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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dreamworks Animation Doing Awesome Thank You. Michael Morris Back Pedals

Jim here. I have got to laugh sometimes - especially at anyone who doubts the power of 3D. In this case it was a financial analyst with UBS by the name of Michael Morris who panned Dreamworks Animation as topping out. LOL. This was before they had released any 3D movies by the way!

Back in June, Morris stated: "We are downgrading the DreamWorks shares to Sell from Neutral reflecting our belief that the current share price exceeds the true intrinsic value of the company," analyst Michael Morris wrote in a note to clients.

Morris believes that -- at its current level -- DreamWorks' stock implies that all future films will gross more than $200 million domestically, which is above the company's historic average.

"The success of 'Kung Fu Panda' has generated increased enthusiasm for DreamWorks, but we now view the company's risk/reward profile as unattractive," Morris wrote. "Despite its strong opening weekend, we remind investors that they are buying all future films at a 'Kung Fu Panda' level performance at this point."

LOL. And where does this lead us? Here is his retraction today: UBS analyst Michael Morris upgraded the stock from "sell" to "neutral," "primarily based on updated assumptions for future DVD profitability." He explained: "Our revised assumptions reflect data provided by management reflecting both stable demand and pricing even in the current period of macro-economic weakness."

Someone needs to educate Mr. Morris that 3D brings in additional revenue and that you can legitimately tack on points because of it. He still hasn't acknowledged it whatsoever as far as I can see. Glad to see him getting back in line after hearing about how well Dreamworks Animation has done with DVD sales.

My recommendation? If you are buying stock, buy DWA stock. How could you do any worse by me? :-) DWA stock was up 25.2% yesterday after their awesome earnings call. Yes, Morris was asking questions during the call too, but didn't try to get too fancy...

Sources: MarketWatch, THR

Not All IMAX Screens Are Created Equal

Michael here. Tonight I attended one of the 20 special screenings of the first Transformers movie and new Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen trailer at The Bridge IMAX in Los Angeles. We got a special visit from Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, and Tyrese Gibson, who introduced the clip and whipped the already primed audience into a frenzy.  Bay said that he has just shot the last bits of the film.  Anyway, for those of you who haven't already seen shoddy cam versions of the trailer, it should be online tomorrow in HD.

Needless to say, the trailer, which was played three times to raucous applause (twice before the movie, and once after the credits), looked amazing on the IMAX screen, as did Transformers itself.

But this leads me to my main problem with IMAX: namely, that depending on at which particular IMAX theater you see a movie, you either get an amazingly immersive, eye-popping experience, or something that looks dreadfully bad - much worse than 35mm or 2K sourced footage projected with a standard 2K projector.

Some background on the different types of IMAX theaters and the various types of films that are capable of being shown in these venues:

1. The highest quality IMAX experience is that of footage shot on IMAX cameras using IMAX film (69.6 mm by 48.5 mm) being run through a special IMAX projector onto the large, tall IMAX screen.  For example, The Dark Knight has multiple scenes shot and projected in what I like to call "true IMAX,", as will Revenge of the Fallen.  As for "true IMAX 3D", some IMAX 3D documentaries are filmed and projected this way, but as of yet no major hollywood film has been completely shot and projected in true 70mm IMAX 3D.

2. The second highest quality IMAX experience is that of footage - either 35mm or digital 2k/1080p - being "blown up" using a proprietary process that IMAX refers to as DMR (Digital Remastering), which employs digital methods to reduce film grain/pixelization, and then prints the result onto IMAX film stock.  This was the way I saw Transformers tonight.  Watching a 2k/1080p or 35mm film "blown up" to IMAX stock in this way is definitely more impressive than watching it in a regular 35mm or digital projection theater, but it is still quite a bit below the level of detail and clarity of watching something like those specially shot scenes from The Dark Knight, the super high resolution of which (along with my close proximity to the giant screen) made me believe I was looking through a crystal clear window into another world.

3. Here is what you absolutely have to avoid: IMAX digital.  This process is simply two stacked 2k projectors.  I saw Watchmen in an IMAX digital theater, and the image quality was dreadful: incredibly pixelated and with a ton of digital artifacts.  The main reason for this low quality? The fact that IMAX digital is essentially a 1080p image digitally projected onto a huge screen which you will be sitting relatively close to.  Try sitting less than one image height away from your 1080p TV, and you will see the pixels.  IMAX digital looks even worse than that.

Moral of the story?  Although I understand IMAX's financial motivations for getting their brand into as many theaters as possible, IMAX needs to go back to offering the highest possible quality of viewing if they wish to retain their reputation as a premium experience.  I am disappointed that they are lowering their standards in this manner.  "True" IMAX theaters are an incredible experience whether showing a film shot on IMAX stock, or even a DMR blowup printed onto IMAX film.  And, of course, IMAX 3D is the best 3D you can get - as long as it is projected from real IMAX film stock.

But I urge you to stay away from IMAX digital until IMAX at the very least acquires 4k projectors for these theaters.  Seeing giant, blocky pixels isn't pleasant.  Give your IMAX theater a call before deciding on which IMAX screen to see your next movie.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ricky Gervais Adds A Dimension To His Own Children's FLANIMALS Books?

Jim here. Well I didn't know Ricky Gervais had a series of children's books entitled FLANIMALS, but with his decision to bring the property to 3D he has generated quite a bit of interest on my part.

