January 2009

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2009 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference

SD&A logoThere is still time to register and attend Stereoscopic Displays and Applications 2009 Conference Jan. 19 through 21. The advance program is available online at www.stereoscopic.org/2009. Here are some of the conference highlights.

In Your Face 3-D exhibit and books
Sports Illustrated recently launched their new book In Your Face 3-D - The Best 3-D Book Ever featuring an amazing collection of stereoscopic sports photography by Sports Illustrated photographer David E. Klutho. Ron Labbe who did the 3-D artwork and layouts for the book will be presenting a paper the Monday of the conference and in concert with this a collection of large format prints from the book will be exhibited outside the conference room. Plenty of 3-D glasses will be on hand to view the exhibit. Copies of the book will also be available for sale from the IS&T book store.

Demonstration session
Advance exhibitor listing sneak peek This year's demonstration session is again set to be a marvelous showcase of stereoscopic 3-D displays and technologies. This single session is your best chance to see so many 3-D displays with your own eyes in one place. The session takes place in Exhibit Hall A of the San Jose Convention Center. All full conference/symposium registrations include entry to the demonstration session. Separate entry into the demonstration session is also available for a separate fee. Here is a sneak peek at the some of the exhibitors who will be participating in this year's demonstration session:

  • NVIDIA High quality stereoscopic rendering on 120 Hz LCD panels.
  • Philips 3-D Solutions Several WOWvx autostereoscopic 3-D displays.
  • University of Durham, UK Avoiding excessive perceived depth in stereoscopic cinematography.
  • Pavonine, Korea 5.5" wire grid stereoscopic display.
  • Fraunhofer Institute An autostereoscopic 3-D Display using an OLED backlight.
  • Polaris Sensor Technologies A stereoscopic LCD 3-D display system.
  • CRC Canada 2D to 3-D conversion on a 20" Philips 3-D monitor.
  • HoloGraphics Stereoscopic digital still cameras using StereoData Maker.
  • Kawai Laboratory Japan Prototype stereoscopic video camera system.
  • Caltech/JPL New software for building stereo display applications in Java.
  • Tokyo University 16-view 3-D display using slanted pixel structure LCD panel.
  • University of Tsukuba The course integral volumetric imaging display.
  • PassmoreLab Conversion of 2-D film content to 3-D.
  • Bare Hill Software Personal stereographic viewer of digital images and video.
  • Lightspeed Design DepthQ 3-D projector and DepthQ stereoscopic media server.
  • Intravista A projection based stereoscopic display system using high-power LEDs.
  • Hewlett-Packard.
  • Kanagawa Institute of Technology.
  • Tokushima University
  • and more!

3-D Theatre
The conference orangizers have again collected an impressive selection of stereoscopic 3-D content for this year's 3-D Theatre session. The purpose of this two hour session is to showcase the wonderful 3-D content that is being produced around the world. The audience are provided with free circularly polarized 3-D glasses and all content is viewed in full-color polarized 3-D on two stereoscopic projection systems from JVC and Christie. The 3-D Theatre session is held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 19 at the San Jose Convention Center. All full conference/symposium registrations include entry to the 3-D Theatre session. Separate entry into the 3-D Theatre session is also available for a separate fee. Here's a sneak peek at some of the 3-D content that will be shown at this session:

  • Coraline 3-D Trailer - Laika Studio.
  • Wanderlust - Encyclopediapictura.
  • Spatial Art - NHK Media Technology.
  • The Curse of Skull Rock - Red Star 3-D.
  • Bubble Hunters - Daniel Ridley-Ellis.
  • Milky Way - Tokyo Polytechnic University.
  • Portal - Justin Knowles.
  • Scarecrow Cinema and Photo Research Institute.
  • 3xperimentia - Team 3xperimentia.
  • Colors of Australia - Jumbo Vision International.
  • Delusion 3-D Virtual Experience.
  • Fireworks Symphony - Takashi Sekitani.
  • Reminiscence - Celine Tricart.
  • Bigger than Big - Swinburne University of Technology.
  • The Witch Way 3-D Experience.
  • Mine Lifeline Dzignlight Studios.
  • Mr. Egg - Bronislav Vavrinka and GALI-3-D.
  • Ghost Car - John Hart.
  • The making of Slow Glass - Thomas R Koester.
  • 3-DHD Brain Surgery - tree-D Films and TrueVision Systems.
  • Mermaid Parade - Stone Circle Productions.
  • Ultimate Wave K2.
  • Maijishan Grotto - Waseda University.
  • Bajraroad - Andrzej Waluk.
  • and much more!

