Green Intl. Co. (GIC) 3DV is a professional stereoscopic QC and subtitling system. It displays full resolution stereoscopic view directly from native DPX or other professional files on desk top. The system includes a real time file server, a full resolution stereoscopic display, and a control interface. It lets user to view image details with instant pan, scan, and zoom control. It is effortless to edit subtitle and adjust its depth. It plays HD and higher resolution content at real time. Disparity calculation and other functions are available to assist processing. 3DV is a scalable, low cost tool for stereoscopic production.

Samsung Aims to Sell 2 Mil. 3D TVs in 2010

Samsung Electronics is heavily betting on its 3D TVs with aggressive sales targets and a concrete content-related strategy. The world's top manufacturer of flat-screen television sets said that it aims to sell over 2 million 3D LED-backlit LCD TVs globally this year. Of the total 35 million LCD TV sales it has targeted for 2010, Samsung plans to sell 10 million LED-backlit LCD models, which is almost quadruple the 2.6 million it sold in 2009.

"The 3D TV segment will be the main battleground for Samsung this year. The outlook is positive after checking consumer responses. Samsung predicts global 3D TV demand will rise by 3.5 million throughout this year," Yoon Boo-keun, the president of the company's visual display division, said in a press conference in Seoul.

Research firms' sales forecasts for the global 3D market vary from 1 million to 6.5 million TVs in 2010.

"Some technology matters still remain for the better watching of 3D TV, but the market itself is highly lucrative. 3D TV is the top buzzword for our business in 2010, while LED-backlit LCD TV was last year's," according to Yoon.

He said Samsung has developed technology that converts 2D content to 3D that will give consumers an extra dimension even when 3D content is hard to find.

Yoon said Samsung has been in in-depth talks with several content providers to use the patented contents of its 3D LED-backlit LCD TVs to match up with the new strategy.

"Samsung is in talks with a few major content providers to boost sales, though we can't further comment over the talks for the time being," the executive said.

In 2009, it had struck an exclusive 3D content deal with Dreamworks Animation of the United States.

"For contents, we are talking with other terrestrial broadcasters and game developers for similar deals to raise the offerings of 3D content," said Kim Hyun-suk, a senior executive at the division.

Glass Dilemma
But Samsung said the introduction of 3D TVs without glasses is highly unlikely over the next five years due to technology drawbacks. Along with a lack of content, the required use of glasses and high prices are cited as the major hurdles facing the penetration of 3D TVs into the market.

"The resolution of panels must be increased by nine-fold to watch 3D programs without glasses. But TV prices will rapidly soar because more larger-sized panels will be needed," according to Yoon.

"It might be impossible to experience such programs without glasses. Introducing 3D TV without glasses is currently out of the question," Yoon said.

Samsung plans to sell a 46-inch HD LED-backlit LCD TV set for 4.2 million won ($3,640), while its 55-inch model will sell at 5.8 million won in the South Korean market. The models don't include the cost of the glasses. In comparison, Samsung's 46-inch conventional LCD TV without LED backlighting technology costs about 1.5 million won.

"The cost of the viewing glasses will vary according to regions and outlets. But we will use the glass price as a marketing tool," Yoon said.

By Kim Yoo-chul, The Korea Times

Technicolor Aims to be Leader in 3D HDTV Technology

Technicolor is a name synonymous with film, set-top box technology and disc authoring, compression and replication. The Paris-based company hopes to soon be tagged with another moniker: leader in 3D.

From delivering 3D broadcasts to high-def set-top boxes, to working with the positioning of subtitles and other data on 3D images for film, disc and broadcast, to perfecting the front-end filming of 3D images, the company displayed all its 3D guns Feb. 25 at the just-opened W Hollywood Hotel, entertaining clients, media and local film students.

“We’re showcasing a number of technologies that could be used by Technicolor or farmed out to others,” said Gary Donnan, SVP of corporate research. “We have a range of 3D technologies that are going to impact how we view 3D theatrically, as well with home entertainment and on mobile devices. It’s an important part of our strategy.”

Among the more interesting Technicolor 3D technologies displayed was one that will allow 3D HDTV owners to control the left- and right-eye depth of their 3D images. In addition to controls for volume, brightness and contrast, consumers could some day have a “depth” option as well.

Donnan and Thierry Borel, with Technicolor’s research and innovation division in France, pointed to two different 3D films that used different tactics with depth. Avatar, they said, purposefully went light on depth, aiming to be easier on viewers’ eyes. 2007’s Beowulf, on the other hand, used strong depth with various items on the screen at the same time, potentially overworking the eyes of some viewers.

The Technicolor technology, which is still in development, would allow 3D HDTV owners to throttle the depth of 3D content up or down.

“With 3D you have to be careful with what you ask someone’s brain to do,” Donnan said. “It’s all about comfort.”

Technicolor also showed off technology that automatically translates and crops 3D content for mobile devices. Animated 3D content is the easiest to translate and crop from mobile applications, Technicolor said. For live-action fare, sporting events, and even theoretically simple fare such as news broadcasts, it takes more work. The company’s technology is built to recognize faces, focused action, even the ends of a tennis court net, and allows for instant cropping from 16:9 to 4:3, hopefully without losing any of the important content.

“The degree of immersion has to be raised,” Donnan said. “3D raises a whole lot of technical innovations that deal with the comfort of the user. The person sitting down in the theater, in their living room, has to enjoy the experience.”

By Chris Tribbey, Home Media Magazine

Telegenic to Provide 3ality?

Telegenic is in prime position to provide independent UK producers with 3ality Digital stereo 3D camera rigs. Although negotiations are still ongoing with a UK partner, 3ality is looking to set up shop here to serve growing demand across Europe and to cut shipping costs of its equipment from LA.

Asked about his plans Steve Schklair, 3ality Digital's CEO said: "Go talk to Telegenic. Watch this space."

Telegenic is planning to design and outfit a second £4m dedicated 3D outside broadcast vehicle for its own use, potentially with Sony as the build partner. The High-Wycombe-based firm is already outfitting the UK's first dedicated 3D truck for Sky with up to seven 3ality rigs. The truck will be used almost exclusively for Sky 3D productions, notably one Premier League match a week beginning in April.

"We are going to build our own 3D truck to hit the road around July or August depending on kit availability," said Telegenic's business unit manager, Eamonn Curtin. "We will have our own 3ality rigs in the truck so we can work on a wider range of 3D productions without having to ask Sky's permission [which it currently needs if it is to supply its first truck for non-Sky productions]."

The move could form the basis of a wider sales and rental partnership with 3ality.

Sky's initial technical spec for the production of Sky 3D sports includes 3ality technology and demand for the rigs is likely to outstrip demand, initially at least. Rival stereo rig manufacturer Element Technica has a rental agreement in place with Panavision.

By Adrian Pennington, TVB Europe

Jarre Concerts to be Filmed with 3-D Avatar Cameras

Two concerts next month by French electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre are to be filmed in 3-D with the same cameras used to shoot James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, the musician said Wednesday.

In a telephone interview from Belgium, where he is rehearsing, Jarre told AFP he had been contacted by Panasonic, which developed the cameras for the 3-D opus, to film the concerts and record in high-definition sound.

The film of the two concerts in Strasbourg and Liege, Belgium, will be "released in 3-D and 2-D later in the year," he said. 3-D, he added, "is an important a revolution as going from black-and-white to colour".

Source: AFP

Brazil TV to Go 3D this Year

Last week Brazil celebrated ‘Fat Tuesday’ in traditional carnival fashion, except this time the event was covered by 3D cameras. You can be sure the colourful Rio de Janeiro carnival celebration will show up on the world’s 3D transmissions once receivers are distributed.

Test transmissions were made last week by Brazil’s Globo TV and Embratel's cable operator, NET Servicios. They carried out the first trials of live 3D TV transmitters in the nation with the broadcasting of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

NET installed special equipment in the lobby of the Fasano Ipanema Hotel where guests and the press were able to see the technology. The idea is to launch the service commercially before the end of this year. NET Servicos says it will invest $107.4m in 3D TV, Digital TV and HD, according to NexTV Latam.

The Director of Services and Products of NET Servicos, Marcio Carvalho, pointed out that TV set manufacturers needed to start their commercialization of 3D equipment. "All our HD decoders can receive 3D signals but the consumer needs a suitable TV set," the executive explained to the Brazilian bulletin Teletime.

In January this year, 3D broadcasting was the star at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. "The beginning of manufacturing of TV sets that can receive 3D images and the incipient availability of contents in such format, such as the recent success of the movie Avatar, will encourage the creation of some kind of fever about the issue," Carvalho said.

By Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News

Canal Plus Aims to Launch 3D Channel this Year

French pay TV operator Canal Plus plans to launch a 3D channel by the end of the year. Canal Plus's deputy general director for technology, Joseph Guegan, told "Ecran Total" magazine that the company expects to resolve the remaining technical problems during the first half of the year and intends to launch a dedicated 3D channel for Christmas. The channel will carry sports events and films. No pricing information was revealed. Viewers will have to purchase a 3D TV set from manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.

Source: Sports Techy

TV Makers Firm on Real-Time 2-D/3-D Conversion

CE giants raised eyebrows at the Consumer Electronics Show when they promised that their upcoming 3-D TVs would convert 2-D programming to 3-D in real-time. Critics dismiss real-time 2-D/3-D conversion as gimmickry, claiming the results are generally so spotty that even the casual observer can pick up on the parlor trick. The CE industry's content-production partners are skeptical at best.

But TV makers including JVC, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba insist that until there's a plethora of available 3-D programming, on-the-fly 2-D conversion is needed to make 3-D TV fly with consumers. Even first adopters will look for the conversion capability to justify the expense of the new sets, CE vendors believe.