Apparently Matt Selman (THE SIMPSONS) will write the script and Gervais will live vicariously through voicing his own lead character as well as executive produce. Chris Meledandri and Courtney Pledger will produce.

From Variety: The four-volume series, illustrated by Rob Steen, encompasses a world inhabited by 50 species of creatures so ugly and misshapen they become cute and endearing. Gervais' character, a pudgy, perspiring purple creature, goes on a mission to change the world. "It will be great to play a short, fat, sweaty loser for a change," Gervais said. "A real stretch."

The animation will be done through Universal's Illumination offshoot. For me, I am a bit nervous whenever a lesser known shop decides to tackle stereoscopic 3D animation. I really don't want to sit through bad 3D. I give the benefit of the doubt where it warranted so lets see how well they can pull this off.

I am ALSO GOING OUT ON A LIMB HERE as Variety posted that this will be a 3-D movie. Frequently animators call their work 3D whenever they use a creative style that shows depth like SHREK as opposed to something like FAMILY GUY. However 3-D is typically reserved for stereoscopic 3D. Yeah I know. That uncoordinated terminology within the same industry is a gigantic nuisance. I could very well be pulling this post tomorrow if someone enlightens me that it is really only 2D. Oh well. Here is hoping for a nice, well made stereo surprise.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ridley Scott To Shoot ALIEN Prequel in 3D? AVATAR At Comicon?

Jim here. Coming straight from the guy who should know, Tom Rothman (Co-chairman, Fox) IESB caught him confirming that Ridley Scott is looking at returning to the ALIEN franchise with a prequel to the original movie that started it all.

Here is what Rothman had to say about Scott and an ALIEN prequel: "There's been some talk. Ridley Scott, Ridley is right now working on Robin Hood, but I think he's toying with the idea and that would be great for us. I mean, it's always been a matter of, really, if you can get the originator to do it that would be the greatest thing, so I've got my fingers crossed, all of them."

I think I would only entertain an ALIEN prequel using either Scott or Cameron - but preferably Scott as he started the whole ball rolling and it has to led into the first movie effectively.

Rothman was not asked directly if it would be shot in 3D, but we know that Ridley was NOT interested in ever doing another SciFi until he saw Cameron's AVATAR in action. Then he signed up for THE FOREVER WAR in 3D. If everything stays the way things are lined up, I GUARAN-FREAKIN'TEE YOU that ALIEN will be in stereoscopic 3D.

I don't know about all of you, but I am estatic that such great quality directors are coming on board 3D and embracing it. Let's hope a Ridley Scott ALIEN 3D Prequel comes to be! Who, I say, who is up for that?

ALSO - Rothman was ADAMANT that if you want to see what he hinted strongly was AVATAR soon, than you have to be at Comicon. Guess what? San Diego is about to be inundated with rapid Cameron fans this August. I guaran-freakin'tee that too. :-)

Director David R. Ellis: Horror HUMPTY DUMPTY Going SciFi 3D

Jim here. According to Variety, David R. Ellis has been selected to direct HUMPTY DUMPTY, a science fiction horror movie based on the premise of an alien that wreaks havoc on humans after his mother was "abused by two rednecks in the Deep South".

Mark Ordesky (Exec Prod - LOTRs) is producing through his own Amber Entertainment company.

Look for shooting to commence in September.

Personally I think that this project holds a lot of promise if it is done correctly. I mean major box office bite. Why? Because it gives a fresh perspective on a common theme - the alien on earth thing has been done to death. But introduce some potential sympathy for the vigilante alien and BINGO :-) You have a PREDATOR meets ORCA. And of course any SciFi done in 3D in the right way is going to be spectacular. This has franchise written all over it too.

Ellis has an impressive background in stuntwork so I will expect to see many old school, non-CGI tricks up his sleeve for this action pic. And of course he is helming the 3D slasher FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP 3D due in theaters this August - I have heard plenty of good things about it too.

Ellis has a connection with Vince Pace too through FINAL DESTINATION so potentially he would be using the Pace / Cameron Fusion 3D rigs for HUMPTY DUMPTY. That would be awesome.

Ordesky brings a lot to the table with the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy under his belt, but keep in mind he was executive producer on those. This is a much more hands on dealio.

There does not seem to be any cracks in this project yet. We shall see who they land for talent and I will be following those developments closely. If you have any knowledge on HUMPTY DUMPTY let me know! (...and don't quote the nursery rhyme!) :-)


3D Is Gaining Mindshare - MarketSaw Interview Update

Hey guys - Jim here. Thought I would actually link to one of the many stories I get tapped for by various publications around the world. I have been interviewed many times before for 3D stories as MarketSaw is a repository of information about exactly what a 3D movie interest story would need. Other media include SLATE, WIRED and COMPUTER GRAPHICS WORLD. I also write the post for THE WRAP - a hot, new, Hollywood-based industry news website.

This time around it is THE BUFFALO NEWS and I remember the reporter, Anne Neville being intensely interested in 3D and wanting to pass that along to her readers - which thrills me of course. I want 3D OUT THERE. Everyone needs to experience it and see what it means to them. I think it is just as valuable to audiences as color was when it was introduced.

The photo is of Brian Durante, manager of the Dipson Theatre's McKinley Mall 6 in Buffalo, loading a full-length movie into a digital projector. That is a far cry from the old heavy reels of film that used to be shipped all over the world now isn't it?