This is usually the highest attended session and is set to be another must-see in 3-D event. The 3-D Theatre session will be judged and the prize winners will be announced at the conference.

3-D Gaming Demonstration
On the Wednesday evening of the SD&A conference is a 3-D gaming demonstration where some of the latest games will be demonstrated in live stereoscopic 3-D. This will be held as part of the Electronic Imaging All-Conference Reception to be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday January 21. All full conference/symposium registrations allow you entry to this event.

3-D Phantogram Exhibit
An exhibition of 3-D Phantograms will again be held this year. Phantograms are a unique 3-D art form. The exhibit will include phantograms from stereographer Terry Wilson and contributors from around the world. Plenty of 3-D glasses will be on hand to view this exhibit.

20th Anniversary of SD&A
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference. On Monday January 19 at noon, some speeches and presentations will be made in celebration of this significant achievement. On Monday January 19 from 7:45pm to late, the SD&A 20th Anniversary banquet will be held at the "Bo Town" (just 2 blocks from the convention center). Sign-up details will be available at the conference.

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3-D in the Home Video Available on Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Web Site

SD&A logoA new video from the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference has just been placed online. At the January 2007 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference Lenny Lipton and his guests discussed the topic of 3-D in the Home and how close we are to achieving this goal.

Mark Fihn from the 3rd Dimension Newsletter, Brett Bryars from the United States Display Consortium, Art Berman from Insight Media and Steven Smith from VREX shared their views of how and when we will see 3-D in the Home.

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NBA All Star Saturday Night in 3-D

The National Basketball Association, which was the first major U.S. sports league to experiment with stereoscopic 3-D high-definition production and display technology, announced that it will broadcast TNT’s coverage of the 2009 NBA All-Star Saturday Night special-events competition in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 14 in live 3-D HD to 80 digitally-equipped theatres across the United States.

The NBA and Turner Sports are teaming with 3-D projection firm Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp to present the 3-D HD broadcast, which will be shown on up to 160 screens in Carmike Cinemas, Celebration Cinemas, Cinema West, Emagine, Galaxy Theatres, Marquee Cinemas, MJR, NCG, Rave Motion Pictures, Showcase and UltraStar Cinema locations in 35 states across the country. The All-Star Saturday Night broadcast, which airs at 8 p.m. EST on TNT, includes sponsored skills competitions such as the Sprite Slam-Dunk contest and Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. Last year’s broadcast was the most watched in the event’s 23 year history, according to the NBA, and enjoyed increases in household ratings and significant growth in key demographics.

“Turner Sports is excited to work with Cinedigm to extend our brand, as well as that of NBA All-Star Weekend, into a new arena through this creative and innovative viewing opportunity.” said David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc. and Turner Sports, in a statement. “We are proud to once again be on the cutting edge in providing NBA fans with a truly unique and comprehensive 3-D viewing experience during NBA All-Star Weekend. This partnership demonstrates that Turner continues to provide new and innovative concepts for NBA fans to enhance the viewing experience.”

The NBA announcement is the third big 3-D HD development in recent weeks. Last Thursday, the NFL staged a live 3--D HD broadcast of a game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to 3-D-equipped theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Boston. And earlier last week, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill announced that Fox plans to broadcast the college football BCS Championship Game on Jan. 8 to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and to an undetermined number of 3-D equipped theaters across the country.

The NBA has been keeping a close eye on the potential of 3-D HD. The league did it first did a 3-D HD production for the 2007 All-Star Game in Las Vegas, which it broadcast to a VIP audience there, and has since helped the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks stage their own live demonstrations of the technology. NBA executives Steve Hellmuth, EVP of Operations and Technology, and Mike Rokosa, VP of engineering, were in attendance at the NFL’s broadcast in New York last week to gauge the state of the technology. They said it performed pretty well, despite some technical glitches with the satellite feed.

