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.