Archive for June, 2011

Final Cut is Dead! Long live Final Cut!

Apple’s Final Cut Pro is the leading video-editing program. It’s a $1,000 professional app. It was used to make “The Social Network,” “True Grit,” “Eat Pray Love” and thousands of student movies, independent films and TV shows. According to the research firm SCRI, it has 54 percent of the video-editing market, far more than its rivals from Adobe and Avid.

On Tuesday, Apple pulled a typical Apple move: it killed off the two-year-old Final Cut 7 at the peak of its popularity.

In its place, Apple now offers something called Final Cut Pro X (pronounced “10”). But don’t be misled by the name. It’s a new program, written from scratch. Apple says a fresh start was required to accommodate huge changes in the technological landscape.

Apple veterans may, at this point, be feeling some creepy déjà vu. You’ve seen this movie before. Didn’t Apple kill off iMovie, too, in 2008, and replace it with an all-new, less capable version that lacked dozens of important features? It took three years of upgrades before the new iMovie finally surpassed its predecessor in features and coherence.

Some professional editors are already insisting that Apple has made exactly the same mistake with Final Cut X; they pointed out various flaws with the program after an earlier version of this column was posted online on Wednesday. They say the new program is missing high-end features like the ability to edit multiple camera angles, to export to tape, to burn anything more than rudimentary DVDs and to work with EDL, XML and OMF files (used to exchange projects with other programs). You can use a second computer monitor, but you need new TV-output drivers to attach an external video monitor. You can’t change the settings of your exported QuickTime movies without the $50 Compressor program.

Apple admits that version X is a “foundational piece.” It says that it will restore some of these features over time, and that other companies are rapidly filling in the other holes.

For nonprofessionals, meanwhile, Final Cut is already tempting — especially because the price is $300, not $1,000. It’s the first Apple program that’s available only by download from the online Mac App Store, not on DVD. All of the programs formerly called Final Cut Studio have been rolled into Final Cut except Motion and Compressor, which are sold separately. Final Cut Express and DVD Studio Pro are gone.)

The new Final Cut has been radically redesigned. In fact, it looks and works a lot like iMovie, all dark gray, with “skimming” available; you run your cursor over a clip without pressing the mouse button to play it.

Once you’re past the shock of the new layout, the first thing you’ll notice is that Apple has left most of the old Final Cut’s greatest annoyances on the cutting-room floor.

First — and this is huge — there’s no more waiting to “render.” You no longer sit there, dead in the water, while the software computes the changes, locking up the program in the meantime, every time you add an effect or insert a piece of video that’s in a different format. Final Cut X renders in the background, so you can keep right on editing. You cannot, however, organize your files or delete clips during rendering.

Second, in the old Final Cut, it was all too easy to drag the audio and video of a clip out of sync accidently; little “-1” or “+10” indicators, showing how many frames off you were, were a chronic headache. But in the new Final Cut, “sync is holy,” as Apple puts it. Primary audio and video are always synced, and you can even lock other clips together so that they all move as one.

In fact, an ingenious feature called Compound Clips lets you collapse a stack of audio and video clips into a single, merged filmstrip on the timeline. You can adjust it, move it and apply effects as if it were a single unit, and then un-merge it anytime you like. Compound Clips make it simple to manage with a complicated composition without going quietly insane.

In the old Final Cut, if you dragged Clip A so that it overlapped part of Clip B, even briefly, you wound up chopping away the covered-up piece of Clip B. But now, the timeline sprouts enough new parallel “tracks” to keep both of the overlapping clips. Nothing gets chopped unless you do it yourself.

Source: David Pogue / NYTimes.com

Apple’s new non-linear editing app plots a roadmap to the future of video editing

by Gary Adcock, Macworld.com

With the release of its hotly anticipated Final Cut Pro X (FCP X), Apple breaks new ground—not just with its flagship video editor’s interface and underlying infrastructure—but with the whole mindset of what it means to be a working professional video editor.

Apple has revamped Final Cut Pro’s hands-on user experience in three major areas: Editing, media organization, and post-production workflow. New tools such as the Magnetic Timeline, Clip Connections, Compound Clips, and Auditions provide a smooth, intuitive editing experience.

With the rise of data-centric workflows and tapeless video recording, organizational tools such as Content Auto-Analysis, Range-based keywords, and Smart Collections work in the background to automate formerly tedious and time-consuming manual processes.

Post production workflows now offer customizable effects, integrated audio editing, color grading, and a host of streamlined delivery options.

