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TechRepublic editors review
Avatar 3D's merits
Mary Weilage | Excerpt: techrepublic.com


Mark Kaelin: First, let me say, the 3D was very well done. I could tell thousands of hours by some very creative people were put into the making of the movie.

The artistic ability of those involved was unquestionable. However, with that being said, I found the 3D aspect of Avatar to be a complete and totally unnecessary distraction. From my perspective, the 3D was just plain annoying.

In one scene, there were little firefly-like things floating around, and my reaction was to brush them away — they interfered and obscured what was taking place on the screen. I’m sure the intention was to enhance the “magic” of the scene, but all I remember is wishing the stupid bugs would go away. I actually thought about a steamy summer evening on the patio swatting away the mosquitoes.

Sonja Thompson: As I stated in my introduction, I’ve always been a fan of 3D, and so Avatar didn’t disappoint in this area; in fact, the 3D experience just keeps getting better and better. For example, we used to have to wear those flimsy glasses with one red and one green lens.



Blockbuster 'Avatar' to
accelerate 3D revolution
By Rob Woollard | Source: smh.com


The runaway success of science fiction blockbuster "Avatar" will accelerate the 3D movie revolution, which has already powered Hollywood to a record year at the box office, analysts say. James Cameron's futuristic fantasy is on course to become the highest-grossing movie of all time after smashing the one-billion-dollar barrier in only three weeks over the weekend.

The film, which has a reported budget of between 300 and 500 million US dollars, has been hailed as a landmark in movie history and its impact will be felt across the industry, experts say. "The ramifications of 'Avatar's' performance are huge," said Jeff Bock, chief analyst with box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. "Ripple effects are going to occur fast and furiously."

Bock said the stellar success of "Avatar," which is already the fourth highest-grossing movie in history, would persuade other studios that big budget 3D films represented an attractive investment.

"The gains far outweigh the risks right now and if you can have someone like James Cameron helming your 3D film, then you're okay to spend 300 to 500 million US dollars on your film because you're going to get your money back and then some," he added.



Eyes on Avatar as an
industry seeks renewal
By Matthew Garrahan | Excerpt: ft.com


Avatar is the first big-budget live-action release to be shot in 3D, which many in the industry are betting represents the future of filmmaking. Such 3D films tend to perform better at the box office because exhibitors and cinema chains can charge a premium price.

Thanks to a new generation of glasses and projection systems, audiences have, to date, been willing to pay more for the 3D experience. "A 3D screen produces roughly two-and-a-half times the revenue of a comparable 2D screen," says Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman and chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment, the studio behind Avatar.

Avatar is the first live action 3D film to go on wide release and was made by the director of Titanic , the biggest grossing film.

Aware that the film could become a huge hit, cinema chains have used its imminent release as a catalyst to convert their screens to the new format. "People were expecting a ramp up [in the number of 3D screens] but nothing as dramatic as what took place," says Mr Gianopulos.



Immersive technology in
James Cameron’s latest caper “Avatar”
Excerpt: mb.com.ph


Avatar will make people truly experience something, one more layer of the suspension of disbelief will be removed. All the syn-thespians are photo-realistic. Now that we’ve discovered CG characters in 3D look more real than 2D.

Your brain is cued – it’s a real thing not a picture – and discounting the part of (the) image that makes it look fake,” says James Cameron at the Microsoft Advance ’08 conference.

A year after Cameron made the statement, “Avatar” is now ready to reel in Phil. theaters come December 17 (Thursday).

The day is set for all fans, film critics and filmmakers to finally assess the technology Cameron has so passionately talked about the past few years.


Is James Cameron's $500m
3D blockbuster Avatar set to
revolutionise cinema?
By Rob Waugh
Excerpt: mailonsunday.co.uk


Titanic director James Cameron has a button that makes him 18ft tall. He simply shouts across to a technician, and he's suddenly towering over the actors, shooting down at them from an angle that would have previously been impossible without a crane or helicopter.

Another button press, and he's a mere 12ft; press again, and he's tiny, dwarfed by the actors around him. The actors aren't really there, of course. Cameron is holding a 'virtual camera' in his hands - a square monitor screen - and pacing around an empty set, taking new shots.

But when he looks through the camera screen, the stars of Avatar, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, can be seen there, morphed into Na'vi, the blue deer-like creatures who populate the world of Pandora.

Looking through the screen, Cameron can walk around his actors and shoot from any angle. The actual performances took place months ago, and were captured on Cameron-designed 3D cameras, which stored the actors as a full-3D video inside a 68-terabyte computer in a 'digital asset management system'.



