January 2010

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BBC Magazines Launches First 3-D Title - SPACE 3-D

Space 3-D is the latest collector's edition from Sky at Night Magazine and follows Man on the Moon, which was launched in June 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings

Space 3-D magazine cover art.Put your 3-D glasses on and get ready to see the Universe like never before as BBC Magazines launches its first ever 3-D title, a Sky at Night Magazine special edition called Space 3-D.

The 100-page edition comes with a free pair of 3-D glasses and features 3-D images taken by robot probes, astronauts and orbiting satellites. Space 3-D opens with a foreward by Queen guitarist Dr. Brian May, and is divided into three sections: Man in space, Mars and Deep space. You'll be amazed as astronauts on the Moon, the biggest mountain in the Solar System and vast galaxies in space jump out of the pages in front of you.

Chris Bramley, Editor of Space 3-D and Deputy Editor of Sky at Night Magazine, commented, "It has been a fantastic experience working on this groundbreaking BBC Magazines project. The amazing images in Space 3-D bring a new sense of wonder to the subject."

Dr. Brian May said, "Modern astronomy is very much aware of the power of 3-D photography in preference to normal flat images. In these pages you will see the landscapes of Mars, views from Earth orbit, walks on the Moon and many other scenarios where the magic of stereo gives vastly more information than a 'mono' photograph. After all, we were given two eyes, not one...Why not make full use of them?" Dr. Brian May completed his PhD in astrophysics in 2006. His passion for 3-D images led to a book about the Victorian stereographer T.R. Williams. A Village Lost and Found, co-written by Elena Vidal was featured in 3-D Review Online Magazine's November 2009 issue.

Space 3-D is available by visiting BBC Magazines subscriptions Web site.

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The First U.S. HDTV 3-D Channel

It certainly looks like 2010 is shaping up to be the year during which 3-D finally moves from the realm of novelty into both mainstream film and television. Satellite cable provider DirecTV has a new satellite in the air, and according to HD Guru, one of the 200 new HD stations to be broadcast from the satellite includes the first U.S. HDTV channel in 3-D.

There are still some technical hurdles to clear before you’re watching sitcom antics flying toward you, but the trend is clear. The satellite begins full operation in March, and existing DirecTV set-top boxes will only need a firmware upgrade to support the 3-D programming. You’ll still need to pick up a 3-D-capable HDTV to play it back, and that’s where the market lag will play a role in determining how fast 3-D will deepen into the U.S. market.

Although 3-D content has a long history stretching all the way back to the early 20th Century, when the first public 3-D movie was displayed, a number of optics and display challenges, as well as market realities, relegated 3-D to a periodic novelty for decades. With the vast majority of the technical hurdles now solved and 3-D displays making steady inroads at seminal trade shows like CES over the past couple of years, 2010 is poised to be 3-D’s breakout year. The string of blockbusters like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and more rounds out 3-D’s emergence, or re-emergence, on the big screen. Soon, consumers will come to expect the same experience in their home theatre as well.

Sony, Samsung, Mitsubishi, LG and other manufacturers are showing off 3-D displays at CES 2010. They’ll be hoping the stars will align properly to make 2010 3-D’s breakout year. DirectTV’s news is a timely piece of that puzzle.

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2010 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference is Jan. 18 through 20 in San Jose, California

SD&A logoThe Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference runs Jan. 18 through 20, 2010, as part of the SPIE/IS&T Electronic Imaging Symposium in San Jose, California. Nineteen other imaging conferences, including two other 3-D conferences, share the symposium, providing good synergy across the imaging community.

Colleagues who are new to stereoscopic imaging should consider attended the Andrew Woods and John Merritt’s short course on Stereoscopic Display Application Issues, on Jan. 17.

The agenda includes a range of exciting and useful special sessions, alongside the research-based oral and poster presentations. Special sessions include

  • The 3-D Theatre showing the latest stereoscopic footage
  • Live demonstrations of stereoscopic displays and applications.
  • Two discussion forums.
  • Keynote speaker Bob Whitehill, Stereoscopic Supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios, on Three-Dimensional Storytelling. The discussion forums are The business of 3-D and 3-D video standards.

