Sunday, July 19, 2009

In-Three: Pushing 3-D to New Limits

We've seen the proliferation of 3D movies in the past few years: Up, Beowulf, and Hannah Montana:Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. Is it a gimmick being pushed by the movie studios to get us out of the house and into the theatres or is it the next level of technology that will become a part of our everyday movie going experience? Well, In-Three executives, CEO David Seigle and Executive Vice President Neil Feldman, want you to know it is here to stay and they are going to do their best to educate the viewer to become a critic of quality 3-D.

In-Three has pioneered the way to take a 2D film and convert it into an experience with 3D images all while maintaining artistic integrity along the way. While this may sound like a simple conversion from one dimension to the other, it is not. It involves a process they patented and developed called "Dimensionalization". This allows the director to choose a depth rating which allows them to achieve a comfortable level of 3D for the viewer or to go more dramatic with specific style choices for their film. This also means a more affordable way to create 3D film: shoot the film in 2D and three-dimensionalize it in post which results in half the cost of a traditional 3D movie. It truly involves an advanced set of tools and an undercurrent of new thinking in the 3D industry.

Comfort level is not something you may think about as a viewer of 3D film in the movie theatre, but it is important to In-Three. They have also created a software tool that will measure "the visual impact of 3D content". Adults and children view 3D images differently because the ratio of where kids see 3D is dramatically different than that of a fully-developed adult. The images will seem even closer to a child which is why they are sometimes terrified by even the most harmless image jumping out in front of them. Other issues they are concerned with involve "3D Fatigue" where the viewer's eyes are exhausted from images on the screen. They have scientifically researched where the separation of the screen's images rest most comfortably with an adult and a child's eye. This is known as the parallax which rates the depth perception for the audience. An adult's eye will rest most comfortably at 2.5 inches apart, so the next time you are at the theatre, take off your glasses and start judging the quality of your 3D experience.

Outside of the revolutionary technology, where does In-Three see 3D headed? Like many, they find the current economy to be a major player in holding back the digital upgrades that are necessary on the exhibition side. 3D is the driver in the digital age, with approximately twelve 3D films slated for 2009 and upwards of sixteen on the schedule for 2010. Audiences are willing to pay a premium for the theatre experience, but without the continual upgrades on digital projectors, it may take longer than you think to see this as a standard in the theatre exhibition industry. If studios subsidized some of these improvements, maybe we will all be able to see some of the classics in 3D.

The idea of classic movies in 3D may bring traditionalists to the streets to riot, but with the backing and testimonials from high level entertainment moguls like James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the viewer may be watching "The Wizard of Oz" in 3D before you know it. Lucas even has a benchmark in mind. If 5000 screens become available with digital technology, Star Wars geeks might see Princess Leia in a gold bikini in 3D. Currently, the US has 2500 3D digital screens, so it may take awhile. Yet, with the return of event movies, maybe Lucas will change his mind.

3D is becoming more relevant, not only in the movie industry, but also in the automotive and consumer electronics industries. Viewers will see more applications of 3D technology in their dashboard displays of their vehicles and in home theatre configurations. Anyone attendee at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2009 can attest to its presence. So, In-Three is ready for you to become a consumer of quality 3D in the entertainment industry.
To check out examples of their dimensionalization at work, be sure to see Disney's G-Force opening Friday, July 24th. For more information on In-Three, head on over to their website: In-Three.

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