Archive for the ‘Digital Cinema’ Category

“No 3D Cheese Please”, sez former Mouse House Katz

“If you are asking people to pay a premium price, you better deliver” said Jeffrey Katzenberg in his hastily arranged address to the National Association of Broadcasters at their annual convention in Las Vegas.  The consensus among blogsters is that 3D has arrived (or rather returned after a very long hiatus) thanks to the tireless efforts of Mr. Katzenberg.  But he reminded the industry that this is not necessarily a done deal.

In earlier comments, Katzenberg has been highly critical of cheap 2D to 3D conversions such as the recent release of Clash of the Titans, which took 8 to 10 weeks to quickly deliver.

Katzenberg noted that  a successful conversion done the right way may take up to 18 months and cost a minimum of $20 million. “Not everyone is going to have the resources to do it right.”

Sports and gaming will be the early drivers in the home” said Katzenberg suggesting that TV audiences are more forgiving when it comes to quality.

Katzenberg to speak at NAB today at 2pm

You must give the man credit for pushing exhibitors to add 3D screens. We might not be where we are today if he had not insisted that all new animated features be released in both 2D/3D. But he brings a cautionary note to the proceedings.

Moderator: David Wertheimer, CEO and Executive Director, Entertainment Technology Center at University of Southern California.

3D Digital Summit Day 2

Digital Cinema (including 3D) Roll-out:  A Status Report

Moderator, Michael Karagosian (MKPE Consulting) reports we are in year 11 in digital cinema rollout.  This year 33 titles will be in 3D.  All current growth in screens in the U.S.  is currently fueled by 3D.  But Asia and Europe are seeing the most expansion of 3D screens. Michael Lewis (RealD) warned that “Bad 3D” could really slow down the movement.  AMC, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas have formed a consortium (DCIP) and raised $660 million towards the deployment of 16,000 new 3D screens. Oleg Berezin (Neva Film) described the Russian exhibition paradigm where less than half the Russian films released on 35mm did not recoup their P & A while digital and 3d releases are considered  the golden goose. Peter Wilison of the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF)  portrayed the European theatrical system as healthy and growing, despite the fractious nature of the EU community.  There are 31,00 screens across Europe (excluding Russia and Ukraine) of which 8,000 are 3d equipped.

Technical Issues for 3D Digital Cinema

Richard Welsh of Dolby Labs talked about the essential nature of metadata particularly when cueing subtitles, although they must be rendered or baked into the picture.  Subtitles should to be placed in front of the action so as not to clash with the action plane.  However when there is a dynamic move as shown in the Alice in Wonderland segment with the Cheshire Cat floating towards the audience, so too must the subtitles shift to match the plane. Clearly reading subtitles are going to be a son of a bitch in 3D, however the two multi-depth credit cards looked really hot in the Alice trailer.

Production and Projection Techniques for Immersive Media

Siegfried Foessel talked about panoramic cinema featuring about to 12 x 2K cameras shooting in a half circle.  He also showed one of the most stunning short clips featuring a Peregrine attack above the city of London and co-produced by the BBC.

The Keynote Speaker, John Honeycutt (Discovery Channel) was the high point of the day as he unveiled Sony’s new 3D camera which I am sure will cause a sensation on the floor of the convention this week.  Some of the specs were outlined such as 3-inch CMOS sensors per eye, Full HD (1920×1080), interchangeable lenses, convergence control and full metadata support. Discovery will be conducting field tests of  the “Concept” prototype this July. The reaction from the house was palpable.

Can there (ever) be a Common Worldwide 3D-TV Broadcast Standard?
When the SMPTE engineers came out after lunch to repeat everything we had been hearing for the last two days, I started to nod off. So I will leave it to Debra Kaufman to fill us in on the details.

RealD adds 200 million more to landfills

I’ve enjoyed using two pairs or RealD glasses this weekend.  I kept one pair and gave the other away. I notice that they smudge easily but hey, they are comfortable and effective. However the question begs, where do they end up after use? Like Happy Meal toys, my kids bring them home thinking they are worth something, but soon get tossed.

The Italian Health Ministry has questioned whether or not re-using or recycling the glasses creates a health concern.  The panelists at NAB this weekend scoffed at this notion.

But the problem continues to nag:  Where do old 3D glasses go to die?

