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April 2006 Issue

Vol. 4, No. 4

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Superman Returns to fly in 3-D at IMAX™ Theatres

Superman Returns shield Image Courtesy of Warner BrothersSuperman leaps tall buildings in a single bound, flies faster than a speeding bullet and this summer, will land in audience laps in a 3-D version of Superman Returns, set for IMAX™ movie theaters.

IMAX™ and Warner Bros. film studio said they plan to feature 20 minutes of the big-budget Hollywood movie in three dimensions when it hits theaters in late June, marking the first live-action, 3-D movie on giant IMAX™ screens.

The plan highlights an ongoing trend by some major Hollywood studios toward placing more 3-D movies in theaters to generate excitement and lure fans in the face of a recent decline in movie theater attendance.

Total admissions declined 8.7 percent in the United States in 2005 to $1.4 billion. In contrast, IMAX™ enjoyed a strong year in part by creating must-see events, showing big-budget Hollywood films on screens that can rise up to eight stories.

IMAX™ and Warner Bros. teamed up for a 3-D version of the animated movie The Polar Express in 2004, and so far the film has grossed more than $60 million in two seasons at IMAX™.

An IMAX™ spokesman said Superman Returns director Bryan Singer has chosen certain segments of the action-filled movie about the comic book superhero to show in 3-D, and fans will be given a visual cue to put on special glasses to view them.

Superman Returns, which debuts on June 30, stars Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel, who comes back to Earth after a mysterious absence in the universe only to find the love of his life, Lois Lane, has moved on. All the while, an old nemesis plots Superman's destruction.

In an interview, Brandon Routh talked about the possibility of a 3-D or IMAX™ version of Superman Returns. “Oh, we’ve discussed an IMAX™ version. As far as a 3-D version, I have to see the demonstrations of how to do that without shooting it that way. In theory, the best, the real way to do 3-D is shooting it 3-D, you know, with appropriate occular placement, with two lenses attached to the media. I’ve seen the camera. It’s quite extraordinary. But as far as us doing a 3-D release, we would have to re-render other elements in the digital world so we’ve not yet discussed the notion of rendering our visual effects in 3-D. That discussion hasn’t started yet because I’d like to see some demonstrations of what that looks like. Obviously we’re not shooting the film in 3-D."

The film is being shot with the Genesis Camera. "We’re the first film to really use this camera. It was built from the ground up by Sony and Panavision to look more like film than any digital camera to date has done and it’s quite fascinating. It’s created quite an image. Kind of was spawned from when I did Brandon Routh’s screen test. I did it in both 35mm and 70mm and I looked at the 70mm image and the resolution, and I said, ‘God, if we could only shoot this movie in 70mm.’ But it’s not possible with the way that the cameras, the lenses, the rigs, the processing of the films, it’s just not possible. So the Genesis Camera came the closest to creating something classic, but new. And with a resolution that will blow up to IMAX™. You’ll be able to project on the side of the biggest building in this town and it will be pretty vivid, pretty clear.”

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David Burkhart's Earthquake Days: The 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire in 3-D "Coffee Table" Book Update icon

Earthquake Days: The 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire book cover artSan Fransisco earthquake and fire stereoview and enlargement from the book Earthquake Days: The 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire in 3-D by David  Burkhart April 18 marked the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire. Countless books have been written on this compelling subject. Yet, until now, there has never been a full-color "coffee table" book about California's greatest natural disaster, let alone one that features 3-D photos of the catastrophe. 1906 San Fransisco comes to life in this unique collection of over 100 original stereo photographs of the "City-By-The-Bay." These haunting 3-D images were created before, during and after the earthquake and fire that destroyed 508 city blocks and left 200,000 homeless. Accompanied by firsthand accounts, newspapers, maps and lithographs, the recreate San Fransisco's great calamity an indomitable spirit with stunning realism.

This richly-illustrated 220-page book is "Must See 3-D™" for the 3-D collector and anyone interested in the history of the earthquake. The book includes a pair of 3-D glasses. Printed on heavyweight glossy paper, the book weighs nearly five pounds.

