Industry Tech Mavens Talk Future of 3D

Get ready for 3D in the home, because it's going to hit big in the next 18 months, a panel of top industry tech mavens predicted at Variety's Future of Film confab in Santa Monica.

Ed Leonard, chief technology officer of DreamWorks Animation, said he sees a fast adoption of 3D-capable screens in the home because the technolgy is there. "It's extraordinary," Leonard said during the sesh moderated by David S. Cohen, Variety's associate editor of features.

Chris Carey, exec VP of worldwide technical operations for Paramount, noted that there's very little additional cost for people with HD TV sets to be able to access 3D. Those technologies should be very prominent at next month's Consumer Electronics Show, Carey said.

The march of 3D into the home will complement the push in theaters, Leonard said. Panelists agreed that in years to come, most megabudget pics will be made in 3D.

"3D provides us an opportunity to reinvigorate the experience in the theater," Leonard said. "3D done well is an incredible tool for our creative teams. Not as a gimmick but as a vehicle to really pull you into the story."

Cohen surveyed the panel, which also included Warner Bros. prexy of technical operations Darcy Antonellis, on what big technological leaps lay ahead in the next ten years.

Carey predicted continued morphing, or what he called "widgetizing," of TV and the Internet. "It's all going to be ported over into a 10-foot experience" on the TV set rather than the computer screen. "TV is increasingly going to be at the center if your entertainment experience," he said. "It's going to become appliance-like. Like your toaster. You just push a button and it works."

Antonellis emphasized the changes coming with the spread of cloud computing, which will help eliminate the need for consumers to store physical copies of DVDs, CDs, etc. She said search and recommendation functions will also continue to evolve and become more important to consumers. Other than that, she predicted the biz will endure "the wholesale change of all of our business models. Other than that it's pretty static," she quipped.

Leonard continued to pound the 3D drum, emphasizing that it will "change the way we think about entertainment."

By Cynthia Littleton, Variety