Cinema tickets will go on sale today for some of the Cinedigm-equipped theaters. They will sell for between $18 and $22 each, says a Cinedigm spokesperson.

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Tokyo Mater, Pixar's First 3-D Short Film, Debuts in Theatres with Bolt 3-D

Pixar premiered its first 3-D short film in mid-December, a big step for the studio and one that, amazingly enough, marks the return of John Lasseter to the Pixar director's chair. Called Tokyo Mater, the short film hit theaters Dec. 12 before Walt Disney Pictures' Bolt.

Tokyo Mater will be the fourth in Pixar's Cars Toons series, which is inspired by the 2006 animated film Cars. This 3-D version will only be shown in theaters that are equipped to show Bolt in 3-D.

In Tokyo Mater, a routine tow lands Mater in Tokyo, where he is challenged to a drift-style race against a gang leader and his ninja posse. With the help of Lightning McQueen, and some special modifications. Mater attempts to drift to victory.

All of the Cars Toons are directed by Lasseter, but they were all in 2-D only. The previous toons featured Mater as a fire truck (Rescue Squad Mater), a daredevil (Mater the Greater) and a bulldozer fighter (El Materdor).

Traditional 2-D versions of Tokyo Mater will also be available in theaters showing Bolt in 2-D. No word on whether the short, or which version, will be included on the eventual Bolt Blu-ray Disc release.

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Da-Lite Virtual Grey Fabric Screens Designed to Maintain 99 Percent of Projected 3-D Polarization

Da-Lite Virtual Grey Fabric screen example.You’ve probably heard of the 3-D capability that comes with some newer TVs. And yep, you still have to don a pair of glasses or newfangled gogglelike headsets.

But what about enjoying 3-D on a true, home theater–size projection screen?

Da-Lite Screen Company recently showed us the possibilities with its 3-D Virtual Grey projection screen fabric. The 3-D Virtual Grey fabric is specifically designed to maintain 99 percent of the polarization needed to produce a 3-D image, says Blake Brubaker, Da-Lite’s vice president of sales.

“3-D is really becoming a reality,” he adds. “We feel confident that we’ll see a lot more content for the 3-D home market. And 3-D gaming could be huge.”

Though watching 3-D on a big screen is undoubtedly cool, there are some hurdles. First, you’ll need two projectors to deliver the two video images necessary for 3-D, and even in this day of relatively inexpensive front projectors, that could be impractical.

In addition, the 3-D Virtual Grey material will cost you 40-percent to 50-percent more than a traditional white matte fabric, says Da-Lite. You also wouldn’t want to use the 3-D Virtual Grey screen for regular 2-D viewing, because the screen would produce a limited field of view. So unless everything you watch will be in 3-D, you’d better include another screen in your budget.

“3-D is really in its infancy right now,” Brubaker admits. Though when we’re writing about great big 3-D home theaters in a year or two, Da-Lite plans to be there.

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RealD is the Real Deal

RealD logoRealD Inc. works to change the way people experience visual entertainment.

From movies like Chicken Little, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the recently released Bolt, to concerts and NFL games, RealD is giving viewers a new 3-D experience.

Michael Lewis, RealD's co-founder and chief executive officer. said, "Think of RealD as what Dolby did in audio."

RealD is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California but most of the 3-D innovation comes from its Boulder, Colorado office. Lewis said. "Boulder is our lab research and development," said Lewis. RealD, has offices in Tokyo, Toronto and London in addition to its California headquarters and Boulder office

RealD technology has been used in 10 films during the past three years. According to Jill Thomassian, RealD's chief operating officer at its Boulder campus, 12 movies will be released in 3-D next year.

Some of those 12 include My Bloody Valentine in January; Monsters vs. Aliens in March and Up to be released in May.

The fourth Shrek film will be available in 3-D. It is scheduled for release in 2010.

Real D uses polarized projection. Thomassian said optical switches in front of the movie projector switches two polarized images between polarization states, one visible by the right lens and the other by the left.

