Archive for the ‘Home Entertainment’ Category

World Wide B.O. still the champ despite economic downturn and piracy concerns

Studios claim higher budgets and skyrocketing marketing costs leave them in the poorhouse despite evidence to the contrary

LOS ANGELES – The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2010. The report shows that global box office receipts for all films released around the world reached an all time high of $31.8 billion, an increase of 8% over 2009. The U.S./Canada market repeated its peak performance from last year but remained flat at $10.6 billion. International box office increased by 13%, with the largest growth in Asia Pacific which grew by 21%. More than 40% of the Asia Pacific box office growth occurred in China. However, China remains a highly restrictive market for foreign film distribution.

The 3D market was a key driver at the U.S./Canada box office making up 21%, or $2.2 billion of the total, doubling last year’s performance, and compared to just 2% of the box office in 2008. One in three people in the U.S. and Canada saw a 3D movie in 2010. Younger moviegoers are avid consumers of the 3D experience; 64% of moviegoers ages 2-17 viewed at least one 3D movie in 2010.

“It was a strong year at the movies in 2010. Despite a weak economy, shifting business models, and the ongoing impact of digital theft, we had another record year at the global box office driven by growth outside the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S. and Canada 3D was the driving force,” said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA. “Higher value entertainment continues to make a significant contribution to box office revenues.”

John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, added: “The domestic theatrical market continues its strong performance. Box office has grown for four of the past five years, setting records in three of them. It has surpassed $10.5 billion for the past two years. The industry’s investments in digital cinema and 3D have begun to show dividends, with 3D releases doubling their share of the box office. Admissions, which are more volatile than box office, continue to hold their own in the face of a prolonged economic downturn. Theater owners continue to offer their patrons the lowest-priced form of out of home entertainment, with the average movie ticket – including premium-priced tickets – costing less than it did in 1970, adjusted for inflation.”

The number of tickets sold in the U.S./Canada declined 5% to 1.34 billion, returning to the 2008 level. While the number of moviegoers was up 3% compared to the previous year, the average number of movies they attended declined to an average of six times in 2010, from 6.5 in 2009. Ticket sales continue to be fueled by repeated visits to the cinema by frequent moviegoers – thosewho go to the movies once a month or more. Frequent moviegoers make up only 11% of the population but bought over half of all tickets sold in 2010. While the number of frequent moviegoers rose to 35 million, up three million from the previous year, occasional moviegoers – those who see less than one movie per month – went to the movies less frequently in 2010.

The number of screens has remained constant over the past five years at around 150,000 worldwide; however digital screens have increased dramatically. Nearly one-quarter of all screens are now digital and over 60% of those are 3D-capable. In 2010, every region in the world more than doubled its digital screen count for an overall increase of 122%.

“Though innovation and technology continue to be a positive force for the theatrical business, driving moviegoers towards higher value 3D entertainment, the continued theft of movies online will have a sustained adverse impact on movie attendance in the coming years. It’s impossible to compete with free,” said Pisano. “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.”

For a detailed analysis of the 2010 MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics please click here.


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

Video Flashback: RCA Selectavision Videodisc Player

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

End of Year B.O. tallies suggest that 3D is cannibalizing the industry

Nikki Finke reports on the dilemma facing distributors with regards to the new technology and ticket pricing:

The Top 5 Grossing Movies of 2010 in North America were Toy Story 3 (3D – Disney/Pixar), Alice In Wonderland (3D – Disney), Iron Man 2 (2D – Disney/Marvel distributed by Paramount), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2D – Summit Entertainment), and Inception (2D – Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures). Interesting how not all were 3D despite the higher ticket prices, which has prompted one prominent media analyst this week to call on the movie industry to scale back on the number of 3D movies it has planned because demand for them is lessening and 3D is “not the panacea which Hollywood studios hoped it would be”, says Rich Greenfield.

He notes that total movie industry box office is down over $152M or 30% year-over-year. And 4th quarter-to-date, box office is now down over 8% and could easily end the quarter down 9% given how poorly newly opened films are performing. In turn, attendance for Q4 2010 will likely be down around 12% – “a staggering number for an industry that expected 3D technology to motivate people to get out of their houses and go to the movies,” he says. ”The U.S. consumer is becoming increasingly less interested in 3D movies. While the horror and gross-out comedy genres may benefit from 3D (think Saw 3D or Jackass 3D), the vast majority of 3D movies this year have been disappointing at best (the exceptions being Alice in WonderlandToy Story 3, and Despicable Me).”

