hologram cards achieved various success, but when it comes to 3-D cards, the 1993-94 Upper Deck Pro View basketball set is in a league all its own. Instead of the high-tech, hologram-oriented approach, Upper Deck used anaglyphic 3-D to create its 1993-94 Pro View NBA set. To properly view the 3-D cards, you need to wear special 3-D glasses included in each pack.

1968 Topps 3-D Checklist

  • Clemente, Roberto
  • Davis, Willie
  • Fairly, Ron
  • Flood, Curt
  • Lonborg, Jim
  • Maloney, Jim
  • Perez, Tony
  • Powell, Boog
  • Robinson, Bill
  • Staub, Rusty
  • Stottlemyre, Mel
  • Swoboda, Ron

Editor's Note: This article is not an in-depth look at all the 3-D baseball cards ever produced. There are many more 3-D baseball cards available than those featured in this article. Watch for future articles about baseball in 3-D, including some vintage stereoviews featuring early baseball teams.

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Danny Elfman scores Deep Sea 3-D with Deborah Lurie
Courtesy of SoundtrackNet.com

Deep Sea 3-D

Deep Sea 3-D records at the Newman Scoring Stage

Following up on the scoring session from December, Danny Elfman and his team returned last week to the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox to finish recording the score to Deep Sea 3-D. The score features excerpts from Elfman's "Serenada Schizophrana" concert work as well as original music and adapted cues. Deep Sea 3-D is an IMAX short film narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

Deep Sea 3-D

Pete Anthony conducts the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Pete Anthony led a 76-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony performing the newly written and adapted pieces - a few of which were composed by Deborah Lurie (An Unfinished Life), based on themes from Elfman's "Serenada Schizophrana".

Deep Sea 3-D

Composer Danny Elfman and Score Mixer Armin Steiner

The new music that Elfman wrote was primarily orchestrated by Edgardo Simone, with Steve Bartek providing a little assistance as well, and Jon Kull orchestrated Lurie's cues. As music editor Shie Rozow explained, "Some cues are new original cues, some are edits of Serenada, and others are the Serenada blended with newly original material, and even more are overlapping and merging - it's a puzzle!"

Deep Sea 3-D

Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie at the Deep Sea 3-D mix at Warner Brothers

Score mixer Armin Steiner worked in full 5.1 surround sound, as IMAX films tend to take advantage of the immersive environment. As a result, the music, which in addition to the orchestra also takes advantage of female choir and electronic elements, will engulf the viewer.

Deep Sea 3-D will be released in IMAX theaters on March 3, 2006.

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Modern Postcard's 3-D Mailer Goes Back to the Future
by Melissa Campanelli - Senior Editor Article Courtesy of DM News.com

Modern Postcard logoModern Postcard's latest sales tool gives a new look to what can be seen with those old 3-D glasses from the 1950s.
The new product, 3-D Direct Mail, uses a patented Phantaglyph 3-D technology that allows a better three-dimensional effect when viewed with the glasses.

"The tool creates a vertical holographic effect," said Keith Goodman, vice president of corporate solutions at Modern Postcard, Carlsbad, CA. "But that might be more than you need to know. It's just very cool."

Previously, companies sent direct mail with the anaglyph 3-D technology. But while that technology gives depth, "it doesn't really give you any height," he said. "This technology offers vivid colors and images that are more realistic."

The technology is used in two of Modern Postcard's folded self-mailers: the Double Deluxe, which folds to 6 by 8.5 inches, and its Folded Double Sumo (6 by 11). It is also used in two tri-fold products (5.75 by 8.5 and 5.75 by 11). The mailing has to be in a folded format so the glasses can be inserted inside. No outer envelope is used.

Such a mail piece tends to be expensive, partly because Modern Postcard has a $2,000 setup fee to photograph the highlighted items. For a typical 5,000-piece tri-fold mailer made with premium, coated cardstock with one 3-D image, copy, a reply device, and the glasses, costs are $1.60 per piece plus postage.

