Jim here. Roger Ebert just wrote an op-ed piece for Newsweek that blew my mind. I am forced to write yet another post to attempt some sort of counter balance to his blatant obsolescence (as he is obviously not ignorant to the facts any longer). Not only has he not learned from AVATAR and the optimism 3D has given Hollywood, he has retreated further back into his world. He has blasted yet another salvo at, well basically the world, now that practically everyone has been to Pandora and now owns it on disc.
Take this excerpt for example: "3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for."
Stunning isn't it? 3D adds nothing essential. Interesting. I guess we should all poke out our left eye now shouldn't we? We don't need to see in stereo. He alludes to distraction, yet for most people you forget you are wearing glasses at all 5 minutes into AVATAR. Nausea and headaches? Again he is shooting off fear, uncertainty and doubt by talking about BAD 3D - like CLASH OF THE TITANS and/or the statistically very small number of people who literally can't see it effectively. Yes, the business side of Hollywood is enjoying more revenue to offset the development and future of 3D - but we live in a capitalist world driven by supply and demand. The market will set the price. Do you think people would flock to theaters at $50 a pop? I think not. 3D is darker than 2D - yes, so? If directors pay attention to this it does not matter - Cameron paid attention with AVATAR and hence no lighting issues. Get over it. 3D is unsuitable for grown up films he says. If anyone cares to enlighten me on what he means here, by all means do so! Dramas? Art films? What? In other words, if you have something serious to say to me Mr. Ebert, you had better shut one eye. What a joke. In fact, you should be winking when you say these things Mr. Ebert because it sounds like you are completely in jest.
Lastly he says that it limits the freedom directors have to make movies. To this I have to say: Hogwash. Directors are limited to making movies with sound nowadays aren't they? Dolby sound? With color? Oh the humanity to be forced into making a movie that actually draws our audience closer to the storyteller! To be fully engaged and engrossed. What a pity to force 3D upon ourselves.
His arguments against 3D are baseless and he knows it. So what is his motivation to broadside 3D like this? Self promotion? Ego? How dare Hollywood do something like this without consulting with me? Someone paying him to say these things? Only Ebert can answer these questions. Surely it has nothing to do with his opinion does it? Hmmm. Perhaps it does. Perhaps obsolescence is upon Mr. Ebert finally. In fact, I know it is. And he knows I know.
Who am I to criticize one of movie's greatest critics of all time? I have done it before if you will remember. Clearly Roger Ebert fits the description of a great critic, if not the defacto standard. He has entertained and informed movie fans since 1967 when he first set up his typewriter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert's movie advice has been for the most part, excellent. Logic and an innate blend of artistic criticism and empathy for the public audience has set him apart from the now massive vault of available online movie pundits.
And I clearly fall into the last category. I am just a simple movie blogger that happens to love and embrace stereoscopic 3D. I am clearly biased and invested in the new industry. So what makes me think that I should challenge the man? Because he is wrong. Dead wrong.
The downfall of Ebert lies in his luminous past. He is so entrenched in his rich history of Hollywood that he cannot move a limb towards its future. Quicksand of the mind if you will. The more he moves toward wanting to understand and enjoy 3D, the deeper he recedes into his opinion. Perhaps the first ill conceived opinion of his life. Unfortunately for him, the world has embraced 3D - not meekly or a generational blip, but a full blown revolution in filmmaking. Whether he sees this embrace is unknown to me. At least he recognizes the accomplishment of AVATAR.
Ebert tries the trusted old trick of misdirection when he actually strays WAY off topic to bring up faster frame rates as being the technology we need now rather than 3D. Yes, I agree faster framerates would be awesome! WITH 3D!! The two are independent thoughts my fellow movie critic.
What upsets me the most, other than his influence he has on the movie going public, is that he is artificially bringing directors on his side. Another excerpt: "Having shot Dial M for Murder in 3-D, Alfred Hitchcock was so displeased by the result that he released it in 2-D at its New York opening." Mr. Ebert. Stop trying to confuse your readers! It is pathetic. Hitchcock used old school 3D, NOT modern 3D. They are so vastly different. And YOU know it.
Moreover, he said: "I once said I might become reconciled to 3-D if a director like Martin Scorsese ever used the format. I thought I was safe." Wrong again Mr. Ebert. Even his self admitted hero, Werner Herzog, is shooting a 3D movie about prehistoric cave paintings in France! Yet he freely admits all of this! He knows he is one of the last few influential people speaking out against 3D and you can tell he feels his back against the wall. Even his much loved directors are leaving him squirming. Of course he can take solace in the fact that Michael Bay is still on his side. *snicker* And do you really think the studios can force a man like Scorsese or Herzog into shooting 3D? Seriously, think about it.
Look. The time has come to admit that you were wrong Mr. Ebert and move on. It is only going to get worse for you. 3D will be improving by leaps and bounds in the coming years from a number of factors: Technology is improving everyday (TRON: LEGACY and AVATAR 2 will make huge strides yet again); 3D film crew expertise is growing exponentially; 3D is getting cheaper to shoot and convert; and more and more independents will soon be involved.
If Roger Ebert refuses to acknowledge that Hollywood is on the cusp of something magnificent and not "suicide", then surely the man is now obsolete. It pains me to say this yet again, but it is so true. Time to retire and enjoy the spoils of your career. Look at it this way folks, at least there will be one more aisle seat available for someone that cares.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Jim here. Roger Ebert just wrote an op-ed piece for Newsweek that blew my mind. I am forced to write yet another post to attempt some sort of counter balance to his blatant obsolescence (as he is obviously not ignorant to the facts any longer). Not only has he not learned from AVATAR and the optimism 3D has given Hollywood, he has retreated further back into his world. He has blasted yet another salvo at, well basically the world, now that practically everyone has been to Pandora and now owns it on disc.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Michael here. Jim and I are huge space and NASA buffs, so this news makes us very excited: James Cameron has successfully lobbied NASA administrator Charles Bolden to include the 3DHD version of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) that was removed from the Curiosity rover due to budgetary concerns back in 2007 (a very questionable decision in my opinion).