It's a conviction born of experience. "Japanese consumer electronics companies got burned with their efforts to introduce 3-D via PCs," said Ikuo Matsumoto, executive director at 3-D market tracker Fujiwara-Rothchild, based here. "They failed miserably because too few 3-D titles were available at that time. They say they can't repeat the same mistake again."

So the CE industry is forging ahead with conversion methodologies, based for now on proprietary algorithms. JVC has been in the forefront of development and has licensed its conversion approach to Sensio Technologies (Montreal). Matsumoto expects 3-D TV sets using JVC's technology to appear on the market this year. Other conversion algorithms available for licensing include DDD's TriDef and technology from Mercury Computer Systems. Toshiba is working on a real-time conversion algorithm that leverages the company's powerful Cell processor, used in Cell TVs.

Matsumoto worries about two things. First, "if real-time 2-D/ 3-D conversion doesn't make images look good, it could literally kill 3-D," he said. Sources told EE Times the converted images range from "surprisingly good" to "unnatural," especially during scene cuts.

Perhaps more important, anyone hoping to arrest price erosion for flat-panel TVs by adding 3-D features may find the strategy's benefits short-lived, Matsumoto said. Samsung, for one, plans to ship 2 million 3-D TV sets this year. The faster the 3-D feature moves downstream through product lineups, the less time vendors have to milk 3-D's value-add.

At Nomura Securities, "our current 3-D TV market forecast is around 1.6 million units this year," global technology specialist Richard Windsor wrote in a recent research note. But given Samsung's plans, Windsor added, "this is already out of date."

By Junko Yoshida, EE Times

3D TV ‘Frame Compatible’ Top-Up System Demonstrated

The first Pay TV 3D TV services will use what is called a ‘Frame Compatible’ approach. The Left and Right eye HD images are squeezed into a single HD TV channel. The 3D TV picture can be viewed courtesy of a normal HDTV set top box, if the viewer has a (new) display that can separate out the Left and Right eye signals. There is a cost for squeezing the L and R signals into one channel, and this is some loss of image resolution for each of the L and R pictures. Some say that what we have now are two “HD minus” images.

Twice the Bandwidth
An alternative way to broadcast 3D TV would be to use a ‘Service Compatible’ approach. Here the L and R signals are reproduced without loss of resolution, but this needs a much wider bandwidth than the Frame Compatible approach. The ‘Service Compatible’ approach, for example, that will be used for BluRay 3D (though not a broadcast system) needs nearly twice the bandwidth of a single HD signal. Will BluRay claim that it provides “Full HD 3D” and is better than the broadcast Frame Compatible picture? Probably, yes.

'Top Up' System
At the HPA this week, there was a demonstration of a way to ‘upgrade’ a Frame Compatible 3D broadcast to “Full HD 3D”. They claim to have developed a new compression technology that can provide an enhancement signal to ‘top up’ the quality to full resolution. The enhancement signal takes very little space (less than 1 Mbit/s). This would offer an ‘upgrade path’ for those broadcasters who begin with Frame Compatible approach. How well does it work? Within the limits of a short demonstration, the answer is quite well. But, of course, a lot more discussion and testing needs to be done.

By David Wood, EBU

Transmitting 3D in a 2D World

Producing 3D high-definition pictures requires new camera systems that incorporate two lenses -- to generate separate images for the left and right eye -- and displaying them in the living room means buying a new HDTV set that comes with special glasses to assemble the 3D images. But delivering 3D HD TV to the home may not necessitate the complete overhaul of the program transmission chain that early 3D skeptics had forecast.

That's because networks and pay-TV operators launching 3D HD in 2010 plan to transmit their video in "frame-compatible" broadcast formats that are designed to work within the existing bandwidth for HD transmission. Such formats use spatial compression to reduce the horizontal or vertical resolution of the left- and right-eye images. That is a compromise early 3D programmers can live with, as adopting "full 3D" -- delivering full resolution to each eye -- would require doubling the current bandwidth used to deliver two-dimensional HD to the home.

More important, frame-compatible 3D formats, which can squeeze the left- and right-eye images into a normal HD program stream by interleaving them in a side-by-side or top-bottom configuration, among others, are also supported by some existing high-end satellite and cable set-tops. Such broadcast 3D formats are expected to be incorporated into the latest version, 1.4a, of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) networking technology that is commonly used to provide a secure digital connection between digital TV sets and set-top boxes. Existing late-model set-tops with an HDMI Version 1.3 connector can receive a software update that will allow them to connect to new 3D sets with a Version 1.4 connector to display 3D HD video.

DirecTV, which plans to launch several 3D channels in June, met with Japanese and Korean set-makers last fall to brief them on its 3D transmission plans and ensure that its existing MPEG-4 HD set-tops would work with new 3D TVs. The pay-TV operator demonstrated live 3D HD satellite broadcasts using frame-compatible 3D, in the side-by-side interleaved format, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. British pay-TV operator Sky employed a similar technique to deliver a live 3D soccer broadcast to a handful of pubs in the U.K. and Ireland two weeks ago. And cable sports giant ESPN says it will use spatial compression to deliver its new 3D network, which plans to go live with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June.

Executives from encoder manufacturers Harmonic, Ericsson, Motorola and Harris say their products can support frame-compatible 3D, with at most a software upgrade required to optimize the processing of 3D images. "Our encoder has been used by at least three major customers, and it works just fine delivering 3D images all the way through," says Matthew Goldman, VP of technology for Ericsson's TV solutions business (formerly known as Tandberg Television). Ericsson's latest contribution encoder can also support the backhauling of live 3D images from the field, Goldman adds. A single CE-xH42 unit can receive left- and-right eye camera feeds, encode them separately, and send them back to a network in a single "phase-aligned" stream that ensures the left- and right-eye images stay in sync when decoded.

DirecTV, which uses a mix of Harmonic and Ericsson MPEG-4 encoders to deliver its HD programming, won't need any new hardware to transmit 3D in the 720p, 1080i or 1080p/24 frame-per-second formats, according to CTO Romulo Pontual. But the company, which showed 1080p/24 3D at CES, has licensed technology from 3D display specialist RealD and is working with encoder vendors to optimize their software.

"It's some of the preprocessing [capabilities] they don't have," Pontual says. "Part of that is done at the program producer, and part of it is done at DirecTV."

Pontual says DirecTV will likely use a slightly higher bitrate for 3D than it currently uses for its normal MPEG-4 HD streams, but he wouldn't give a specific number. He did dismiss the notion that fitting 3D in the same bitrate as 2D HD, by using the side-by-side interleaved format, means cutting the horizontal resolution in half.

"That's absolutely not true," he says. "It would only be half if you were transmitting identical left- and right-eye images. 3D already gives me a gain, as every odd pixel to one eye is representing an even pixel to the other one. If you're smart in how you're picking pixels, you can get a very high horizontal resolution."

The technology behind frame-compatible 3D isn't exactly new. Montreal-based Sensio Technologies has been specializing in spatial compression techniques for 3D video for a decade, and unveiled its first product for high-end home theater systems in 2003. It now sells its proprietary decoding technology in its own 3D chips and also licenses it to other manufacturers. The company announced at CES deals to license its 3D video processing technology to set-makers Vizio and ViewSonic and home-theater technology provider THX, and it has worked with ESPN and the NBA on early 3D tests.

Sensio's implementation of spatial compression technology creates a "virtually lossless" end picture for the viewer, says Richard LaBerge, the company's executive VP and chief marketing officer, even though either horizontal or vertical resolution must be sacrificed to deliver 3D down an existing 2D pipe. As LaBerge puts it: "There's a way to play with each pixel."

Chris Lennon, a member of Harris Broadcast's CTO group, says that 3D purists have generally dismissed frame-compatible 3D. Instead, they have promoted the full-resolution approach, which is how 3D movies will be delivered on Blu-ray optical discs; or another, more complicated technique called "2D plus delta" in which full resolution is sent to the left eye, and additional depth information for the right eye is sent alongside it and reconciled by the receiver. But the conversations about frame-compatible 3D quickly turned pragmatic as programmers and operators got closer to 3D deployment.

"People said, 'It's OK, it looks pretty good and most consumers will be pretty happy with that,'" Lennon says. "I think frame-compatible helps establish 3D television to begin with. If there's a good business there, and it seems to be taking off, then perhaps it will evolve to 2D plus delta or two full streams going to folks."

Bob Wilson, VP and general manager of Motorola's networked video solutions business, agrees that frame-compatible 3D is the only way to launch 3D to existing set-tops. But he thinks the industry will eventually shift to delivering 3D with full 1080-line-progressive/60 frame-per-second images to each eye. Besides new set-tops, that will also require a reworking of the live production infrastructure, as 1080p/60 cameras are just becoming available.

"They'll have to go half-res per eye for most events, but I think the high-end, top-end stuff will move to 1080p/60 for competitive reasons," Wilson says. "Just like 'full HD,' you'll start hearing about 'full 3D TV.' The fidelity of the image is something people will start competing on."

David Price, VP of business development for Harmonic, also believes that 1080p/60 is the eventual endgame for 3D. But he predicts that a significant portion of operators will stick with frame-compatible 3D for the next decade. That's why Price, who also serves as VP of the MPEG Industry Forum, hopes that manufacturers like Harmonic and Motorola can convince networks and operators to agree on using just one or two of the various frame-compatible formats.

"We at Harmonic, and other manufacturers, love it when there's just one goalpost to aim for," Price says. "It's in our interest to try to get this cohesion as early as possible."