There are more than stereoviews of the earthquake and fire in the book. Stereoviews range from images showing the early history of stereoviews to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which was built on the landfill area created from the debris of the fire. The beginning chapters introduce readers to the history of the stereoscope and contain several California related 3-D images. The 3-D images include views of the magnificent City Hall before and the tragic ruins of the building after the fire, taken from nearly the same location. One of the most dramatic 3-D photos is the Harbor Emergency Hospital with an old-time horse drawn fire engine sitting in frontof it while the city burns with billowing black smoke filling the sky in the distance.

The quality and clarity of the 3-D images presented in the book is outstanding. Along with the numerous 3-D views are 2-D enlargements of several scenes, giving readers close-up versions to see more details. Several stereoviews featured in the book were printed from the original glass-plate negative from the Keystone-Mast Collection.

What others are saying about Earthquake Days
“Earthquake Days is one of those rare and special books-both smart and gorgeous. Burkhart's personal passion for stereophotography rings through these pages, coupled with his great sense of history and storytelling. The illustrations are lustrous, with stereo card views, bird’s-eye views and fantastic full color reproductions of period newspapers, lithographs and more. This book is a tremendous contribution to the visual history of one of the world’s most famous disasters.”
- Stephen Becker, Executive Director, California Historical Society

“What a pleasure and more - what a surprise to find in this elegant book both a revitalization and a powerful retelling of the familiar drama of San Francisco’s destruction by earthquake and fire in 1906. Burkhart has gathered not only the most complete collection of photographs (many of them stereo views) and other illustrative revelations, he has created - page after page - a richly rewarding, enlightening experience for what should be his many, many readers. What a pleasure for them!”
- J. S. Holliday, author of The World Rushed In and Rush for Riches

“A beautiful book.”
- Philip L. Fradkin, author of The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906

Earthquake Days: The 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake and Fire is a 220-page hardcover book, 10.25 x 13 x 1 inches. ISBN 0977330567. Retail price is $44.95 (U.S. only).

Author David BurkhartCalifornia-born historian and author David Burkhart is an honors graduate of Yale. A resident of the Bay Area since 1980, he and his wife live on the San Fransisco Peninsula, half a mile from the aptly named San Andreas Lake. Mr. Burkhart is a member of the small staff at San Fransisco's renowned Anchor Steam® Brewery. A professional trumpeter, he teaches at the San Fransisco Conservatory and performs regularly with the San Fransisco Symphony and Opera. He is also a member of the National Stereoscopic Association.

For more information or to order a copy of the book online, visit www.1906quake.com or e-mail info@faultlinebooks.com. Write to Faultline Books, P.O. Box 849, San Bruno, CA 94066.

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Star Wars Television in 3-D

Star Wars Darth Vader in 3-DAccording to TIME, Star Wars creator George Lucas is saying that the upcoming Star Wars television show he is working on is in 3-D with "glasses and everything."

Lucas has agreed to write 100 one-hour episodes for television to be shown in 3-D. The series is being produced by Rick McCallum and is expected to spark a big-money bidding war between the BBC and ITV, reports said.

"Writers will soon start work to prepare for filming and release in 2008, said McCallum adding, "The series will introduce 'a whole bunch of new characters' and be 'much more dramatic and darker.'" George Lucas has committed himself to writing the Star Wars TV series. It'll all be new because the originals will be too old."

They will fill in the missing years between 2005's prequel, Revenge Of The Sith, and original film Star Wars, made in 1977. The TV series will focus on the rise of Darth Vader's dark empire and will feature original actor Anthony Daniels, who played robot C-3P0.

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Monster House 3-D Lenticular Movie Poster

Monster House 3-D Lenticular Poster art

Sony Pictures Digital Inc. has issued a theatrical 3-D lenticular poster to promote the film Monster House. The poster shows the house turning into a monster. A business card size version of the lenticular image is also being produced to promote the film.

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Australia's Geelong Advertiser is going 3-D daily starting April 1

Krystle Richard tries on the Addy 3-D glasses for size.The Geelong Advertiser is going 3-D daily. Not the whole paper, mind you. Just enough to tantalise and play with your senses. Australia's most interactive newspaper has developed its own special techniques and technologies to take our photographs into the third dimension.

"Look into our paper and you will see into the distance. It's so real, you feel like you could walk into the page," say the editors, "It's so real, it's unreal. This is not an April Fool's joke. We've been working on this project for six months, developing the technology and sourcing the special glasses that will be available in newsagents. Our pictures will be local photographs taken by our own award-winning photographers, not conversions of old stereoscopic slides (although we will publish some of those as well)."