Greenfield calls this “A Recipe for Disaster: Hollywood is combining substantial price increases ($3.25 3D upcharge is the average in the US on a $7.00-$7.25 average 2D ticket), with annoying glasses that substantially dim the light of a movie and which young children spend more time playing with than wearing, with sub-par content (not to mention the fact that 3D gives some people headaches and others cannot see 3D imagery at all). While you may think of us as the ‘3D Grinch’, we fundamentally believe content and story are the key factors to success and that technology alone is not a long-term path to success or profits. The movie industry should reduce the number of 3D movies it has planned or at least substantially scale back the upcharge as they are simply charging way too much for poor content. Did a Jack Black comedy, Gulliver’s Travels really need to be in 3D? We suspect even if the movie was bad, lowering pricing (to 2D levels) would have ended up selling more tickets.”

Although others’ projections for 2011 and 2012 box office are upbeat, Greenfield maintains that weak box office is likely to accelerate studio plans for early release premium Video-On-Demand. “While the exhibitors continue to focus on the risks to cutting into their 4-month release window, we suspect the weakness in exhibition attendance trends is likely to provoke Hollywood to accelerate their plans to release movies earlier in the home. Studios need to find new revenue streams to bolster movie profits in 2011 and beyond. We continue to expect multiple studios to begin trialing early-release, premium-priced VOD by late Q1 2011/early Q2 2011.”

Perhaps video gaming is good for a child’s mind

NPR’s Michelle Trudeau reports on a fascinating new study that suggests hours in front of the gaming console may be time well spent for developing minds.  What is not up for debate in the study are the consequences of exposing our children to an ultra-violent world of savagery and gruesome images such as CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS , a frame grab of which is depicted below.

Parents, the next time you fret that your child is wasting too much time playing video games, consider new research suggesting that video gaming may have real-world benefits for your child’s developing brain.

Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.”

Her studies show that video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking, says Bavelier.

Seeing Shades Of Gray

Vision, for example, is improved in gamers. Specifically, the kind of vision called “contrast sensitivity,” that is, the ability to see subtle shades of gray.

“And this is a skill that comes in very handy if you’re driving in fog,” Bavelier says. “Seeing the car ahead of you is determined by your contrast sensitivity.” Skilled gamers also are able to see smaller type size than non-gamers on vision tests.

But Bavelier wanted to know which came first: Is better vision caused by playing action video games, or is better vision a skill that gamers bring to the table? Perhaps, Bavelier wondered, gamers already have sharp vision, and are thus good at action games and vision tests.

To check this out, Bavelier recruited non-gamers and trained them for a few weeks to play action video games. “At the end of their training,” Bavelier says, “they’re told, go back home. No more gaming. They’re not allowed to play any games.”

Then they came back into the lab every few months to have their vision re-checked.

Bavelier found that their vision remained improved, even without further practice on action video games. “We looked at the effect of playing action games on this visual skill of contrast sensitivity, and we’ve seen effects that last up to two years.”

Gamers, Bavelier has also found, have better attention than non-gamers — they stay focused. She gave gamers several tests to measure attention and found that gamers get less distracted by what came before and by events in their surroundings.

Laser Focus

They are able to detect, for example, new information coming at them faster. So as a result, they are more efficient. And Bavelier also says that gamers can switch from task to task much faster than non-gamers, making them better multitaskers.

Body Moving Games

Gaming may improve children’s cognitive skills, but it’s not without drawbacks: There’s a lot of evidence showing a correlation between gaming and childhood obesity. New devices — like Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Move or Kinect for Xbox 360 — might help game lovers get off the couch, but do games used with these systems show the same potential to improve a child’s aptitude for tests and other challenges?

Not really, says Daphne Bavelier, a brain and cognitive sciences researcher at the University of Rochester. “Those games typically don’t have the same effect [on the brain],” she says.

At the same time, she said some studies have found that exercise itself can have an impact on the cognitive skills of older adults, but she says that we don’t know yet whether the same is true for the younger set.

“We see that typically in people that don’t play action games, their reaction time [on tests of multitasking] lengthened by 200 milliseconds, which is something like 30 percent,” Bavelier says. “But in gamers, it lengthened only by 10 percent.”

Closing The Gender Gap

Brain researcher Jay Pratt, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has studied the differences between men and women in their ability to mentally manipulate 3-D figures. This skill is called spatial cognition, and it’s an essential mental skill for math and engineering. Typically, Pratt says, women test significantly worse than men on tests of spatial cognition.

But Pratt found in his studies that when women who’d had little gaming experience were trained on action video games, the gender difference nearly disappeared.