Avatar Breaks IMAX’s
Wide Release Record
By Krystal Clark
Source: screencrave.com


Following in the footsteps of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Dark Knight, James Cameron’s Avatar will debut in both conventional and IMAX theaters when its released this Friday, December 18th. The 3-D spectacle will have the widest IMAX opening ever in both domestic and international markets.

This past summer Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince popped up in 161 domestic IMAX theaters, and about 70 international. Avatar will up the ante by appearing in 178 domestic and 83 international IMAX theaters for a total of 261, making it the company’s widest release to date.

Director James Cameron feels that IMAX will allow viewers to see the film in the best possible way thanks to the sound and picture quality that the venues have to offer.

“Our goal with ‘Avatar’ is to revolutionize live-action 3D moviemaking, and it looks and sounds incredible in IMAX 3D,” said director James Cameron. “The larger field of view and powerful surround sound of an IMAX theater will immerse the audience in a way that cannot be experienced anywhere else.”



Five Innovations in James Cameron’s Avatar
By Peter Sciretta | Source: slashfilm.com

Performance Capture Workflow: A lot of the film was captured using a performance capture technique similar to that of which Robert Zemeckis filmed Beowulf.

So Cameron developed a virtual camera which will allow his to point it at his actors and see them as their computer generated characters in real time.

Simulcam: A camera set-up which allows them to follow or monitor a virtual character which was captured in performance capture into a live action environment in real-time.

It also allows them to see what a virtual backgrounds will look like in a live-action shot. I know that Steven Spielberg had a set-up like this on A.I., but I think it only showed him wireframes of buildings, and was very glitchy.

Facial Capture Head Rig: The actors in performance capture suits also wear a camera rig on their heads that takes digital shots of the actor’s face.




The End of Cinema As We Know It?
Rosie Kinsella
Excerpt: impactnottingham.com


Avatar will undoubtedly be the most eagerly anticipated 3D film this year and it is expected to set the bar for all others. With legendary director James Cameron at the helm and many new developments in CGI technology it’s easy to see why expectations are high.

Cameron is clearly a man who likes to push the boundaries of filmmaking, as was seen with the cutting-edge effects used in the hugely successful Titanic.

Avatar was originally set to be Cameron’s follow up to Titanic but he felt the technology was not then advanced enough for him to realise his vision, and would likely prove far too expensive.

Avatar is set to include revolutionary new special effects by implementing a motion capture animation technology developed and pioneered by Cameron himself.

Instead of adding the digital effects after the scene has been shot, this new virtual camera allows the director to view the digital characters on a separate monitor at the same time as the live action scene is being shot.



JAMES CAMERON: THE WORLD SHOULD BE SHOT IN 3-D
Excerpt: newteevee.com


3-D movies — from Jaws in 1983 to Spy Kids in 2003 — have long been staples of movie fare. Then as now, audience goers donned special glasses that make double images leap out of the screen.

But today’s movies, using advanced cameras, are far sharper; and the prospect of standardized 3-D for all films and TV shows means the technology will likely become a DVD staple, too, over the next 10 years.

Or at least that’s director James Cameron’s message at Hollywood’s first 3-D Entertainment Summit. “There’s nothing in the palette of entertainment that can’t be done in 3-D,” he said. “All the hard work has been done.”

Cameron called his work on Aliens of the Deep, a 3-D documentary from 2005 that explored the wreck of the Titanic, a “proof of concept” that gave him the expertise in stereoscopic filmmaking to take on what he calls the most ambitious 3-D film ever created.

His original Titanic blockbuster would have looked “gorgeous” in 3-D, he added. Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, told attendees earlier that the company plans to release 17 3-D pictures over the next few years.



3D Screens Now Number
Over 5,000 Worldwide
Excerpt: prweb.com


Someone flipped a switch on the topic of "3D" in 2009. In every industry from movie production to consumer electronics, the subject of 3D has been a main topic of discussion.

Topics like Digital Cinema, Digital Cable and HDTV have begun to settle down and forward thinkers are now wondering what 3D means to their businesses.

While many people still wonder out loud if 3D is just a fad the way it was in the past, a growing number of people are well beyond this controversy - and they are putting their money where their mouth is. Investments are being made all across the board.

One piece of evidence - there are now over 5,000 digital 3D screens worldwide. And, the companies that are installing 3D equipment in theaters - RealD, XpanD, Dolby and Master Image - all report hundreds of orders in their pipeline.