Why can’t Gucci start selling 3D glasses?  Having that logo on the side of frames would suggest something of value.

In the meantime, RealD has raised more venture capital. Courtesy of J.P. Morgan.

3D Digital Summit Day 1

Eye strain goes with the territory when sitting in a darkened conference room and donning the RealD glasses every half hour for  most of the  day.  But the footage was worth it!  We looked at U2, Dave Matthews, NFL football, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans, as well as a Praying Mantis eating the head off a fly.  Much of the material was breathtaking, but why do they have to play the music at 100+ decibels?  Do they think it makes the images look better?

Morning Session

I’m a morning person but they managed to run out of coffee by 8:30am (ouch!) when the session was due to start.  Strangely, the organizers had not anticipated such a huge turnout as many were left standing without enough chairs, but not having caffeine in the morning was a cruel hoax, courtesy of  Sony and NAB.

Understanding Stereopsis and 3D Image Capture

Peter Lude’ and Steve Schklair kicked off with an illuminating and sweeping explanation of Stereopsis.  We began to grasp the concepts of divergence, floating windows, edge violations,vertical alignment and the “wow” factor.  We also began to appreciate the difference between side by side cameras and beam splitters.

3D programming:  Lessons learned

Al Barton, Patrick Devlin (Evergreen), Thomas Edwards (Fox Technical Group) and Jason Goodman (21st Century 3D) each took turns explaining their approach to 3D.  The Fox sports reel was the most annoying and in your face, but Tom brought up an interesting dilemma: where does the ever-present score box go?.  Evergreen’s production of the Dave Matthews concert was most exciting to watch.  Jason Goodman (Call of the Wild) has been tearing apart and re-building the Panasonic DVX cameras and creating lightweight 3D rigs which work great on the steadicam.  Their 3DVX 3.5 444 2.75″ 10 Bit Uncompressed rig warrants further investigation.  The Red dual camera setup looks just plain big and unwieldy.

3D Conversion

Warren Littlefield (formerly NBC) gave the sales pitch for 3D describing when in 1987, Third Rock from the Sun created a special 3D episode as a lead-in for Gulliver’s Travels. As the “yes man” for 3D he was the used car salesman of the day,  advising us that we should go out and stereo retro-fit all original content from the last 20 years. Chris Bond’s story was the most harrowing as he described the 2D/3D conversion of Clash of the Titans during which they had a mere 8 – 10 weeks working on an unlocked picture.  The word on the street is the final product looks like a quickie, but the upside is Prime Focus has developed the know-how to turn around features under a tight deadline.

After lunch, Mark Schubin gave the Keynote address and reinforced many of the concepts we were introduced to earlier.  He described all the 3D technologies past, present and future including the concept of POOT, which is “plain old ordinary TV” which I am starting to miss at this point.  There is always something comforting about the format you know and grew up with.

A Case for Quality in Production and Post-Production

Buzz Hays (Sony Technology Center)  talked about the importance of education and getting the D.P.’s. Directors, Game Developers and Editors on board.  Based on their credits, Sony is clearly an industry leader in 3D and I look forward to dragging my students through their learning center.

After the Capture – What other Tools Exist?

Matthew DeJohn (In Three) described Dimensionalization as the patented process created by his company for 3D conversion. By this time, my eyes are hurting and every demo reel seems to feature converted and original 3D material and quite frankly, I am having trouble telling the difference.

So now it is time to quote, Jeffrey Katzenberg:

“All 3D is not created equal.  It is first and foremost a very, very powerful creative storytelling tool”.

Stereography and Storytelling

I started reading the Bernard Mendiburu book, this morning entitled 3D Movie Making and I my review will post shortly. I enjoyed his rather flip examination of the creative process.  Chuck Comisky (Avatar) is clearly a 3D god and lives and breathes this stuff 24/7.  Phil Streather’s (PLF) reel was gorgeous but uneven.  The bug footage was startling.  Clearly you can shove a 3D camera into a macro nature scene and still achieve great results.  By the time Phil, the indie filmmaker got up to speak, it was the end of the session. I was spent and so was most of the audience.  The scene he showed with the clown in the elevator was painful to watch but this guy is someone we should keep our eye on.  When micro budget filmmakers post their 3D films on youtube, I think this is a game changer.