With this new application, video pros can no longer follow traditional ways of working.

Clips in FCP X’s new Event Library are sorted by both user-created Custom Keywords (blue icons) and Smart Collections. The latter are created automatically by Content Auto-Analysis during import (purple icons).

Final Cut Pro X, despite its familiar name, is not an upgrade of Final Cut Pro 7. It is a brand new product. FCP X is also no longer part of a suite of applications such as Final Cut Studio, but rather one of a trio of component parts that include Final Cut Pro X ($300), Motion 5 ($50), and Compressor 4 ($50). All are available separately for download from the Mac App Store. There will be no boxed copies.

Rolling

Final Cut Pro X starts off by immediately analyzing your media as it begins to import footage, while at the same time archiving critical secondary information on color balance, motion, rolling shutter artifacts, tracking, and stabilization data on a clip-by-clip basis.

While handling the bulk of analytical information at ingest, FCP X is tagging the files with metadata in a manner that speeds secondary file processing, delivery, and rendering capabilities and vastly accelerates workflow. The heavy lifting of this content is invisibly handled in the background—between the application and the Mac operating system—as a byproduct of the conversion to a fully 64-bit application workflow.

The most profound interface changes to FCP X—beyond the new darker look—are the Event Browser and the Event Library. Importing your content into the app creates a new Event, a virtual folder that holds all of the information about your media: what it is, where it’s stored, and whether it’s from a specific date, place, or client. You can even rate, organize, and show or hide clips from view while accessing tools like Keyword and Smart Collections. Events are created by the application as part of the ingest, in addition to your organizational effort.

When you’re done creating your video, you can use the direct upload options within FCP X to share it on Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, and CNN iReport. All Apple devices are available as options, as well as Podcast Producer, output for standard definition DVDs, and even Blu-ray devices, directly within FCP X. Plus, the application still offers fully integrated processing with Compressor. Standalone export output options offer all flavors of Apple’s ProRes, H.264, DVCProHD, Apple HDV, and even Sony’s XDCamEX format at 35Mbps and the 50Mbps version of the XDCamHD 422 codec.

Here are the currently available output options for file delivery when exporting your project directly from FCP X.

Magnetic Timeline

Acting as a trackless canvas for your video edit, the Magnetic Timeline allows you the freedom to arrange and re-arrange your media wherever you want. Existing clips on the timeline slide in and out of the way without danger of collision or overwriting a previous edit. They snap into place “magnetically,” dynamically aligning with existing media in the timeline. Despite being trackless, you can easily create multi-level compositions and properly maintain continuity as you move media around in your project. This feature interactively shows you exactly what’s happening in the timeline as you work, so you can easily execute your vision.

Clip Connections and Compound Clips

Designed to maintain the continuity of media in the timeline, Clip Connections are relational links between primary media in the timeline and secondary elements. Content such as titles, B-roll, sound effects, and even music, can be moved and repositioned seamlessly as a single clip, maintaining audio and video sync, and giving you a clear, visually defined connection to your assets.

Alongside Clip Connections and its facility at combining primary and secondary elements into a cohesive unit for editing and filtering, Compound Clips further advances the concept by allowing a complex multi-element group of media to be handled as a single clip. It’s easy. Just select the relevant media and choose Create Compound Clip from the File menu (or hit the Option-G key command).

Compound Clips let you move, duplicate, and handle clips as an individual segment. You can even share such clips across multiple projects or use a clip to apply filters and effects across all combined elements. The Compound Clips feature helps video editors remove clutter and simplify the timeline’s organization, while maintaining media continuity.

This is the Compound Clip when open.

The Compound Clip command offers a vastly simpler timeline that minimizes the additional track and clip information until needed. Think of it as a nested sequence on steroids. This is the Compound Clip when closed.

Auditions

Think about being able to create multiple versions of an opening or closing sequence for different clients or presentations. That’s the power of Auditions. With this feature, you can view various alternative scenes in your video without leaving the timeline. Auditions provides a fast and easy way to preview a number of variations—with any media collection—in real time. To create Auditions, just drag the shots to the same place in the timeline and choose the Add to Audition command. This allows the Magnetic Timeline to handle the sequence continuity and sync.

Auditions lets you dynamically preview multiple clips within the timeline without disturbing any other media.

Content Auto-Analysis and Keywords

Underneath the surface, FCP X mines metadata from your content from the second you ingest footage from the camera. That data stream includes information such as camera type, frame rate, white balance, and a host of other pre-defined parameters.