By Glen Dickson, Broadcasting & Cable

3D Too Much for Big Four?

The Consumer Electronics Assn. predicts 4.3 million 3D TVs will be sold in 2010. ESPN3D begins airing in June. Discovery, Sony and Imax have teamed to launch a 24/7 3D channel. And live 3D could soon be available on DirecTV. Postley adds that broadcasters are "looking for deals like DirecTV's, where the Sonys or Panasonics of the world give them money. Or at least gear."

Despite the anticipation, the Big Four broadcast networks have been quiet on the subject, short of using one or another variation of anaglyph, the much-ridiculed method for showing 3D with two-color -- usually paper -- glasses. The nets tubthump 3D special events, but those are usually initiated by a program producer or advertiser, not the network. DreamWorks Animation wanted to make a splash with a 3D commercial for Monsters vs. Aliens during the 2009 Super Bowl, and the net piggybacked with a 3D episode of Chuck. The 3D Michael Jackson clip on the recent Grammy telecast used 3D footage shot for Jackson's planned concerts, not for TV. On both occasions, audience reaction to the anaglyph presentation was lukewarm at best.

Industry leaders generally acknowledge that over-the-air broadcasting will not be the driver of 3D to the home. Publicly, broadcasters have said little on the subject, perhaps because they're feeling burned by the transition to HD, which cost them millions in upgrades without delivering additional revenue.

"They're kind of looking at 3D and saying if they follow the same path, they're going to have the same result," says Howard Postley, chief operating officer of 3ality Digital. "There's not a lot of business reason for them to trail-blaze here."

Cable and satellite companies have the luxury of adding dedicated 3D channels, which ESPN and Discovery plan to do but broadcasters can't do easily. Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies, explains: "The problem for over-the-air broadcasting is delivery, as set by FCC (specifications.) Broadcasters have a defined transmission standard (that is) difficult to change."

It doesn't seem that bandwidth should be a big issue. According to Postley, a full digital TV channel, 19.37 megabits, has plenty of bandwidth for 3D at the current broadcast HDTV standard, 720p; most over-the-air programs use less than half that bandwidth. But over-air broadcast transmission relies on less-efficient technology than some of the more recently launched codecs, and set manufacturers are working to try to keep up. Still, the problem is as much due to the preponderance of technologies as it is the size of the pipe into which those technologies must flow.

"Even if you can squeeze (3D) into the (available) 19 megabit channel, a lot of broadcasters are already using excess capacity for additional channels as well as mobile," says one broadcaster. "So there is really no excess capacity available for 3D, because there are already established businesses that are using those bits."

Moreover, some insiders are quietly concerned that at least 15% of audiences may have trouble viewing 3D in the home without getting headaches or nausea. Researchers are examining factors from eye fatigue and vision to viewing distance and viewing position.

The ColorCode anaglyph system used by NBC last year has the advantage of delivering a tolerable picture without glasses; almost everyone in the 3D business agrees that the sooner anaglyph is retired, the better.

George Joblove, exec VP of advanced technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment, says, "Anaglyph can't transmit a proper color image and also doesn't provide proper separation between the eyes. The concern is that for those who have seen high-quality 3D, anaglyph will disappoint. But those whose haven't will think that is (the new 3D)."

Even so, says 3ality's Postley, the nets are quietly exploring a 3D future, and CBS has looked into doing some kind of 3D telecast around college basketball's Final Four. "The mainstream networks are looking for ways to, at the very least, not lose their shirts on this," says Postley, "(And) maybe make a little money."

By Carolyn Giardina, Variety

Mistika Installed at BskyB

SGO UK has announced the sale of a Mistika HD finishing system to British Sky Broadcasting for use primarily in creating stereo 3D content. The sale comes after SGO UK worked closely with the team at Sky to identify their demands and requirements to ingest, edit, colour correct, geometry align and deliver material as quickly as possible. Sky needed a system that had a truly open architecture and vitally, a proven realtime stereo 3D toolset and workflow. Mistika was the only product that met all of these requirements. The SGO UK team also provided a high level of assistance and support, which will continue as the demands for stereo 3D production evolve.

"SGO and Mistika was the clear choice for Sky when we first saw the flexibility and power at IBC 2009. Mistika fitted in perfectly with its open platform and has just worked from day one. Mistika produced and cleaned-up all stereo 3D idents and promos and finished on-screen graphics for the world-first live stereo 3D football match on 31st January. We also used it to finish the Sky cinema advertising shown in front of Avatar 3D. The support provided by SGO has been excellent and we certainly would not have been able to produce the amount of diverse content so quickly without Mistika," said Sarah Cloutier, VFX manager, Sky Creative.

"This is an incredible success story for SGO and confirms Mistika as a system of choice in stereo 3D production. I am delighted we are a part of what will be UK broadcasting history when stereo 3D arrives in peoples homes later this year," added Geoff Mills, director of sales and operations, SGO UK. "Stereo 3D has arrived at the cinema and will be available on your TV screen very soon. It is certainly here to stay. Facilities need to get ready for it now and if they have not been asked about stereo 3D yet, they soon will be."

Source: TVB Europe

Sky Looks at 3DTV Skills

Sky is pledging to fund the additional cost of 3DTV over HD but is asking the production community to meet it half way and invest in skills. Part of its commitment is an investment with the UK Film Council and Skillset to create a set of dedicated 3D training courses.

"We will commission and licence 3D content but wherever possible it needs to be an HD and a 3D product," said Brian Lenz BSkyB's director of product design and TV product development. "Ideally we are funding the increment to create a 3D format of an HD project. That will mean an editorial decision about whether to make two different cuts but our focus in the early days is about making everything work in both HD and 3D to that small, growing audience."

In order to build a market for 3DTV Sky needs a range of content outside of sports and movies. It used an event at Bafta for over 200 indie producers, distributors and channel partners to evangelise 3D and call for programming ideas.

"It's about going back to basics and getting the most out of the resources available to you," Lenz added. "We want you to plan, to storyboard and think before you shoot so that what you are not doing is doubling up the shooting days, adding in extra cameras for the sake of it because every one of those elements adds cost. There is an increment to be funded but we need that increment to go down and we hope you (the producers) take some responsibility because we will be asking you to find the most economical way to deliver great 3D content."

First and foremost he told the audience "you need to invest yourselves in developing your organisation's capability in 3D. We can't just be the source of funding for your R&D. 3D is not a licence to print money. We will scour budgets and proposals to ensure that you are driving that 3D increment down as far logically possible."

In exchange Sky, UKFC and Skillset are to launch a set of dedicated 3D training courses ranging in scope from novices to stereographers. These courses have been designed and run by Phil Streather, a stereo 3D producer and the CEO of Principal Large Format. "These training sessions will ensure that the UK can catch up and pass the rest of the world in terms of having the best and greatest number of qualified 3D production personnel," said Lenz.

Sky's residential channel launch later this year will be a mix of sports, entertainment and movies plus a 'wow' reel - featuring 3D highlights - which will rotate between fresh event 3DTV content. Three to four appointment-to-view events are planned per week from launch, which will scale over time. "Initially that is our target but that number will grow over time," he said. "We will manage our investment to the rate of market growth."

A number of 3D entertainment and arts programmes have already been commissioned although details were not announced. "For drama we want standalone, repeatable events like Hogfather (adapted from the Terry Pratchett books) not series," said Stuart Murphy, director of programmes, Sky1 HD, Sky1, 2, 3. "We wouldn't say no to specialist factual or natural history. It needs to be something we can build a promotion around."

Sophie Turner Laing, Sky's managing director, entertainment and news added, "3D is as much a commercial as it is creative opportunity. If you have an outstanding idea for content working in HD and 3D - we will back it."

Outside of Sky, Lenz pointed to distribution opportunities for content owners including new US channels from ESPN and Discovery as well forthcoming 3D channel launches from Canal+ in France, MediaPro in Spain, Korea and SkyPerfect in Japan.

"The right projects and events could also go to cinemas," he said. "The home video market packaged into Blu-ray DVDs is also important for premium content."

Gerry O'Sullivan, director of strategic product development, said Sky had tested a variety of genre outside of sports. "The challenge is to find me something that doesn't work in 3D, or give an audience a better experience in 3D," he said. "The UK has a fantastic opportunity to set itself at the head of the creative and entertainment industry by seizing the opportunity to show the world how great 3D can be," declared Lenz.

"Do not make anything of low quality. Do not make 3D for the sake of 3D. We can't afford for production increments to remain as high as they are now. And we can't afford to rely on expensive equipment from the US. "What we do in the next 12 - 24 months will dictate whether or not 3D is a gimmick or whether it is the next major technology transformation like black and white to colour."

By Adrian Pennington, TVB Europe

Major New 3D Training Initiative Unveiled

A ground-breaking partnership between Skillset, Sky and the UK Film Council was announced yesterday to develop and run pioneering gold standard 3D training for the UK film and television industries. The commitment to a £140,000 3D training budget was unveiled at "Introducing Sky 3D" – an event for the UK's production community, which was supported by the UK Film Council and BAFTA.

The fund will pay for specialist training across the board – from those needing to know the basics as they start a 3D project, to professionals sharpening up high-level specialist skills. Principal Large Format, the UK's leading consultancy for 3D production, run by Phil Streather, has been awarded a 3D stereoscopic innovation grant by Skillset to research and structure the curriculum for delivering this definitive course programme for 3D training for the production sector.

Skillset's Director of Film Neil Peplow, said: "Skillset is delighted to invest in this incredibly exciting project, which will make sure that the UK is in prime position to the lead the way in 3D technology."

