Archive for January, 2011

If 3D causes headaches… Drug makers take note!

NEW YORK — From Hollywood studios to Japanese TV makers, powerful business interests are betting 3-D will be the future of entertainment, despite a major drawback: It makes millions of people uncomfortable or sick.

Optometrists say as many as one in four viewers have problems watching 3-D movies and TV, either because 3-D causes tiresome eyestrain or because the viewer has problems perceiving depth in real life. In the worst cases, 3-D makes people queasy, leaves them dizzy or gives them headaches.

Based on an online survey, the American Optometric Association estimates that 25 per cent of Americans have experienced headaches, blurred vision, nausea or similar problems when viewing 3D.

Our eyes track an approaching object by turning inward, toward our noses.  Bring something close enough, and we look cross-eyed. 3D screens also elicit this response when they show something approaching the viewer.

The problem is that as the eyes turn inward, they also expect to focus closer, so the eyes have to curb their hard-wired inclination and focus back out.  This mismatch between where the eyes think the focus should be and where the screen actually is forces them to work extra hard.

“That causes at least part of the discomfort and fatigue that people are experiencing,” says Martin Banks, an optometry professor at U.C. Berkeley.

TV makers do their own testing, but don’t publish results. Samsung warns on its Australian website that its 3D TVs can cause “motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability.” The last part means viewers risk losing balance and falling.

“We do not recommend watching 3D if you are in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking alcohol,” the site says.

Researchers have begun developing more lifelike 3-D displays that might address the problems, but they’re years or even decades from being available to the masses.

That isn’t deterring the entertainment industry, which is aware of the problem yet charging ahead with plans to create more movies and TV shows in 3-D. Jeff Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., calls 3-D “the greatest innovation that’s happened for the movie theaters and for moviegoers since color.”

Theater owners including AMC Entertainment Inc. and TV makers such as Panasonic Corp. are spending more than a billion dollars to upgrade theaters and TVs for 3-D. A handful of satellite and cable channels are already carrying 3-D programming; ESPN just announced its 3-D network will begin broadcasting 24 hours a day next month.

Yet there are already signs that consumers may not be as excited about 3-D as the entertainment and electronics industries are.

Last year, people were willing to pay an additional $3 or more per ticket for blockbuster 3-D movies such as “Avatar” and “Toy Story 3.” But that didn’t help the overall box office take: People spent $10.6 billion on movie tickets last year, down slightly from the year before. People went to the theater less, but spent more.

3-D TV sets were available in the U.S. for the first time last year, but shipments came in below forecasts, at just under 1.6 million for North America, according to DisplaySearch. Nevertheless, TV makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Panasonic are doubling down on 3-D and introduced more 3-D-capable models this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Those models cost more than regular ones and require glasses, just like in theaters.

Research into how today’s 3-D screens affect viewers is only in its early stages. There have been no large-scale scientific studies.

source: AP/Marketing Magazine

JVC rolls out 3D Camcorder

JVC today announced the world’s first consumer camcorder to offer 3D recording in Full HD, thanks to a new JVC-developed high-speed processor that can produce two simultaneous Full HD images.

The new GS-TD1 uses two camera lenses and two 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors – one for each lens – to capture three-dimensional images much the same way that human eyes work.  JVC’s new high-speed imaging engine simultaneously processes the two Full HD images – left and right images at 1920 x 1080i – within that single chip.  The newly developed “LR Independent Format” makes the GS-TD1 the world’s first consumer-oriented camcorder capable of 3D shooting in Full HD.  JVC’s new camcorder offers other shooting modes as well, including the widely used “Side-by-Side Format” for AVCHD (3D) and conventional AVCHD (2D) shooting.

The camcorder uses a JVC 3D Twin HD GT Lens that sets a new standard in high-resolution lenses with extra-low-dispersion glass for crisp, high-contrast images, as well as multiple aspherical lenses for fine image reproduction. The GS-TD1 also features round iris diaphragms that enable beautiful bokeh effect (background blurring) shooting of video and stills alike.

Additional highlights include 3D optical 5x zoom, Optical Axis Automatic Stabilization System for disparity control to give depth to 3D images, JVC’s BIPHONIC technology for dynamic 3D sound and Automatic Parallax Adjustment to optimize the 3D-video comfort zone .

There is nothing difficult about using the GS-TD1, which operates like other consumer-friendly camcorders from JVC. A 3.5” 3D touch panel LCD monitor displays 3D images without any need for 3D glasses, making it easy to check 3D images while shooting and watch 3D playback in the field.

JVC’s other new HD Everio with 3D capabilities is the GZ-HM960. . Similar to other HD Everio models in size and features, the GZ-HM960 is distinguished by its 2D-to-3D output function, which turns any 2D footage into 3D. Output can be viewed without glasses on the camera’s 3.5-inch 3D LCD monitor, or by connecting the camcorder to an external 3D television. Bluetooth® wireless technology enables integration with other devices, such as smartphones, to synch images with Google Maps™.

The GS-TD1 and GZ-HM960 both use Everio MediaBrowser software (for Windows®) for full management, editing and sharing of content. In addition to full-fledged video and still image editing, files can be uploaded effortlessly to social media sites such as YouTube™ or Facebook. In the GS-TD1, the software allows 3D video to be shared on YouTube™.

The JVC GZ-TD1 Full HD 3D camcorder will be available in March for $1,999.95.

The HD Everio GZ-HM960 will be available in February for $949.95.

Chapman 3D Expedition treks to 19,000 feet

Chapman University’s Dodge film school has tapped eight student filmmakers to shoot a 3D documentary on their expedition to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet.

The students — four male and four female — are set to depart Monday for Tanzania. Chapman said the students were selected after proving to be physically fit enough for the task and eager to climb the highest mountain in Africa.

Each will shoot his or her own expedition documentary, chronicling their experience and each will also take turns operating a Panasonic 3D camera.

Panasonic loaned the crew a 3D camera for two months in exchange for two minutes of “beauty shots” from Kilimanjaro. Dodge College Professors Jeff Swimmer and Jurg Walther will lead the expedition.

Swimmer said he’s planning a similar journey next year to Antarctica.

source: variety.com

Video Flashback: RCA Selectavision Videodisc Player

Back when life was simple and Hollywood Studio Executives still didn’t know how to use a remote.

Return top

About 3D & Digital Cinema

If you are a tech head, cinema-phile, movie geek or digital imaging consultant, then we'd like to hear from you. Join us in our quest to explore all things digital and beyond. Of particular interest is how a product or new technology can be deployed and impacts storytelling. It may be something that effects how we download and enjoy filmed entertainment. It may pertain to how primary and secondary color grading will enhance a certain tale. The most important thing is that you are in the driver's seat as far as what you watch and how you choose to consume it.