Curiosity is scheduled to launch towards Mars on October 14, 2011.
In January Cameron met one-on-one with Bolden, and, according to the AP, argued that a rover with a better set of eyes would help the public connect with the mission. Bolden was convinced.
"He actually was really open to the idea," Cameron told the Pasadena Star News. "Our first meeting went very well."
A mast camera, without 3-D capabilities, had already been built and was delivered to JPL this month. The Curiosity team isn't positive the new camera will be ready in time. However, I'd bet it will be given that Cameron and many others (including those on the team) are so excited about it. They will find a way to get it done right and on time.
As for potential uses for the 3D HD camera, there are many: "You could take a movie and image clouds moving in the sky or a dust devil moving," said Joy Crisp, JPL deputy project scientist on Mars Science Laboratory, the official name of the rover project. "As you're driving, you could take a movie."
Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego is now building the 3D Mastcam. Cameron is the co-investigator of the Mastcam. And as we learned in our exclusive interview with Cameron, his work on that (although he is doing some work now) doesn't really start in earnest until the camera starts sending back imagery.
The Mastcam shoots 3D 720P at 10 frames per second. That would look spectacular if integrated into a Cameron-produced documentary on Mars, wouldn't it?
Jim here. Got an exclusive update for you on Don Carmody's HIDDEN 3D. What movie is that you ask? Good question! I had not heard of it before either, but I do have some scoops for you on its current status and talent after you read the following to catch up...
ScreenDaily tells us (Feb 19 story) that Italian Andrea Marotti is producing a horror movie entitled Hidden 3D with funding from Canadian interests. The film also boasts producer Don Carmody, responsible for many films including RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, SILENT HILL, ORPHAN, OUTLANDER (I was in that!), LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, GOTHIKA and CHICAGO.
The story focuses on an abandoned medical center trial that hides a deadly secret. Hidden 3D will be the first Italian production in stereoscopic 3D, but will be filmed and distributed in English. The special effects are handled by John Sheela, who worked on Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER.
The movie was shot on a budget of $7.3 million.
- So here is the new exclusive info passed on to me by someone close to the project: The script writers are Mariano Baino and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni.
The acting talent involved are: Sean Clement, Simonetta Solder, Jordan Hayes, Alessia Agrosi, Bjanka Murgel, Devon Bostick, Jason Blicker and Tom Parkinson. Mostly an unknown cast, but Bostick was in DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and SAW IV and VI.
Principal photography wrapped about 1 month ago.
I do like what I have heard about the project so here is hoping Carmody weaves his magic once more - this time in 3D!
Jim here. The most expensive movie China has ever bankrolled has been shot over the past 6 months (via Variety). The EMPIRES OF THE DEEP production has a $130 million budget and is being directed in 3D by Canadian Michael French. Apparently a year of post-production is required and it will see screens in the summer or Christmas of 2011.
Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) plays a mermaid queen and Anthony Arendt (AVATAR) is a consulting stereographer.
Set in ancient Greece, the story tells about a young man’s adventure in the undersea mermaid kingdom in order to save his father, while encountering ferocious sea monsters and gets involved in large-scale battles in the seabed between mermaids, monsters and demons.
I don't really know what to make of this project. Normally I am quite enthusiastic about new 3D projects that clearly have momentum - sorry - I am not convinced yet. We will see.
Jim here. With there being a STRONG possibility that Marvel's THOR will be shot in native 3D, we need to track this project VERY closely! :-) And so we take a look at a spy shot (courtesy of Kellvin over at LatinoReview) of what THOR's villain, The Destroyer, may look like:
**Image Removed at the request of Paramount.**
From LatinoReview: The Destroyer is an enchanted suit of armor forged by Odin, and when it first appeared it was hinted that the Destroyer had been created as a weapon to face some dark menace from the stars. The Destroyer is used by Thor's arch-foe Loki on several occasions, and each time has actually come close to killing Thor.
The film follows the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
Yeah, I would say that image is legit. Cool shot to say the least! Kenneth Branagh must be fuming that it got out. My anticipation for this movie just doubled. Easily.
Jim here. I thought I would give you a heads up that 3DFilmFactory has just released an affordable 3D beam-splitter that allows filmmakers to turn to 3D for less money. Very cool design and lots of support for today's smaller 3D cameras. Have a look!
Click photos to enlarge.
Here is their press release: 3D Film Factory has released the World’s most affordable 3D camera system for professional camcorders, compact HD cameras and DSLR cameras – the 3D-BS Mini Rig. This lightweight, precise, stereoscopic beam-splitter rig features an introductory retail price of just $2,495, while providing, almost unlimited camera and alignment control. Developed by award-winning filmmakers and veteran stereographers, the BS Mini rig offers a viable alternative to high-priced 3D rigs costing ten times as much.
“Our goal is to proliferate 3D production by making it accessible. In the real world that means making professional 3D systems that filmmakers can actually afford. The 3D-BS Mini Rig is our answer to that need“, said company president Karl Kozak. “Other rig manufacturers are making behemoth, expensive, overly complicated rigs. We went the other way. Creating the World’s least expensive, professional beam-splitter. It’s simple and small, and made for the Si-2K mini, Canon 5D, 7D, Red’s Scarlet and compact camcorders. We couldn’t be happier with the result.”