After 10 hours of training, Pratt brought the women back to the lab and gave them the spatial cognition test again.

“And we found that the women improved substantially, and almost caught up to the men’s scores,” he says.

Pratt also investigated another area of spatial cognition called “the useful field of view,” which is essentially how much of the visual field a person can perceive at any given moment. In other words, as Pratt describes it, “How wide can you cast your net of attention?”

Typically, there are baseline differences between men and women on this test, with men performing significantly better. But Pratt found that training on action video games enabled women to significantly improve on this test of visual attention.

Pratt says playing these video games changes your ability to learn, and to find and integrate new information.

“Video game players are able to pick up very subtle, statistical irregularities in environments and use them to their advantage,” Pratt says. “And these same irregularities in environments are the things that help us guide our behaviors on a daily basis.”

Game Console Artists

To better understand how gamers acquire these non-gaming skills, neuroscientist Lauren Sergio, of York University in Toronto, looks inside the brain. She’s found an important difference between gamers and non-gamers in how and where the brain processes information. She likens skilled gamers to musicians.

“If you look at professional piano players, professional musicians, you see this phenomena where they don’t activate as much of their brain to do very complicated things with their hands that the rest of us need to do. And we found that the gamers did this as well.”

Skilled gamers mainly use their frontal cortex, according to Sergio’s fMRI studies. That’s an area of the brain specialized for planning, attention and multitasking. Non-gamers, in contrast, predominately use an area called the parietal cortex, the part of the brain specializing in visual spatial functions.

“The non-gamers had to think a lot more and use a lot more of the workhorse parts of their brains for eye-hand coordination,” Sergio says. “Whereas the gamers really didn’t have to use that much brain at all, and they just used these higher cognitive centers to do it.”

So the next time you despair that your child is immersed, yet again, in an action video game, remember: Gaming can improve some important skills.

Bavelier hopes that more action video games will be developed that train these skills without the violence found in the typical games available today. And all the researchers suggest that parents should limit their kids’ time on video games. Moderation, they say, is the key.

When is a fast forward not really a fast forward when advertising on the web?

>>> Beet.tv reports: >>>

In clever piece of technology, the Los Angeles-based software firm Panache created an ad solution which allows visitors to fast forward, sort of.

Although the ad goes much faster, the images and super fast sound track provide the commercial message which is featured in the segment.

Beet.tv spoke with Panache CEO Steve Robinson about the new format and how it actively engages viewers.

Panache is creating a number of innovative online video ad solutions for publishers including most of the big broadcasters — CBS, MSNBC and Fox. The company has been working closely with MTV for nearly two years.

The company has just announced that all its ad formats now work with HTML5.

Hands on: Sky 3D review

A whole new ball game

To capture its 3D broadcast pictures Sky uses two HD cameras to take left and right-aligned images of a chosen scene. The need for dedicated 3D camera rigs means that viewers watching a live event – such as the Ryder Cup golf tournament, for instance – don’t see the same images as the regular 2D transmission.

This also means separate commentary teams and studio presenters. The images are anamorphically compressed and positioned side by side before being encoded as a normal HD stream. Anyone watching in 2D who tunes in to channel number 217 will see the split screen showing two nearly-identical images. It’s then time to tell your TV it needs to engage its side-by-side 3D mode and the screen will display a single fuzzy image.

For perfect clarity you pop on your 3D specs and assume your viewing position. Sky’s 3D channel may now be fully-fledged, but as a glance at the programming guide shows, there aren’t that many original 3D broadcasts in a given week.

This, though, is deliberate, as Sky admits that 3D viewing is meant for specially planned events and the idea of watching uninterrupted 3D shows and adverts (not that there are any) is simply unimaginable.

The very nature of 3D viewing places you in a cinema-like situation and it’s largely down to the darkened, shuttering specs. Hence: no glancing at each other as you discuss Tiger Woods’ dire tee shot; no getting up to make a brew while keeping an eye on proceedings; and no reading magazines during the ad breaks.

3D programming on Sky

So despite several hours of preview footage and various repeats, the amount of original 3D programming available feels about right.

The first week was dominated by four days of golf, with the rest of the schedule given over to a couple of CGI movies (Monsters vs Aliens and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), some sporting archive footage (World Matchplay Darts, US Open tennis, Super League rugby and the 2010 Champions League final) and some bespoke 3D documentaries about dancing and wildlife.

The first time you watch any genre in 3D is undeniably exciting, although the process of switching from 2D viewing on a Panasonic 3D plasma was convoluted and involved several menu selections plus the need to switch from Normal mode to Dynamic to compensate for the reduction in brightness caused by the tinted 3D glasses.