Consider this an open invitation to contact your local paper and ask them to send me an email to drum up support for 3D in your community - large or small. My email is jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com. You can also let your local theater owners know how excited you are about 3D taking off and that you would love to have more (or even your first) 3D theater opened. The larger centers are going to have 3D, no question. But it may take a little ground work to get the smaller centers on board faster so have at it!! :-)

Photo courtesy of Robert Kirkham - Buffalo News

Monday, April 27, 2009

iZ3D Expands 3D Monitor Rebates

Jim here. iZ3D has expanded their $50 rebate program to include not only AMD ATI Radeon Graphics Card customers, but also NVIDIA GeForce® graphics card customers as well.

From the press release:
“We’ve had great response to our $50 iZ3D monitor rebate from AMD customers and an equally strong chorus of requests for the same discount from nVidia customers that prefer to have the 3D technology inside the display instead of inside active glasses, “ states David Chechelashvili, VP Marketing for iZ3D, Inc. iZ3D’s approach to 3D places all the 3D technology in the monitor so that users need only wear passive polarized glasses. This enables more participants at a significantly lower price to enjoy 3D in ambient lit rooms without headaches, fatigue, or eyestrain.

The current rebate offer runs through June 15, 2009 making an iZ3D gaming display solution even more affordable for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or as a graduation present. Rebates can apply to purchases online at iZ3D.com or at any retail store or authorized iZ3D online reseller. Terms and conditions apply. iZ3D has also added new features to its website including a rebate center where visitors can check for current offers and discounts.

“We value our 3D customers and want to make their iZ3D experience as satisfying as possible. Since our website outage we have been improving our website while preparing totally new web experience based on customer feedback for release this summer. Our goal is for our website to provide a 3D experience where consumers can get immersed in 3D through education, experience, purchasing, support, and socialization. We are also diligently working to provide cutting-edge customer service,” said David Chechelashvili, VP Marketing for iZ3D Inc.

For more information on the monitor check out iZ3D's website.

Availability and Pricing
The iZ3D 22-inch monitor has a MSRP of $399.00 USD and is currently available in the U.S. at Fry’s Electronics, Micro Center, and Altex Computers and at NCIX stores in Canada. Online retailers include www.staples.com, www.newegg.com, www.amazon.com, www.pcmall.com, www.criticalbuy.com, www.iz3d.com, www.walmart.com, www.buy.com and other online etailers.

3D Is The Answer For Music Labels Seeking More Revenue

Jim here. Thorsten, a longtime reader from Germany sent me this info (KRAFTWERK story below) - and it could very well represent the future of entertainment concerts around the world.

Let me explain. We all know that the music industry is having trouble with how to capitalize on their revenue potential. Many are suggesting a heavy return for touring bands as a way to bring in money - LIVE concerts. I happen to believe in that remedy. But their is more potential here.

3D for example. I propose that music companies fund these concert tours but also generate further revenue from the following:
- Broadcast concerts in LIVE 3D around the globe for well known bands on opening nights for premium fees. If an in-person concert ticket costs $100, charge $25 for live event tickets in theaters. Sell the same exclusive merchandise that you can buy at the concert at these theaters as well. Allow the purchase of alcohol during these special screenings.
- Record these live events for limited-time (1 week or 2) presentations in 3D at the theaters ($12). Sell left over merchandise. No alcohol.
- Insert these 3D concerts into their available Blu-ray 3DHD library once 3D home videos are enjoying a standard format (should be soon through the efforts of the SMPTE and some select corporations).

Further, they should integrate 3D into the in-person live concerts. Take for example the German electromusic pioneers KRAFTWERK performing in Wolfsburg, Germany on April 26, 2009. The band integrated 3D graphics behind them on four huge video walls and the audience really engaged it. I should note here that it was NOT polarized 3D, but those annoying old cardboard glasses - but the potential is there for something truly spectacular with modern 3D. The polarized glasses can be branded with the bands tour info / logo and taken home as another momento of the event.

Those KRAFTWERK guys kinda look like extras for TRON2... :-)

If the 3D is done right - like U2 3D was - then it is truly is a no-brainer. The theater's audience feels like they are actually there and in some ways it is a superior way to see your favorite bands. I know I was blown away by seeing U2 in 3D from being on stage in front of 100,000 people to becoming one of a sea of humanity in the audience with the heads of the people in front of me in the theater MERGING with the heads of the audience at the concert. SEAMLESS. And spectacular.

For the labels, the time is now.
Leverage your artists' performances in 3D and you will reap the rewards...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Concept Designer James Clyne Talks "Avatar" & "Battle Angel"!!

Hi everyone, Michael here.  We are very proud to have the opportunity to talk to concept/production designer James Clyne about his experiences working on James Cameron's Avatar and Battle Angel!

Clyne's paintings are like an adrenaline kick to the imagination.  They invoke a sense of childlike wonder and limitless possibility and, well, awesomeness.  His portrayals of alien worlds, futuristic cityscapes, and fantastic characters are rendered at a level of detail and have a sense of scope that define the word "epic."  Indeed, Clyne's resume reads like a list of the biggest and most iconic imagery seen in the past decade of motion pictures: from the drowned ruins of an amusement park from Spielberg's AI to the Trojan Horse of Wolfgang Peterson's Troy to the vertical highways of Minority Report to enormous tripods laying fiery waste to the landscape to Megatron frozen in ice, Clyne's designs have become woven into the fabric of popular culture worldwide.