The 3D-BS Mini Rig (beam-splitter) is fully adjustable, allowing users to have total control over convergence settings (1° to 5°), inter-ocular (camera-to-camera) distances (0” to 4”) and, with an extra adapter, you get full camera tilt and roll (XYZ axis), for perfect alignment.
Boasting a weight of just 19.8 lbs, its black anodized aluminum frame is virtually indestructible. Designed to accommodate smaller professional camcorders, like the Canon XH-G1 or Sony EX3, it really shines with compact HD cameras, including Red’s Scarlet, the Si-2K mini and the Canon DSLR 5D and 7D still cameras.
At the center of the mirror box is a piece of optically engineered, impurity-free, 50/50 beam-splitter glass, that’s been optimized for 45°. It’s fully encased in our specialty high-grade plastic, that’s both light-dampening and completely detachable. Finally, the entire 3D rig readily attaches to most professional tripod heads with a simple aluminum tripod adapter (¼-20 & 3/8- 16 screws).
The result is the World’s most affordable, professional stereoscopic beam-splitter ever produced. The BS Mini Rig makes 3D shooting both simple and amazingly precise. When combined with one of our real-time 3D viewing systems, a dual camera sync and genlock, cinematographers can capture extraordinary 3D images for a fraction of the cost of all other systems.
Additionally, the 3D Film Factory offers a complete line of 3D camera systems, including the 3D-BS Indie & Pro Rigs (beam-splitter), intended for larger broadcast cameras and camcorders, as well as, several inexpensive side-by-side rigs - the SS Indie & SS Pro Rigs. These dual cameras systems are less complex, but equally necessary for most 3D production situations.
About 3D Film Factory
Based in San Diego, California, the 3D Film Factory is both full service 3D production house and a 3D equipment manufacturer. More specifically, the company specializes in the design and marketing of production-ready, affordable 3D camera systems, while lending its expertise to a variety of high-quality 3D projects, from ‘stereographers for hire’, to hands-on 3D training, to complete 3D production through post.
To find out more, visit the company’s web site at: 3DFilmFactory.com
I am excited that it can be used with Red's Scarlet! Whenever I hear about equipment that could potentially be used by small independent filmmakers I try to get the word out. 3D isn't just for the studios! If you have used 3DFilmFactory's products / services or other related companies, go ahead and post them in comments. The more feedback the better.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Jim here. Universal has set a release date for JAMES CAMERON PRESENTS SANCTUM 3D: Friday, March 4, 2011 (via Deadline).
The timing puts the diving thriller up against Sony's PRIEST which will also be in 3D. PRIEST recently had its release date changed from January 14, 2011.
Based on true events, this adventure drama concerns a father and son who are trapped in an underwater cave with a team of divers as the group strives to stay alive against all hope.
Obviously the world is watching this movie as it is the first officially "touched" project from James Cameron since AVATAR, even though he is only producing. Should be a heckuva ride.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Jim here. Dreamworks Animation has announced that the sequel to HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON will light up the screens in 2013.
"2010 is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to the performance of 'How to Train Your Dragon,' which – having grossed nearly $375 million to date in worldwide box office – has become DreamWorks Animation's next franchise. We plan to release the sequel theatrically in 2013," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. "3D continues to have a tremendous impact on the industry at large and we are now looking forward with great anticipation to bringing 'Shrek Forever After,' the final chapter in our beloved 'Shrek' series and the first in 3D, to audiences across the globe next month."
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON has thus far made $180m domestically and $193m overseas for a total worldwide box office of $373m, and of course the movie was #1 at the box office last weekend.
I knew we were in for a treat with this movie and always thought that it would do KUNG FU PANDA type numbers + the 3D premium. I think the voice acting was bang on and the material perfect for kids AND families of all ages. Keep up the excellent work DWA!!
Jim here. Apparently the rumors from BloodyDisgusting are true: RING 3D (the third movie in THE RING franchise) is being pushed forward by Paramount.
No director has been attached yet, but David Loucka (DREAM HOUSE) is writing. Not too much more is known at this point.
Well I would think that most studio horror movies from now on will be 3D. Not a huge surprise, but it is one of the better properties out there so I am anxious to see it!
Monday, April 26, 2010
Jim here. RealD has released what seems to be a pretty useful tool for filmmakers wanting to jump into stereoscopic 3D. It is built for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad and according to PR Newswire it will allow stereographers to save time and money by calculating parallax and separation in planning stereo 3D depth, optimal camera rig locations and lens configuration.
RealD Professional Stereo3D Calculator features include:
- Parallax - know the depth of a shot by seeing the actual positive and negative parallax values at any distance with the subject in focus.
- Separation - learn how various objects in each shot will affect the on-screen image quality based on separation and distance from the cameras (includes "Maximum Positive On-Screen Offset").
- Lens - determine the appropriate lens or zoom to achieve the desired 3D effect
- Shooting style - choose "Converged" or "Parallel" style to customize shots and plan post-production workflow.
- Camera Setup - set camera model, lens type and interaxial range; test real shots with interactive shot settings and quickly rearrange the setup real-time.
- Stereo Solver™ Mode gives the exact settings needed to accomplish any shot while ensuring far objects' parallax never goes over defined maximum on-screen offset.
- S3D Calculator Mode functions as a pure 3D reference calculator with interactive value tables.
"Shooting in 3D is an art form, one that can be challenging not only for novices but experienced professionals as well given the calculations needed to create an effective and comfortable 3D visual," said Joshua Greer, President of RealD. "This Calculator takes away the guesswork involved in shooting in 3D, helping ensure the best configured rigs are in place for each shot and maximizing on-set efficiency."