"That would include everything from the photography to putting it in the hands of the client and everything in between," Goodman said.

Modern Postcard did a soft launch of the product at last fall's DMA*05 in Atlanta but began its major launch at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"We have about six or seven clients putting these pieces out this year," Goodman said, though he offered no details. "We will be launching the first of these mailings in February, and some of them could be up in the 1 million-plus range."

Modern Postcard spokesman Fred Hernandez said the company has not yet begun a mail campaign to promote the mailer to its customer base because "most of our current customers most likely will not be interested in the product. It really is a new area for us." Instead, he said, the company is in an acquisition phase, promoting the product to new customers at trade shows and gauging interest. Feedback has been very good, he said, and Modern Postcard likely will send a mailer targeting ad agencies in a few months.

The most interest has come from the manufacturing space as well as travel and hospitality companies, Goodman said.

"Anywhere there is a high-value customer," he said. "For this to be cost-effective, you want to send this to a customer that is worth $300 to $500. It's not for a customer buying a $5 hamburger."

In test mailings, the 3-D postcard has had high open rates, he said. The company also conducted focus groups, which found that all potential recipients said they would put on the glasses and read the piece. More than 70 percent who participated in the focus groups said they would save the direct mail piece and show it to family, friends or associates.

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The World's Largest 3-D Theatre

Tycho Brahe PlanetariumCopenhagen's Tyco Brahe Planetarium plans to show more than just science films in the world's largest 3-D movie theatre - sports, concerts and even video games are on the program.

Normally gala premieres are held for films. Tuesday night, however, the ado in Copenhagen was more about the city's newest movie system than it was about the film it was showing.

A new, high-tech 3-D movie projection system has transformed The Tyco Brahe Planetarium theatre and its 1,000 m2 dome screen into the world's largest 3-D movie theatre.

The theatre opens to the public on Saturday. On Tuesday, however, special guests such as Crown Prince Frederik were on hand for a sneak preview.

"We have four of the newest and most powerful digital 3-D projectors that will deliver the big picture," said Karin Ribe, the planetarium's head of information. "Right now, we can't fill up the entire screen, but our picture is the world's biggest. The next biggest 3-D cinema is found at Universal Studios in Los Angeles."

During the day, the planetarium intends to show traditional science fare such as films about nature and space. When the lights go down on the town, however, a less scholarly crowd will move in, as the theatre will also have entertainment-oriented films on the marquee.

The new technology will also allow the planetarium to transmit live sporting events, live pictures from scientific expeditions, concerts or even to play video games.

"We're at the front edge of a new wave of 3-D films from Hollywood that will wash in over us in the coming years as movie theatres become digitialised. We're not alone in using the new technology, but we will be able to use it to its fullest by projecting the films on the existing overwhelmingly large dome screen," said Steen Krener-Iversen, the vice-director of the planetarium.

The first film shown using the 3-D system will be the children's film The Blue Planet, a film about the Earth's ecosystems. Also on the bill is The Moon, a documentary produced by Tom Hanks, as well as a heart-stopping ride on a virtual roller coaster.

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Umami Cafe uses View-Master® reels for Kids Menu

View-Master viewer and reelUmami Cafe in Croton-on-Hudson has a new entry in the keep-the-kids-busy-at-the-table category: The View-Master®.

As adults are handed a menu, children are handed the familiar toy. But instead of flipping through 3-D images of Pinocchio or The Chronicles of Narnia, the young diners are perusing something else: the children's menu. There are photos of macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and a bowl of spinach, which comes with a child-friendly caveat, "Yuck!"

Craig Purdy, the cafe's owner, got the idea at a seminar for restaurateurs in Las Vegas last year. As participants brainstormed on how to compete with the chains, someone shouted out the idea of putting a dessert menu on a View-Master®. Purdy thought the toy was a better fit for a children's menu. He also offers extra reels with a game called I Spy.

"It's great entertainment for them while we're waiting for dinner," says Margaret Anderson of Cortlandt Manor, who has five children, the oldest of whom is 7. "We talk about which food is in there and what they're going to have."