The Content Auto-Analysis feature can, during import, distinguish individual people, shot types (close, medium, and wide) and rolling shutter artifacts common to many CMOS cameras. It can also rectify stabilization issues with hand-held shots, adjust overall color balance, and analyze and remove excessive audio noise and hum or silent audio tracks from footage.

Much of FCP X’s automatic keyword creation is derived from this media detection functionality. The program uses the information gathered to create keywords and automatically assembles assets into Smart Collections within the Event Library. Thus, while importing your content, FCP X is sorting, categorizing, and auto keywording in the background. In addition to the keywords that the program assigns, you can add or edit your own keywords to identify specific shots in any manner you choose. Since you can have multiple keywords for the same clip, and all of those clips would appear in each search and link to a single original piece of media, you can accomplish faster, cleaner edits.

Applying customizable effects offers you a real-time preview of the effect on your video in the canvas. Note that the thumbnail view in the Effects Window also shows the clip. The new Skimming feature brings added power to the content preview in FCP X.

Another result of this metadata analysis is the ability to create a keyword selection across multiple pieces of media. Range-based Keywords allow you to flag a keyword across all or just small parts of multiple clips. Keywording offers a larger, far more flexible canvas. No longer are you restricted to specific bins or folders.

Content library access

Borrowing a page from its iLife line of consumer apps, FCP X lets you browse all of your attached media and content libraries within the program. View your iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture content as well as Motion Libraries directly, as well as 1300 royalty-free sound effects offered as a free download, available via Apple’s software update, after you purchase FCP X.

Customizable effects

FCP X provides a wide array of content, including animations, titles, transitions, and effects sequences, all accessible and editable within the application.

Much of this content was created specifically for Apple by Hollywood effects pros and graphic designers. Customizable from the start, these effects allow you to preview a clip by selecting a shot and then using the skimming function to get a true instantaneous, real-time preview—both as a thumbnail and in the viewer—of how your shot will look with that effect applied.

You also have access to all of the transform functions (crop, scale, rotate, and distort) as well as keyframing of those effects without having to jump between different parts of the interface. Effects imported from Motion 5 can be managed to allow you to modify different parts of the program’s new Parameter Rigging feature.

Effects in viewer.

Audio editing

Apple has chosen to fully integrate audio editing into FCP X. Starting with the ingest, the program analyzes content for hum, noise, and dynamic audio changes. It even automates audio sync from an external recorder and the camera, matching audio and video via the waveforms, to connect content and sync it properly. This was formerly a manual process.

With a large library of sound effects and high-quality audio effects plug-ins available in FCP X, you now have greater control of your audio enhancements than ever before. You can access control for sub-frame audio edits as well as many of the available 64-bit versions of third-party Audio Units plug-ins.

Color grading

Whether you need a single-click correction or want to create a stylized look, all color work now happens within FCP X. From the first analysis, color balance and correction are mapped for use, allowing you to quickly match multiple shots in the same group or refine the look of any clip in the Event Browser or the timeline.

The Color Board gives you a dynamic way to make custom modifications to overall color, saturation, and exposure, while allowing keying and masking to be done simply and directly within the app. The Match Color feature offers a fast and easy way to match the overall color, contrast, and look between two different shots to maintain a project’s visual continuity.

The Color Board represents the essence of Apple’s FCP X interface changes. It allows you simple control over exposure, color, and saturation.

Bottom line

Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X has been re-designed from the ground up with a radically different approach—one that acknowledges and uses device and camera data in a manner that has never before been attempted in the video editing environment.

With this release, Apple shows us the future in which data streams from all the devices we work with communicate seamlessly, sharing media behind the scenes. Think of the advantages and possibilities when all the effort you put into setting up a shot or project continue downstream from your camera into post-production, or follow your content when it’s delivered on the web. That’s the promise of Final Cut Pro X. Will that promise be fulfilled?

[Gary Adcock is a Chicago-based consultant who specializes in building workflows for film and television productions. He is the founder and past president of the Chicago Final Cut Users Group, Tech Chairman of the NAB Director of Photography Conference, and a member of the I/A Local 600/ Camera Guild Training Committee, teaching tapeless production techniques and workflows to professional camera operators. His writings and musing can be found at his blog on Creative Cow .]