Given this history, Clyne's collaboration with James Cameron on Avatar and Battle Angel strikes me as one of the most exciting pairings of visionaries I can imagine.  I absolutely cannot wait to see the designs James has come up with for these movies.  One thing is for sure, however-whatever he has come up with is sure to kindle the imagination of the world and push the limits of movie imagery beyond our wildest dreams.

(note: the examples of Clyne's work interspersed throughout this article are unrelated to his work on the Cameron movies.  Click on them for bigger versions)

Michael: James Cameron is an artist himself. On either or both both of these projects (Avatar and Battle Angel), did he often come to you with designs already on paper? Does the fact that he draws and knows so much about technology lead to a more collaborative relationship between director and designer?

James Clyne: Surprisingly Jim didn't provide much feedback drawing wise as far as Avatar and Battle Angel were concerned. Most of Jim's feedback was verbal, along with the artists using the script as the templet for ideas. It's a shame too, one thing I found working on these projects was what a fantastic artist Jim is. I don't remember if it was Avatar or Battle, but one day Jim brought in a collection of his drawings from Aliens and the Abyss. So cool, and so humbling, man the guy can draw! What's so great about his designs, because they are so grounded in real science and engineering, they still hold up years after. Not many film designs (including my own) hold up over time.

Michael: What aspects of the Avatar and Battle Angel worlds were you called upon to create (landscapes / vistas, vehicles, characters, creatures, etc), or was your work spread amongst various aspects of the design of the films?

James Clyne: For Battle I was asked to focus in on the character design, primarily Alita herself. I'd say the first year was spent entirely on the mechanics behind her many incarnations. For Avatar, most of my work's emphasis was on everything "human". Obviously due to contractual agreements i've signed in blood, i can't release too much regarding specifics, but in Avatar I can say there is a large alien aspect to the world, but there is also a contingency of humans involved as well. Most of my job was to envision that world. Fun stuff, the engineering behind the world is very Jim.

Michael: How did you first come on board the Battle Angel project? At what stage of the Avatar project (which has been in serious development / production for almost five years) did you come on board?

James Clyne: Typically the way i'm hired is either by the Director, a Producer, or the Production Designer. In both cases I was hired by the Production Designer. I guess I didn't piss off too many people in Jim's camp to be asked back for Avatar.

Michael: Were you a fan of the Battle Angel manga series before working on the film? If you are a fan now, what aspect of the graphic novels appeals to you the most? How does either being a fan /not being a fan of the source material of a project (either before or after starting work) affect your approach to working on that project?

James Clyne: No, I really knew very little about Battle Angel before jumping on the project. I knew a bit of the artwork, but story wise I was very new to it. I kinda enjoy not knowing too much about the project before starting. Gives me a way to jump in fresh with the material. I guess that's why when I travel I tend to not read up on the country I'm traveling to. Makes the journey a bit more unexpected I guess. Once I was on the show, all the artists of course read through the many published books. There's some really great new ideas in technology and the future of society that i found compelling. For example, the gladiatorial aspect of future sports was a fun one. The wide social gap of the "have and have nots" in the story was intriguing as well.

Michael: What aspect of adapting Kishiro's designs and unique art style for the cinema screen proved the most challenging? The most rewarding?

James Clyne: Because my job was spent mostly developing Alita herself, I'd say the most challenging part was to find a way to successfully blend Kishiro's Anime style with a photo-real look. Jim certainly wanted to retain the look, the soul, of the book's illustrations, but also wanted to step up the visual landscape into something never seen before on film, which in a way, if you can pull it off, is also the most rewarding.

Michael: For me, one of the most fascinating and brilliant things about the Battle Angel graphic novels is how Alita's appearance seems to change along with her personality. As she grows up and accumulates life experiences, the new faces, bodies, and outfits she acquires are very much reflections of where she is in her psychological development. Cameron has spoken about this too. Did you design multiple "looks" for Alita in this fashion?

James Clyne: Without opening my mouth and firmly placing my foot in it, yes there were many "developmental incarnations" explored.

Michael: The Battle Angel Alita graphic novels are one of the best examples of the power of setting in a story. The industrial Scrapyard city, with the massive, oppressive and mysterious sky city hovering overhead, immediately draws the reader into the world by becoming a character in and of itself. The characters wouldn't be who they are if it weren't for the setting in which they are living and fighting. How much emphasis was placed on designing the backdrops /settings? Did you have any initial discussions regarding the overall aesthetic or mood you would aim for?

James Clyne: Yeah, Alita is only one of many characters in the story. Another one, which you describe, is the world in which she lives. Along with the Alita designs I worked on developing the look of the scrapyard city. Mark Goerner, who I believe you have also interviewed, spent much of his time on the environments. He was perfect for the job, he has such a proficient knowledge of scale, architecture, and technology and came up with such an amazing catalog of environments. I really wish you could see what we came up with.

Michael: Was there a consensus amongst the art team and director on which aspects of the original manga were the most vital to preserve in the film?

James Clyne: Yes there was, but we were also given freedom to expand the universe a bit. Unfortunately any specifics would get me in hot Cameron water.