The View-Master®, which was first introduced at the 1939 World's Fair, falls somewhere between crayons and the Playstation Portable on the tech-savvy scale. It looks like a bulky pair of binoculars, into which you slide a thin reel studded with transparencies. Look inside to see a 3-D image and pull the lever to go to the next one.

It's been a source of amusement for several generations and it seems to be a hit as a menu. On Sunday, one girl had five machines at her table.

"In this digital age, it's kind of square and corny and old-fashioned," Purdy says. "The parents are more pleased with it because it's their generation, the pre-electronic age." The photo of chicken fingers winks at adults; it includes a giant garden glove and a rooster.

Purdy spent months trying to develop the idea on his own before throwing up his hands and calling Fisher-Price, which owns the brand name. The company sent him a 3-D camera and the View-Masters. Find out how you can make your own custom View-Master reels here.

"It cost me a bomb, money I shouldn't have spent on that, but I think it's a nice gesture to the kids," Purdy says. "It certainly works, and it functions on a certain level as the baby sitter or pacifier that it was intended to be."

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Companies Extend Collaboration to Enhance 3-D Entertainment Experience With Flexibility and Low-Cost Benefits of Xilinx® 90mm Programmable Platforms

Sensio 3-D Video ProcessorXILINX logoXilinx®, Inc. and Sensio, maker of the Sensio 3-D stereoscopic processor, today announced the continuation of their six-year collaboration that has resulted in the development of breakthrough 3-D video processing technology. The latest innovation from Sensio, the Sensio S3D-PRO processor, is implemented with Xilinx® Spartan-3™ programmable devices, the lowest-cost FPGA solution for a wide range of applications. When used in conjunction with conventional high-definition players, this next-generation processor enables 3-D video output from any device in any format to provide a low-cost, cinema-quality video experience.

The Sensio S3D-PRO processor, launched in conjunction with a state-of-the-art projector system from consumer electronic giant JVC at CEDIA 2005 in September, supports multiple video formats and is available in a number of configurations that target presentation venues with 5 to more than 300 seats, such as screening rooms, museums and theme parks. The launch of the S3D-PRO follows a successful introduction of its Sensio S3D-100 Video
Processing System at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show, where it won the prestigious CES Product Innovation Award. This award-wining product also was based on the Xilinx® Spartan family of devices.

Sensio logo"Xilinx® programmable devices have been key to our pioneering technology and market success, and we had no doubt that their latest generation FPGAs could take our products to the next level," said Nicholas Routhier, President and CTO at Sensio. "That meant working at higher frequencies, more powerful calculation capabilities, more block RAM and dedicated memory, and lots of external pins. And, of course, the flexibility to quickly change or upgrade the 3-D options available in the processor based on customer requirements.Spartan-3™ FPGAs provide all of this and more in a competitively priced and easy-to-use solution."

Breakthrough 3-D Video Processor
The patent-pending universal output architecture of the Sensio S3D-PRO processor makes it adaptable to a wide range of devices and applications and
eliminates the need for multiple video servers and channels. Compared to alternative 3-D approaches, it uses less processing power and eliminates
synchronization problems to provide a low cost video server solution. The performance and flexibility of the Sensio processor required a versatile development platform for which Xilinx®'s Spartan-3™ FPGAs are an ideal solution. Efficiently utilizing advanced 90-nanometer (nm) semiconductor technology, Spartan-3™ devices provide Sensio with the optimal mix of density and features at the lowest cost for their next-generation systems. The success with Sensio underscores the unprecedented adoption of the Spartan-3 Series FPGAs across diverse markets such as consumer, digital video, industrial, medical and communications and computing.

"We have a great working relationship with Sensio and are pleased to help them advance the state of the art in 3-D video processing. Theirs is an ideal
application of the power and versatility of our Spartan-3™ FPGAs because it requires high performance, aggressive pricing, a wide range of features and
on-the-fly programmability to stay in step with this fast moving market," said Clay Johnson, vice president and general manager of the General Products
Division at Xilinx®. "We look forward to continuing to enhance the Sensio product line with our programmable platforms."