Brian Lenz, Sky's Director of Product Design and TV Product Development, said: "We want the UK to be at the forefront of 3D's assault on cinema and TV. With 3D cinema proving a hit at the Box Office, and 3DTV coming to living rooms this year, 2010 is the year for UK producers to grasp the 3D opportunity. We're delighted to support the UK in becoming a 3D centre of excellence."

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, said: "This partnership is part of the UK Film Council's ongoing commitment to securing the UK's reputation as the home of the world's best creative talent, giving our filmmakers the 3D training they need to stay ahead in the 21st century skills race."

Source: UK Film Council

SK Telecom at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2010

SK Telecom kicks off its participation at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. For the first time, the company will showcase its most advanced mobile converged offering for the international market.

3D Conversion Technology can transform 2D video contents to 3D and also change 2D broadcasting signals including CATV and IPTV to 3D in real-time. SK Telecom is planning to provide the world's first 3D mobile broadcast service in Korea utilizing this technology.

Source: SK Telecom

DDD Revises 3D TV Conversion Licence with Samsung

DDD Group has restructured its licensing agreement with electronics giant Samsung. The agreement allows Samsung to use DDD's automatic 2D to 3D conversion technology in new 3D-enabled LED LCD HDTVs.

The per unit royalty paid for each Samsung 3D TV equipped with DDD's TriDef 3D technology has been reduced in order to enable Samsung to include the feature in a wider range of 3D TV models. DDD now expects that Samsung will include automatic 2D to 3D conversion capability in all LED LCD 3D HDTVs manufactured this year.

Samsung's executives expect the firm to manufacture between 2-2.6 million 3D HDTVs during 2010. On this basis, DDD expects to receive royalty revenue from Samsung in the range of $1.1-$1.5m during 2010.

Source: Business Financial Newswire

Sigma Designs Integrates SENSIO 3D Format Decoder

SENSIO Technologies announced that Sigma Designs has selected the SENSIO 3D format decoder for integration into its next generation of media processors. A leading provider of highly integrated, high-performance system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for entertainment and control throughout the home, Sigma is licensing SENSIO 3D technology to allow set top box, AV receiver, HDTV and Blu-ray player manufacturers to provide their customers with an optimal 3D viewing experience.

SENSIO 3D is a distribution technology that enables the broadcast and storage of stereoscopic (3D) content for home viewing, transforming the conventional home theatre experience into a rich, immersive stereoscopic experience. Delivering true 1080p HD picture quality, the SENSIO 3D format meets the exacting demands of high-performance 3D systems including the latest HDTVs, receivers, and set-top boxes.

Source: MarketWire

Texas Instruments' OMAP 4 Technology

Texas Instruments' OMAP 4 platform is the fourth generation of a proven, powerful system-on-chip that includes an optimal balance of power efficiency and high performance. This sophisticated architecture is the ideal platform for enabling this "mobile future." The OMAP 4 platform provides the optimal mix of interfaces, processing power and the flexibility required to address the computational complexity of algorithms required to support vision analytics and other HDI applications. For example, the OMAP 4 platform is the only mobile applications processor that can deliver stereoscopic 720p at 30 frames per second (fps) per channel or enable true 3D image capture, both crucial elements for delivering comprehensive "3D-HD" experiences.

HD-quality 3D Capture and Viewing
Integrating two cameras on device, a mobile device can perceive depth to generate stereoscopic 3D images from the combination of right and left images, bringing a "3D-HD" experience to your eyes and ears:
- Building on more than a decade of experience, TI's IVA3 imaging engine supports up to 720p 30fps stereoscopic 3D video record and playback.
- TI's best-in-class ISP also supports stereoscopic 3D cameras.
- The advanced display controller from TI supports auto-stereoscopic displays, creating a 3D image without the need for special headgear or glasses, as well as providing support for external 3D monitors.

Source: PR Newswire

Xpand Adds Ross

Making a move into content creation and distribution, 3D tech company XpanD has tapped former Fox exec Jonathan Ross for a newly created position as worldwide president of content and distribution.

Ross, who started in his new post this week, told Daily Variety that Xpand aims to "create, acquire, produce, license and then ultimately distribute robust 3D content," both in theaters and into the home and onto computer screens. Company is targeting a wide range of markets, including entertainment, education, industrial and even religious applications.

Ross, who started in his new post this week, most recently managed digital cinema deployment and operations for 20th Century Fox. He had previously been at Fox Searchlight, where he was an assistant general sales manager for theatrical distribution.

XpanD, which specializes in the active shutter glasses of the type found on most of the new 3D TV sets, is jockeying with rival RealD to become the leading brand for 3D in theaters and in the home.

By David S. Cohen, Variety

EBU Approves 3D Study Group

The EBU Technical Committee has given its approval to the formation of an EBU Study Group on 3DTV. Its objective will be to allow EBU members with an interest in 3DTV to find a focal point for information and to exchange experiences on the new medium. It is anticipated that common user requirements will be formulated across the media value chain of production, distribution and consumer.

The EBU will pass on its findings to standard bodies including the DVB, ITU and SMPTE, all of which have established their own 3D committees. The EBU 3D study group will have its first meeting next month.

Separately, the EBU is involved in two EU-funded projects; ‘Muscade’, which is targeting the use of multi-camera 3D and signal distribution to the home for various 3D display devices and ‘3D-Vivant’, conducting research into so-called ‘holoscopic’ camera and display systems.

By Julian Clover, Broadband TV News

3D Society Sets Board

The recently formed Intl. 3D Society has announced its board members, the date of its inaugural kudofest and a partnership with the People's Choice Awards. Org was set up Jan. 21 to recognize achievements and advance the art and technology of stereoscopic 3D (S3D) content.

Board officers are Sony 3D Technology center's Buzz Hays, chairman; DreamWorks Animation's Jim Mainard, vice chair; and Oculus3D's Lenny Lipton, first vice chair. Members include UC Berkeley's Marty Banks, 3ality Digital's Sandy Climan, Xpand's Maria Costeira, Sony Imageworks' Rob Engle, Salient Features' Charlotte Huggins, Master Image 3D's Peter Koplik, Lionsgate's Mike Polydoros and Paramount's Kurt Schwenk.

"After a century of effort, 3D movies are finally here," Lipton said. "The technology now allows moving images to enjoy a creative renaissance as filmmakers and the industry explore the potentials of this long-sought-after means of creative expression."

Org's kudos, the I3DS Awards, are set for the Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Feb. 23. Eleven awards categories include live-action feature, animation feature, stereography, vfx and marketing 3D content. Event will be shown in 3D utilizing Xpand's active shutter glasses and systems. Intl. 3D Society's partnership with the People's Choice Awards will allow the latter org's members to vote for their favorite 3D live-action and animated movies based on Intl. 3D Society noms in those categories -- with winners to be unveiled at the Feb. 23 ceremony. "This is the beginning of a lasting and appropriate recognition of 3D professionals," said org prexy Jim Chabin.

By Peter Caranicas, Variety

Dolby Presents 3D Demo

Dolby is showing a technology preview of an encoding and real-time decoding system for frame compatible Full HD 3D. The Dolby system is being developed to use 7.5 Mbps, and is aimed at low bit rate applications such as cable, satellite and online.

Dolby is thinking about a migration path, noting that this would work with current H.264 set top boxes at half res, then could be upgraded at a later date for Full HD.

The Dolby system uses AVC, and it was suggested that for terrestrial broadcasting, it could be put into an MPEG2 transport stream and then would need a suitable decoder. The HPA demonstration showed 1920×1080 24fps content.

By Carolyn Giardina, Entertainment Technology Center

Winter Technology: 3D Blu-ray

Will 3D save the Blu-ray format? That's the optimistic forecast among home video executives -- and the impetus for what has become an aggressive ramp-up to create the necessary tools for 3D-enabled Blu-ray discs.

"Many people believe 3D is going to get Blu-ray a renewed life in the market," says Ahmad Ouri, head of strategy, technology and marketing at Technicolor. "There are mixed reports about how successful Blu-ray has been. 3D is one feature that is definitely going to differentiate Blu-ray from conventional DVD."

With 3D hits like Avatar priming consumers to want to replicate the theatrical experience in the home, industry momentum behind the format could not be stronger. Add to that the announcement in late 2009 of a 3D Blu-ray technical specification by the Blu-ray Disc Assn. Makers of 3D Blu-ray players and discs now share consistent underlying technology, enabling compatibility between products and sidestepping the potential for a format war. That convergence has lit a fire under the key suppliers readying to provide authoring, encoding and related services for the packaged media that will be needed to entice consumers.

"What was holding everyone up was the standard," says Jim Houston, vp technology and engineering at Colorworks, Sony Pictures' new post facility, which offers a 3D mastering suite. "There was no consistent platform on which to deliver the material. With a standard, there will be a race to get it done."

At last month's Consumer Electronics Show, several 3D-capable Blu-ray players were introduced. Many are expected to arrive in the market starting in the second quarter, from such manufacturers as Panasonic and Sony, which also is planning to offer support in its PlayStation 3 players.

"There is a fair amount of excitement -- it's getting pumped before the game," says Greg Gewickey, vp technology strategy at Deluxe Digital Studios. "A lot of people realize there is going to be a lot of work and uncertainties, but those kinds of challenges are exciting to the engineering community."

Such companies as Sony, Deluxe and Technicolor -- all of which are BDA members -- already are far along in their plans, which include third-party tools and in some cases development of their own techniques. Deluxe has been working overtime to update its tools to conform to 3D Blu-ray standards. "We have been active in doing that and talking with our studio partners about their expectations," Gewickey says.

Among the first 3D Blu-ray titles expected to reach the market are DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens, Sony's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Disney's A Christmas Carol.