There is a strong technical program. The program committee selected 41 papers for oral presentation from 92 submissions. There were some excellent submissions and the committee had a hard job to select the papers that go into the oral sessions. A further 25 SD&A papers that will be presented as posters.

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2010 World Cup Match to be recorded in 3-D

Football fans will be pleased with the announcement Sony and FIFA recently made. Sony is going to record and then broadcast the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in 3-D!

However not everyone will get to watch it in 3-D glory. According to TechRadar, only a few cities will show the games in 3-D. If you wish to watch the World Cup in 3-D, you have to live in, or travel to Berlin, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Rome and Sydney.

As per the deal with FIFA, Sony will record 25 World Cup matches in 3-D and the footage will be broadcast at the FIFA International Fan Fests in the cities mentioned above. Sony is being optimistic about possibly broadcasting events like this live at some point in the future. A statement from the company said 'live broadcast in 3-D is a possibility' and that they are mulling over the issue at present.

In general 3-D set-ups make use of two-camera systems to record images tailored specifically for the left and right eye of the viewer. Special polarised glasses are then used to view the image. But in 2009 Sony developed a single-lens camera, which it said was especially suited for sporting events. This camera takes a single image that is split by mirrors and recorded on two sensors.

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The 3-D Musketeers

One for all and all in 3-D!

As they film Resident Evil: Aftermath around Toronto in 3-D, director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt are already planning some non-horror applications for the new technology.

Specifically, they’re getting set to film a new 3-D version of The Three Musketeers, using technology soon to be seen in James Cameron’s Avatar.

“Yes, it’ll be Three in 3-D,” says Bolt. “We’ve learned so much from this film, it would be a pity not to build on that.

“We have a script ready to go. Paul has to finish Resident Evil, so we’ll probably be shooting The Three Musketeers in late summer. We’re literally putting the financing together.

“The thematic hook is that The Three Musketeers were 17th century Navy SEALS.”

And given that two of the four Resident Evil movies were shot in Toronto, and they recently shot Death Race in Montreal, Bolt says there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be swashbuckling in Canada, too.

“We are definitely considering shooting it here,” he said from the Hogtown set. “We’ll run a budget for here and look at locations. Absolutely. We normally run budgets for three or four different countries, and there are tax deals obviously. The fact is, we haven’t shot in Los Angeles for 10 years.”

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Technicolor Prepares to Replicate 3-D Blu-Ray Titles

Technicolor 3-D for everyone!

Technicolor is preparing to create and replicate 3-D Blu-ray titles as early as the first half of 2010.

Manufacturing 3-D Blu-ray requires no upgrades to current replication machines but there has been significant development and innovation needed on the creation side to be primed for 3-D. New software for authoring, encoding and subtitling is being rolled out.

Subtitling has presented unique challenges for 3-D because of concerns that eye-popping imagery could block out the words on screen. Technicolor believes it has worked out a placement solution so 3-D technology won’t interfere with subtitle use.

The company’s 3-D launch is dependent on the Blu-ray Disc Association finalizing specifications for the 3-D Blu-ray format. The BDA is expected to announce the format soon.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is one of the studios to formally commit to releasing a 3-D Blu-ray title with coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010.

Technicolor hopes to be a pioneer for 3-D Blu-ray production as it has been in the theatrical exhibition space. The company is considered one of the leaders in 3-D theatrical print processing and post-production. It also is behind a new theatrical technology that enables exhibitors to showcase 3-D products on traditional screens.

Ahmad Ouri, chief marketing officer of Thomson/Technicolor, believes the key to the successful adoption of 3-D in the home is to make more people aware of the wonder of the technology through big-screen sampling. At the moment, just six to seven percent of U.S. theatrical screens show 3-D films.

“The more people are exposed to 3-D theatrically, the more likely they will venture out to buy a 3-D TV" and other products, said Ouri.

Technicolor has the capabilities to engineer 3-D downloads. But the company believes that Blu-ray will offer the best high-resolution 3-D product into homes.