The Right Features at the Right Cost
Accurate and flexible clock timing is a critical design requirement to enable the variety of video resolutions supported by the Sensio processor. Engineers were able to adjust frequencies without changing the external clock generator, using the Spartan-3 FPGA to drive clocks to other external components. Spartan-3 devices also provided the high frequency capabilities needed, both at the core of the processor as well as for input/output signals with rates of 100MHz and 200MHz, respectively. The Sensio S3D-PRO processor also benefits from 36-bit dedicated multipliers available with Spartan-3 FPGAs to support large numbers of on-chip calculations. Sensio developers used the Xilinx® Integrated Software Environment™ (ISE) that provides an intuitive suite of design tools for rapid development of Spartan-3-based designs. The Sensio team extensively leveraged the advanced capabilities available with the latest release of the ISE software to save critical development time, including upgraded synthesis and compilation tools.

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Philips: 3-D TV to appear in 2008

Philips logo"Philips Electronics hopes in about two years to introduce a high-definition television that can play 3-D content," said CEO Rudy Provoost in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show. "Although movie studios don't produce movies in 3-D yet, consumers will be able to get a 3-D experience from a 2-D high-definition disc and these TVs," he said. "As the technology catches on, studios will likely produce movies made from the beginning with 3-D in mind, "he added.

The technology is in the labs at Philips and not yet being shown publicly. The 3-D experiments are part of an overhaul at the European electronics company. Historically, Philips has been a large company with a sprawling product line that bounced in and out of profitability. It did well in Europe, but often struggled in other parts of the world.

Since becoming CEO last year, Provoost has trimmed the company's product lines and re-emphasized upscale features on many products. The Ambilight lighting system on its TVs, for example, match the light coming from the TV with the ambient light in the room. The company has been reorganized into two groups: one that concentrates on premium products and another that works on DVD players and other established product categories.

Sales have begun to rebound in North America, Asia and Latin America. "Before were we running on one cylinder (Europe). Now we are running on four," he said.

Provoost also shed more light on the acrimony behind the HD DVD and Blu-ray dispute. Although the two standards differ technically, the participants behind each of the standards stand to collect substantial revenues.

"They all look for return on investment," he said. Philips backs Blu-ray and contributed some of the intellectual property behind it. The company also garnered substantial royalties from CD. The company will come out with its first Blu-ray player in the second half.

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TDVision at CES 2006

TDV logoTDV prototypes

Our fascination with artificial 3-D imagery is seemingly endless, and we've been entertained and tortured by countless different 3-D technology over the 100 years, from stereoscopic still images to blue and red lenses that make you ill to polarized lenses that achieve a truer effect on moving images. In recent years, however, we've seen more new technologies in film and on computer that take the concept of 3-D to a more realistic level. Now comes TDVision, a new company with yet another new way of helping consumers see moving images in 3-D.

As with most other similar technologies, TDVision starts with a stereoscopic camera that captures two images a few inches apart. However, instead of combining them into one scene where the two images are slightly offset and have to be combined with special glasses, TDVision delivers two separate video streams to two displays in a special visor, creating a 3-D effect. The technology can, however, at the same time deliver a standard 2-D images to a regular monitor. So some viewers can enjoy the show in 3-D (with a visor), while others can choose to watch it the old fashioned way.

TDVisions technology is compatible with all kinds of file formats, including MPEG 2 and 4 and display technologies. These special visors will eventually sell for around $200. The company plans on licensing the technology to a wide array of partners and said it could even, conceivably, be incorporated into a competing product like the eMagin 3-D Visor.

Visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2006) got a chance to try out the tech behind close doors and found it surprisingly good. Actually, the rollercoaster film managed to achieve the impact of the best and worst of 3-D. it was highly entertaining and so realistic, it made us sick.