"With this app, a filmmaker can remain focused on creating powerful and compelling 3D instead of getting lost in the angles, geometry and optics behind it," added Ken Schafer, President and Lead Program Architect at Innoventive Software (FrameForge Previz Studio).
The app is called the "RealD Professional Stereo3D Calculator" and it is available from iTunes for $299.99.
Once I get some reviews on this new on-set application from my stereographer friends I will be sure to post them - or read the comments as they often will post their thoughts.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
**SAME DAY UPDATE: From Collider once again - The other big news from the interview is he said he’s developing two Alien prequels! When asked if he was going to shoot both together, he said, “at the moment I’m just trying to get the first one out.”
Jim here. Perfect!! The man himself, Ridley Scott, has confirmed to Steve @ Collider that the ALIEN prequel will definitely be shot in 3D and that he will be using the most advanced 3D cameras on the planet. Twice as effective as the ones used on AVATAR as Cameron's technology has evolved since then.
Scott's main concern is lighting because the ALIEN franchise is very dark and shadowy. As you may know, projecting 3D cuts the light effectively in half as 50% of the light goes to each eye, but not at the same time. James Cameron had some similar issues with AVATAR and spent a lot of time on evening out the lighting throughout the movie and it paid off. Look for the same effort from Ridley on ALIEN.
The ALIEN prequel script is in its fourth draft right now! Don't forget to read more from Ridley Scott here.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Exclusive Weta Update! MORTAL ENGINES In 3D, DISTRICT 10 Shooting This October AND AVATAR 2 Spoiler!!!
Jim here. What's new in Weta world?? I have got the goods for ya from two of my top embedded sources!
MORTAL ENGINES is definitely a GO! And it WILL BE in stereoscopic 3D!! It is extremely hard to get any information on this project at all - but you know us, we are in there digging all the time :-) Peter Jackson is both Director and Producer on this project. Mortal Engines is based on a series of five books by Phillip Reeve set in a devastated post annihilation world. Huge floating cities roam the skies and do battle with one another.
DISTRICT 10 (Production title at least) is now in pre-production with filming to start in the October time frame this year. Shooting locations will be South Africa once again as well as New Zealand. There has been no word on whether it will be shot in S3D or not as of yet. You will be the first to know! Peter Jackson is again producing the sequel with Neill Blomkamp directing.
AVATAR 2 will continue several years after the events of the original. It will also lay the groundwork for the other moons in the system. Things are going to get quite "weird" to the point of becoming somewhat abstract! Each movie will stand on its own and there will definitely be NO shooting the sequels back to back. Trilogy? Actually no. The sky is no limit for this universe - the plot lines are endless.
AVATAR 2 SPOILER ALERT: This is verbatim from my source...
"Oh and Pandora has a lot of shit coming its way. Break out the space marines, looks like some bugs need a stomping."
Holy Makarov! You didn't think Weta has been sitting idly by and doing nothing but TINTIN have you? :-) I have asked for clarification on the quote I gave you about AVATAR 2 and if he can go into any detail for us. Keep in mind that things could change this early in the AVATAR 2 creative process but he felt comfortable in telling me this. It must have graduated from Lightstorm Entertainment ideas to Weta concept design. STAY TUNED!! Exciting stuff!
Jim here. There has been a whole whack of new 3D announcements in the last day or so and this confirmation is definitely one of the best pieces of news I have heard. Seth Rogen's THE GREEN HORNET will indeed be converted to 3D as reported by Collider, and they will be moving the actioner from December 22, 2010 to January 14, 2011 to avoid the 3D traffic jam over the holiday season.
I am a huge Seth Rogen fan so I am really looking forward to this one. Interesting to have two green heroes released in the same year! GREEN LANTERN hits 3D screens on June 17, 2011.
Jim here. Disney / Pixar has announced that MONSTERS INC. 2 will be coming our way on November 16, 2012 and since ALL of Pixar's movies will be in stereoscopic 3D indefinitely, so will MONSTERS INC. 2.
The original MONSTERS INC. (2001) earned $62.6 million on its first weekend ($85m in today's dollars) and finally gathered $255.9 million in total ($350m today).
Further, another Pixar movie originally entitled THE BEAR AND THE BOW will have a name change to BRAVE and an updated release date of June 15, 2012. Of course, it will be in S3D as well.
Pixar is the juggernaut of animation and I see no reason for alarm with these announcements. Nothing but continued success for these guys! Bring it on...
Jim here. Ain't It Cool has news that M. Night Shyamalan's THE LAST AIRBENDER will be converted into S3D!
From what I have seen from the first trailer it looks stunning. Word is it only gets better with the next trailer being shown in front of IRON MAN 2.
THE LAST AIRBENDER hits 2D and 3D screens July 2.
I have to say I was very skeptical about the movie in the beginning. Perhaps it rubbed me the wrong way by trying to use "AVATAR" in its title at one time! And M. Night Shamalong-a-ding-dong hasn't had too great a track record lately. But I will be the first to admit that THE LAST AIRBENDER looks very appealing. And my opinion may be changing not only for the project but for the director himself.
If they can spend the time and money to do the conversion right, I believe it will be very successful. Fingers crossed on the conversion!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Michael here. A couple days ago I saw a screening of some of Chicago-based BSAT Labs 3D conversion work, and it looked spectacular.
The clips included converted shots from Piranha 3-D and Iron Man. Every piece of Iron Man's armor was rendered in impeccable detail, and the intricate debris, smoke, and fire from an explosion was given clear and distinct depth. The shots from Piranha were equally impressive, demonstrating a virtuosity for converting live action. All the 3D was crisp and rounded, with objects distributed throughout the stereospace instead of all bunched together in planes. The footage completely avoided the flatness and blurriness that plague bad conversion jobs.