The reversal of this process also makes it a chore to switch back to 2D and check what’s on another channel. Of all the sports currently on show, golf is perhaps the biggest challenge for 3D producers. While football and tennis lend themselves to some naturally good angles that give a welcome sense of depth, golf offers a lot of images that seem flat because there isn’t enough foreground interest.

3D TV in action

The best shots are those of the players teeing off, or caddies milling around the green, with a packed gantry behind them and the glorious Welsh hills in the background. Even then, the 3D effect is stronger when the sun is shining than when it is gloomy and wet.

And, despite the irritating commentators’ propaganda about how fabulous 3D is, sometimes the darkness and lack of definition make it impossible to see the hole.

But other material fares better. With macro-3D documentary The Bugs!, the curiosity of seeing things stereoscopically had me marvelling at certain scenes, while the documentary entitled Dance, Dance, Dance has some great wide shots of different dance styles, and seems to work better than the animated movies that play havoc with your eyes at times by using outward projecting objects whose disappearance at the edge of frame contravenes spatial logic – although Sky should be applauded for getting a good roster of new 3D movies on its channel.

There’s no doubt that there’s still some way to go before you can sit down in front of Sky 3D and feel completely happy with the experience, but even at this early stage it shows promise.

Source: 3dradar.techradar.com

Microsoft makes a renewed effort in over-the-top streaming video

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp has held talks with media companies to license TV networks for a new online pay-television subscription service through devices such as its Xbox video game console, two people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

The software giant’s possible push into the television business comes as Google Inc, Apple Inc and Netflix have jostled for a seat at the table of television’s future — a main topic of discussion at the Reuters Global Media Summit to be held this week.

The maker of the Windows operating system has proposed a range of possibilities in these early talks including creating a “virtual cable operator” delivered over the Internet for which users pay a monthly fee.

Other options include using the Xbox to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows with enhanced interactivity similar to how pay TV operators have sought to do over the Web, said these people.

Microsoft is also exploring the possibility of creating content silos and selling more individual channels directly such as an HBO or Showtime. It already has Walt Disney Co’s ESPN on the XBox Live online service for example.

These people said a service may not arrive for another 12 months, but early discussions have been productive.

Microsoft said it does not comment on rumor or speculation. The people involved in the talks asked not to identified as the discussions were confidential.

News of Microsoft’s plans come as the pay-television industry has sought to allay investor concerns that consumers are fleeing expensive subscription packages for cheaper online services operated by companies such as Netflix Inc and Hulu, which both charge $7.99 per month for streamed shows and movies. The phenomenon is called “cord-cutting.”

The worry is that so-called over-the-top services could undermine the lucrative cable TV industry, whose dual-revenue stream model — cable networks such as ESPN are paid carriage fees by pay TV operators and also earn revenue from advertisers — has made pay-TV one of the most resilient sectors during the economic recession.

But programmers would welcome new types of competition to the cable and satellite companies, senior media executives said.

“We think the more competition the better, we will price and package it in such a way that we still make the dual revenue stream,” said one of the people who spoke to Reuters. “We could probably charge more for interactive advertising.”

Microsoft has long held ambitions to be a major player in the TV business and has previously invested in interactive television initiatives including Web TV and MSN TV set-top box software.

Its latest plans include offering interactivity to engage viewers through social media, interactive advertising and motion control technology, say people who have seen early demonstrations.

Microsoft has bet on new “gesture” technology that lets users of its Xbox, who buy a camera accessory called the Kinect, control on-screen functions using voice to launch channels and waving arms to fast-forward or rewind videos on ESPN.

The Redmond, Washington, company is said to be mulling feedback it has received from programmers including the expense of such a plan but it is not likely to roll out a service in the next 12 months, said one person.

The market to determine the future of television distribution and technology has accelerated over the past year.

Google has already launched Google TV, an enhanced Web-TV service with partners including Sony Corp televisions and Logitech set-top boxes. While Google has also announced Time Warner Inc’s Turner Networks as a programing partner, it is not yet planning to offer a full suite of cable networks in the near future.

Apple has also held talks with programmers, but faced resistance industry-wide over its plans to offer a lower-cost subscription TV plan, people familiar with the talks have said. Apple has begun to offer 99-cent TV show rentals for a limited number shows through News Corp’s Fox and Disney.