 

 

 

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3-D Movies: New Approach to an Old Idea
Scientists at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and Carnegie Mellon University can deliver HDTV-quality stereo viewing at reasonable cost - Article courtesy of Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Joel Stiles and Stuart PomerantzIf you’re a baby boomer, you may remember watching horror movies with 3-D glasses. This novelty approach to creating a visual sensation of depth was one of the first movie forays into stereo viewing. Since then, with stereo goggles for computer gaming and, at the high-end of quality and expense, with supercomputing applications in science and engineering, the technology has improved. But you still can’t go to the movies and see good 3-D, say visualization experts at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), who have come up with an approach that may fill the void in theaters, meeting rooms and at home.

The key is low cost and high performance, says PSC scientist Joel Stiles, an associate professor in the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon. Stiles, a medical doctor, physiologist and neuroscientist, and colleague Stuart Pomerantz, a programming expert, created the new system, called the PSC Stereo Animation System (PSC-SAS). “If you make good stereo content and have a good display system,” says Stiles, “stereo viewing works fabulously. But it’s tremendously underused, because few people have put all the pieces together in an optimum way. Our system provides theater-quality stereo viewing of complex animations at extremely high performance-cost ratio.”

With PSC-SAS, images display on a screen, as in normal movie viewing, and the viewer wears light, comfortable glasses, like polarized sunglasses, making the system easily adaptable to in-theater or home viewing. Many stereo-viewing systems, in contrast, rely on special goggles, connected to a computer that can be used by only one person at a time while looking at a computer monitor.

To date, PSC-SAS has been used mainly in scientific settings, for 3-D display of dynamic data, compiled as movies, from computational simulations of biomolecules, cellular physiology and other applications, where being able to see depth enhances the ability to understand and analyze complex phenomena. The reaction among scientists, say Stiles and Pomerantz, has been remarkable.

“Many scientists and other professionals who have seen various types of stereo display,” says Stiles, “are jaded. They think it sort of works, but it’s basically a toy. When they see our system, they say ‘wow’ and they’re reaching out to touch what they see, because it looks so real as it hangs there in space.”

All stereo-viewing systems achieve the effect of depth by displaying a slightly different image to each eye. PSC-SAS is distinctive in providing high-quality content in movie-form with “passive” stereo display technology. Most scientific systems and computer games are “active” stereo, relying on goggles that are, in effect, shutter glasses, controlling what each eye sees by electronically switching between the right and left eye at a rate faster than the wearer perceives.

Active stereo can provide high-quality effects, but it has several disadvantages. Prominently, it may present a health and safety problem. In some people, the rapid on-off flashing seen by each eye may become uncomfortable, and flashing lights can sometimes trigger an epileptic reaction. Visualization professionals generally limit their use to relatively short periods at a time. Active stereo, furthermore, is prohibitive for theater viewing, because of the cost of providing computerized goggles to everyone in the theater. The goggles, moreover, are heavy, need batteries and a link to a computer to keep them synchronized.

A more recent technology, “glasses-free” stereo on computer monitors, offers limited resolution and requires the viewer’s head to remain in a particular location to see the effect.

With PSC-SAS, two projectors display a right and left-eye image on the screen simultaneously, overlaid on each other, based on the well understood phenomenon of polarized light, so that one image is polarized at a 90 degree angle to the other. Polarized glasses allow the left and right eyes to perceive the two distinct images separately. With this approach, many viewers at one time can see stereo depth.

“One lens is polarized in one direction,” says Pomerantz, “and the other in the opposite direction. As long as the filters on the projectors match the filters on the glasses, you can deliver one image to the right eye and another to the left. It’s an old trick.”

PSC-SAS implements the old trick with stereo-movie content created by software called DReAMM, developed by Stiles, coupled to playback software called PSC-MP, developed by Pomerantz. To accommodate the high resolution of scientific images, PSC-SAS relies on sophisticated compression techniques that reduce file size, but only to a degree that the eye can’t detect as different from the original. PSC-MP delivers the polarized images to the dual projectors in synchrony at high realism. It decodes and transmits data at 100 megabits per second, 20 times faster than DVD data rates, for high-definition quality at 30 frames per second.

