Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Is Powering The 3D Revolution? Cameron / Pace 3D Production & RealD's 3D Projection

Sure there are other options out there, like the RED One system is stereo configuration and Sony for example. But there is a clear leader and visionary emerging and they are out of the starting blocks like lightning. A lightstorm perhaps (gentle nod towards Cameron's production company).

The Vince Pace, James Cameron 3D camera system is simply the best out there right now based on ability to deliver, availability and experience. The RED system definitely is the most affordable (each camera is about $16k plus peripherals, versus ~$100k for each Pace camera [Sony]).

Take a look at the Cameron/Pace system contribution:
- Mark Cuban is using them for a live NBA game that will be broadcast via satellite to the Magnolia Theater in Dallas on a 40' screen this Tuesday night (March 25th). This follows about a year of activity since Pace/Cameron was used for a 3D live broadcast of the NBA All Star Game last year and a 3D HD game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs in last years finals.
- Feature films have readily adopted using the technology AND the expertise of the Cameron/Pace operators. Some movies that used them include: "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" (which was turned around in record time); "Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3-D" and "U2 3D".
- They are in the depths of creating "Avatar", a ~$250m (my estimate) 3D sci-fi thriller. The consensus is that this movie will be the turning point for 3D for the masses and will mark the dawning of a new age of cinema.

What I really admire about Pace/Cameron is that they are not enshrouding their technology in secrecy but rather leasing out the technology and helping others achieve their 3D productions. Sure it is a business model and it is working for them, but they are also the undisputed leaders in 3D Production (like RealD is the leader in 3D Projection). It is simply awesome that they are willing to spread this around.

RealD Visionaries
Speaking of RealD, they are undoubtedly the world leader in 3D Projection installations around the world. I have a hard time keeping up with all of their theater updates (found here)! Other options include IMAX 3D and Dolby 3D.

What is even more thrilling is that they are not simply resting on their laurels but aggressively expanding AND innovating. Their recent XL technology allows for the projection of 3D movies on to screens larger than 60' from a single projector! This was never possible before in the quality required for large audiences (some 2 projector systems exist for this, but are a challenge to align properly risking headaches/nausea) as 3D movies split the light beam essentially into two streams (one for each eye) and therefore a dimmer picture is produced. XL is much, much brighter and solves the dim 3D problem!

The RealD polarized 3D glasses are lighter and cost FAR less than the Dolby alternative. In fact the RealD glasses can be branded for a movie and allowed to be taken home rather than confined to the theater (with the added risks of theft, damage, cleanliness). The glasses are a major reason for their success. Bono of U2 recently designed his own RealD glasses for a premiere of "U2 3D". Those customizations are a powerful marketing tool.

With the 3D revolution resting in the capable hands of Pace/Cameron and RealD (who are standing on the shoulders of the 3D pioneers) I have little worry about the execution of the vision. Let's rev this 3D engine up and experience the thrill of cinema once again through the eyes of a child. I remember what that was like and I am giddy about bringing it back!

Full disclosure: RealD is a sponsor of MarketSaw / Pace Technologies is not currently a sponsor.

Companies: [Pace] [RealD]

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Jim Dorey
Editor-in-Chief
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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