MasterImage 3D and Rightware present glasses free environment for 3D stereo displays

MasterImage 3D’s Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier display provides Rightware the ultimate environment to showcase their ground-breaking Kanzi UI Solution for Autostereoscopic 3D

Computex, Taipei, Taiwan – June 2, 2011 – Rightware Oy, the leader in 3D user-interface (UI) technology, and MasterImage 3D, Inc. the leader in autostereoscopic 3D (AS3D) display announce a strategic partnership to offer the best out-of-the-box AS3D solution for immediate deployment. The combination provides device manufacturers a fast lane for creation of the most intuitive autostereoscopic 3D design for mobile, consumer and automotive devices. A demonstration is available at MasterImage 3D’s booth at Computex 2011 (Hall 3, G0766).

Both companies have leadership positions shaping cutting-edge glasses-free 3D experiences and providing ready-for-business solutions for their customers. In this alliance, MasterImage 3D’s patented Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier uses a “cell gap” approach enabling the brightest, sharpest glasses-free 3D experience with the widest viewing angle. This barrier was recently announced in their latest 3D CELL reference tablet based on Texas Instrument’s OMAP™ 4 platform technology. Rightware focuses on the software aspects and has released the world’s first commercial AS3D user-interface software solution for embedded devices, using their celebrated Kanzi UI Solution.

“This partnership means device manufacturers can have access to the latest autostereoscopic 3D software and hardware from one partnership. We’ve been working closely with MasterImage 3D and we’re extremely excited about the quality of their cell-parallax implementation,” said Tero Sarkkinen, CEO of Rightware. “Device manufacturers are aggressively including AS3D in their new offerings, seeking ways to provide real consumer value and differentiate through enhanced 3D design.”

For device manufacturers, this partnership means faster time to market with the most compelling hardware and 3D user interface solution. This consumer-friendly 3D navigation can intuitively showcase the variety of 3D applications that will spark the growth of a next-generation mobile 3D ecosystem—from 3D movies, games, apps, video and user-generated content.

“One of the most thrilling contributions to the 3D content ecosystem is dynamic and interactive visual navigation,” said Roy Taylor, Executive Vice President and General Manager at MasterImage 3D. “Rightware is an inspired pioneer in introducing new consumer experiences and their Kanzi 3D UI running on barrier really showcases the beginning of an incredible industry.”

About Masterimage 3D Inc.
Masterimage 3D Inc. is a 3D technology company that provides pioneering solutions for theaters, mobile devices and gaming. With digital 3D cinema systems installed over 60 countries, Masterimage 3D is a fast-growing digital 3D system supplier, offering audiences the clearest, sharpest 3D experience while providing exhibitors with a compelling ownership-based pricing model. The company invented, patented and mass-produced the cell-matrix parallax barrier, the leading 3D technology for auto-stereoscopic mobile display. It enabled one of the world’s first glasses-free 3D mobile phones and is in development for devices in 2011. Its 3D camera ASIC empowers users to create 3D content. Founded in 2004, the company is privately held and headquartered in Hollywood, with offices in the UK, Tokyo and Seoul. More information: http://www.masterimage3D.com.

About Rightware
Rightware® is the market leader in 3D User Interface technology, serving mobile, automotive and other embedded industries with its Kanzi® solution for rapid 3D user interface design and deployment. Rightware has introduced the world’s first stereoscopic 3D (S3D) user interface solution. Rightware also develops industry leading system performance analysis tools. Rightware’s renowned product portfolio includes the Basemark® product family for various benchmarking purposes, plus 3DMark® Mobile for OpenGL ES 1.x and OpenGL ES 2.0, VGMark® for OpenVG 1.x, and SPMark® platform benchmark for Android, MeeGo, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Linux and mobile Java. Rightware is headquartered in Espoo, Finland and has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Palo Alto. More information: www.rightware.com.

3ality Digital forms strategic partnership with RED Digital Cinema Education

3ality Digital and RED Digital Cinema Partnership Kicks Off With S3D Production Classes and Presentation at REDucation

Burbank, CA. – June 1, 2011 – 3ality Digital, world leader in advanced technologies to empower creative digital stereoscopic 3D (S3D) acquisition, and RED Digital Cinema announced today a Stereoscopic 3D partnership, which launched during the recently completed REDucation sessions on May 24-28 at RED Studios Hollywood. 3ality Digital will be the primary 3D partner for RED Digital Cinema, and together the companies will train professional and aspiring filmmakers on how to create clear and pristine 3D images using the same equipment as elite Hollywood directors like Peter Jackson and Bryan Singer.

“The biggest tent pole movies shooting on the planet right now, like The Hobbit, are all shooting S3D on EPIC and 3ality Digital,” said Ted Schilowitz, Leader of the Rebellion at RED Digital Cinema. “The teams at RED and 3ality Digital have been working together for years behind the scenes. Now is the right time to take that relationship to the next level and integrate education components for the community.”