The result, vivid color and sharp, unpixelated images without uncomfortable, unsafe goggles, also comes at reasonable cost. Stiles estimates a total expense of $12,000 for the hardware components of PSC-SAS, available off-the-shelf, easily within the range of today’s home theater market. A non-depolarizing screen, two computer projectors, a dual-processor PC, and a pair of polarized glasses, bring your own popcorn.

PSC-SAS is available for licensing and commercialization through the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Transfer Center.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with the Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.

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New Survey Finds 39 Million Adults Would Go To The Movies More Often For Feature-Length 3-D Films
Opinion Dynamics Corporation survey also finds 43 Million adults would pay more at box office for a unique 3-D experience

Marty McFlly is menaced by a holographic 3-D shark from JAWS 19 in 3-D playing at the theatre of the future in the film Back to the Future  Part 2.More than 39 million American adults would go to the movies more often if Hollywood offered more feature-length films in 3-D, according to a new survey by Opinion Dynamics Corporation. Results from a nationwide survey of 900 adults show that 12 percent of Americans. roughly 26 million adults. would go to the movies more often to see 3-D movies. Another six percent, 13 million adults, would go more often depending on the types of films offered in 3-D.

In the early 1950’s, movie studios were losing audiences due to the rising popularity of television. Studios lured audiences back with 3-D films, but their success was short-lived. Today, the movie industry is again faced with diminished ticket sales. In 2003, there were 29 films that grossed $100 million or more in the U.S.; in 2004 there were 24 such films and only 15 to-date in 2005.

Ticket price increases have somewhat offset the decrease in ticket sales, but the movie industry as a whole is showing signs of wear. Studios, movie theaters, production and distribution companies, projection systems makers and other industry players are trying to determine the content, formats and dissemination methods that can lure consumers back to the theater. Once again, players in the industry are investing in 3-D technology, which has been updated and refined for the modern audience. According to the latest public opinion research, moviegoers are warming to the trend.

The survey by Opinion Dynamics gauged consumers’ attitudes toward feature-length 3-D films, which have been primarily limited to animated fare. Last year, Warner Brother’s blockbuster, The Polar Express, grossed close to $290 million worldwide; almost $50 million of that came from the 3-D version of the film, which aired in IMAX® theatres. This year, Disney funded the nationwide installation of 85 digital projection systems with brand new, state-of-the-art 3-D capabilities for the release of Chicken Little, which also showed significantly higher per-screen averages for the 3-D version of the film.

“Given that there were only two feature-length 3-D films released in 2005, there appears to be pent-up demand for 3-D films, especially when feature-length, live-action 3-D films come to market," said Richard Greif, project director at Opinion Dynamics Corporation. “Studios and theaters need something compelling to offer movie-goers, and 3-D could be a big draw if enough highly entertaining films can be made. A well-made 3-D movie can provide an audience with an unparalleled cinematic experience.”

The Opinion Dynamics survey, entitled Measuring the 3-D Film Revolution: Understanding the Impact of New Technology on Movie Theater Visitation, is available in white paper form on the Opinion Dynamics Web site. Key findings include:

  • Fourteen percent, or 30 million adults, would pay $2-3 more to see a feature length film in 3-D, and another six percent, or 13 million adults, would also pay more depending on the films offered in 3-D.
  • Almost one-half (48 percent) of Americans have seen a 3-D film (of any length), with 22 percent seeing it at a regular movie theater, 19 percent at an IMAX® theater and seven percent at both types of theaters.
  • If they were to see a 3-D film, Americans are somewhat more likely to prefer 3-D effects that appear to come out of the screen at them (37 percent) as they are to prefer 3-D effects that give better depth to images on the screen (31 percent).
  • More than one in four (28 percent) Americans go to the movies once a month or more; 29 percent go several times a year; 23 percent go once a year or less, and 20 percent do not go to the movies at all.