The reel I was shown highlighted BSAT's pipeline, showing stills from different stages of their process. It also included a number of shorter shots, some of which you can view in anaglyph here at BSAT Labs' website. I really appreciated how the reel took its time to show the 2D version of a shot before the 3D version, and how it demonstrated the work BSAT had to accomplish to create the 3D.
BSAT Labs outputs left and right eye images. It uses a non-proprietary, modular system and process that is easy to learn and allows versatility for the client, permitting size of staff to expand as required by the project. Their work flow places great importance on filmmaker creative involvement.
BSAT launched its 2D/3D conversion in May 2009 and has since tested for several studios. Its sister company BSAT Inc. has been in business since 2001 serving the cable and broadcast industry.
I look forward to seeing BSAT Labs' work on the big screen in the future!
Jim here. According to ShowBiz411, Director Barry Sonnenfeld has secured Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to reprise their MEN IN BLACK roles for a third iteration - this time in stereoscopic 3D!
Roger Friedman conjectures that MIB 3D would replace the delayed SPIDER-MAN 4 in the Memorial Day window of 2011.
We will see about the timing, but this is great news. I have been thinking we need a Will Smith actioner in 3D and this fit suits me just fine.
Of course I called MIB 3D a full year ago :-)
And an I AM LEGEND prequel in 3D would be a home run too if you ask me.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Jim here. The International 3D Society is now accepting nominations for its Stereoscopic 3D Technology Awards to be held October 5, 2010 at 7pm at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The 3D Technology Awards honor technological achievement in the stereoscopic medium -- mainly cinema, television, special venue, themed attractions, video games, PC and other media. The Society announced today that it is accepting entries from the 3D professional community to be voted upon by a blue-ribbon 3D Technology Awards panel. The first 3D Technology Awards of its kind, the program will recognize individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on the advancement of stereoscopic arts and technologies from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 2009.
"The International 3D Society is seeking to honor the contributions of engineers, scientists, and inventors who have helped to create the stereoscopic medium," said 3D Awards Committee co-chair and Oculus 3D President Lenny Lipton. "We are interested in calling attention to work that has been done in the recent past to advance the technology of the 3D moving image."
Buzz Hays, Society Chair and Senior Vice President of the Sony 3D Technology Center, Sony Corporation of America, added, "For those of us who have worked in 3D, it is nice to see our colleagues recognized with awards presented by their peers."
"All of us working in this exciting 3D environment today realize we are standing on the shoulders of giants who created the very technologies which make stereoscopic 3D possible," said Jim Chabin, President of the International 3D Society. The organization is a professional community dedicated to advancing the arts and technologies of Stereoscopic 3D.
The 3D Technology Awards Show will feature MasterImage3D passive glasses and technology. Rules, regulations and entry forms are available online at http://www.international3dsociety.com/awardstech.html. There is no entry fee for submissions. The deadline for submissions is May 30, 2010. Nominees will be announced prior to the show.
International 3D Society sponsors include Signature Sponsor XpanD and Founding Sponsors MasterImage 3D, Panasonic Hollywood Lab and IMAX.
AWESOME! About time this took place. I am really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the show! Best of luck to everyone involved.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Michael here. It looks like the theatrical re-release is going to happen! Hero Complex recently interviewed Cameron, and he said the following:
JC: We’re working on finishing an additional six minutes of the film -- which includes a lot of Weta work -- for a theatrical re-release in August.
And Avatar 2 will focus on the oceans of Pandora.
JC: We created a broad canvas for the environment of film. That’s not just on Pandora, but throughout the Alpha Centauri AB system. And we expand out across that system and incorporate more into the story – not necessarily in the second film, but more toward a third film. I’ve already announced this, so I might as well say it: Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment – a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well.
Check out the entire interview here at the LA Times Blog.
Recent Sony 4K Projector Installations Pushing Not Only 3D Movies, But 3D Sports, Concerts and Gaming!
Jim here. Here is an update on how Sony is doing with their 4K digital projector installations and associated RealD 3D deployments. Muvico Theaters, Uptown Entertainment and Wildwood theaters have installed the systems and couldn't be more thrilled. Each are looking for premium entertainment experiences for their customers and it seems that Sony has fit the need. And as you'll read, it is not only about the movies:
Muvico Theaters (whose motto is "Drink, Dine and Watch") now has 89 screens outfitted with Sony 4K projectors, of which 17 are RealD enabled for 3D. Further, Muvico has partnered with Sony for alternative content programs which I have been a huge advocate of since day one - especially for S3D). We are talking in-theater gaming with Sony's PlayStation and special live broadcast events like concerts. Muvico Theaters has reserved seating for patrons 21 years and older with complementary popcorn, and a restaurant / bar to utilize during your night out.
Uptown Entertainment (owned by the Ilitch family of Little Caesar's and Detroit Tigers fame) has moved to Sony 4K on an initial 19 screens of which several will be upgraded to Real D 3D. Again they are not only into movies, but also sporting events or music concerts.
Wildwood Theaters is going Sony 4K digital almost across the board, albeit with a smaller number of screens. 20 of their 26 screens are now Sony 4K of which 4 will be RealD 3D.
Sony has what's called their Digital Cinema Solutions and Services group that will work with theater owners on the integration, installation, maintenance and service support for its 4K conversion, providing the exhibitor with a complete turn-key solution for converting to digital technology. The solution covers not only movies, but the all important alternative programming discussed earlier.
Sony 4K projectors offer 8.8 million pixels and are the industry leaders for digital projection from what I have seen. The difference between 2K and 4K is staggering and you really do need the extra resolution for 3D movies and events. You can tell the difference immediately.