Its a lucrative business with RealD charging a royalty fee for every ticket sold to one of its 3-D movies. "It's a premium, and the economics are pretty amazing," he said. "We're very happy with the performance."

Lewis helped start the company with his own money and later received private equity. Currently, the private company is spending more money than it makes, but he expects that to change. "Our next fiscal year will be profitable," Lewis said.

The company also works with Fortune 500 companies, NASA and other governmental agencies to enable 3-D modeling and mapping, but with 1,750 screens using RealD's 3-D technology and 7,500 more under contract, the focus is on cinematic advancements.

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January Events at the 3-D Center of Art and Photography

3-D Center logoThe program schedule at the 3-D Center of Art and Photography in Portland, Oregon is now more regularized. The center will be opening either a new gallery exhibition or a new Stereo Theatre show each first Thursday. Starting with the February shows, each will remain on view for two months.

Jan. 2 - March 1, 2009
Avshalom Cave by Yitzhak Weissman
Large anaglyph photographs shot in an Israeli cave discovered in 1968.

Jan. 2 - Feb. 1, 2009
Ennis House by Tom Koester
A 3-D film about a Los Angeles landmark residence designed by Frank Lloyd
Wright in the 1920s.

The 3-D Center of Art and Photography is located at 1928 NW Lovejoy in Portland, Oregon. Call (503) 227-6667.

The 3-D Center of Art and Photography has regular monthly Stereo Theatre and 3-D Art Exhibitions. Open Thursday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. First Thursday (Free), 6 to 9 p.m. Admission for adults (over 15) is $5.

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Altera's Arria GX FPGAs Enhance DDD's TriDef Core 3-D Display Processor

The world of television viewing will no longer be flat. Altera Corporation and DDD Group announced a partnership that is bringing 3-D digital cinema-quality images to your living room.

DDD has qualified its TriDef Core embedded 3-D image processor to run on Altera's Arria® GX FPGA. As a result, DDD is delivering a custom circuit board that integrates with the existing 2-D video electronics to deliver enhanced 3-D features including automatic 2-D to 3-D conversion. This allows the playback of original 3-D content from a wide range of sources including Blu-ray discs and DVDs.

The capability opens a direct in-home distribution channel for the latest generation of 3-D movies in production for the growing 3-D digital cinema market. This technology will be displayed on the Hyundai IT 46" 3-D LCD HDTV at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in January.

"Embedding DDD's market-leading TriDef solution in the latest 3-D televisions is the next step in delivering high-quality, easy-to-use 3-D home entertainment for the consumer," said Chris Yewdall, chief executive of DDD. "The performance, functionality and low power consumption of Altera's Arria GX FPGAs make it possible for our TriDef processor to turn 3-D television into a familiar plug-and-play approach that is equivalent to the existing 2-D TV experience, while substantially reducing manufacturing and support costs for 3-D TV manufacturers."

"3-D television is creating immense consumer interest in next-generation flat-panel televisions," said Robert Blake, vice president of automotive and consumer business unit at Altera. "Arria GX functionality allows real-time 2-D to 3-D conversion and 3-D reformatting with DDD's TriDef Core processor. This is one of many examples of how Altera's FPGAs deliver innovative solutions for advanced high-definition applications in the consumer video arena."

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Auction Results

Placer Mining stereoview.

A Placer Gold Mine stereoview sold for $455 with eight bids.

Indian stereoview.

A stereoview showing an Indian, possibly from the Minn Sioux uprising, sold for $650 with six bids. The seller wrote, "...most likely an Indian who was arrested by the U.S. government for the Minn Uprising of 1862 , where the Sioux Indians revolted against the whites and killed many white towns people."

3-D Breeze stereo camera.

A 3-D Breeze digital stereo camera sold for $330 with 25 bids. The seller wrote, "The 3-D Breeze digital stereo camera is a highly reliable 3-D camera. The highest resolution is 2160 x 1440 which is more than enough if you are shooting for digital projection. The right camera controls the left when you shoot and they are synced enough to shoot fast moving objects including water. I kept this camera as a backup but I have never had to use it. The Kodak DX3700 cameras are incredible cameras to shoot without flash indoors or in low light conditions because with stereo you do not want to use a flash too often."

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