As the primary stereoscopic 3D partner for RED, 3ality Digital lent its technology, currently being used in feature films such as The Amazing Spiderman and Jack the Giant Killer, to REDucation’s 3-day introductory session May 24-26, as well as during the advanced classes May 27-28. The REDucation Open House included a screening of S3D content produced with 3ality Digital technology. Attendees also experienced special presentations from RED including the latest “Tattoo” EPIC Reel shown in 4k.

“S3D is here to stay and choosing partners at the forefront of the technology that really grasp what true, high-resolution cinema and S3D are all about is essential for business and for the community,” said Steve Schklair, CEO of 3ality Digital. “Educating filmmakers and getting RED and 3ality Digital technology in their hands at events like REDucation is a crucial step towards accelerating and facilitating S3D content production and ultimately consumer adoption.”

The ongoing partnership will also include collaboration at the Camp RED youth summer program August 1-19, where the new partners will provide young filmmakers with training in S3D production. Students ages 9-15 will shoot their own S3D films at RED Studios Hollywood during the week-long day camp sessions, including an exclusive, behind-the-scenes trip to 3ality Digital Studios.


About RED Digital Cinema
Red Digital Cinema is the brainchild of Jim Jannard, founder of Oakley, world-famous manufacturer of sunglasses, sports apparel and personal electronics. Mr. Jannard is a self-professed lover of all things photographic, having amassed an extensive photographic collection, as well as having been a shooter for most of his life. His search for the perfect video/film camera was never satisfied and proved to be the inspiration behind creating the ultimate full motion camera. His desire was to create a camera that matched the quality of, and processed images similar to, the very finest digital still cameras…. but at motion picture frame rates.

About 3ality Digital
3ality Digital is a pioneer and leading authority in stereoscopic 3D (S3D). 3ality Digital provides the film and television industry with camera platforms, stereo image processing systems and S3D image scaling technologies that are considered the “gold standard” for the production of compelling and immersive S3D entertainment. Whether for a feature film or live sporting event, its innovative technology empowers customers to stay in control of creativity when working with S3D.

Founded in 2000 by CEO, Steve Schklair, 3ality Digital has a reputation as an innovator in S3D, with its technology powering multiple live-action firsts. This includes: U2 3D, the first movie shot completely in live-action S3D; the first live S3D broadcast of an NFL game (Raiders vs. Chargers, December 4th, 2008, broadcasted to a select audience); the first live S3D sports broadcast available to consumers, including the 2009 BCS Championship Game, BSkyB’s landmark Manchester United vs. Arsenal soccer broadcast (January 31st, 2010), the first network hockey telecast ever produced in S3D (New York Rangers vs. Islanders, March 24th 2010 on MSG); the first S3D commercial broadcast during a Super Bowl (Sobe “Lizard Lake”); the first full episode of a scripted television series shot in live-action S3D (Chuck vs. The Third Dimension, aired on NBC on February 2nd, 2009); and first RED EPIC S3D Movie, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’

For more information, please visit www.3alitydigital.com

The Bloom is off the Rose: 3D market being reconsidered by the industry

We knew it would come to this.  My kids who are fairly tech savvy even sniff at the 3D glasses now.  They could care less and tell me that it’s just another way to charge more.  The post production industry is still hoping for a windfall when it comes time to retrofit the enormous back library of titles and present them in 3D.  I am very interested to see how Titanic does when it returns next spring in stereo.

This article by David Lieberman at Deadline.com:

Investors are jumping on the anti-3D bandwagon as the weekend’s lackluster sales of 3D tickets for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 seemed to confirm that audiences are fed up with the higher prices exhibitors are charging for the immersive visual experience. Shares of 3D technology company RealD were down 12% in mid-day trading to $27 — amounting to a 23% decline over the last two weeks. Even with the drop, RealD shares are up nearly 40% from this time last year. Investors appear to be more disenchanted with DreamWorks Animation, which is making all of its films in 3D. Its shares were off 3.3% at midday to about $24 — which is down nearly 20% vs this time last year. 3D tickets accounted for about 45% of Panda’s domestic box office revenues. By contrast, last year DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever Aftergenerated 60% of its opening-weekend revenues from 3D, even though it was on 343 fewer 3D screens, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett notes. Wall Street’s most vocal critic of 3D — BTIG’s Richard Greenfield — reiterated his “sell” recomendation for DreamWorks Animation and lowered his 2011 earnings estimate for the company to $1.54 a share, from $1.81. The company’s movies “have not lived up to expectations and the global DVD market is in a free fall as consumers continue to shift from buying to renting.”