Alternative programming should allow theater owners to reduce screen downtime dramatically. With creative local managers, these facilities should be raking in revenue morning, afternoon and night.
Digital projection is the future of cinema and Sony has a heckuva offering. I will have more notable developments in the digital 3D projection world as they happen.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Jim here. Apple continues to patent stereoscopic 3D product ideas that seem truly revolutionary and this one is no exception! In fact this is actually a second refinement of a previous patent. The idea is to slide in an obviously VERY high resolution iPhone / iPod Touch into the frame of glasses to achieve 3D viewing for the consumer.
Word is the next iPhone will have even higher resolution, and it has a flat back like the one in this patent image. Could it be that this functionality be in our hands soon? Hard to say. Traditionally though, Apple's patents have been slow to push through and they just don't want to make any more patent mistakes by actually NOT patenting their ideas and having others, *ahem* Microsoft, take them.
Supposedly called iSpecs, the iPhone will slide into it and present side by side stereo images / video which the user will merge together naturally. The iSpecs also has a potential integrated camera which would allow the user to flip from watching media to seeing whatever was in front of them in realtime.
Of course the unit would be able to use the built in accelerometer (an iPhone and iPod touch feature that recognizes its own physical movement) to augment 3D gaming.
Looks like something that would be a no-brainer to me. Use your existing investment to enjoy hands-free 3D. We are seeing smaller autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D portable devices appear now, so perhaps iPhone is heading that way too. We'll see soon enough.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Jim here. Panasonic is partnering with France's Federation Franchaise de Tennis, Eurosport and Orange to provide The French Open in glorious 3D. Specifically center court games.
The 3D action will take place between May 23 and June 6, 2010 on Panasonic S3DHD TVs in selected retail outlets. France will enjoy much more coverage at the retail level and if you happen to live there, Orange will be broadcasting the 3D event to their own TV channel.
Eurosport is assisting by taking the Orange S3D feed and delivering it to 3000 retail stores in 58 European countries outside of France on Panasonic's VT20 S3DHD Plasma TVs.
I am impressed with the collaboration of these large corporations in delivering the goods. Everyone loves a good tennis match and I think 3D is a perfect way to show it off. Would have love to have seen Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe battle it out again this way! Hmmm... Converting classic sports moments in 3D? :-) Let's get on it!
And get that French Open 3D broadcast over to North America!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Jim here. We know Sony is going full tilt 3D across their product line and now is when it starts to get exciting for the mega electronics and entertainment company!
The 3D firmware update that Sony Playstation 3 owners have been waiting for to enable stereoscopic 3D capabilities has been clarified for us: The update will only enable 3D gaming this time around with the intent to include 3D movies in the coming months.
There is significant urgency for them to include 3D movies ASAP as they are releasing their own CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS in S3D for June (in Europe at least). This coincides with Sony's release of their S3DHD televisions as well (June), namely their HX800.
Consumers will be getting free stuff with their 3D TV purchase: Free 3D Blu-rays (including bundles with CLOUDY and DEEP SEA) and 3D PS3 games. The games that will be included will be demo versions - not the full package, but they will be more than enough to whet your appetites!
Those 3D games will be: WIPEOUT HD, PAIN, SUPER STARDUST HD and MOTORSTORM PACIFIC RIFT. Word is all four demos will be included with purchase. The full versions will be available at the PlayStation Store in mid June.
It's getting hot in here isn't it? S3D is taking off and we are pretty darn close to those rocket booster flames! Can't wait to get my hands on this tech. I experienced it in Las Vegas at Sony's 3D Experience pavilion @ MGM Grand and let me tell you - it rocks. You have to see it in action yourself!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Jim here. Got a new SHREK FOREVER AFTER poster for you. Dreamworks Animation loves the hyperboles don't they?
How many puns can you come up with for potential SHREK franchise posters? lol
SHREK FOREVER AFTER hits 3D theaters on May 21, 2010.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Jim here. Exciting News!! If you have been reading MarketSaw, then you know already that Martin Scorsese has been harboring a deep desire to shoot a movie in stereoscopic 3D.
That day, ladies and gentlemen, has come! According to Variety, the bestselling children's book from Brian Selznick entitled HUGO CABRET will be transformed into a modern S3D film by the master himself.
The story is about a 12 year old orphan who solves a mystery about a broken robot. It will be Scorsese's first family oriented film.
Sony is distributing the movie now called THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and has slated December 9, 2011 for release. Scorsese starts shooting in London this June.
WOW. So happy he is ramping up work in 3D so quickly! Can anyone see a downside to Scorsese joining the momentum? What a coup to have that guy not only endorse the next phase of Hollywood's evolution, but help build its legacy. I am so looking forward to this project.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Michael here reporting from NAB 2010 in Vegas. Saturday and Sunday featured the all-3D Digitial Cinema Summit, in which every S3D topic under the sun was presented and discussed by distinguished S3D professionals. Especially valuable to me was the real-time stereo footage (shot by 3ality Digital) which helped demystify stereo shooting. Errors were intentionally introduced, then fixed, as the audience of 600 something attendees watched with their Real-D glasses.
But that was just a tiny slice of the S3D smorgasboard that was presented. There were some fireworks too, as speakers voiced multiple conflicting opinions regarding 3D conversion. To get an idea of all that was discussed, check out the program here. The only really newsworthy item to come out of the Summit was a new, compact 3D camera from Sony. I was surprised to see it, as the Summit was about S3D education and discussion of where S3D is now, where it's headed, and where it will be in the future.