Michael: How did the experience of working as a part of such a small art team on Battle Angel influence your creative process? I'd imagine that such a work environment would be conducive to a more free exchange of ideas amongst the artists. Was this the case? How did this compare to your experience working on Avatar?

James Clyne: Yeah, it definitely was the case. With such a small team on Battle, we had time to throw a lot of ideas around, along with shooting hoops on our indoor double basketball hoop. On Avatar it was much more akin to being an ensign on a battleship. We all had our specific daily duties, with captain JC at the helm.

Michael: Do you have any personal favorite pieces that you created from your time working on Avatar and Battle Angel? Any chance we might see some of your work in the recently announced "The Art of Avatar" book?

James Clyne: Nice try Michael, can't really go into too much detail regarding my favorites, sorry. As far as Avatar is concerned, I'm hoping you'll be seeing plenty of my designs in the "Art of" book!

Michael: Without giving away any spoilers, what is it that excites you the most about the Avatar and Battle Angel projects? What was your favorite thing about working on these projects?

James Clyne: I think the favorite thing about working on these projects was the fact that Jim was able to wrangle the best in the industry from the top down. From the concept artist to the Visual Effects supervisors everyone was total pro. It's seldom you have the chance to work in collaboration with such a high caliber level of artists and technicians at one time. For Avatar, I think all that hard work and talent won't be wasted on screen.

Michael: What can you tell us about what you are currently working on?

James Clyne: After Avatar I had the opportunity to work on the upcoming Star Trek film followed by Roland Emmerich's 2012. I'm currently production designing an in development Animated Feature.


A huge thank you to James for talking with us!

For more of James' work, visit www.jamesclyne.com


Check out James' professional concept design tutorial DVDs at The Gnomon Workshop, and art books showcasing his work here and here!

James Cameron's AVATAR Set Photo Scans!!!


Jim here. DAMN!! We are finally getting to see some AVATAR production stuff and I don't know how, but the fire burning for AVATAR just got stoked even hotter. At least we are getting to see something official and ultra cool... MANY thanks to one of my valuable UK readers for sending in these scans!!

Take a look at these scans from Empire Magazine for their recent edition - and be sure to pick up a copy too. These guys did a heckuva job getting these photos and getting a nice Cameron interview to boot. I am only posting some of the image scans I have as you really should pick up the magazine.

Here is some of what Cameron has to say and some filler in the Empire interview: "We've eliminated the animation from animation." With AVATAR's groundbreaking set-up, Cameron could observe the actors (left monitor) in a rough version of the final CG environment (right monitor).

Aside from an intricate, and very alien, ecosystem with predators large and small, Cameron's idea revolved around a race of indigenous sentient aliens called the Na'vi. Nine feet tall, blue skinned and feline in appearance, they would need to be entirely computer-animated yet interact seamlessly with the live action.

Cameron says: "With the capture technologies we developed, the actor can be any character they can imagine and the director can create any world, any time and any space."

And here is a great quote from Cameron on Spielberg and Jackson: "I invited them over while shooting AVATAR. I put the camera in their hands and they basically became two kids - on the inside every filmmaker is really just a complete geek. The amazing thing for me was just watching that seminal moment. They were running around the stage, working the camera, and that's the moment when they both kind of looked at each other in the eye and said, 'Let's make TINTIN.'"

Here we go! In order:
Pic 1: Cameron working the Fusion 3D Camera System
Pic 2: Cameron adjusting some controls on "The Volume" - he can see the actor in the green screen environment (with dozens of cameras surrounding him) and he can see what that very same actor looks like in a rough rendering of the CG environment in real time.
Pic 3: My source for the scans also took the time to photoshop the image from the right screen to correct for the angle!
Pic 4: Background shots of an actor dressed in military uniform and the super futuristic computer screens of AVATAR! These are highlighted in red boxes and then blown up below...
Pic 5: Military actor - seems VERY similar to my other exclusive image of what AVATAR's military personnel will look like.
Pic 6: The computer screens from AVATAR look like they curve around the user - awesome! Not unlike this cool screen (at the bottom of the post).
































































































Empire magazine also states that other than Spielberg and Jackson (who we already know are using Cameron's technology for shooting TINTIN right now), there are two others that have "signed up" and got "swept away" by the possibilities - Abrams and del Toro! SOOOO... one would naturally assume that Abrams' next STAR TREK could be 3D and *AHEM*, the two HOBBIT movies in 3D. Of course we at MarketSaw already knew that there was a strong chance of THE HOBBIT(s) being 3D didn't we? I couldn't hold back a smile guys...

So definitely something to talk about for awhile before the trailer comes out. Michael has gotten confirmation that the AVATAR trailer will NOT be attached to WOLVERINE unfortunately. Sorry to burst so many bubbles on that one - IMDb was all the rage about it today. The big thing here though was Cameron's emphasis that the 3D was not the huge tech hurtle that the new perfcap system was - and of course, crossing the "uncanny valley". Don't forget to buy your own copy of Empire Magazine for more coverage!

Stoked is not a strong enough word for how I feel about AVATAR... :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Set Footage From "Final Destination: Death Trip 3D"

Jim here. Just got wind of some spy set footage from FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP 3D and it is pretty cool. I love seeing behind the scenes clips!

Anyway in this video, they are shooting a sequence where a construction worker's scaffolding tips over leaving him dangling from a window ledge. Kinda cool how the clip ends with a shot of a coffee shop named "Death By Caffeine".

