Thursday, March 27, 2014

CinemaCon Day 2+3.5: Universal, Nolan Open to 3D, and Trade Show

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Tim here, CinemaCon kicked off the 2nd day with a presentation from Universal, but for the most part they showed off their 2D 2014 lineup and a bit of Fast and Furious 7 from their 2015 lineup, and a quick sizzle of their upcoming 3D films like Minions. The most I got out of the day was from the Trade Show part where I got to experience a couple of the new technologies that are going to be brought into the theaters. I'll touch a little upon those and the first half of Day 3 including what Christopher Nolan had to say about 3D. Day 3 opened with a presentation from Disney, and a little on that in a bit. 

Let me start with Christopher Nolan: he's open to the 3D format! He said that he doesn't have a project that he feels works in the format at the moment, as he feels it's a more independent and personal movie going experience while he tries to make films that can be a shared theatrical experience. He was asked in his interview with Hollywood Reporter Chief Critic Todd McCarthy the question about whether there were any 3D films that he thought used the format very well and Nolan answered that he thought what Baz Luhrmann did with The Great Gatsby was a spectacular use of the format. It's a promising start for getting a movie from him in the future that will be Stereoscopic 3D. The next key is for the digital camera technology used to capture the images to surpass his technical requirements. That's what he said as to why he's a celluloid guy, and why he wishes to continue shooting on film, especially now that he can shoot on 65mm IMAX film. His comments on film vs digital distribution of course caused some upset amongst attendees, and even caused some exhibitors to leave the room in the middle of the interview. You can't knock the digital distrubtion platform to the theatrical exhibitors who are adopting it.

Disney showed off their coming line-up at the start of the third day, including a preview of Pixar's Inside Out, which will be in stereoscopic 3D. The presentation wasn't in S3D, so I can't comment on how well it is used, but considering that Pixar has a great track record with the format we can all feel confident that it will be spectacular. The extended clip resulted in enthusiasm from the crowd treated to it. Sadly it won't hit until 2015. They also highlighted their Marvel connection and the upcoming Captian America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Both look like they'll be huge successes. Disney was very mum about anything Star Wars related, so there's no new news coming out of CinemaCon regarding the project. Maybe next year.

Trade Show wise I got to experience the new 4D Experience that will be accomanying future 3D movies. I got to experience 3 different companies tech during the show. 4DX and MediaMation Inc's 4D System were more than just motion seats as they added mist, smoke/fog, wind, and additional effects, while D-BOX mainly added motion to the seat. I'll write up more about my thoughts on these technologies in an individual post about 4D technology. First thoughts are however that they do add something new and interesting to the movie going experience. I'll have to experience a full feature with these additions to fully be able to state whether it works or not.

I also visited the Christie Booth to see their new 6P Laser Projection System, which is phenomenal! Instead of the traditional 3P Laser System this system has more efficient and brighter images as it's 2X the lumens that the regular 3P system has. They showed us examples of both standard 24 frames per second footage and some HFR footage in 48 fps from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. You should go to your local theater and demand they update their Christie Projection System to the 6P Laser System because not only will it enhance the 2D cinema experience, but most importantly the 3D experience.

Lastly, I attended a special presentation from Barco yesterday that showcased some of their new technology that's being added to movie theaters. Their 4K Digital Projector that's capable of doing 3D in HFR is amazing in it's quality, and so is their surround sound system Auro 11.1, which sounded spectacular. Then they have an interesting new thing for pre-show entertainment in their Interactive-Dimension technology dubbed "iD". Then there is their new wrap-around screen idea called "Escape" that happens to remind us that theaters are desperate to keep movie goers attending. This system is designed for the ADD/ADHD generation who can't watch one screen, but need three to satisfy their needs. Either the image can be stretched across all three screens, or a widened capture can occur, or 2-3 separate images can be displayed. So if you're not satisfied with the angle in front of you then you can look to the left or right to see a different one. I'm not sold. However, I could see a creative use for this system, if the filmmaker knows how to utilize it to it's fullest potential. For example had TV-show 24 gone to the big screen this format would have worked well with its multi-screen transition effect.

So far a lot of cool movies coming up this year, and some really cool technology for the cinema. Sony's Presentation was a bit later in the day and after I wrote this, so I'll be writing about that in another post. Sony showed 30-minutes of The Amazing Spiderman 2 and it was awesome. More on that later. As well I'll go more in depth in individual posts on the demos I got of RealD's TrueImage and the new MasterImage MI-Horizon3D system.

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Jim Dorey
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