Today I watched a presentation of the making of Alice in Wonderland, as well as got to see the showfloor. S3D is absolutely everywhere. Panasonic had 6 of their $21,000 AG-3DA1 cameras available for attendees to try out by shooting a special backdrop with a live actor. I played with them for a while, and now I really wish I owned one. Sony has a gigantic S3D LED display, as well as a huge S3D broadcast truck in their booth. And just about every broadcast-related company was showing off their 3D solutions.
Off to the side of the Summit room were some demos of various 3D broadcast formats, including side-by-side, top/bottom, and 720P60 feeds of the same footage. I talked to TDVision today, and they wanted it to be known that they are throwing down the gauntlet against the half-resolution formats that were spoken about and demoed at the Summit.
Jim here. According to one of my sources it is looking like a foregone conclusion that THE DIVE will be Jim Cameron's next directorial project. We were speculating that there would be time and sufficient will to get AVATAR 2 out there as his next movie, but obviously that is going to be a very complex film and the estimate for its release is in the 3.5 years range.
Cameron is also producing SANCTUM.
So what about THE DIVE? It will be an exciting piece of work. I have learned that a particular company (I am not naming names at this point) has secured business to produce set pieces for the movie using what sounds to be a 3D prototype system. How is that done? You create a 3D model with a CAD program, feed the information into this machine and it spits out a prototype quality item - great for movie props!
Further, it seems Jon Landau is the man pulling the trigger on these deals - so it IS happening right now.
THE DIVE is based on a true story of a Cuban free diver Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras and his love affair with a French woman - Audrey Mestre. Mestre perishes while in competition after being trained by her lover.
THE DIVE is going to be a spectacular movie! It should be the pinnacle of everything that Cameron has achieved with underwater work in his career because now he is using 3D. Yes, THE ABYSS was a staggering accomplishment, but I look for realism, elegance and of course that relationship between Pipin and Audrey to be front and center.
Cameron told me that THE DIVE would most likely be the next movie - this information underscores it! We also have photos from 2003 that Cameron took while planning for the movie.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Jim here. $200 million is a nice round figure and suitably impressive for the 3D projection juggernaut. In its press release revealing the intention on pursuing an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of corporate stock, RealD pegs its technology pervasiveness at 5,300 theaters in 51 countries. Not bad.
On the financial side (which becomes extremely transparent during occasions like this and going forward if they finalize), the numbers point at a loss of $28.8 million last year on revenue of $96 million.
JP Morgan and Piper Jaffray are underwriting the offer.
Impressive piece of news. RealD intends on paying off debt and may relocate funds elsewhere. I think it is a brilliant move as the future of 3D is clearly exploding. Love that JP Morgan is yet again involved on the financial side of a 3D endeavor. They also secured the $700 million for the digital screen rollout which in turn enables 3D deployments.
What's that? When is MarketSaw's IPO? I have an IPOd... Does that count? :-)
RealD is a sponsor of MarketSaw.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Jim here. My friend Steve over at Collider had an opportunity to clarify some interesting points for us about upcoming 3D projects from producer Neal Moritz. Here are the breakdowns:
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (photo 1) - They are mulling over 3D for the humans vs. aliens project. Moritz claims it to be "an incredible visual experience" and "basically BLACK HAWK DOWN type fighting where they’re not fighting (humans)… they’re fighting aliens". Posters and a trailer will be out this summer with marketing present at Comic-Con.
B:LA is slated for a February 18, 2011 bow in theaters and would be head to head with Cage's DRIVE ANGRY.
GREEN HORNET - Again, they are mulling 3D for this classic character project now played by Seth Rogen.
Sally Menke (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) is editing. Moritz describes a fight scene where Kato can see things before they happen (visually as a skill and not supernatural) and can therefore kick some serious butt. Kato was originally played by martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Jay Chou has stepped into the role this time around.
GREEN HORNET will be in theaters December 22, 2010 and would be head to head with NARNIA, TRON: LEGACY, YOGI BEAR and GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.
JACK AND THE GIANT KILLER - We knew that director Bryan Singer was considering 3D for the project, but now it is not a question of if they are doing it, but how. They are thinking about shooting in native 3D, converting it in post, or elements of both (which is an intriguing option in my mind!). The movie is about a war between humans and giants in the setting of the classic "Jack and the Beanstalk" tale.
No release date has been set for JACK.
Stay tuned for more updates as the world turns S3D before our very eyes! :-) And don't forget to check out the whole interview right here.
Jim here. I have been impressed with what I have been seeing from MasterImage of late and I think now is the time to bring up something that I think is an excellent idea: Choice. MasterImage is another 3D projection company in the same business as RealD, Dolby 3D, Xpand, IMAX 3D and others.
As you know, when you go to theaters in most cases you will be given a pair of disposible and recyclable glasses. Others will offer you glasses that you must return at the end of the screening. They are a good solution for the masses. However, there has never before been a choice of glasses offered before by a single vendor. Enter MasterImage.
MasterImage is adding a premium quality set of glasses that may be offered for sale in theaters for patrons who know that they will be seeing future 3D movies and want to own their own pair of glasses. Wholesale price is $5.
The only issue I see that may develop is that customers may deem that they should not have to pay as high a premium for 3D movies if they are bringing their own glasses. Customers are not savvy to the inner workings of why 3D movies cost more, but they obviously know that the pair of 3D glasses that they get at every screening costs money. If they are eliminating that cost by bringing their own theater-bought glasses... you see where I am going with this.
Then again, it may not happen. I personally like choice and I feel it is an excellent solution that other 3D projection companies should look at. Of course either way it is ultimately a better environmental solution to reuse than recycle if given a choice. And yes, you can certainly reuse your disposible 3D glasses too, but they are far more flimsy and will not last nearly as long.
