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London 3D Session Frets About Marketing and Glasses

LONDON — The first 3D Creative Summit here covered a wide variety of topics in two days, but recurring concerns included a lack of consistent marketing and the discomfort of 3D glasses.

Many argued the need for a consistent cross-sector marketing message and a desire to eliminate glasses. “It should all be about the 3D experience,” said Cameron Saunder, managing director 20th Century Fox U.K. of marketing or a 3D film. “You either believe in it and promote it or don’t do it.”

“The films that really work are where 3D is front and center in the marketing. ‘Life of Pi’ is a great example,” agreed Alex Stolz, senior executive distribution and exhibition for the British Film Institute.

“As exhibitors we need to exhibit and market it better,” said Drew Kaza, exec vice prexy of digital development for exhibitor Odeon, arguing more attention needs to be paid to convenience for the audience and 3D showing times. “It may be that 3D is all we should be showing. We’re trying that out in some sites with ‘The Croods.’ ” Kaza also explained Odeon’s new policy of getting behind 3D films they believe audiences will especially like in 3D, using an “Odeon recommends in 3D” brand.

John Cassy, director of Sky 3D, Europe’s first 3D TV channel, also sees marketing as a key issue for 3DTV. “One of the biggest challenges is how do we sell the proposition of 3D,” said Cassy, arguing it is a format where standard routes to the audience, advertising on 2D channels and print advertising can’t work because they aren’t in 3D. “Seeing is believing. A lot of cynicism and apathy goes when people see it.”

David Attenborough believes 3D glasses are a major hurdle to 3D television. “The trick in progressing 3DTV is when you don’t have to put glasses on,” he opined. “When you wear the glasses, you feel divorced from the people around you.”

The anti-glasses feeling was a regular theme for both 3DTV and cinema. DreamWorks Animation’s Phil McNally cited glasses as being the major negative of the format.

“It’s nigh on impossible at the moment,” was the answer coming from Julian Pinn, director of commercial marketing EMEA at Dolby. “I think it’s going to be a long time coming until there’s an auto-stereoscopic system of any quality for the cinema.”

Of course auto-stereoscopic televisions already exist but a panel specifically looking at 3DTV agreed the game-changing technology is not there yet but needs to come.

“Surveys say the glasses are one of the biggest barriers,” explained Andy Quested, head of technology at the BBC. “More than 50% of the issue is the glasses.”

“There is a lot of technological work that still needs to go on,” said Chris Johns, chief engineer of broadcast strategy at Sky, of auto-stereoscopic ‘glasses-free’ devices. “I think we’re three years away from a ‘wow’ experience.”

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