Epic, Epic, Epic : Peter Jackson buys the new Red camera in bulk for The Hobbit

The train appears to be leaving the station as another “A-List” director, Bryan Singer endorses the new Red Camera system known as Epic:

From: bleedingcool.com

In my youth, Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon was almost an mythical movie, and a big part of the myth revolved around the “special lenses” that Kubrick used to shoot the film. Made by Zeiss from NASA-developed still-camera lenses, they allowed Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott to shoot a number of scenes in the film that were lit entirely by candlelight.

From what I keep reading about its capabilities, I think Kubrick would have loved the upcoming Red EPIC camera, and here’s one hint as to why.

Bryan Singer has personally stopped by the Red User forums to leave a Christmas Eve message, revealing just a little of what he’s planning for his next picture:

I’m very much looking forward to using the EPIC Red for my next movie Jack the Giant Killer which will be shot in, what else, 3D. The camera’s incredibly compact size and extraordinary resolution are ideal for the 3D format.

But more importantly Jack the Giant Killer is my first movie set in a time before electricity. The EPIC’s extraordinary exposure latitude will allow me to more effectively explore the use of natural light.

“More importantly”? Yeah, I’m sure some people are going to read that as anti-3D sentiment. Either way, I’m reckoning that this is going to be a wonderfully shot movie and to know that Singer is feeling ambitious about the cinematography is nicely encouraging.

Update: 12.17.10

From Jim Jannard and Darius Wolski, A.S.C.

Ridley Scott’s upcoming Science Fiction film, which begins principal photography this spring, will be shot on EPIC.

“In my opinion, the new Red Epic camera is about to revolutionize all spectrums of the film industry.

I am going to use Epics in my new project directed by Ridley Scott. I am amazed with the quality of the image and the fact that you can shoot 5k at 120fps without compromising resolution, and most of all the size of the camera.

Combined with the Element Technica Atom 3d rig, we will be able to shoot a 3d movie with the flexibility of a conventional cinema camera.

I don’t see anything that comes close to it at the moment. I can’t even imagine the potential Epic will have on the big blockbuster industry as well as independent cinema.”

11.28.10 from Jim Jannard, owner and developer of the Red Camera systems:

Peter Jackson’s two film adaptation of The Hobbit will be shot in 3D using RED DIGITAL CINEMA’S soon to be released EPIC Digital Cameras.

The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC and at least thirty cameras will be required by the 3-D production. The EPIC’S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D – where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig.

The successor to RED’s industry changing RED ONE, the EPIC has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made. Taking everything they had learned from building their first camera, RED designed the EPIC from scratch and have produced a smaller, lighter camera that is an order of magnitude more powerful.

Jackson has a long history with RED, dating back to when he directed the short film ‘Crossing the Line’ as a very early test of prototype RED ONE cameras. “I have always liked the look of Red footage.” he says, “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”

Jim Jannard the owner and founder of RED flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so that Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability. “Everybody at RED is incredibly proud that Peter has chosen the Epic” says Jannard, “The Hobbit is a major production, and could have chosen any camera system that they wanted. The fact that they went with us is extremely gratifying.”

The Hobbit will start shooting in New Zealand early next year.

Jim

Will the Royal Wedding be broadcast in 3D?

Prince William and Kate Middleton intend to make their wedding a people’s event and on April 29 the happy couple may seem close enough for you to reach out and touch them. Broadcasters are considering plans to screen the royal wedding in 3D. If those plans come to fruition it would mean a worldwide audience of millions would watch the anticipated marriage ceremony through 3D glasses.

It is understood that Sky, the BBC and Virgin are in joint discussions about the possibility of screening the event live from Westminster Abbey in 3D.

Sky TV have pioneered the new 3D technology on the small screen, largely for sporting events, but it is more likely that a terrestrial broadcaster such as the BBC will get full access to footage of the event, in order to cater for the largest possible TV audience.

While the technology requires a special television set for home viewing, it is possible that the event could be screened in pubs and cinemas for mass public consumption in 3D.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said early meetings had taken place with other broadcasters and she was aware of interest in using 3D technology. She said: ‘We are already planning with the other broadcasters so I know about the 3D thing as well. That is obviously of some interest but our responsibility is to bring things everybody can see on air and 3D has a very limited footprint.’

She added the royal couple were in ‘their own time, their own space and we shouldn’t make assumptions yet about what our coverage should amount to.’

There has been speculation on several technology websites that Sky is considering 3D coverage of the event, but a spokeswoman for the broadcaster said it was ’speculation at this stage’.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 28, announced their engagement last week, nine years after they met as students at St Andrews University.
Source: dailymail.co.uk

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