There will be Technicolor 3-D demonstrations at January’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Technicolor's 3-D for Everyone

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View-Master® Custom Production Returns Through Seattle's Alpha Cine Labs

View-Master viewer and reel.According to Stereo World magazine, Alpha Cine, a Seattle based company, is taking over custom production of View-Master® scenic and custom reels. Scenic subjects that were previously available will be available again and custom reels can again be ordered.

The Finley-Holiday company will handle distribution. Debra Borer, formerly of Fisher-Price/Mattel/View-Master®, will be heading the department at Alpha Cine. Details for ordering will be available on a new Alpha CIne Web site.

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In-Three and Reliance Mediaworks Partner for World's Largest 2-D to 3-D Facility

Strategic alliance will cater to the growing demand for 3-D movies worldwide

In-Three logo.Reliance MediaWorks Ltd., India’s fastest growing film and entertainment services company and a member of the Reliance ADA group has partnered 2-D to stereo 3-D conversion pioneer In-Three to establish the world’s largest facility dedicated to the conversion of 2-D films and videos into 3-D, based in India.

In-Three’s pioneering work in the conversion of first run feature films was spotlighted with this summer’s release of Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer’s 3-D blockbuster G-FORCE, which has grossed over $200m in worldwide box office receipts to-date. In-Three is currently completing work on its next Hollywood studio title and has an impressive list of clients for 2010.

The strategic alliance between the two industry leaders is being established to address the rapidly growing demand by Hollywood studios and other global content creators for converting both new films shot in 2-D as well as older legacy titles to be released in cinemas and on home platforms in stereoscopic 3-D. The partnership will combine In-Three’s unrivalled reputation and advanced software tools for Dimensionalization® with Reliance MediaWorks high-skill expertise and infrastructure.

The partnership is expected to be able to cater to 15-25 feature films projects per year and will initially involve hundreds and later thousands of dedicated staff, working to the highest possible technical standards featuring In-Three’s proprietary software and techniques that comprise the Dimensionalization® process. Work on the first joint title will commence beginning of 2010, with several projects planned for a start in the first half of 2010. The alliance was made possible by the creation of Reliance’s previously announced image BPO operation in India.

In-Three’s CEO Neil Feldman notes that, “our unique process of converting flat 2-D films into compelling stereoscopic 3-D has been proven technically, artistically, and commercially.” Commenting on the new partnership he stated that, “in order to meet the full slate of films that In-Three has lined up for 2010 and beyond we sought out the best possible international partner. One that could provide the level of quality our studio clients expect which made Reliance MediaWorks the natural choice for us.”

Commenting on the association, Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks said, “We are very excited and bullish on the 3-D entertainment market. This partnership is a joint effort that combines the best of technology and artistic talent from Hollywood with the most advanced skills and large scale image processing capabilities in India. Reliance MediaWorks already does image enhancement and restoration for the leading Hollywood studios and the expansion of services into 2-D to 3-D conversion was a natural next step for the company.”

Stereoscopic 3-D films have taken cinema by storm with the successful releases of DreamWork Animation’s Monsters vs. Aliens, the re-release of Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3-D and the much anticipated upcoming release of 20th Century Fox’s Avatar. The number of 3-D cinema screens world-wide will rise from 2,500 in 2008 to over 7,000 this year and 15,000 by 2013, fuelling demand for 3-D films.

The In-Three-Reliance MediaWorks stereoscopic 3-D alliance will also benefit from the proprietary image processing tools - that are key to image processing - developed by Reliance MediaWork’s Burbank-based subsidiary Lowry Digital, Hollywood’s leading film restoration and image processing expert.

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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.

In the Gallery
Sacred Sites by Dale Walsh
Jan. 7 through Feb. 28
This is a selection of stereoscopic imagery of sacred urban and natural environments at times juxtaposed with their profane counterparts. It is a celebration of different perspectives, cultures and people. It is also an attempt to understand and learn from the other cultures. It is a search for meaning. It is connecting to something beyond one's own individual reality.

