Thursday, May 20, 2010

Conversion Hits Big Time: First Major Library Being Converted To 3D For $200M!

Some very exciting news in the 2D to 3D conversion business as a major first step has been undertaken toward legacy changeovers in three dimensions. I am not talking about a single project like ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but rather 500 films, TV shows and documentaries will be converted to 3D!

Grizzly Adams is a woodsman during the frontier era who flees into the mountains after he is wrongly accused of murder. While struggling to survive, Adams discovers an orphaned grizzly bear cub whom he takes in and calls Ben. The bear, despite his huge adult size, becomes Adams's closest companion. Adams proves to have an uncanny link to most of the indigenous wildlife of the region, who have no fear of him. In return, he resolves never to harm another animal whenever possible. In the television series, Adams had two human companions, an old trader named Mad Jack the Mountain Man and his mule named "Number Seven", and a native American named Nakoma. Together, they helped various visitors while protecting the wildlife.

Here is the press release
(emphasis is mine):
San Diego-based multi-media 3D production studio PassmoreLab announced today that it has signed an agreement with legendary production company Grizzly Adams® Productions has to convert 500 of its feature films, television series, and documentaries to 3D.

According to Charles E. Sellier, CEO of Grizzly Adams Productions, when completed, the estimated seven-year, $200 million project “will create the largest 3D library in the entertainment industry.”

In addition to converting its existing 2D library to 3D, PassmoreLab will convert Grizzly Adams’ new productions to be completed — 18 new feature films and 78 television series episodes — over the seven-year term of the agreement.

Named after its long-running NBC Network TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Grizzly Adams Productions has been a leading producer of family friendly and faith-based independent movies, documentaries, television specials and series for the past three decades.
David Balsiger, vice-president at Grizzly Adams, notes, “To the best of our knowledge, we’re the first production company to initiate converting a major film library to 3D.”

San Diego-based PassmoreLab is a state of the art multi-media 3D production studio specializing in the conversion of 2D motion pictures into 3D entertainment experiences. The company’s proprietary technology for 2D to 3D video and film conversion is unmatched in the industry, in both turnaround times and conversion costs. Their existing library of 3D content is already considered to be the largest in the world, with hundreds of television shows, films, documentaries, videos and animation titles.

“At the end of the seven-year agreement with PassmoreLab, we project that we will have the largest 3D library available for retail, the most 3D TV programs available for licensing, and, we will have captured major shares of both the family and faith 3D markets,” explains Balsiger. Approximately 20 percent of the Grizzly Adams library is described as faith-based.

According to Greg Passmore, president of PassmoreLab, his company has arranged funding for the $200 million conversion project and has ramped up capacity to convert up to 100 Grizzly Adams titles per year.

Passmore observes, “Grizzly Adams has completely embraced 3D technology. There are other studios with large libraries, but they face many hurdles to convert even a few titles to 3D. For example, since the industry considers any resulting 3D title as a derivative product, there are contractual restrictions regarding director approvals, talent and music residuals, plus complex financing issues. All of this adds up to a disincentive to convert back list titles into 3D.”

“We own all of our films and television series outright,” explains Balsiger. “Our library is ideal for converting shows and filling the retail pipeline quickly while demand is high and supply is extremely low.”

Passmore adds, “Internationally, there’s every indication that 3D will be the standard from this point forward in movie theaters, on broadcast television, and across all video delivery systems. Our strategy is to be completely ready to take full advantage of that by having a large 3D-ready library available for licensing.”

If there ever was any doubt that 3D is the future of the home video market, those arguments were laid to rest recently when electronics giant, Panasonic, reported that its stock of 3D HDTVs selling at about $3,300 each had completely sold out within days of the products hitting retail outlets.

According to U.K.-based research firm Futuresource Consulting, the portion of U.S. households that will have a 3D television set in four years will rise to 45 percent from four percent this year.

Although box office blockbuster, Avatar, was shot in 3D, converting a 2D film to a 3D film appeals to leading filmmakers. For example, Tim Burton shot the recently released Disney remake of Alice in Wonderland with traditional 2D digital cameras and then converted the footage to 3D.

The masters are already available for the 3D Blu-Ray and VOD versions of The Fabric of Time, Grizzly Adams’ award winning television special about the Shroud of Turin, long believed to be the burial cloth of Christ. This is Grizzly Adams’ first 3D evergreen entry into the faith market which will crossover onto secular retail shelves for Easter sales.

Within the next six weeks, the highly acclaimed feature film, Friends for Life, will be released in 3D. This family friendly movie, complete with wolves and a bad grizzly bear, has received 30 awards for production excellence.

The first new 3D television series for the joint Grizzly Adams-PassmoreLab production pact will be a fifty-two episode series about George Washington, culminating with a feature length theatrical picture.

Among the new 3D feature film projects slated for production over the term of the alliance are two Grizzly Adams family-oriented feature films currently in pre-production: The Super Heroic Life of Edward Hinkleberry; and the newest franchise installment to the Grizzly Adams legend, Grizzly Adams Begins.

Grizzly Adams will oversee all worldwide television broadcast/DVD licensing for the 3D productions. PassmoreLab will take the lead role in theatrical distribution.

I am 100% behind this project!!
I grew up watching GRIZZLY ADAMS and to see that whole series converted to 3D will be such a treat. And a new film too! I will be first in line for GRIZZLY ADAMS BEGINS. It is a very unique property they have there - completely family safe to view, a western feel, exciting drama to interest adults, survivalist elements, character development is outstanding and of course nature plays a huge role.

It will definitely be VERY hard to fill the shoes of Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty), Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) and Nakoma (Don Shanks) for the new movie - good luck with it guys.

Congratulations to all involved!!

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