Sony's digital authoring center is planning for 3D Blu-rays to be released in early to midsummer, depending on manufacturers' schedules. "We have been doing significant testing with (Sony) Tokyo on encoding equipment as well as the authoring toolsets," says Tony Beswick, senior vp technical operations at Sony Pictures Entertainment. "We're seeing the possibility of bundled product that might be incorporated with consumer electronics equipment," he adds. "Then the bigger push will be toward the end of 2010."

Technicolor is working closely with the R&D arm of its parent company Thomson to develop tools it needs to be competitive. "3D adds a lot of complexity," Ouri says. "For instance, it is very important to place subtitles in areas of the frame where content doesn't block them. We are developing tools that automatically analyze each frame and different depth maps and automatically recommend where subtitles will be placed. We are also working on a real-time preview tool to see these decisions as well as to tweak them."

Jeff McDermott, vp R&D at Deluxe Digital, says the company is rethinking how to present standard Blu-ray features with 3D elements. "For instance, we could create a storefront and we can do a fly-around or flow-through," McDermott says. "Not just a CGI-created viewing experience, but a true depth-related viewing experience. It could be part of a menu design, game development or standalone bonus content. "That is a fairly advanced example," he adds. "We are not sure how much people will push for that in the first year."

Some industry talk has centered on the potential need for a separate master for a 3D Blu-ray (versus a theatrical release) in order to create comfortable depth for the different screen sizes and viewing distances. Colorworks' Houston views the notion of a separate master as a creative decision, not a necessity. "Any 3D movie that is transferred correctly will look fine (on a TV)," he says. "But there is the possibility that you will want to enhance the parallax for the home viewer with a smaller display."

Another factor insiders are examining is the time required to create 3D Blu-ray. Beswick points out that in the Blu-ray format's debut year, it often took 20-30 days to author a title. "Now we can author a title in days," he says, but the scenario could repeat itself with 3D. "Just the sheer fact of having to deal with the 3D subtitles, added value features, layers on the graphic overlays, menu design and the authoring and the encoding adds time to the project."

Companies are building capacity to handle the workload. "We have a Blu-ray authoring group already, so we can scale and shift our resources," Technicolor's Ouri says. "If we get more 3D titles, it is likely these will take the capacity that we would normally use for a 2D Blu-ray title. We also have an operation in India that does authoring for Blu-ray that could take some of the 2D work that we would normally do in Burbank."

Most companies believe there could be some growing pains in the process. "As with anything new, there will be a ramping up period this year," Beswick says. "In the first half of the calendar year there will be some capability constraints, but as it continues throughout the year, it will grow."

But the result of widespread 3D Blu-ray adoption would be a boon to the industry, which is still reeling from the decline of DVD sales. "The excitement is about scaling 3D," Ouri says. "The problem theatrically is the number of 3D-ready screens, so the reach to the consumer has been extremely limited. Blu-ray is going to be one way that all consumers will be exposed to 3D."

3D Blu-ray by the Numbers
- 43% - Percentage of U.S. adults who have seen a 3D movies in the past year and say they would prefer to watch movies and TV in 3D instead of 2D.
- 75% - Percentage increase in the number of Blu-ray households from 2008 to 2009.
- 25% - In 2013, percentage of all televisions sold that are predicted to be 3D-enabled.

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

BSkyB Selects Calrec’s Apollo Console for 3D Truck

Calrec Audio’s Apollo digital console has been chosen to outfit BSkyB’s highly anticipated 3D production truck. The world’s first custom-designed 3D truck will be operated by U.K. outside broadcast outfit Telegenic, and will hit the roads later this spring, as Sky rolls out Europe’s first 3D TV channel.

Built by A Smith Great Bentley Ltd., Sky’s 3D truck is a triple expanding HD truck with more than 180 square feet of interior space to accommodate up to 24 cameras or 12 stereo camera rigs for full 3D programming. The 48-fader Apollo console has over 1,000 freely assignable channel processing paths, giving the Sky truck full 5.1 digital audio alongside its 3D image capabilities.

“We specified the Apollo not only because we needed cutting edge technology, but operationally it is a natural progression from the Alpha console,” says Keith Lane, Sky Sports’ operations manager. “This is important as it is an easy transition for operators to move from the Alpha platform to the Apollo. In addition, the configurable nature of the control surface gives us scope to develop our techniques as our operations grow.”

The Apollo has up to 78 minutes of assignable delay, an integral asset to Sky’s 3D production capabilities. Processing 3D video adds a significant amount of delay into the chain. Each stereo camera rig is either a side-by-side or beam splitter-mirror rig, and the production team will use a Stereo Image Processor (SIP) controller to set the depth of image.

Sky is also looking at using more discrete embedded audio, using all 16 of the SDI channels. This enables the broadcaster to utilize multichannel audio more effectively.

With a commitment to launching Sky 3D to its commercial customers in April, and then to all residential Sky+HD customers later in the year, the Sky 3D truck will be used weekly on Sky Sports outside broadcasts as well as on other genres of Sky programming. It has been designed to work on all genres across Sky’s output, producing both 3D and 2D programming. Sky has already been trial testing using Telegenic’s T5 unit, which houses a Calrec S2 console.

By Jason Dachman, Sports Video Group

3D: ‘In All TV Sets in 3 Years’

A senior exec at ESPN says that within 3 years all new TV sets will have 3D technology embedded. Chuck Pagano, SVP/Technology at Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN, and already highly committed to 3D-TV, says that he expects viewers to have an appetite for 3D on television although admits he has no quantitative data to prove his theory. But his confidence is high. “I bet you in three years every new set will have 3D embedded into it,” he stated.

Pagano was talking ahead of the upcoming Satellite 2010 conference and exhibition in Washington, DC, where he is a speaker. As to ESPN’s more immediate plans, Pagano told Via Satellite, a trade magazine: “Right now, we are just looking at the first event that originates in South Africa in June. This is the initial push to make sure the processes we are putting together all work. They work wonderfully in a laboratory setting, but putting them on the air is the litmus test. The technology is not the real challenge, it's the new way of people getting around this, and the orchestration of putting the production together and shooting the event. You have to look at quality control in a different manner. You have to get all the systems to work, and this includes people systems. That is what we are focusing on, making sure that first event airs without a hiccup or a hitch. After that first one, the process should get smoother.”

ESPN also firmly believes they are backing a strong horse in the shape of 3D. “I, and a number of my colleagues, believe this is going to be a very important space for ESPN. We think live events will play a key role as it is a new way of telling the story and reaching audiences. The 3D push from the consumer electronics world is a function of what manufacturers can produce at higher frame rates and there will be a natural evolution of people playing in the 3D TV space.”

By Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News

Warner Bros. Pictures International Partners with ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group

Warner Bros. Pictures International (WBPI) has entered into a comprehensive digital cinema deployment agreement directly with Digital Deployment Associates Limited to advance the conversion to digital cinema in ODEON sites throughout the UK.

Under the agreement, Warner Bros. will supply digital feature films to DCI-compliant digital projection systems installed at all ODEON sites, and the Studio will make financial contributions supporting the digital conversion. The announcement was made jointly by Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures International (WBPI), and Rupert Gavin, CEO of ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group.

“ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group is pleased to work directly with Warner Bros. as together we pursue the advantages of digital to the widest audience possible,” said Gavin. “And while we are starting with them in the UK, this deal clearly presages deals we are now working on with our other European territories. We look forward to bringing fully digital cinemas to guests in all seven of the markets ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group serves by the end of 2010.”

Source: DCinemaToday

HPA Opens With 3D Supersession; Offers DirecTV Update

The Hollywood Post Alliance Technology Retreat kicked off today in Palm Springs, during which attendees got an update on the plans of DirecTV. With Panasonic, DirecTV is readying to launch three, 3D ready channels beginning in June. Hanno Basse, VP broadcast systems engineering , DirecTV offered an update.

The three channels will include one linear 24/7 3D only channel, which will use “all the content we can get, top movies, concerts. We have several content deals in place with top names in the industry.” Panasonic will sponsor this channel.

The second channel is dedicated to live events, notably sports and concerts. The third channel is a video on demand model, offering movies, concerts and other entertainment.

Basse reported that DirecTV will broadcast 3D in a frame compatible, side by side format—which he said supports most if not all 3D TVs, as well as both interlace and progressive.

In the DirecTV model, content would be captured in separate left eye/right eye streams. As part of the workflow, those streams need to be multiplexed into the side by side format. Basse also reported that set top boxes will need modification.

By Carolyn Giardina, Entertainment Technology Center

"3D Convergence 2010" Forum

It is prospected that the 3D industry will landscape the IT business and will ultimately bring a promising future to Korea. However, there are alternating views on this prospect, in which not all Koreans agree upon the idea that 3D business will buoy their economy and cause an IT revolution. To fully analyze and grasp the situation of what is really going on in the 3D businesses, Korea IT Times and Electronic Newspaper ran a "3D Convergence 2010" forum at the Press Center on February 11, for five long, but breathtaking hours. The forum was conducted in an in-depth discussion layout where a total of thirteen chief members carried on the discussion.

The forum began by a presentation from Lee Seung-hyun, professor at Gwangun University, and he passed the baton to Kim Eun-soo, the chairperson of the meeting and also the Chairman of Korean Communications Society. The discussion was between thirteen prominent figures and it started out smooth, but then there were deliberate pros and cons of which 3D industry will thrive in a long term or dwindle after having a short-term impact on the economy. Lee Seung-hyun's presentation in the start of the meeting was useful in that it pinpointed key notes on what the discussion will pick up on.