In the Stereo Theatre
A program of four shorts
Through Jan. 31

Moving Still by Santiago Caicedo, uses stunning animation to turn an everyday train ride into an apocalyptic vision.

Skydiving by Eric Deren, puts the viewer right into the action with a head-mounted 3-D video camera. It captures group dive maneuvers that induce breathlessness.

Elevation by Eric Kurland, tells a serio-comic tale of a woman trapped in an elevator with a clown.

Fireworks by Takashi Sekitani, presents the brilliance of a Japanese fireworks display with outstanding 3-D night videography.

3-D Class Instruction
An Overview of Stereoscopic Methods

An 8-week course for all skill levels taught by Shab Levy.
Starts Wed., Feb. 3, 2010 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.and continues Wednesdays Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24 and March 3, 10, 17 and 24.

Unlike previous classes which focused on one topic only, this eight week course will cover the material of every class Shab Levy has taught at the 3-D Center in the last five years, as follows:

  • Introduction to 3-D photography.
  • Introduction to Adobe® Photoshop®.
  • Classic stereo cards.
  • Anaglyph prints.
  • Phantograms.
  • View-Master® reels with a digital camera.
  • Lenticular photography.
  • Creating shows for digital projection.
  • Stop motion animation with stereo photography.

The course is designed for students who are new to stereo photography and wish to get an overall working knowledge of the main topics in the field, as well as for students who have taken one or two classes in the past and wish to review and expand their knowledge and practice.

Because the course covers the introduction to both 3-D photography and Photoshop, there is no assumption for prior knowledge of either topic. Students need to have an access to Photoshop although will not be required to know how to use the software. In addition students will be required to have a digital camera, a tripod and a few other basic tools to be announced later.

Cost is $100 General / $90 Friend of Center (level 2 or higher).

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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3-D high-def movies coming to your living room on Blu-ray

Blu-ray disc logo.Get ready for the 3-D movie revolution to come your your home theatre next year. The Blu-ray Disc Association has approved a final spec for high def 3-D movies on Blu-ray discs. If you don't want to spend the cash for 3-D hardware, it is backward compatible with today's Blu-ray drives.

Hollywood has been so enthralled with the recent renaissance of 3-D in the theatre that the Blu-ray Disc Association has finalized a specification for delivering full 1080p high definition stereoscopic video on Blu-ray discs. The format relies on an extension to the H.264 encoding standard, and provides for a fallback to 2-D output on players that can't decode separate stereoscopic images. It's been a long time coming, but along with a recent update to the HDMI spec and the introduction of 3-D-capable displays, the technology is now in place to deliver the full 3-D experience at home.

The specification, which will be published shortly for device manufacturers and content producers, specifies encoding two separate 1080p frames together using the Multiview Video Coding extension to the H.264 Advanced Video Coding codec, one of the codecs already supported for creating Blu-ray discs. This method allows two separate views, one for each eye, to be compressed together in such a way that common elements from both views are melded together. The result is a 3-D-encoded movie should typically only take up about 50 percent more space on disc compared to a 2-D version, and players that are not 3-D-capable will be able to play back a 2-D version instead, for backward compatibility.

The specification is technology-agnostic when it comes to how to create the 3-D effect. It will deliver two 1080p frames to the display, and the display will then use whatever method it can to create a 3-D effect, whether it's passive filtered glasses, active filtered switching glasses, anaglyph, etc.

"Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3-D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3-D or 2-D," said Victor Matsuda, BDA Global Promotions Committee chairman. "We believe this demand for 3-D content will carry over into the home in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3-D experience to the living room."

Taking advantage of that full 3-D experience will still require an additional investment in compatible displays, Blu-ray players and other necessary hardware like specialized glasses. The HDMI 1.4 spec enables transfer of two full 1080p signals from players to displays, and a number of current 120 Hz 2D displays can be used for 3-D viewing with special glasses.

Suppliers like LG and Sony plan to launch 3-D-capable displays in the coming months. New 3-D-capable Blu-ray players will have to be manufactured, but PS3 owners will be delighted to know that the specification should be compatible with work Sony has already done to enable 3-D gaming on its console.