Here is their press release:
MasterImage 3D, LLC, a 3D technology company that provides pioneering stereoscopic and autostereoscopic 3D systems, will introduce premium quality, multi-use glasses for their 3D
digital cinema systems at the 2010 NAB Show. The environmentally friendly, high-performance glasses are fitted with the company's advanced, circular polarized lenses. The MasterImage glasses will be available to theater owners worldwide, May 2010, at a market setting list price of $5.00, per pair.
Supported by all six major studios, MasterImage has seen its theatrical market share rise 1200% during the past 18 months because it offers superior digital technologies, along with a cost-effective, ownership-based pricing model. The stylish, reusable glasses do not require batteries and complement the company's single-use offering.
"We are mindful of the environmental benefits afforded by reusable glasses and wanted to offer exhibitors options, so they can select the right product for their needs," said MasterImage's Peter Koplik. "With this new, market setting offer, Master Image will outfit theaters with multi-use glasses at less than one-fourth the cost of what competitors are charging for comparable alternatives."
MasterImage is exhibiting at the 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas, in the 3D Pavilion, booth SL 4514G, April 12-15. There, the company will showcase the new glasses, along with its pioneering, autostereoscopic mobile display systems.
About MasterImage 3D, LLC
MasterImage 3D is a stereoscopic 3D technology company that provides pioneering 3D solutions for theaters, flat panel displays and handheld devices. With more than 1,400 digital 3D theatre systems installed worldwide, MasterImage offers audiences the best 3D image experience, while providing exhibitors with a compelling ownership-based pricing model. The company's auto-stereoscopic (glasses-free), 3D LCD technology for mobile and electronic devices are the first commercial displays of their kind, and the company's 3D camera ASIC empowers dual camera-equipped devices that enable users to create and share 3D content. The company is gearing up to deploy millions of auto-stereoscopic units with multiple manufactures worldwide. Founded in 2004, the company was recently acquired and capitalized by US-based Symphony 3D Holdings and is now headquartered in Burbank, California.
Keep an eye on these guys. I saw their projection in action at ShoWest and it is excellent. Further, their solution costs ~$30,000 and there is no monthly subscriber fee. Once theater chains own the solution, that's it. I like what I see! They have had a heckuva year.
Oh and if you are at NAB, check out their portable, glasses-free 3D solution! It looks STUNNING.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Jim here. According to Deadline, Director David R. Ellis (SNAKES ON A PLANE, THE FINAL DESTINATION) will be shooting SHARK NIGHT 3D in Louisiana this summer AND with mechanical sharks (By Walt Conti who did the creatures for DEEP BLUE SEA, FREE WILLY and ANACONDA). I would imagine there will be some CGI, and it will be interesting to see how it works for him.
Ellis, being a 3D aficionado, will be shooting his thriller in native 3D. To me, that would be a huge plus.
The budget is said to be set at $28 million and they are clearly aiming at the much earlier success of Spielberg's JAWS, but with 3D premiums. We'll see.
I think with the budget they have, Ellis is a perfect choice. Definitely looking forward to this one.
Jim here. Disney is prepping for TRON: LEGACY sequels as of right now. Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have started penning the second iteration of the newly invigorated sci-fi franchise. Do I hear trilogy in the works?
So far nothing has been heard from director Joseph Kosinski on a return to TRON sequels but I would wager that his return would be a safe assumption.
Obviously Disney is happy with what they are seeing so far with TRON: LEGACY and that fits perfectly into what I am hearing from my sources. The 3D is supposed to surpass even AVATAR. If the story is a good one (and it must be as they are already working on expanding the franchise), then it should be another home run for the mouse house.
TRON:LEGACY is at the top of my most anticipated movies of 2010. I see no reason yet to change that! Bring it on. Opening wide on December 17.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Jim here. MTV caught up with Nicholas Cage at Wondercon and asked him some questions about his upcoming thriller DRIVE ANGRY (which they erroneously stated was due for release this year - it will actually be released February 11, 2011).
Says Cage: "What's really cool is that the 3-D is from scratch — all the cameras are 3-D. It's not going to be tacked onto the movie afterwards. Patrick [Lussier], the director, is very excited about it. It's the first one [like this]; it's like if you got to see an old '70s action movie, but in 3-D. We're doing something semi-historical, because it's the first 3-D movie shot [in the] style of a '70s action film. You could see Charles Bronson or Eastwood [starring in a film like this] in those days."
"DRIVE ANGRY is also another foray into the supernatural," Cage said of what attracted him to project, revealing a ghostly element of the story line that is being kept largely under wraps. "There's a supernatural element to it as well, which is keeping with what my interests are right now."
Great to hear it is native 3D and I expected nothing less from my friend, director Patrick Lussier (MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D). I expect some cool edginess and some pretty graphic content!!
Cage is enjoying a wonderful resurgence. His awesome role in KICK ASS is not to be missed. I just wish he could maintain that momentum!
Here is the full interview:
Stay tuned for more as we get it!
Monday, April 05, 2010
Jim here. The trailer for STEP Up 3D is out on the Interwebs now and just as I was expecting, the dance moves are ridiculous. As in awesome. Makes me think that not one of these dancers could string together an entire scene in one take - it would take far too much energy and be fraught with errors. The magic of Hollywood editing!
Who cares? I don't! Looks like solid entertainment, except for maybe the 'romantic' scenes which look a little, shall we say, hokey.
STEP UP 3D is due in theaters August 6, 2010.
Check out the dance scene near the end with the neon clothes - looks like embedded marketing by Disney for TRON: LEGACY! LOL. But hey, that's impossible. Wait. Disney is distributing this thing... :-)