And the NY Times weighed in after the long holiday weekend:

Has the 3-D boom already gone bust? It’s starting to look that way — at least for American moviegoers — even as Hollywood prepares to release a glut of the gimmicky pictures.

Ripples of fear spread across Hollywood last week after “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which cost Walt Disney Studios an estimated $400 million to make and market, did poor 3-D business in North America. While event movies have typically done 60 percent of their business in 3-D, “Stranger Tides” sold just 47 percent in 3-D. “The American consumer is rejecting 3-D,” Richard Greenfield, an analyst at the financial services company BTIG, wrote of the “Stranger Tides” results.

One movie does not make a trend, but the Memorial Day weekend did not give studio chiefs much comfort in the 3-D department. “Kung Fu Panda 2,” a Paramount Pictures release of a DreamWorks Animation film, sold $53.8 million in tickets from Thursday to Sunday, a soft total, and 3-D was 45 percent of the business, according to Paramount.

Consumer rebellion over high 3-D ticket prices plays a role, and the novelty of putting on the funny glasses is wearing off, analysts say. But there is also a deeper problem: 3-D has provided an enormous boost to the strongest films, including “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland,” but has actually undercut middling movies that are trying to milk the format for extra dollars.

“Audiences are very smart,” said Greg Foster, the president of Imax Filmed Entertainment. “When they smell something aspiring to be more than it is, they catch on very quickly.”

Muddying the picture is a contrast between the performance of 3-D movies in North America and overseas. If results are troubling domestically, they are the exact opposite internationally, where the genre is a far newer phenomenon. Indeed, 3-D screenings powered “Stranger Tides” to about $256 million on its first weekend abroad; Disney trumpeted the figure as the biggest international debut of all time.

With results like that at a time when movies make 70 percent of their total box office income outside North America, do tastes at home even matter?

After a disappointing first half of the year, Hollywood is counting on a parade of 3-D films to dig itself out of a hole. From May to September, the typical summer season, studios will unleash 16 movies in the format, more than double the number last year. Among the most anticipated releases are “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” due from Paramount on July 1, and Part 2 of Part 7 of the “Harry Potter” series, arriving two weeks later from Warner Brothers.

The need is urgent. The box-office performance in the first six months of 2011 was soft — revenue fell about 9 percent compared with last year, while attendance was down 10 percent — and that comes amid decay in home-entertainment sales. In all formats, including paid streaming and DVDs, home entertainment revenue fell almost 10 percent, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

The first part of the year held a near collapse in video store rentals, which fell 36 percent to about $440 million, offsetting gains from cut-price rental kiosks and subscriptions. In addition, the sale of packaged discs fell about 20 percent, to about $2.2 billion, while video-on-demand, though growing, delivered total sales of less than a quarter of that amount.

At the box office, animated films, which have recently been Hollywood’s most reliable genre, have fallen into a deep trough, as the category’s top three performers combined — “Rio,” from Fox; “Rango,” from Paramount; and “Hop,” from Universal — have had fewer ticket buyers than did “Shrek the Third,” from DreamWorks Animation, after its release in mid-May four years ago.

“Kung Fu Panda 2” appears poised to become the biggest animated hit of the year so far; but it would have to stretch well past its own predecessor to beat “Shrek Forever After,” another May release, which took in $238.7 million last year.

For the weekend, “The Hangover: Part II” sold $118 million from Thursday to Sunday, easily enough for No. 1. “Kung Fu Panda 2” was second. Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was third with $39.3 million for a new total of $152.9 million. “Bridesmaids” (Universal Pictures) was fourth with $16.4 million for a new total of about $85 million. “Thor” (Marvel Studios) rounded out the top five with $9.4 million for a new total of $160 million.

Studio chiefs acknowledge that the industry needs to sort out its 3-D strategy. Despite the soft results for “Kung Fu Panda 2,” animated releases have continued to perform well in the format, overcoming early problems with glasses that didn’t fit little faces. But general-audience movies like “Stranger Tides” may be better off the old-fashioned way.

“With a blockbuster-filled holiday weekend skewing heavily toward 2-D, and 3-D ticket sales dramatically underperforming relative to screen allocation, major studios will hopefully begin to rethink their 3-D rollout plans for the rest of the year and 2012,” Mr. Greenfield said on Friday.

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