The 3D Future is Bright

Joshua Greer, the president of RealD, has joined the growing ranks of major 3D players who see broadcast as their vital end market, writes George Jarrett.

Greer's contention was that "the big issue is creating enough content to support that [broadcast] infrastructure. The reason we are so excited - even when the major studios are committing to 3D and promising 20-30 titles per year eventually - is that when you talk about the home you need hundreds of new titles," he said. "We need to see a whole blossoming of TV capture in order for 3D to take hold in a meaningful way."

Projection brightness is a huge talking point, and Greer was quick to pounce on the issues. "It is the curse of all 3D systems. We lose light in a number of different ways. On one hand the new single projector provides the advantage of being a lone unit offering perfect sync and perfect alignment, but you have to give half the light to each eyeball," he said. "You get another hit because that light to has to be further filtered. You typically get 14% efficiency from most 3D systems," he added. "We all have different ways of combating it."

RealD recently launched its XL technology, which addresses that polarisation issue. "What is normally lost in polarisation we are able to collect and re-distribute back out through the lens," said Greer. "It is a very complicated optical system, but the result is we get about twice as much light out of the projector."

He now claims an efficiency figure of 30% and his next focus is higher frame rates. Does 3D pay yet? On that subject Greer said: "Next year we already know 23 major motion pictures are coming out, and the revenue for a 3D screen is 3.5 times that of 2D screens," he said.

Meanwhile, the IBC master class 'A production language for 3D' highlighted numerous tutorial elements, but at its heart was producer Phil Streather's assertion, "3D is an art, not an absolute science." Streather pointed out that while there have only been nine digital 3D movies released thus far, he cited the increasing revenues as the sign that 3D is a fast track market.

Streather fronted the session, working to a script involving Pablo Post owner Ralston Humble and independent filmmaker Celine Tricart, and summarised what he had wanted to achieve: "In order to make comfortable 3D when filming closer than eight feet, you need to use a mirror rig. It is important to look at what 3ality is up to for the way it is selling its IP, and the way the rig companies in general are working on the scalability of rigs," he added. "And the real things that cause fatigue are mis-alignment and if the backgrounds are too far apart."

Quoting RealD's technical guru Lenny Lipton he said: "Good 3D is not just about setting a good background. You need to pay good attention to the seven monocular cues - aerial perspective, inter position, light and shade, relative size, texture gradients, perspective and motion parallax. Artists have used the first five of those cues for centuries.

"The final stage is depth balancing," he added. "But once you have done that you may end up with objects breaking the frame." Along with dozens of others, this problem was resolved, in this case by the use of an opaque mask.

Asked what he saw as important, Humble said: "With all the toolsets for post and the new rigs for sale, the cost of entry into 3D has been reduced. At the moment it is a collaborative movement with everyone working together in order to go forward, but it is up to the big post houses now. If they make it expensive or a pain to finish, no-one is going to do it."

Source: TVB Europe