Kim Eun-soo's remark (Chairperson): "We are interested in 3D businesses and are willing to contribute to the flourishing 3D industry. However, we see a long road ahead in which the government, business circle, and other secondary market should cooperate and conduct thorough R&D, merge 3D with conventional broadcasting industry, study 3D sector limits and how that will affect the entire economic market. And last but not least finalize the policy and regulations on the 3D market. Moreover, there are roughly ten issues that rise to the surface such as standardization, technology level, and possibility on searching new 3D technology. Currently, there are no ways to certify the quality of our 3D products because the lack of government support and also there are not any brilliant ideas to tackle the problems of exhaustion and fatigue caused by watching 3D videos. And this brings to my first question, what is the government's stance on all this 3D effort? I would like to ask Jo Young-sin, head of Information Electronics Industry sector from Ministry of Knowledge Economy."

Seo Kyung-hak, the director of Electronic Components Research Institute: "In order to generate and maintain a long-term success of 3D business, we have to alternate new technologies with fundamental technologies and launch a whole new line of technology. We predict that the gaming market will embellish the 3D business into an innovative and yet useful market for children; what I mean by useful is that kids are able to have a new and different experience when playing games, not only do they get visual experiences, but a diverse, sensual experiences. Moreover, medical treatment and education are other areas where 3D technology will be focused on and it will be like hitting the jack pot for many 3D companies because medical surgeries, today, require as much visual details as possible and not to mention education, kids love 3D technology. Then again, we do not obtain our own, original technology and that hinders us from moving forward into developing more 3D products. Thus, if every sector cooperates and invests into creating a fundamental technology and source, we will walk towards hope."

Jo Young-sin head of Information Electronics Industry sector of Ministry of Knowledge Economy: "Small to medium sized businesses have shown interest in the 3D sector long before the larger group and small businesses began to endeavor on what 3D can offer. The government considers cameras, TVs, and other products can enhance 3D technology. The popularity of 3D movies such as Avatar is still showing in theaters and become the backbone of the 3D boom. Nonetheless, there are policies that must be followed to incorporate 3D successfully into our current IT business. First, we need to create 3D TVs, and then we need to establish 3D network. Finally, that brings us to our last step; if there are no contents following the settlement of 3D network, where is the fun of watching 3D channels via our TV? So then, we should make a lot of 3D contents that we can shoot via 3D TV using established 3D network. All these three factors equally play a definitive role in wrapping up the 3D businesses. Then again, this will be time consuming and without the full support of the government, it will take even longer; especially, small to medium sized companies have ground breaking ideas on 3D, but they generally lack funds so the government should aid and lead their businesses."

Kang Bae-geun, Director of LG Electronics: "I say that the origin of 3D technology started three years ago in Korea, but I am a little disappointed because we could have begun much sooner. The future of 3D industry looks bright and with new and improved technology. However, we are encountering some inconveniences in 3D glasses such as headaches. Then, of course, 3D technology should be standardized; for the display sector, I am pretty confident that it will find a breakthrough to apply 3D technology and make smooth progress. However, I doubt about incorporating 3D technology into the medical treatment area."

Oh Yong-soo head of Radio Management Department of Korea Communications Commission: "3D boom in Korea? I personally think this is going to be unsustainable. This is because if we look at Korean broadcasting industry, producing technologies are all in-house that requires overtime editing at night, meaning that the reality is harsh. How will manufacturing and producing processes be able to avoid heavy investment, buying new equipment or pouring money into R&D, and what business model are we struggling to create? What is important is that we should make a wide network that is compatible to any device, anywhere, and anytime. Also consider the connection between convergence, network, and device, in which they all need to maintain balance while establishing 3D into our IT industry. Another factor to keep in mind is that countries such as U.S. were able to create 3D movies like Avatar, but we do not have enough resources to do that. Thus, we should find a way or a resolution that can satisfy everyone instead of being pressed on time and acting as if 3D future is imminent."

Lee Ho-jin, Director of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Research Laboratory of ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute): "We have promoted 3D for a long time and have been anticipating upon its booming business, but first we should consider what other people think about 3D and concentrate on R&D sector. Also, I can see that businesses are endorsing 3D convergence, but I disagree; we must follow the order of advancing 3D technology. Instead of upholding on the 3D convergence, broadcasting and media sectors should first see the light, meaning they should achieve and pave the way for other sectors to follow and settle down. As for the contents, they are still inadequate and we are still researching on its technology. Moreover, we should develop newer technology rather than tagging along popular trend of 3D technology, because in a long term, the quality of originality is what really lasts."

Kim Tae-sup, CEO of KDC: "I would like to make a few suggestions to the government officials that are here today. I humbly ask that the government draw a line between the conglomerate and small to medium sized businesses. More specifically, on what sectors or fields that we should each export to or develop on. I hope that the government will actively aid small businesses and also make a portal that will engage everybody and to inform about how 3D technology is coming closer to our lives."

Kang Suk-won, Head of Digital Contents Industry Division of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism: "Diverse content market is a respectable and is certainly progressing, but there is a gap between U.S. and Korea, now that we have worked on it for five years. Real time 3D filming should be consistently performed, but we currently have none and without a successful experience like Avatar it will be difficult to begin the 3D business. In order for 3D contents to be lucrative, it initially needs to be well planned, produced and to procure many channels as possible. "

Kim Chang-yong, Executive Director of Samsung Electronics: "We are currently focusing on making new 3D glasses to accommodate 3D viewers and also trying to standardize our existing and developing 3D technology. Although it seems a little late, we expect complete standardization in 2015."

Oh Yong-soo, Head of Radio Management Department of Korea Communication Commission: "Before we get down to business, we should think about broadband for network, broadcasting system for the present state, and the overall of 3D business models. And to think about a production system, which will curb enormous costs. Commercials must combine contents with profit models that construct a fusion environment of broadband and network that can be reached anytime, anywhere for anybody. Also for the viewers' sense of security, bandwidth must be protected and the screens should be safely recycled. And finally, the government support should stimulate the technology and it should be self-revealing."

Lee Jae-kwon, CEO of RealScope: "To facilitate 3D content-making, small to medium sized businesses should acquire government funds to procure a lot of resources. There were many attempts by small businesses to go on their own making 3D contents, but it all turned out ugly. For instance, NFX Media tried to film Big Bang's (popular Korean singing idol group) concert to create the first 3D content, but it was extremely difficult because their hardware was not fully equipped with adequate functions. Also, their camera caused problems so they rented a 3D camera, but that cost them approximately KRW1 billion per camera. All things considered, the government should step in and support the 3D contents manufacturers."

Kim Nam, Professor at Chungbuk University: "There are no successful 3D companies as of yet. The most crucial factor in 3D technology is nurturing manpower, creating original technology, and obtaining standardization."

Departments of the Korean government including the Korea Communications Commission, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism have established a task force team to promote their policy and build up the 3D industry.

Support for service contents and display terminals are the outlook to create a new 3D world. Movement within the industry is spreading; at CES 2010, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, and other global companies displayed their 3D products to arise as leaders of the 3D industry. In the middle of this, traditional enterprises packaged with diverse enterprise fields will build new 3D functions. This is a big issue and we suggest you construct a 3D roadmap any way possible while the government and others will meet together to prepare for this industry.

By Bang Jung-hyun, Korea IT Times

Seoul Investing in 3D Facilities, Training

About 4.6 billion won ($3.9 million) will be invested into building local infrastructure for Seoul’s 3D film industry and related creative businesses this year by the city's government. Designating the digital content business as one of the six emerging industries for Seoul’s economic revival, the local government explained that it would invest in nurturing the local 3D industry and training professionals in areas including film, gaming and animation.

“The paradigm of the world’s film market is starkly changing and a growing competition to secure its infrastructure is fierce among companies in Japan, Hollywood and Europe,” wrote a press release of the Seoul government. “In Korea, technical developments in the 3D area are becoming more active within TV sectors, but they need improvement.”

As part of the plan, the city will spend 3.1 billion won to build “a 3D head center” with advanced 3D facilities and resources to train highly-skilled industry professionals. The center will collaborate with the Korean Film Council to produce up to 6,000 technical professionals in the next five years. In return, the city expects to generate over $27.7 billion won by 2012. Seoul is particularly targeting major Hollywood producers who are planning to re-release their existing works in 3D production.

“We’re aiming to expand the local digital content industry particularly the businesses involving games, film and animation that will help to make the city more competitive,” said Jeong Yeong-chan in Seoul government’s investment division. “We will also provide a holistic system to support and build local infrastructure of digital contents based on the media network we already have.”

Separately, Seoul government is planning to introduce a new funding system, which will award 100 million won to a foreign film or a drama series set in the city.

By Park Soo-mee, The Hollywood Reporter

China's Multiplexes Grow

The recent boffo run for Avatar in China -- it became the country's biggest-grossing film ever, taking $81 million in two weeks, and was still going strong after the 2D version was pulled to make way for local product -- underlined the growing importance of China's growing legion of multiplexes to the bottom line. Chinese B.O. topped $900 million last year, a rise of more than 40% on the previous year, and a record 450 films were made and screened on the Chinese mainland.

The main impetus behind the strong growth rate was the rise in hardtop numbers. According to the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), China added 1.65 new cinema screens every day last year. By the end of last year, China had more than 4,700 screens, including nearly 800 3D screens and 1,800 digital screens. Given the country's population of 1.3 billion people, China is seriously underscreened, so the potential for growth is immense. Because of the regulatory environment, it remains a difficult market for Hollywood to penetrate, but as the bigger local exhib firms are planning listings in places like Hong Kong, there may be opportunities for foreign investors in the Chinese market at some point.