Still, 3-D discs will still play just fine on 2-D players, which should mitigate a storm of customer indignation if backwards compatibility had not been addressed. "We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating 3-D in the home," Matsuda said. "In the meantime, existing players and libraries continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3-D home entertainment."

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Air Force Goes 3-D

The U.S. Air Force unveiled its first 3-D commercial during a special screening of Avatar, the 3-D science-fiction film by director James Cameron.

The commercial, the first 3-D spot to be run by a military service, premiered before a 9 a.m. showing of Avatar in San Antonio, according to the Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

Air Force recruiting officials and advertising agency GSD&M Idea City of Austin, Texas, partnered with Screenvision to place the Space TV commercial on more than 950 screens across the country.

Col. Michael J. Tillema, chief of the recruiting service’s strategic marketing and communications division, said in a statement that the commercial’s futuristic feel is fitting for the caliber of airmen being sought by the Air Force.

“The Air Force recruits to retain, so we recruit the brightest candidates possible and provide them with the highly technical training that will give them the skills to sustain our superior combat capability,” Tillema said.

The Air Force is one of only three advertisers to use 3-D technology, according to the recruiting service.

“The 3-D experience really makes the Air Force brand come to life,” Jeanine Swanson of GSD&M Idea City said in a statement. “It’s another example of how the Air Force has become a leader in the cinema space.”

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Web Cam 3-D: The Movie

Can you imagine Freddy Krueger reaching off the screen and clawing you to death? That was attempted with Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, but in the latest film from Spanish filmmaker Antoni Sole entitled Web Cam 3-D, Robert Englund will be getting another shot at the whole three-dimensional thing, sans the character of Freddy of course.

Screen Daily reports that Robert Englund, Michael Madsen, Junio Valverde, Amaia Salamanca and Estella Warren will star in this latest horror feature, which tells the tale of a man who invites a group of teens to a party to film their exploits inside a house via Web cams. Web viewers are then asked to vote on who should die and who should live.

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Avatar Review

Neytiri from James Cameron's AVATAR.  Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

Avatar is the best 3-D presentation we've ever seen in a motion picture theatre.

The attention to detail is breaktaking as well as "deeply moving" and the world James Cameron built will influence future fantasy and science-fiction motion pictures much as Blade Runner did after it was released.

Avatar's story uses many familiar and sometimes predictable situations from movies across the spectrum. Nods to Casablanca, Star Wars and even hints of Cameron's own previous efforts with The Terminator and Titanic crop up along the way. Do we recommend you see it in a theatre? Yes!

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Doctor Who Lenticular Clocks

Doctor Who clocks.

Wesco has produced two lenticular Doctor Who clocks. One is a wall clock and the other an alarm clock. The image changes from Daleks to a Cyberman on the wall clock. The alarm clock features a Dalek on the first image and the words "Exterminate" appear in the second view.

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Auction Results

Addams Family Magic Eyes Set

An mint-sealed Addams Family Tru-Vue Magic Eye Story set was listed at $99 but the item did not sell. The 1965 set includes three full-color story cards each containing 21 stereo pictures in brilliant Kodak Film. For use with Magic Eyes Stereo Viewer.

Creature Super 400 3-D film box and reel.

A Creature from the Black Lagoon Super 8mm 3-D film reel sold for $9.99 with two bids. This was the Super 400 version with Duo Color Magnetic Sound. This 1970's version was released by Universal Eight Films (formerly Castle Films) as Creature From The Black Lagoon Terror in 3-D Super 400 Series edition in Photo cover case, Stock # 4301. The approximate running time on film is 17:12 minutes. The case measures 7.50" wide by 7.50" long and is in VF/VF+ condition with only light surface rubbing on the cover.

View-Master Movie Stars in 3-D counter top display.

A View-Master® Movie Stars in 3-D counter display sold for $67.66 with three bids. The display also features an image of baseball legend Roy Campanella. The 9"x12" display with a stand on the back had never been used.

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