×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

3D requires the best and brightest

Exhibition, projection still a major weak spot

Exhibition and projection are still a major weak spot for 3D, but help is on the way. That was a running theme in Wednesday’s discussions at the 3D Entertainment Summit.

DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg took a moment in the middle of his denunciation of low-quality 3D conversions to say that laser-driven D-cinema projectors, which should solve many of the brightness issues plaguing theaters, should be ready within 18 months. He said laser projectors would cut power demand for projectors, thus reducing costs.

But the topic really recurred in earnest in response to a question from the audience during a Wednesday-morning panel from Steve Barnett, VP of post-production for Twentieth Century Fox. (The two-day 3D Entertainment Summit at the Universal Hilton is presented by Variety.)

Barnett observed that on “Avatar,” there were problems nationwide with too-dim projection. Where 3.5-foot lamberts are considered acceptable, sometimes only two-foot lamberts were making it to the screen. (A “foot-lambert” is a unit of luminance.) In other words, the image was only about half as bright as it should have been.

“I’m finding there is no standard for 3D projection,” Barnett said. “The standard for 3D projection is pretty much set by people saying, ‘I already bought a projector, I’m not buying another one.’ How can we get exhibitors to put the 3.5 foot lamberts on the screen?”

One response: an industrywide effort like the Digital Cinema Initiative to set standards and specifications.

But even the 3.5-foot lamberts standard was never ideal, said Buzz Hays of Sony’s 3D Technology Center. It was adopted, he said, only because “the (Digital Cinema Initiative) was well in place before 3D was even considered.” The DCI would barely get us to the 2D levels we were used to.” With light inevitably lost in filters and mirrors for 3D, 3.5 was simply the best anyone could do.

“It’s a solvable problem,” he said, noting Imax 3D uses bigger screens without these problems.

Hays reported hearing a rumor that RealD’s light-doubler technology, intended to solve some of the brightness issues, is being used by some exhibitors as an excuse to put in a smaller bulb. Barnett interjected from the floor, “It’s true.”

“Innovation hasn’t come from the exhibition side of things in quite some time,” said Hays. “We can show 3D in 14-foot lamberts, and the results are nothing short of spectacular.”But other phases of post will have to adjust, Hays noted. “Now movies are being timed for 3.5,” he said, which means that if brighter projectors show up, the extra brightness would show the color incorrectly.

Steven Poster, d.p. of “Cats and Dogs 2” and prexy of local 600 of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild, complained that 3D projection reduces the dynamic range of the image, darkening the brightest portions — an issue he attributed to compression, not brightness.

If so, then that particular improvement will have to wait until a future version of digital cinema and a revised DCI spec. On the other hand, he said, 3D TV doesn’t have the same issues, so a full HD image on a 3D TV might have whiter whites and blacker blacks than the same movie in theaters.

Home 3D will be a big topic today at the summit.

Bits & Bytes

Laser Light Engines, which develops and manufactures laser light sources, has named longtime Disney exec Bob Lambert to its board. … Variety sister publication LA 411 has launched its 411 iPhone app. … The 3D Film Festival, which opens Sept. 30 at the Los Angeles Film School, has tapped Thomas Jane (“Hung”) as its host and master of ceremonies. Jane, who directed the 3D “psycho-noir” feature “Dark Country” will also serve as an ambassador of the festival during the fest’s four-day run. … Xpand has introduced Universal 3D Glasses, designed to work with all home active-glasses systems. The specs are available in four colors and various shapes and sizes … The Toronto fest’s Bell Lightbox went all-Dolby for 3D, digital cinema and digital surround sound. … The Hollywood Post Alliance has put out a call for presentations for the 2011 HPA Tech Retreat. … Entity FX is keeping busy with “The Vampire Diaries,” “Smallville” and “Hellcats.” Entity is also contributing vfx to features “Conviction” and “Yogi Bear.” Company has facilities in Santa Monica and Vancouver, B.C. … The Annie Awards have put out calls for entries and judges to serve on nominating committees. Judging will take place Nov. 6 at Woodbury U. in Burbank. … NewTek is producing a “Lightwave 10: Rigging Revealed” DVD featuring artist Lino Grande. Disk will be bundled with Lightwave 10 for those who purchase before Sept. 30. …

More Digital

  • Streaming Powers U.S. Latin Music Market

    Streaming Powers U.S. Latin Music Market to 18% Growth

    The U.S. Latin music business experienced its second year of double-digit growth in 2018, driven almost entirely by streaming, according to the RIAA’s year-end report. The Latin market grew 18% in 2018 to $413 million, driven by a nearly 50% growth in revenues from paid subscriptions, the report says. Streaming formats made up a whopping [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Entertainment One, Universal to Partner on Home Entertainment

    Entertainment One and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-territory distribution agreement. UPHE will serve as the home entertainment distributor of eOne’s offerings across both physical and digital formats. The pact covers film, television, and select family content and includes all sales, marketing, and distribution, spanning the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, Australia, [...]

  • 'Darkwood' Delivers Surreal Horror to Nintendo

    'Darkwood' Delivers Surreal Horror to Nintendo Switch

    “Darkwood” is the sort of game you might not expect to find on the Nintendo Switch: It’s dark, violent, and immensely unsettling. But the top-down survival horror title is also an excellent fit for the platform, the sort of evocative experience that a player can methodically pick at in short stints, or sink into for [...]

  • MLB All-Star Game

    T-Mobile’s MLB.tv Subscription Giveaway Available Now

    T-Mobile is once again giving its customers free access to MLB.tv, Major League Baseball’s streaming service. The telco began giving away access to the streaming service Tuesday; anyone interested in signing up has until April 1 to do so. MLB.tv allows subscribers to stream regular season games on mobile and TV connected devices, and is [...]

  • The Federal Trade Commission building in

    FTC to Examine Privacy Practices of Major Internet Providers

    WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission said it is launching an examination of the privacy practices of major internet providers including AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast to study how they use consumer information. Capitol Hill lawmakers have been giving added scrutiny to the tech industry’s use of consumer data for more than a year, but much [...]

  • Jessica Rodriguez Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: Univision's Jessica Rodriguez on Shaking Up a Traditional TV Brand

    With new leadership in place at Univision, the network is evolving in ways its fast-growing Hispanic audience in the U.S. might find surprising. Look no further than the broadcaster’s primetime schedule, according to Jessica Rodriguez, CMO of Univision Communications and president/COO of Univision Networks, who relied on audience research to shake up traditional notions of [...]

  • Electronic Arts Logo

    EA Laying Off 350 People, About 4% of Staff

    Electronic Arts is laying off about 350 of its 9,000-person staff, CEO Andrew Wilson announced in a blog post on its website Tuesday. In the brief, open letter, Wilson noted that the move was made to “address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead,” and to “better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content