A team of specially selected readers has been working with us so that we can share the knowledge. "We've shown them how to make their own 3-D pictures for publication. That's right. We're sharing our secret with you, our loyal readers, so we can publish your 3-D pictures, too. It starts on Saturday, April 1 with a special 3-D poster. But it all began when we were brainstorming our interactive hit, TXT the Editor late last year. How else could the Geelong Advertiser provide an interactive experience for its readers?"

And so it began, months of research and development, guidance from some truly amazing people on the internet and a test photograph published in The Geelong Advertiser on January 10 this year. It was a very small, picture in an advertisement for home delivery which appeared on the weather page. The 3-D subject was a Test cricketer, carefully manipulated to jump in the air and off the page. "We put the glasses and bingo! it worked.

The testing continued with a special, limited print run off our printing press. Some pictures worked better than others, so we refined our techniques.

The Geelong Advertiser is not the first newspaper or magazine to print 3-D pictures. National Geographic published pictures from Mars in 1998 and a newspaper in Canada has published a 3-D edition but The Geelong Advertiser will be the first to publish daily, for all of April or until the fun runs out.

And we will be the first in the world to publish readers' pictures daily and show how to do it.

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Live 3-D Sports in Movie Theatres by 2007

3-D filmstripMovie theater operators hope to be screening live 3-D sports events by 2007 in a bid to lure sports fans away from their home theater systems and bolster sagging mid-week ticket sales.

Ticket sales at theater chains dropped nine percent in 2005 from what analysts said was a combination of lackluster films, competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games and the spread of large-screen, high-definition televisions and digital video recorders.

While worldwide tickets sales are forecast to grow 12 percent over the next five years, exhibitors want to use new digital projection technology to change the way consumers think about movie theaters.

"We want to transition our theaters from being traditional movie theaters to being community entertainment destinations, and what better way to do this than sports?" said Shari Redstone, president of the National Amusements Inc. theater chain.

In 2004, during Boston Red Sox baseball fever, the year they won the World Series for the first time since 1918, National Amusements, the controlling shareholder in Viacom Inc, began screening high-definition broadcasts of Red Sox games in its Showcase Cinemas in several New England cities on weekday nights.

The cinemas brought in vendors to stroll the aisles with hot dogs, peanuts and beer, sold team gear in the lobbies and encouraged fans to loosen up as they would in the ball park.

"We are not just putting the game up on the big screen but making the experience like being in Fenway Park," Redstone, a Red Sox fan, said. "The experience is more important, really, than what you are showing."

Other chains are looking to much-improved digital three-dimensional projection for an experience theater-goers can't get at home.

But while the projection has greatly advanced from the early 3-D days, special glasses must still be worn to achieve the full effect.

Michael Lewis, chairman of privately held REAL D, which created 3-D prints for the Walt Disney Co's Chicken Little, said 3-D technology has tested successfully on National Football League games, but unwinding who owns the rights to screen games in theaters may be tricky.

"We think the concerts will be the first because they are easiest to do," Lewis said. "Sometime in 2007, our goal is to get live sports programming to theaters. Some of the (sports) rights holders see it as cannibalizing opportunities in other venues that they paid a lot of money for."

Three dimensional filming is achieved by using two digital cameras set apart the same distance as human eyes.

Lewis would not divulge which distributors Real D is working with on 3-D sports broadcasts.

Peter Brown, chief executive of AMC Theatres, owned by privately held AMC Entertainment Inc., said exhibitors are in the early stages of trying to drive more live content into their venues.

"It's a bit of a brave new world," Brown said last week at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas. "The folks that control those rights or owners have to sort that out. (The contracts) weren't created with that notion in mind."

"National Amusements had no problem securing rights to screen games because the Red Sox organization controls the New England Sports Network that broadcasts the team's games in the region, a lucky break," Redstone said.

"I have talked to some of the other (Viacom) entities about getting some more programming, but it is extremely difficult to get through the rights issues," Redstone said.

Nor is it clear whether in-theater games would feature commercials or if it would function more like pay per view.

National CineMedia, a consortium of Regal Entertainment Group, AMC and Cinemark theaters, has been working on ideas and relationships with TV networks and cable programmers, NCM Chief Executive Kurt Hall said.