Also there is a nice shot of the camera system being used - The Pace Fusion System if I am not mistaken. It looks gorgeous!

There is nothing here to really spoil anything for anyone so don't worry about ruining your movie experience.

So have a look - there is an HD version too if you like...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Disney Hits A Grand Slam With G-Force Promotion

Jim here. Disney is stepping up to the plate for its new 3D, family, comedy adventure G-FORCE. Working with Major League Baseball, they have come up with a scheme where if someone hits a grand slam during the July 14 All Star Game, then BLAM! 1 million people get to see G-FORCE for free.

Thats right. All you have to do is be one of the first 1 million to sign up at Disney.com between April 22 and July 14, and if that huge dinger is hit, you are off to enjoy some stereoscopic guinea pigs kick some butt. The last home run at an All Star Game was in 1983. Oh and if you are in attendance at the All Star Game in St. Louis and the aforementioned tater is struck, you get in free too.

I guess these guinea pigs would have to be on steriods wouldn't they? I don't see the tie in with MLB though. What a second... no. I mean, they talk and stuff. :-) Looks like a blast. I will be checking it out for sure. And that Bruckheimer guy has quite a track record, no?


Does Spielberg And Jackson Have Their Third "Tintin" Director?

**UPDATE April 23: According to Slashfilm, Wright denied being attached: "Not that I know of. But hey, rumors are fun" - that kind of leaves the door open as Wright did in fact help write TINTIN after all. When I was finally responded to by Wright's camp, they simply quoted what he told /Film. lol.

Jim here. According to the omnipotent IMDb, yes they do. Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) looks to be directing TINTIN 3 if whoever updated the associated IMDb webpage has any credence.

Does this make sense? It does if Spielberg and Jackson want a darker, more edgier TINTIN for the third installement (with a good sense of humor mixed in). I don't see a heckuva lot of 3D or performance capture experience though - even though you could do worse by having Spielberg and Jackson as mentors wha?

Oh and that is Wright in the center of the photo for those of you who have been under a rock for awhile... :-)

So what TINTIN story does this make sense for? I am far from a TINTIN oracle so I am relying on you guys to pipe up with potential storylines here :-) What do you make of this?

Sony Thinking Spider-Man 4 In 3D?

Jim here. Well I knew that Amy Pascal was pro-3D, but that didn't stop me from loving every word of this interview with her and Michael Lynton (both are Sony's chiefs) over on Forbes.

Here is the excerpt to do with 3D:

You have an animated movie coming out this fall, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, in 3-D. Do you see that as the future of the industry?
Pascal: For sure. You're not going to see a lot of animated movies that aren't in 3-D any more. I think Jeffrey Katzenberg preached that and he was right.
Lynton: I didn't understand what he was talking about until I saw [DreamWorks Animation's ( DWA - news - people )]Monsters vs. Aliens. It's a very immersive experience. It's like seeing perspective for the first time. I think it is something different and terrific and a new group of directors will have to figure out how to do it.

What about for live action movies?
Pascal: I think James Cameron's new movie [Avatar] could change the world. I think everyone is in anticipation thinking it's going to be like Star Wars. It's going to change the way you consume entertainment. I don't know that it will ever be the way you see dramas, but I can't say anymore that it won't be.

Are you considering doing any live action movies in 3-D? What about Spider-Man 4?
Pascal: Could be.
Lynton: People are paying a premium to see movies in 3-D and that's a very big deal. It's never been done before that someone says you have to pay more to see Spider-Man than a romantic comedy.

My stereoscopic sense is tingling! I have been watching Spider-Man since the original cartoon on TV with that wonderful music score. I have yet to keep the habit. Spider-Man in 3D would be something I would place on my bucket list, you know? It has to be done right of course, but wow - that would be so cool.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Battle Angel" Has A Script Ready?

Jim here. According to SciFiScoop, BATTLE ANGEL's IMDB page has been updated with a status change from "Development Unknown" to "Script". Even if this is official (which with IMDb it certainly may NOT be), does it mean that we are closer to seeing this get made?

We know that Cameron has been working on BATTLE ANGEL here and there. So this little development seems to fall in line with current expectations that the heat is being turned up on this project and may be front-burnered. Certainly Cameron's 3D tech has been tweaked and optimized during thr shooting of AVATAR so the project should hit the ground running - whenever that is.

So what will happen with THE DIVE? One would assume that Cameron can and will swap projects from time to time as it was a toss up whether AVATAR would be made first over BATTLE ANGEL. Personally I would like to see BATTLE ANGEL done next, but I know that THE DIVE will be an extremely important movie in that Cameron can present a drama in 3D done CORRECTLY.

What project do you think Cameron should shoot next?

RealD Reaches Out To CGR Cinemas: 200 Screen Deal

Jim here. RealD continues to dominate 3D deployment announcements with this latest one from France...

La Rochelle and Los Angeles (April 21, 2009) CGR Cinemas, one of France’s leading exhibition chains, and RealD, the world’s leading outfitter of 3D-enabled theatres, announced today an exclusive partnership where CGR Cinemas will add RealD 3D capabilities to each of its 33 locations for a total of 200 RealD 3D-enabled screens. The result will be the largest 3D circuit in France. Installation of RealD technology will begin immediately and is expected to be complete by mid-year, with 4 to 6 RealD-equipped screens at each CGR Cinemas location.