3D movies aren't a gimmick anymore
By RICHARD GELFOND
Excerpt: lvrj.com


It's no secret that 3D movies are enjoying an incredible resurgence. As studios and exhibitors look for ways to keep providing moviegoers with reasons to leave the comfort of their homes and spend money to go to the movies, 3D has once again become a promising platform.

And with this weekend's release of "Monsters vs. Aliens," one of the most highly anticipated 3D films to date, it is the perfect time for the entertainment industry to gather in Las Vegas at ShoWest 2009 and discuss the current state of 3D.

Among the questions everyone in the motion picture and theater industries should be asking at Monday's convention opening is how we keep 3D from fading away again, when the initial novelty of movies shown in this format wears off.

To date, our industry has used both IMAX 3D theatres and the growth of digital theater systems capable of showing images in 3D to help drive the interest and grow the renewed popularity of 3D.



SideVue: 3D-Day | By Brian Gibson
Excerpt: vueweekly.com


3D seems to rear its extra-dimensional head every few years. Cinema’s based on illusion after all from the eye-deceiving trick of still images flipping past quickly enough to seem like a moving picture to little perforations in the screen for the speakers behind to make it seem the sound is coming right out of the image at you.

3D these days usually involves shooting two images simultaneously, with cameras side-by-side and using mirrors, so the resulting image tricks the brain into seeing the two images as a 3D-image.

It all started, really, back around the beginning of film, with stereoscopes in the 1890s glasses people used to look at a card a little distance away from the lens, merging the identical pictures on the card into one, seemingly multi-sided image.

Only about a fifth of North America goes to the theatre regularly, anyway, but now it seems like more and more of us are staying home, watching a disc or streaming video.



Summer cinema admissions highest
since 1969 | by Sarah Crawley-Boevey
Excerpt: brandrepublic.com


According to the Film Distributors' Association UK admissions rose 1.1% to 164.2m in 2008 with box office takings up 3.7% to £854.4m, thanks largely to the popularity of films such as 'Mamma Mia' and 'The Dark Knight'. The unveiling of 3D technology is also expected to boost cinema ratings in 2009, with more than a dozen films planned in the format.



The 3D Revolution | By Fiona Morrow
Source: theglobeandmail.com


DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has declared 2009 the year of 3-D films. He announced recently that, starting this month, all movies produced in his studio will be made in 3-D.

Around a dozen 3-D films are already set for release this year, including James Cameron's Avatar reportedly the most expensive movie ever made, with a budget of $250-million to $300-million (U.S.)



Is the future 3D? | By Simon Parkin
Excerpt: eveningnews24.co.uk


Could this be the year that 3D film makes a major breakthrough? With a dozen big budget 3D movies due for release, filmmakers seen convinced we'll all soon be wearing the special glasses.

Simon Parkin asks whether we'll ever see cinema in the same way again. If film industry big wigs are right, millions of us will soon think nothing of sitting in the dark, starring at the silver screen through dark lenses.

Certainly some powerful figures in Hollywood are throwing their weight behind the re-birth of 3D. It is nothing less than the greatest innovation that has happened for all of us in the movie business since the advent of colour 70 years ago, Dreamworks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg recently told an audience.

While Terminator and Titanic director James Cameron plans to release his $190 Million sci-fi epic Avatar, his first film in a decade, only in 3D format - the most expensive 3D film ever made.





VARIOUS ARTICLES ON 3D TRENDS AND PREDICTIONS


All of the articles on this page are excerpts, click on the source link for the complete article.



3D Means New Rules For Directors
By Rafe Needleman | Excerpt: cnet.com


The rise of 3D technology for movies and television will force a change in how directors tell stories. Say good-bye to gut-wrenching drops off cliffs and swoops through asteroid fields to call attention to 3D effects.

Be prepared for directors to use slower pans, less cutting, and more deliberate camera moves to blend the technology into the story. These new 3D movies may look boring in 2D, but they'll end up feeling more engaging when seen in three dimensions.

"Unfortunately, the history of 3D is bad 3D," says Sandy Climan, CEO of 3ality, a company that makes, as he calls it, "end-to-end technologies from image capture to processing" for three-dimensional entertainment.

The technology hasn't been up to snuff until recently, he says. He claims his company's tech is leagues better, naturally. But the art hasn't advanced, either, and no amount of technology can fix that. Directors need new rules.



Source: thetechjournal.com

It may seem an unlikely idea, but there are those who suggest that the technology invented for the hit James Cameron film, ‘Avatar,’ may show us what the future of virtual worlds looks like. Since the release of his massive hit “Avatar,” director James Cameron has gotten plenty of deserved attention for his filmmaking innovations, having invented a camera system that captured live footage of his actors and integrated it immediately into fleshed-out scenes from his fictional world of Pandora.

