International 3D Society 2012 Technology Awards

I had the great pleasure and privilege of attending the International 3D Society’s 2012 Technology Awards January 15.  It was a pleasure because there was a great venue, great luncheon, and it was a truly fun event.  I was privileged to be in the company of pioneers, brainiacs, and fellow enthusiasts.

All of the winners are doing very interesting things—I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the extraordinary work being done behind the scenes in this industry to ensure high quality, flexibility, and the best possible enduser experience.

The awards went to the following—in alphabetical order—for the achievement indicated. Click on highlighted items for links to more information about each particular company and award-winning technology.

Blu-ray Disc Association – “Blu-ray 3D Specification” This how we get 3D into your living room!

Corey Bridges accepting on behalf of Cameron-Pace.

Cameron/Pace Group – “Shadow D Technology and the Shadow D System” High-end, professional gear based on the genius idea of shooting 2D and 3D simultaneously on the same rig to make life easier for content producers everywhere (think sports).

Fuji – “Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W3 Digital Camera” An affordable, consumer 3D camcorder. This brings 3D into the world of home video, and also serves as an entry-level 3D camera for budding auteurs.

Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative – “FHD3DGI Standard” so there is a consistent standard across manufacturers of active shutter glasses. This is good (and I have a closet full of proprietary chargers to prove it).  Kudos to Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and XPAND.

GoPro“3D Hero System” A nifty kit that puts together two Hero HD cameras into a (relatively inexpensive) rig to shoot 3D (and 2D).

HDMI Licensing, LLC“Standardization of 3D Formats over the HDMI Interface. Specification Version 1.4a” If you are reading this blog you’ve probably seen High-Definition Multimedia Interface® (HDMI) interface and cables. Again, this is a standard that, when strictly adhered to, assures maximum interoperability between different manufacturers and their products. This spec addresses issues particular to 3D so it’s an enabler.

LG Electronics – “LG Cinema 3D TV” State-of-the-art 3D television set.

Panasonic – “AG-3DA1 Twin Lens 3D Camera Recorder” A high quality 3D camera in a compact form factor. This is important because getting two lenses close enough together is a huge challenge. Cumbersome camera equipment has been one of the biggest barriers on the content side.  This is important progress.

Peter Wimmer – “Stereoscopic Player” Peter’s company 3DTV.at (from Austria) makes a well-regarded, solid, reliable software player for 3D content on PCs.

Silicon Imaging – “SI-3D Stereo Digital Cinema Camera System” is a 3D digital camera system that has an integrated stereo visualization system that enables immediate (no special processing) playback and editing capabilities using some neat visualization tools.

Buzz Hays from Sony accepting award.

Sony – “HDR-TD10 3D Handycam Camcorder” It’s a camcorder, an HD camcorder, a 3D HD camcorder. Let that sink in for a minute!

Sony – “Playstation 3”  Maybe you’ve heard of it? We’ll forgive them for erroneous warnings implying it’s dangerous for young kids (it’s not) because they are getting 3D into more hands.

Vizio – “Theater 3D” Big, beautiful 3D television with affordable (passive) glasses.

YouTube – “3D Channel” In a few short years YouTube has changed the way the world consumes video.  The YouTube 3D channel is another potential game-changer.

Society President Jim Chabin talking about the "Make it 3D" campaign.

These are exciting and interesting times. Congratulations to the International 3D Society and all of the honorees.


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3D Trailer for Hugo

The International 3D Society has posted a 3D trailer for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.  Don’t have a 3D-enabled computer (yet)? There’s a link to the 2D trailer as well.

While you are on their site check out the other interesting things the society is doing to celebrate 3D filmmaking.

Dispatch from 3D World, NYC (part of CCW/Satcon/HD world)

This has been a hard post to write!  You know how little kids sometimes get so excited when describing something amazing that they stammer and ramble—unable to just spit it out?  That’s what I felt like after attending the excellent keynote session “Your World in 3D: Separating the Facts from the Hype” at 3D World in New York City last month.

There’s so much to say, so much to share, it’s hard to boil it down to a digestible blog post so I will summarize and probably be quoting this in the weeks and months to come.

The session kicked off with an introduction by Jim Chabit, CEO of the International 3D Society—an organization doing important work in bringing together a community around 3D.  (Full disclosure, I’m a card-carrying member). This group is putting together events, awards, and information to build some momentum for 3D.  Using facts and figures he asserted that 3D continues to do strong box office—especially internationally.  He also focused on some upcoming major releases in 3D—Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret (which got rave reviews for an unfinished cut screened at NY Film Festival a couple of days earlier), Spielberg’s Adventures of TinTin, and the James Cameron’s 3D conversion of Titanic.

Buzz Hays, Senior VP 3D Production at Sony is an incredibly knowledgeable and dynamic speaker.  He focused on some of the important technical issues and gave an overview of the stereoscopy training Sony has developed for film professionals.  These in-depth (forgive the pun) materials are aimed at fine-tuning 3D cinema skills. Sony has been offering this course to help raise the overall technical level in the industry.   He walked us through some of the key variables—tools that can be used for subtle (and no-so-subtle) effects.  We also saw examples of common pitfalls (misalignment, mismatchs, and distortions) that helped explain and quantify when/why 3D becomes more uncomfortable to watch.

This presentation clearly and eloquently articulates the flexibility of 3D as a tool.  When waved about recklessly it can be annoying and even uncomfortable.  When it’s wielded with finesse it adds depth on many levels to story telling.

John Cassy from Sky3D in the UK stressed the importance quality and variety in content. “If you think 3D can paper over the cracks, you will fail”.   He insists that quality 3D content relies on combining stories, people, and partnerships.  We saw gorgeous footage from upcoming releases: “Meerkats” (cute animals in awe-inspiring scenery) and “Kew Gardens” (luscious, HD/3D time-lapse shots from one of the world’s great botanical treasures).  He hailed Sir David Attenboroughfor being an early leader in 3D, the way he was an early pioneer of color TV 45 years ago.

Michael Duenas, DO, from the American Optometric Association (AOA) was the final speaker.  The AOA recently released a fascinating report on 3D in education and in that context Dr. Duenas gave a passionate and wide-ranging presentation on the role of 3D in vision health and the far-reaching repercussions of not having adequate screening at an early age.  It’s a bold assertion—that traditional eye examinations, in focusing on only one aspect of vision health, overlook the critical capability of stereoscopic vision.  The resulting misdiagnoses and lack of treatment impact student engagement, learning, and broader issues such as crime and recidivism.

The AOA is going beyond debunking fears about 3D and championing it. This is a fascinating area that I’m sure will be getting a lot more attention.

The session wrapped up with a clip of silent film legend Harold Lloyd, an early enthusiast of 3D, converted to 3D.  It looked pretty darned good.