National CineMedia has broadcast the NASCAR Daytona 500, Major League Soccer and part of the Tour de France in some of its theaters in past years, but wants to expand into regular sports and concert programming, especially during the weekday attendance lull.

"The intent is to cross market the theater event and network TV programming and even start including the theater audiences in the TV ratings calculations," Hall said.

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Close Encounters of a 3-D Kind

Ballaarat Astronomical Society Logo

 

The future of visual technology has come to the Ballarat Municipal Observatory in Austrailia with the opening of the 3-D AstroTour Virtual Reality System.

The state-of-the-art program provides visitors to the observatory with a 3-D view of space, the solar system and the galaxy through short films and interactive software packages.

Ballaarat ObservatoryIt was developed by astronomers at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing and is the first of its kind to be permanently located in regional Victoria.

Ballaarat Astronomical Society committee member Aaron DeBuhr said the AstroTour program would provide an entertaining way for school or community groups to learn about astronomy. "It can be a very powerful tool, because it really helps people visualise what's out there," he said. "Kids can look into telescopes for a while, but 3-D movies really grab their attention and teach them about space. Another benefit is that when people book for a tour of the observatory and it's not a clear night, they'll still be able to take an AstroTour."

Visitors wear special glasses to make images produced using software and two projectors appear in 3-D. The system was funded by a City of Ballarat community development grant. DeBuhr said students from primary school-aged to VCE physics could benefit from the system.

This Observatory, situated at Mount Pleasant in Ballarat, was established on the initiative and with the financial support of James Oddie, and was formally opened to the public in 1886. When Oddie presented the Observatory to the people of Ballarat, it became the first municipal observatory in Australia. The Observatory is located on the corner of Magpie and Cobden Street, Mount Pleasant, Ballarat East and is open every Friday and Saturday evening.

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3-D Center of Art and Photography to present Jim Gasperini's StereoJet prints and Simon Bell's Los Caros Viejos: Classic American Cars in Cuba in 3-D starting April 6

3D Center of Art and Photography  logoJim Gasperini, multimedia artist and co-producer of the Burning Man Opera, displays his intriguing back-lit StereoJet prints, an experimental technology in which the left and right images of a stereo pair are printed on opposite surfaces of a multi-layer, transparent substrate using inks that show different colors when viewed from different angles.

In the stereo theatre, world-renowned stereographer Simon Bell presents Los Caros Viejos: Classic American Cars in Cuba, a celebration of the classic motor vehicle in stunning and colorful 3-D. Show will be accompanied by traditional Cuban music. Please join us for an artist’s reception with Jim Gasperini on First Thursday, at 6 p.m. on April 6.

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.

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HP Indigo Lenticular 3-D Application now available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

HP logoHP has announced the availability of the HP Indigo Lenticular 3-D Application in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market. Available through an agreement with HumanEyes Technologies Ltd (HET), the lenticular kit enables HP Indigo press s2000 owners to produce the full range of lenticular effects for specialty printing applications.

Lenticular products have a high added value for both printers and customers, and 3-D images have proven to have a stopping power, five times greater that conventional 2-D print, and four times the staying power, making them highly attractive to retailers and producers of direct mail and promotional items. Lenticular prints contain multiple images that create the illusion of movement or a third dimension. Possible effects include flipping, morphing, zooming, 3-D and animation.

The lenticular kit comprises special screening software, skew enhancing guide system hardware, and calibration jig, all developed by HP, as well as software for creation of lenticular content, developed by HET and two substrates suited to different applications, provided by HET.

"The HP Indigo Lenticular 3-D Application opens exciting and entertaining new opportunities for creative marketing organizations," said Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, Indigo Division, HP. "The simplification of what has traditionally been a slow and expensive process has, with HP and HET technology, become available for general use."

The HP Indigo Lenticular 3-D Application simplifies the production of lenticular images by slicing the images to be used and interlacing them digitally. When done conventionally, slicing and interlacing was time-consuming and expensive, making both short-run and on-demand production unfeasible. The special hardware developed by HP ensures alignment between the substrate and the image to optimise the 3-D quality effect. The result is an end-to-end solution that enables, for the first time, production of cost-effective, digital, high-quality, short run lenticular prints. The HP solution is the only digital commercial and industrial solution to offer these benefits.

