Archive for the ‘NAB’ Category

Apple remains above the fray at NAB

All this week, I’ve been wondering what will be the next announcement from Cupertino and why aren’t they here?  I’ve enjoyed using the NAB iPhone app that lists the Exhibitors and pushes daily notices about events. Despite the din around the halls, I’m waiting for Apple to chime in.

Two things have emerged one having to do with 3D:

HDGuru3D.com reports on Apple’s Patent Pending ‘iSpecs’.

The other is a party they got going on at the Renaissance on Wednesday.

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.

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.

NAB here we come

Despite being a tech-head for all these years, I have resisted ever attending the NAB Conference in Las Vegas.  My main excuse has always been that it lands right in the middle of pilot season which traditionally is a very busy time for me.  For the last few years I have been working on my teaching credentials and leaving in the middle of the semester always seemed like an iffy proposition.

The real reason is, I start to get very anxious around all this new technology, amidst an army of strangers, in the barn-like convention center.  A form of vertigo begins to take over, and I am soon ready to flee.

This year Dodge College has generously offered to pay my way for the 2 day Digital Summit to be held as part of the convention.  We currently have a mandate which is to grasp all things related to 3D and employ them both in our facilities and in our pedagogy.  So this is a crash course for me and my colleagues and I hope to share as much of the wisdom as I can glean along the way.

In the meantime I have ordered a raft of books from Amazon and will be doing as much research as I can handle and will share my notes with you. And if you see me in Las Vegas breathing into a paper bag, it’s because it’s just so damn exciting.

-Scott Arundale

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.