“We are happy to be the precursors of new technology for French and European cinema by allying with the known world leader in 3D systems, RealD. This is another example of CGR Cinemas seizing opportunities first, which make it one of the pillars of French film exhibition today. This collaboration will allow us to take advantage of upcoming 3D films beginning with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” said Jocelyn Bouyssy, chief executive officer of CGR Cinemas.

“We’re excited to work with CGR Cinemas to bring the market-leading RealD 3D experience to all of their locations,” added Bob Mayson, managing director or RealD Europe Ltd. “Audiences are seeking a new and engaging cinema experience that CGR Cinemas and RealD together will provide through this agreement to build out the largest 3D circuit in France, and one of the biggest in Europe.”

RealD’s next-generation technology is deployed across the world’s largest 3D platform in more than 40 countries with over 8,000 screens under contract and over 2,600 RealD 3D screens worldwide today. A bright spot for the entertainment industry, RealD 3D is driving box office to the tune of three to four times per screen revenue of the same film on 2D screens.

About CGR Cinemas
Founded in 1974 by Mister Georges Raymond, CGR Cinemas is based in LaRochelle, France. Initially based in the southwest of France, CGR Cinemas worked in the development of multiplexes across the entire French territory. CGR Cinemas is the third largest exhibition chain and the first independent circuit in France with more than 17 million annual spectators. CGR Cinemas was also the first European group to equip itself with digital technology. Madame Nicole Raymond and her children, Luc and Charles Raymond, took over CGR Cinemas when founder George Raymond died. Jocelyn Bouyssy has worked at CGR Cinémas for the last 20 years and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the company. www.cgrcinemas.fr

About RealD
RealD is the global leader in 3D, bringing the most advanced and realistic digital 3D experience to cinemas worldwide. Beyond cinema, RealD is the worldwide inventor and provider of key stereoscopic technologies used in science, manufacturing, marketing, and other industries, with thirty years of scientific development behind its systems. RealD’s mission-critical 3D technologies are used by organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, BMW, Boeing and more. www.RealD.com

The key point here is that this installation will be COMPLETE by mid year giving a nice buffer between it and the release of AVATAR in December. I believe you will be seeing plenty of 3D deployment action this summer as the theater owners ramp up for what is sure to be the entertainment juggernaut of the year. I will be so bold as to say THE DARK KNIGHT and TITANIC could be looking in the rear view mirrors. I'm not kidding.

Panasonic Unveils Concept 3DHD (1080p) Camera Setup

Jim here. Well we knew it was going to happen, and here it is - at least in concept form. Panasonic has opened their komodo on the concept for an integrated stereo pair of 1080p cameras for shooting native 3D.

From their PR Newswire:
The system, which is expected to be the first of its kind in the industry, consists of a twin-lens P2 professional camera recorder and a 3D-compatible High Definition Plasma display. Panasonic will exhibit concept models of the 3D system at its booth (Central Hall #3712) at NAB 2009 to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 20, 2009.

Each component of Panasonic's innovative 3D Full HD production system has unique features. The twin-lens P2 camera recorder enables the capturing of natural and high-quality live 3D images. Thanks to the non-mechanical solid-state construction of the P2 system, the camera recorder will be compact enough to allow more flexible 3D shooting, thereby maximizing the creativity of the filmmakers by eliminating the stress factor from the use of the equipment.

3D Full HD recording using Panasonic's proprietary P2 system also enables recording of two channels of Full HD images on the P2 card. P2's non-mechanical construction and compactness will also be incorporated into the company's 3D image recording and editing equipment to make production in the field highly flexible and efficient.

"Panasonic is continuing its efforts to enable consumers to enjoy 3D movies in the comfort of their own living rooms with its 3D Full HD Plasma Home Theater System, which incorporates a Plasma HDTV and a Blu-ray Disc player," said Dr. Paul Liao, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America. "The professional 3D Full HD image production system we are going to develop will improve the 3D production environment and accelerate creation of 3D titles."

Will this Panasonic in-the-home-3D initiative adhere to the SMPTE work that has been done and revealed recently? I will let you know when I know!


Live In The UK? Free "Coraline" 3D Tickets!

Jim here. Get your free CORALINE tickets in the UK courtesy of The Times!

Check out this link to fill out a form for your tickets. If you don't use them, make sure you cancel them so that others can use them instead.

It seems you need a section of their newspaper as well: "And please remember you will now need to bring the relevant page from the newspaper with you on the day or the screening along with your online reservation confirmation."

From the website:
To claim your 4 tickets, enter your registered email address or if you are not yet registered for the screening programme click the register link.

Movie Passeword: 8544

Certificate: PG
Screening Date: Sunday April 26
Screening Time: 10:00am for 10:30am start
Locations: Basingstoke Festival Place, Bolton, Bristol Cribbs, Camberley, Cambridge, Cheshire Oaks, Croydon Grants, Cwmbran, Eastleigh, Edinburgh Omni, Greenwich O2, Hull, Leeds Kirkstall, Leicester, London West End, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield, Swansea, York

Still it is a free movie - so have at it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

More 3D Camera Rigs Coming To Market PLUS 3D Training And Certification!!

Jim here. Well this is very refreshing indeed! Steve Schklair, CEO of 3ality Digital Systems has informed THR that they will be offering their 3flex Camera Rigs for sale: "If this is truly an industry that justifies installing more screens, it has to be much more ubiquitous than three or four production companies."