The future of the 3-D movie is the latest research effort by Opinion Dynamics Corporation to measure consumer attitudes regarding entertainment. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Opinion Dynamics is a national leader in market research, public opinion polling and consulting with a specialty in entertainment and media. ODC conducts research for media outlets, theaters, distributors, producers, museums and tourist attractions, including National Geographic Films, Smithsonian Business Ventures, Disney World, Destination Cinema, MacGillivray Freeman Films, Boston Museum of Science, FOX News Channel, Giant Screen Theater Association and the Digital Sports Network.

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Han Snook Joins DDD Group PLC Board of Directors

DDD logoDDD Group plc, the 3-D software and content company, announced the appointment of Hans Snook to the company's board of non-executive directors.

Mr. Snook is the Chairman of MonsterMob Group plc ("MonsterMob") and the founder and former Chief Executive of Orange.

Hans Snook was appointed Chairman of AIM-listed MonsterMob in May of 2005. MonsterMob is a leading media and entertainment company that specializes in the sale of mobile telephone entertainment content and services, with operations in 20 countries and connectivity to 38 mobile telephone network carriers.

Hans was the founder and Chief Executive of Orange, a leading mobile telephone network carrier. He articulated the vision of the 'wirefree future' that has driven the branding, strategy and operation of Orange. Under Hans' leadership, Orange launched their mobile phone service on 28 April 1994 and had a profound impact on the mobile market both in the U.K. and globally. In March 1996, Orange listed on the London and NASDAQ exchanges and, in June of 1996, became the youngest ever company to enter the FTSE 100.

Following the agreed acquisition of Orange by Mannesmann at the end of 1999, Mannesmann was acquired by Vodafone early in 2000 and, on 30 May 2000, the agreed acquisition of Orange by France Telecom was announced. Hans continued as Chief Executive of the enlarged Orange Group, leading it to flotation in February 2001, at which point he became Special Advisor to the Group, a role from which he stepped down at the end of 2001. From 2002 until early in 2005, Hans was non-executive Chairman of Carphone Warehouse Group PLC.

Hans' current directorships include MonsterMob Group PLC, Healthsmart Limited, The Integrated Health Consultancy Ltd. and Sensophone Limited.

"I am truly delighted that Hans has joined the board of DDD as a non-executive director," said Paul Kristensen, Chairman of DDD. "Hans brings a vast, directly relevant experience to DDD, particularly in the mobile phone market where DDD has seen the most growth in recent months. His contributions as a board member will be invaluable."

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3-D Auction Results

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

Roto-Vuer
Model D on base

A Roto-Vuer sold for $270 with 17 bids. Made in the 1950s by STER-E-O, INC. of Seattle, Washington. This novel stereo slide viewer is precision-built and made of tough styrene plastic. It operates like Realist or Kodak slide viewers but it uses a SLIDE CARRIER that permits the sequential viewing of up to 60 slides without reloading. The ROTO-VUER accomodates either TRU-MOUNT plastic slide binders, Eastman cardboard mounts, or any rigid, stereo slide not thicker than 0.075". The viewer can be hand-held or mounted on a tripod for ease of operation. This deluxe model is equipped with a dimmer switch which allows you to adjust the light intensity. Also include are the original box, a slide carrier (60-slide capacity), original instructions, new bulbs, and a brand new AC adapter. The 3-D ROTO-VUER has been re-wired to use the 6V AC adapter. Two #40 (6.3V) screw-base lamps provide a bright and even light source.

 

 

A View-Master® Model D Focusing Viewer with Stand Transformer and Color Shift Viewing Filter sold for $399 with two bids. William B. Gruber designed this stand and this particular set was included with the "Chinese Art" collection. There are no cracks, chips or corrosion on this viewer. The transformer and filter are vintage and in perfect conditon as well. The stand features an on/off control, anodized metal fittings and can be tilted forward, backward as well as raised. It has a heavy weighted base for viewing or display. The viewer works with batteries (not supplied) or transformer (included). This viewer is brown, has the original inspector number and is fitted with a special filter for viewing reels that exhibit a color shift. This viewer also has the special vintage fluted nut, which fits this stand. Other Model Ds will not fit this stand without this nut. The filter is easily removed for regular viewing.