"Everything has been carefully thought through, and all of the materials, processes and software are matched to give you a quality result, time after time. Lenticular is a proven technology that has been waiting for this solution," said Harry Skidmore, CEO, Easibind International, Derbyshire, UK, which beta tested the lenticular application in Europe. "The HP Indigo Lenticular 3-D Application combines versatility with consistent quality which is a winning combination, and takes the lenticular process to a new advanced level."

Applications for lenticular products include A4 posters, shelf-wobblers, mouse pads, coaters, business cards, greetings cards, POS displays and myriad small promotional items including buttons, key rings and fridge magnets.

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Philips 3-D Solutions introduce 42-inch 3-D WOW display with enhanced depth performance

Philips logoFeaturing an out-of-screen performance, where objects virtually fly in front of the screen, it immediately grabs the attention of the viewer. Philips 3-D WOW display is intended for use in media rich environments such as stores and shopping malls to attract the visitors' attention and leave them with an extraordinary and entertaining 3-D experience.

Philips 3-D displays allow multiple users to view 3-D content at the same time within a large comfort zone, providing a sustainable 3-D viewing experience without the need for special viewing glasses. The 42-inch 42-3D6W01 WOW is especially designed for applications that require an eye-catching 3-D viewing experience. It includes a new lens design based on the slanted multi-view lenticular lens technology, known from the 3D6C01 Comfort type that was designed for a natural 3-D experience. The same unique advantages are offered: full brightness, full contrast and true color representation. Besides 3-D viewing, the display can also be used as a high-quality screen for standard 2-D content, which makes Philips 3-D WOW display a versatile presentation tool for a wide variety of applications.

The 42-inch 3-D WOW display is the second WOWvx-based product from Philips that promises to help professionals create an amazing viewing experience with the latest technology to make content richer, more exciting, and more entertaining for the end-user so that it's almost "real". WOWvx provides the latest innovation in technology to attract the consumer's attention and is well positioned for use in digital signage, games, gambling, 3-D visualization, etc.

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3-D Auction Results

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

3-D Sad Sack-
3-D-ell
3-D Tales from the Crypt of Terror #2

A 9.0 copy of Harvey Comics' 3-D Hits Sad Sack #1 (Harvey, 1954) sold for $399 with eight bids. This was a Harvey Comics File Copy. The issue included two pairs of glasses. George Baker cover art.

A 7.0 copy of Dell Comics' 3-D-ell featuring Flukey Luke sold for $80.50 with three bids. 3-D-ell #3 File Copy (Dell, 1953) The comic came from the Random House Archives.

An 8.5 copy of EC Comics' Three Dimensional Tales from the Crypt of Terror #2 (EC, 1954) sold for $862.50 with six bids. This great EC 3-D comic has a cover by Al Feldstein, with stories from Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror that have been redrawn to the 3-D format by Jack Davis, Will Elder, Johnny Craig and Joe Orlando.

bozo bear

The original six-page Bozo Bear artwork for Funny 3-D Comics (Harvey, 1953) sold for $230 with three bids. This cute funny animal story originally appeared in Harvey's earlier Nutty Comics. The pages are all stamped "Blue" at the top, and a tissue overlay (missing on the second page) provides the red and blue color breakdowns needed for the 3-D process. All pages are on illustration board measuring 15" x 20", with an image area of 12.5" x 18".

The Flintsones 3-D #4 original cover art

The original cover art for the The Flintstones 3-D #4 (Blackthorne, 1988) sold for $86.25 with four bids. Fred, Wilma, and baby Pebbles get together for this family portrait, with Pebbles checking out the story of her own birth in this issue. She even has her 3-D glasses on!. The board measures 14.5" x 20.5", with an image area of 11.75" x 18". A copy of the comc was included in the sale.

Adventures in 3-D original cover art

The original production cover art for Adventures in 3-D #1 (Harvey, 1953) sold for $425.50 with three bids. An intense cover designed to take full advantage of the 3-D process, this impressive image is just as scary in 2-D. The cover is made up entirely of stats, with no original art at all, but it still a fantastic image that showcases artist Howard Nostrand's impressive composition and lush inking style. Measures 13" x 19", with an image area of 10.5" x 16.75".

 

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