By offering proven 3D equipment on the market, 3ality Digital is espousing everything that MarketSaw stands for as well - 3D everywhere. In the world I want, 3D will be available to budding filmmakers straight through to the top studio directors - from affordable, yet effective to astounding cutting edge performance capture.

Panasonic has just confirmed that they are also developing 3D production equipment to go along with their stunning visual displays (used by James Cameron).

Pace has built on their acquired 3D expertise with their Fusion 3D System. Silicon Imaging has released an integrated stereo pair of cameras. The RED Ones work wonderfully in 3D configuration and certainly are very affordable for many. Various rigs are being built to house stereo cameras - some very affordable.

And filmmakers are engaging! From small independents to well, some of the best that ever was. All future CG animations from Pixar, Dreamworks Animation and Disney Animation will be in 3D.

Indeed 3D is injecting long lost passion for movie making! Ridley Scott is coming back to do FOREVER WAR after saying that he would never do another SciFi movie as it has all been done before. What changed his mind? He saw Cameron making AVATAR. That's the power of 3D and creative genius - and it is thrilling to see the new life 3D is instilling in the masters.

Moreover, I have been waiting for quite some time for some sort of action to take place in 3D education. Again, 3ality Digital is stepping up to the plate and will offer 3D Production Training and Certification Programs. More details on this when I get it!

I don't know about you, but I see all the pieces coming together! I can't begin to tell you how enthralled I am at how the industry is shaping up. Further, the recent thoughts that the credit market will open up very shortly for expanding the digital/3D screen deployment - aimed for the release of AVATAR is just what the doctor ordered. Lets get it done!

3D at Home Update: Interview with Chris Chinnock

Hi, Michael here.  Insight Media President and 3D@Home Consortium Board Member Chris Chinnock took some time away from his busy schedule at NAB in Vegas to answer questions regarding the current state of the push towards 3D in the home.  Both publicly and behind the scenes, Chris has been leading the charge towards 3D standards.  Below he gives an update as to the current state of the effort.

Michael: Where in the process towards completing the necessary 3DTV standards (for both a mastering standard, potential necessary HDMI/Blu-ray upgrades, and 3D-capable HDTVs) are we at this moment? Has 3D@Home Consortium finished with its recommendations to SMPTE and CEA, or do you have a continuing involvement? If so, what are 3D@Home, and you personally, focused on presently?

Chris Chinnock: SMPTE has just released their report on 3D formats. It essentially describes a high quality master that is created at the end of the post process. It does not describe how this is to be formatted for distribution, so there is much work to be done there. BDA (Blu-ray Disk Association) is secretive about their process, but the goal is to come up with a standard by end of year. We are working with CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) on a number of issues, and have just reached out to EBU (European Broadcasting Union) to help them. Metrology co-op with ICDM (International Committee for Display Metrology) is well advanced. We have a whole briefing on 3D @ Home at NAB, so I would rather send the sanitized version of those slides after the event rather than discuss here in full detail.

Michael: Do you know whether the Entertainment Technology Center at USC is still involved in the march towards a standard? I am unclear as to what their role has been up until this point.

Chris Chinnock: Yes they are very interested in 3D and have set up a new lab with a bunch of 3D monitors and TVs. They want to have a consumer facing focus in evaluating equipment and content. The 3D @ Home consortium is talking with them about supporting the effort to create a 3D test reel of content and in doing consumer testing of active shutter glasses.

Michael: I am also curious about the 1080p/60fps per eye standard that SMPTE is advocating.  I think it sounds great, and would work perfectly for 60i and 30P material, but wouldn't a 24p movie require some kind of pulldown? Some MarketSaw readers have already expressed concern about this.  I would think (correct me if I'm wrong) that for flawless, judder-free 24p 3D at home that is compatible with 30p and 60i content, the TV would need to be fed two 120fps streams (one per eye), requiring the TV to have the ability to process and display 240 fps?

Chris Chinnock: If 1080p/60 per eye is desired, then in theory, a 120Hz display could do this. The problem is ghosting between the two images. The turn off time for the LCDs and the phosphor decay times for the plasma as not fast enough, so you need to increase speed (essentially going to a 240hz, or 480hz equivalent speed). The Panasonic demo is at 1080/24p as this is the fastest the phosphors and electronics can do in the current PDP to support good 3D (my understanding anyway).

Michael: Given the current state of the effort, what is the greatest challenge going forward in terms of bringing 3DTV into the home?

Chris Chinnock: There are many: improving cost and efficiency of content creation workflow tools; distribution standards thru all media; 3D encoding evaluations and decisions; 3D TV technologies, more content, business models and on and on.

Michael: What do you think are the chances of having a 3D-at-home standard in place in time for the Avatar Blu-ray release (circa May 2010?)

Chris Chinnock: I think goal is achievable and will be achieved (too much money at risk).

Thanks very much to Chris for providing us with this update!

The 3D@Home Consortium was formed in 2008 with the mission to speed the commercialization of 3D into homes worldwide and provide the best possible viewing experience by facilitating the development of standards, roadmaps and education for the entire 3D industry - from content, hardware and software providers to consumers.  Visit the 3D@Home site at www.3dathome.org

Insight Media is a market research, publishing and consulting firm focused on the emerging parts of the display industry.  Visit their site at www.insightmedia.info

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