 

View-Master logo

View-Master Military Training Reel

 

21 View-Master® reels all about Africa sold for $282 with nine bids.

  • #3120 NORTHERN RHODESIA COPPER BELT
    #3113 THE MATOPOS-SOUTHERN RHODESIA
  • #3161 LOURENCO MARQUES 1-MOZAMBIQUE
  • #3203 CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO-TANGANYIKA
  • #3211 NAIROBI, KENYA
  • #3029 NATIVES OF ZULULAND-UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3020A DURBAN 1-UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3020B DURBAN 2-UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3036 PRETORIA, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3003C CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3019 THE GARDEN ROUTE, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3015 KIMBERLEY DIAMOND MINE
  • #3214 KENYA, EAST AFRICA
  • #3217 MOUNT KENYA
  • #3220 MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, UGANDA
  • #3265 SCENES OF ETHIOPIA
  • #3260 ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
  • #3011 CAPE OF GOOD HOPE & GROOTE SCHUUR
  • #3039A JOHANNESBURG 1, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3039B JOHANNESBURG 2, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • #3100 VICTORIA FALLS, SOUTHERN RHODESIA
  • #3216 LAKE VICTORIA, KENYA

A Sawyer’s View-Master® viewer and 47 Sawyer’s View Master® Military Study Reels sold for $207.55 with 11 bids. The reels were all titled "7 Planes" and numbered #1-35, #38-48 and #50.

Another lot of 38 Sawyer’s View Master® Military Study Reels with viewer sold for $143.93 with 16 bids. The following reels were included:

  • #1 - "Lightening"
  • #2 - "Thunderbolt"
  • #3 - "Mustang"
  • #4 - "Hudson"
  • #5 - "Baltimore"
  • #6 - "Vengeance"
  • #7 - "Mitchell"
  • #8 - " Marauder"
  • #9 - "Liberator"
  • #10 - "O-52"
  • #11 - "Wildcat"
  • #12 - "Corsair"
  • #13 - "Helldiver"
  • #14 - "Dauntless"
  • #15 - "Vindicator"
  • #16 - "Avenger"
  • #17 - "Seagull"
  • #20 - "Catalina"
  • #21 - "Coronado"
  • #22 - "Mariner"
  • #23 - "Hurricane"
  • #24 - "Spitfire"
  • #25 - "Stirling"
  • #26 - "Zerstorer"
  • #27 - "HE 113"
  • #35 - "Zero-Zeke"
  • #37 - "7-Planes"
  • #38 - "Mary"
  • #39 - "BABS"
  • #43 - "Adam"
  • #44 - "Dick"
  • #45 - "Ruth"
  • #46 - "Nell"
  • #47 - "Sally"
  • #48 - "I-16"
  • #49 - "PE-2"
  • #50 - "IL-2"
  • #64 - "Airacobra"

 

Pre-WWII German stereoviews

Pre-WWII German stereoviews

 

Pre-WWII German stereoviewsAn original German 3-D album, titled Der Kampf im Westen (The struggle in the West) sold for $455 with 27 bids. The stereoviews show the Western campaign against the Benelux and France by the German Army in spring 1940. It is an original 1940 3-D album produced by the Raumbild-Verlag of Otto Schönstein - Munich. The set has 100 stereoviews, hardcase album and adjustable stereo card viewer. The book contains a good number of stories from the campaign as well as some superb full page color photographs. The front and back cover of the book has a total of five pockets/slots containing 4 x 25 stereo cards, as well as the stereo card viewer.

The cards are high quality photographs and show infantry, armor (Panzer Tanks), elite troops, allied POW's, Wehrmacht in the trenches, shot up vehicles and planes and loads more. The book is hardback and has a total of 77 numbered pages and measure 11 1/4" x 8 1/4". Weight, three pounds.

 

   

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