Many of the screens are being built in shopping malls, and there is a rise among the young in the popularity of moviegoing as a pastime, especially in China's growing middle class. People pay a hefty $9 to $10 for a ticket -- more for Avatar in Imax 3D, as they splash their newfound disposable cash.

One of the giants of the exhibition biz in China is the Wanda Intl. Cinema chain, which is part of the Wanda real estate group. Wanda has taken cinemas into the second-tier cities and underdeveloped parts of the big metropolises in China with amazing success. Its local knowledge means it can move into city areas with young people in the middle- to higher-income brackets. And its tie-in with Imax has also reaped massive rewards. Wanda's B.O. take was $122 million last year, up from $73 million the previous year.

"By the end of 2009, we owned 50 theaters, including 400 screens, compared to 40 theaters and 300 screens in 2008," says Chen Hongwei, marketing director of the Wanda Intl. Cinema group.

The way the company has expanded so fruitfully, says Chen, is by combining theater and real estate development. "This year, our target is to build another 21 theaters, and 200 screens," he says.

Wanda currently operates around 120 3D screens, and says it is easy to expand this number depending on market demand by simply buying 3D equipment.

It's not all rosy in China's garden. The government's cash injection of $590 billion into the economy, plus massive bank lending, has sparked fears of an asset bubble in what is now the world's second-biggest economy. If that bursts, the fallout in the movie business could be messy. But most players remain sanguine.

"As the market is rapidly growing, people are not worried about the economic bubble having much of an impact, as China is the fastest-recovering country from the 2009 financial crisis," says Ricky Tse, head of distribution at Media Asia.

Nansun Shi of Asian sales outfit Distribution Workshop is also not too worried. "There is still plenty of silly money around. Also there is plenty of sound money from media companies including satellite TV stations and media groups," says Shi.

Another big player is the China Stellar Theater chain. According to Yan Yu, vice general manager of Stellar, the company's B.O. revenues last year were $116 million, which marks a 49% rise on the previous year

The biggest cinemagoing demographic is in the 16- to 40-year-olds city-based high-income groups, particularly 20- to 30-year-olds in the big cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming.

"However, second-tier cities are also putting effort into film market development. I believe that as the second-tier cities' theater facilities improve, the gap between big cities will be narrowed," Yan says. "The growth of the theater chain system has had a positive impact on the Chinese film industry. Moreover, people begin to understand more about the importance of film exhibition."

By Clifford Coonan, Variety

French Major Catches NWave

Euro major StudioCanal has inked a long-term exclusive development, co-financing and worldwide distribution deal with Ben Stassen's NWave, Europe's leading stereoscopic 3-D pioneer and production house. StudioCanal also has taken a minority equity stake in Brussels-based NWave and started pre-production with NWave on a follow-up to the Stassen-directed 3-D turtle tale Sammy's Adventures (aka Around the World in 50 Years), a big sales hit for StudioCanal at Cannes last year.

Budgeted between E20 million and E25 million ($27 million and $34 million), the second part of Adventures will be written, as was the original, by Stassen and U.S. scribe Domonic Paris. Stassen will direct. It returns the characters from Adventures, including turtle protagonist Sammy, but places them in a different environment, Stassen said.

The NWave deal is StudioCanal's first corporate investment since it bought German distribution house Kinowelt in 2008, and it adds a bold angle to StudioCanal's strategic growth. The Canal Plus-owned movie production, distribution and financing company already boasts Europe's biggest film catalog, direct distribution arms in France, Germany and the U.K., and burgeoning local, international and Hollywood production shingles. And it propels StudioCanal to the forefront of Europe's digital 3-D revolution.

"Avatar underscored the huge appeal of 3-D. StudioCanal needs to be strongly involved in 3-D," said Olivier Courson, StudioCanal chairman-CEO. "NWave is clearly Europe's best 3-D company, not only in animation but also live action," he added.

In France, the third-highest-grossing territory for Avatar after the U.S. and China, the 3-D titan took $142.2 million through Feb. 8; 70 percent of that was made off just 400 3-D screens in a total Gallic screen count of 5,000, Courson noted.

Stassen made his first 3-D film in 1994, for theme parks, and since 1996 has directed eight Imax pics. He is one of the world's only directors, along with Robert Zemeckis, to have directed two 3-D features. Beyond directing and producing his own films, Stassen will advise on third-party movies and StudioCanal's 3-D development, said Courson. It seems likely that some of the Hollywood movies StudioCanal co-finances with Neal Moritz's Original Films, Gary Barber and Spyglass, or Joel Silver's Dark Castle will be made in 3-D.

For Stassen, the StudioCanal alliance opens doors. NWave has advantageous financing opportunities in Belgium: It raised $12.2 million in tax coin for Adventures, Stassen said. But "NWave needs to have several projects in the pipeline. There are multiple production and distribution issues," he said. He added, "We needed a partner that takes some of the load off our shoulders -- introducing the film to the market way in advance, which is crucial on family films."

NWave can also bring to the table a 4-D, 13-minute film extracted from Adventures for theme parks, plus its roster of Imax films.

With 3-D TV arriving, StudioCanal may find new markets for these properties. Courson said StudioCanal would aid with structuring financing on NWave's 3-D pics, which could involve structuring films as European co-productions, drawing on the expertise of StudioCanal's recent hire, Leonard Glowinski. StudioCanal will put the sequel, like Adventures, through its direct distribution operations and sell to the rest of the world. It aims to introduce a screenplay to buyers at Cannes, said Harold Van Lier, exec VP, international sales.

By John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy, Variety

ESPN’s 3D Efforts Focus on Getting Pieces in Place for July Productions

John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content, says that ESPN’s focus is squarely on ramping up production services for its own original 3D programming prior to the launch of a 3D network in June. The first month of ESPN’s 3D service will feature World Cup matches in 3D, however those will be produced by Host Broadcast Services, which is producing and distributing the World Cup 2D, 3D, Internet, and mobile device content. In July, however, the onus is on ESPN’s own production personnel and technology partners to produce events like the Summer X Games and more. The ESPN Innovation Lab in Orlando, FL, will play a key role in that ramp up.

“The Innovation Lab is critical for helping train our producers and crews how to present games and events in 3D,” says Skipper. “We are getting our producers schooled in 3D between now and July.”

Part of that process begins on Feb. 25 when ESPN’s Innovation Lab will produce a Harlem Globetrotters game in 3D.

The big question, of course, remains where and how viewers will be able to watch ESPN’s 3D content. ESPN has said that it will launch a dedicated 3D channel and it has not yet announced any carriage deals. And while DIRECTV has announced plans to offer 3D channels that features 3D content from a variety of programmers like Fox Sports, CBS, and Turner, ESPN’s intention is to have a dedicated channel.

“We will not be part of another offering,” says Skipper. “I won’t speak directly to what DIRECTV has to do as that discussion is up to my friend [and ESPN executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing] Sean Bratches.”

Skipper says ESPN will work with TV set manufacturers (Sony has signed on as sponsor of the 3D network) to help promote the 3D service but it will primarily rely on its own products, like the ESPN magazine, Web sites and TV networks to make fans aware of the service.

“We look at 3D as more of a technology than a platform,” says Skipper. “The dedicated 3D channel is really just a distribution mechanism to get 3D in front of fans. And 3D is a technology that will probably ultimately be incorporated into all of our existing video platforms.”

By Ken Kerschbaumer, Sports Video Group

NBA, Pace Continue Evolving 3D Productions at All-Star Weekend

This weekend, the NBA, along with Pace, the league’s 3D production partner, will once again shoot All-Star Weekend activities in 3D but with one big change. The emphasis this weekend is on experimenting and gathering video for a future video rather than delivering a full live 3D production to viewers in theaters.

“We’re going to deploy a couple of cameras to shoot the event but also take coverage to the next level and tell the story that surrounds NBA All-Star weekend,” says Mike Rokosa, NBA Entertainment, VP of engineering. “In the past, we have just focused on the event, but this time we have a producer and will go for the full story arc with 3D coverage from the locker rooms, talking to players, and going behind the scenes of the buildup to the All-Star game.

Rokosa has dedicated much of his energy in recent years to the production of NBA events in 3D, working closely with others on the NBA team as well as Vince Pace, CEO of Pace, a 3D production company that has been working with the NBA for four years and also played a key role in the production of Avatar. Pace was director of photography on the blockbuster.

The NBA’s 3D efforts will be produced from a 3D production truck owned by Pace (it was also used for last year’s NBA All-Star Weekend) and begin on Saturday afternoon. They kick into overdrive at American Airlines Arena for the NBA All-Star Saturday Night that features the slam-dunk contest and other skills competitions. Then, on Sunday, the trailer will move into position at Cowboys Stadium for the big game Sunday night.

“The vastness of Cowboys Stadium should be impressive in 3D,” says Rokosa.

Two cameras will be used for 3D coverage, including a handheld camera and a camera located at the slash position. Unlike previous NBA All-Star game 3D productions, this one will not be displayed to the public during the production. Instead, it will be edited for later use, a move that allows for the use of fewer cameras and also provides an opportunity for more experimenting. Signals from the cameras will be sent by fiber back to the Pace truck.

“We think Vince is still the best technology on the block and his commitment to quality is unbelievable,” says Rokosa. “It’s too easy to mess this up, and, if you do, it isn’t just a bad experience, but it’s a terrible one.”

Rokosa credits Pace with a very natural approach to 3D that doesn’t force 3D effects. “It’s about giving the viewer a sense that they are there [live],” says Rokosa. “If something naturally comes into the foreground, great, but you don’t try and force it.”