CEO Howard Stringer bets the farm on Sony 3D

Sony has won and lost a few format wars, but thankfully they prevailed with Blu-Ray, and with the disks added capacity, they may just be the ticket when it comes to distributing 3D content.

In a recent Wired Magazine article:

“No other company seems to be staking as much of its future on the belief that an added dimension will convince millions of consumers to swap out their home entertainment components — which many just recently upgraded to hi-def.”

Ghostbusting Explained

VS …. Competing 3D projection systems offer differing approaches to solving the issues of retrofitting screens and serving up acceptable stereo images.

Dodge College’s esteemed Theater Manager,  Jim Smith  was kind enough to forward me this post from the Digital Cinema Report.

One of the issue relates to the process known as “ghostbusting”.  As Jim explains:

“There are 2 types of DCPs that are delivered to 3D theaters.  Dolby 3D theaters play non ghostbusted DCPs, and Real D theaters play ghostbusted DCPs.  Ghostbusting is used with Real D to keep separate eye images from leaking to the other eye.  Dolby 3D does not require ghostbusting.  The DCI consortium is recommending a single 3D deliverable standard.  Doremi is making new servers that will output a ghostbusted image for RealD.  They are also updating existing Doremi servers.  This will hopefully make ghostbusting in post production a thing of the past.”

Monster Movie Attacks in the Water

Deadline Hollywood reports that David R. Ellis, director of Snakes on a Plane and Final Destination, has agreed to helm Shark Night 3D, a modestly budgeted genre film for $28 million. What this blog intends to focus on among other things are the low and middle range pictures that are electing to shoot in 3D.  We also have noted  the shortage of screens currently in place to handle what is quickly becoming a logjam.


What is significant about this picture is the financiers, Incentive Filmed Entertainment, are willing to commit a generous amount of  coin towards a monster movie with no reported stars, in other words simply a good concept with a 3D marketing hook.This is a tried and true idea for a scary movie but it’s chances of exhibiting on the big screen may be fleeting.  It  may be up to Blue Ray or VOD that pick up the slack.  Also we wonder when the novelty will wear off and indeed a decent story will again be necessary to bring the audience to a theater.

3D ‘XXX’ Rob Cohen is back with Vin Diesel

3D ‘XXX’ Moves From Sony To Paramount; Rob Cohen And Vin Diesel Back In Fold

Director Rob Cohen is putting the finishing touches on the first ever 3D Coke commercial. Meanwhile Paramount is taking over the Triple X franchise which has been languishing over at Columbia.  The re-teaming of original director, Rob Cohen with the original star, Vin Diesel promises to re-invigorate this action series.  Will we see 3D images of the inside of an engine pulsing and the pistons throbbing??

It’s a Brave New World!

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to all things related to digital filmmaking.  The primary goal is to explore new and emerging methods of acquisition, editing and distribution of filmed entertainment. Topics to be discussed will be cameras, lighting, digital imaging, media management, editing and manipulation, motion graphics, sound and music, playback and display systems, mobile computing, and last but not least all things related to 3D production and consumption.

We are hoping along the way to enlist some help from my friends and colleagues and get their input in areas that will fill the knowledge gap.  I admit that I am not an expert in all of these areas. I bring to the table 25 years of film, tape and non-linear editing experience, and as you will see, I am particularly fascinated in the evolution of film and digital technology and how it has affected storytelling.

The genesis of this blog came from two recent developments in my career.  One is my desire to write a book on the topic of digital cinema.  The other is my latest assignment as member of a 3D Task Force at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts which is part of Chapman University located in Orange, California.  I recently joined the faculty and teach Editing and DI Workflow as well as Location Filmmaking.

I’ve enlisted my colleague, Tashi Trieu to join me in this endeavor and share his wisdom and experiences in the front line of shooting and coloring film.

When our Dean Bob Bassett announced that Dodge College would be converting the Folino Theater to 3D and we would begin exploring ways to support and teach 3D filmmaking, I leapt at the opportunity to participate.  Like many of my colleagues, I find the whole world of 3D to be somewhat mysterious and perhaps uncharted territory. In the course of my research, I will use this discussion page as a repository for ideas and information and I would like to invite you all in and encourage as much discussion and input as possible.

Scott Arundale

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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.