One interesting aspect of the production is that the ENG camera will be tethered to a cart that will allow for a convergence operator to be located on-site with the camera. That will allow the camera to be used at the convention center (where the NBA Jam Session is taking place) or to shoot exteriors of the Cowboys Stadium and the American Airlines Arena.

Steve Hellmuth, NBA Entertainment EVP, operations and technology, says the league’s interest in 3D is similar to early efforts in HD, when the league’s NBA TV network became the first to produce games in HD.

“When we did HD, no one sat down and said, ‘How will we make money with 3D?,’” says Hellmuth. “We think 3D is the best way to deliver an NBA digital experience. And we need to solve format and standards issues, but, when we do, 3D is going to be a superior experience.”

Should other leagues follow the NBA’s 3D efforts? While both Rokosa and Hellmuth say that decision is ultimately up to each league, there is little doubt in their minds that the coverage of the NBA in 3D by league broadcast partners will be improved by the NBA’s efforts.

“A sport like baseball will need different camera positions for 3D to work, and we found that out for the NBA as well,” says Rokosa. “And right now, we are allowing our productions to help develop the tools for 3D production. It may cost to do this, but we need to figure 3D production out now or later.”

For the NBA, later is now.

By Ken Kerschbaumer, Sports Video Group

Panasonic AG-HMX100 Multi-Format HD/SD Digital A/V Mixer

Panasonic now introduced the new AG-HMX100, a low-cost HD/SD digital A/V mixer that incorporates a built-in multi-viewer display output and combines high-quality video switching and audio mixing features. It offers a very flexible use interface and supports SD, HD, and 3D HD formats. Highly affordable, the new AG-HMX100 is ideal for use by schools, hotels, government facilities, corporations, public access channels, event producers, and in mobile or portable applications.

The multi-format HMX100 is an affordable, high-quality switcher/mixer designed to support multiple camera workflows, from production, to corporate A/V projects, to wedding and live events. This versatile production tool can even switch 3D HD video, making it the first affordable live switcher for use in 3D production.

The HMX100 offers an array of interfaces including four HD/SD-HDI inputs/outputs, two HDMI inputs and two analog composite inputs, allowing the HMX100 to connect directly to virtually any camcorder or other video source. Additional connections include a DVI-I input for computer use, two DVI-D outputs (PGM and Multi-Viewer), a microphone input, dual aux in and audio outputs, a headphone jack, as well as connections for genlock, GPI, RS-232C and tally output. In addition to the ability to mix embedded audio from HD/SD-SDI camcorders and other and sources, the HMX100 offers eight XLR and two RCA connectors for line level audio inputs, as well as embedded audio output and two channels of analog audio out.

The compact HMX100 features a 5.7-inch LCD display and an intuitive control panel that provides easy access to digital effects including basic pattern key, transition wipes, chroma and luminance keys, downstream keying (DSK), title key, time effects (still/strobe) and fades (in/out, video, audio). The unit also features preset/event memory buttons.

For added flexibility, the mixer has a Multi-Viewer function that allows users to display video sources, audio levels, and a waveform monitor, in multiple windows on a single monitor. When connected to a single display, the mixer can display preview out, audio level meters, program out, input audio level meters (digital input only), six sources of video inputs, one source of DVI-I input and a waveform monitor.

For use in A/V systems, the HMX100 connects easily with Panasonic projectors via DVI-D, HD-SDI and RS-232C connections to mix in various sources during a presentation, and can remotely control the projector’s power and shutter settings.

The HMX100 mixer will be available this June at a suggested list price of $5,800.

Source: Panasonic

Panasonic BT-3DL2550 3D Production Monitor

In an expansion of its 3D production product offerings, Panasonic introduced the new BT-3DL2550, a 25.5-inch 3D LCD production monitor with full 1920 x 1200 resolution. The BT-3DL2550 provides 3D display with true-to-life color in a durable, production-tough LCD panel package. The monitor displays 3D content using an Xpol polarizing filter, so content can be viewed with polarizing (passive) 3D eyeglasses. It switches from Left to Right image display, overlay, Left and Right two window display and 3D.

Panasonic BT-3DL2550

The BT-3DL2550 is equipped with two HD/SD-SDI inputs for simultaneous display of Left image, Right image and 3D signals. 3D signals can also be supported line-by-line or side-by-side using the monitor’s DVI-D input. Additional professional level inputs include two HD/SD-SDI inputs, component and RGB, as well as standard RS-232C (9-pin) and GPI (9-pin) remote inputs, headphone jack, green and red tally lamps on the front panel. It also has an embedded audio decoder on board (through its headphone jack), time code display, closed caption (through video input only), audio level meter display of up to eight channels.

The 3D monitor can be connected directly to Panasonic’s Full HD 3D camcorder and other 3D cameras via HD-SDI inputs. It can also be connected to high-end NLE systems like Quantel’s IQ and Pablo via its two HD-SDI (simultaneous signal) or to a NLE system running Final Cut Pro via DVI-D (line-by-line signal).

The BT-3DL2550 offers the same exceptional-quality colour reproduction as Panasonic’s popular BT-LH2550 LCD production monitor. With an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel and 10-bit processing circuit, the monitor delivers full 1920 x 1200 resolution with exceptionally clear detail and offers six colour settings - SMPTE, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, Adobe 2.2, Adobe 1.8 and D-Cinema – for superior colour range and a three-dimensional look-up table (LUT) for calibration. It supports 1080i, 1080p and 720p playback, and offers pixel-to-pixel function in 720p mode.

Additional features include pre-installed calibration software, Cine-gamma Film-Rec compensation, Standard Markers and Blue-only, H/V delay display, monochrome and Cross Hatch overlay display, split-screen/freeze frame (live input vs. freeze frame). Five customizable function keys on the front panel can be assigned with various display modes and settings for quick, one-touch adjustments. The BT-3DL2550 has a durable, lightweight frame and aluminum alloy back panel, and it is VESA-mount compatible. It comes standard with two polarizing 3D glasses, a desk stand and an AC adapter.

The BT-3DL2550 3D production monitor will be available this September at a suggested list price $9,900.

Source: Panasonic

Panasonic AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D Camcorder

Panasonic Broadcast announced it will begin taking orders for the AG-3DA1, the world’s first professional quality, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder offering SD media card recording. Built to order, this offer is being made as a result of the tremendous demand for the Full HD 3D camcorder since its introduction at the International CES show. Panasonic is now offering video professionals the opportunity to reserve their AG-3DA1 camcorder (list price: $21,000) by placing a non-refundable $1,000 deposit with Panasonic.

Panasonic AG-3DA1

“The AG-3DA1 will democratize 3D production by giving professional videographers a more affordable and simple solution for capturing immersive content as well as to provide a training tool for educators,” said John Baisley, President, Panasonic Broadcast. “As the product is positioned in a more mainstream budget category, Panasonic camcorder owners will help to accelerate the amount of 3D content being created for distribution on new Blu-ray discs and recently announced 3D channels like those of Direct TV.”

At less than 6.6 pounds, the AG-3DA1 is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to record 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD. It can record for up to 180 minutes on dual 32GB SD cards in Panasonic’s professional AVCHD PH mode, and offers professional interfaces including dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone and twin-lens camera remotes.

The twin-lens system adopted in the camcorder’s optical section allows the convergence point to be adjusted. Functions for automatically correcting horizontal and vertical displacement are also provided. Conventional 3D camera systems require these adjustments to be made by means of a PC or an external video processor. This new camcorder, however, will automatically recalibrate without any need for external equipment, allowing immediate 3D image capture.

Right and Left Full HD video streams of the twin-lens 3D camcorder can be recorded and distributed as files on SDHC/SD Memory Cards, ensuring higher reliability than tape, optical disc, HDD or other mechanical-based recording systems. This solid-state, no-moving-parts design will help significantly reduce maintenance costs. Users will enjoy a fast, highly-productive file-based workflow, with instant, random access to recorded content; easy plug-in to both Mac and PC-based platforms and longer recording capacity.

Source: Panasonic

Brace for Origin to Hit in 3D

The National Rugby League and Channel Nine intend to use this year's State of Origin series as the launch pad for three-dimensional television coverage of sport in Australia. As revealed in the Herald yesterday, the NRL is positioning itself as the first football code in the country to be filmed in 3D format, which is tipped to revolutionise the broadcasting of sport.

Discussions between the NRL chief executive, David Gallop, and Nine's chief executive, David Gyngell, have earmarked a match during this year's Origin series as the trial event. The plan is for giant TV screens to be erected in public sites across the city that is not hosting the particular Origin match.

"The number of viewers would be limited but they would be part of something historic in the coverage of sport," Mr Gallop said. "Imagine seeing Billy Slater fend off someone at top pace in 3D."

The first and third matches of the series will be held at ANZ Stadium at Homebush on May 26 and July 7, with the second game in Brisbane on June 16. Mr Gallop said cinemas, hotels and parks were being considered as potential venues to host the initial trial broadcast.

In the past fortnight in Britain a Premier League soccer match and a Six Nations rugby game were shown in 3D at pubs and theatres respectively. Like the experimental broadcasts in Britain it is understood fans would buy tickets to attend the screenings and would be given 3D glasses. The entry of 3D sports coverage into TV at home is likely to be a longer process despite the fact that 3D TV sets will be available in Australia by April.

The United States has also conducted tests of 3D broadcasts in public settings. The American network ESPN is launching a 3D sports network in June, beginning with the broadcast of 25 World Cup football games. But industry observers here say that the costs associated with filming and producing events in the format will mean delays here.

Pay television provider Foxtel is working to enable 3D coverage by next year but will not be in a position by June to screen footage filmed by ESPN of the World Cup and other select matches.

By Chris Barrett , The Sydney Morning Herald