But movies may not be the only medium Cameron’s innovation is pushing toward the future. In fact, the technology he and his visual effects partners built for the record breaking film may also provide our first real glimpse of the future of 3D virtual worlds. Today’s virtual worlds have attracted millions of users, significant venture capital and sometimes impressive revenues.

But some experts think it’s a no-brainer that augmented reality tools like Cameron used to turn “Avatar” into history’s highest-grossing film could soon be the core of what millions of people experience in 3D virtual worlds that until now, we’ve only been able to dream about. Today, the term “virtual world” means a lot of things to a lot of people. To many, it means 2D online social games like Gaia Online or Club Penguin. To some, it means large-scale massively-multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. And to others, it’s open-ended 3D experiences like Second Life.




Avatar Director James Cameron Calls 3-D 'A Whole New Way To Paint, A Whole New Set Of Colors'
By Adam Rosenberg | Source: mtv.com


Many labels have been applied to James Cameron's 2009 smash "Avatar" since even before it hit theaters, but few have been more ubiquitous than "game-changer." The sci-fi epic is notable for being conceived and written from the ground up to play as a 3-D release. Many in the industry believed that the release of "Avatar" would herald a newfound focus on the tech, something that had already been picking up steam in the months leading to the December 18 release.

When Cameron stopped by earlier this week to chat with MTV's Josh Horowitz on a variety of topics, it was inevitable that 3-D would come up, and it's perceived game-changing influence on the business of Hollywood. "Yeah... yeah, blame me for that," he said with a grin. Josh went on to list a number of examples, including the coming "Clash of the Titans" conversion, the Grammys-- and Cameron stopped him there.

"The Grammys did it wrong," he said, "with the [need for] red and blue [glasses]. Everybody took the glasses off and said 'This isn't like the Avatar 3-D!'" To him, it's a sign that moviegoers in general are developing a more refined palate for tech advancements such as this. "There is an evolution, people are now starting to not accept inferior forms, which is good. But it's typical of Hollywood getting it wrong," Cameron explained.



By Kurt Raether | Source: uwmpost.com

William Friese-Greene first filed the patent for the three-dimensional process in 1894. No, that’s not a typo; 3D film has been around for over 100 years. He developed a system that used a stereoscope to combine two images into one. The basic process remains the same to this very day, and in recent discussion about the future of the moving image, 3D has dominated the landscape.

The question seems to be whether 3D is the next step in film and video, or if it just another gimmick to get more technology off the shelves and into our homes. To paraphrase: “Didn’t I just buy an HD TV?” The answer can be found by simply looking at trends. In the last few years, 3D movies have seen a resurgence, especially in children’s fare.

2004’s The Polar Express was one of the first, followed by films like Monster House and Meet the Robinsons. In 2007, Beowulf bucked the kid stuff, billing itself as one of the first serious 3D films aimed at an adult audience. 2009, however, takes the cake in the recent 3D saturation with a total of twelve mainstream Hollywood films jutted out at audiences last year.

Even more are in the works for 2010, including Toy Story 3D and the Burton-Depp love fest of Alice in Wonderland. And if the recent box office receipts of a certain James Cameron movie are any indication, the trend may be here to stay. Avatar is a film that, despite its shortcomings, has captured the lens-covered eyes of the world. Cameron has created a giant blue environment to which people cannot wait to escape. And, partially due to the giant marketing blitz that accompanied its release, everyone wants a piece of it.



The Cameron effect
By Oliver Good | Excerpt: thenational.ae


When an audience at the Dubai International Film Festival today becomes one of the first in the world to don 3D specs and watch James Cameron’s Avatar, a number of things could happen.

If the pre-release hype and any number of early reviews are to be trusted, they will leave the screening having seen something that will change cinema forever.

Alternatively, they will have sat through the most expensive vanity project in film history; a two-and-a-half-hour-long special-effects marathon with only the power, according to one report, to induce mass vomiting.

The science-fiction epic, which has reportedly been in the works for 14 years, takes place on the mythical world of Pandora, a lush, jungle-covered moon.

It focuses on a conflict between humans, who are seeking to benefit from Pandora’s natural resources, and the Na’vi, the race of tall blue aliens who have featured prominently in the film’s promotional campaign. If the trailer is anything to go by, expect giant robots and helicopter gunships battling spear-throwing aliens on beast back.

The buzz from the production company Fox is that Avatar represents a quantum leap for special effects, akin to the likes of King Kong, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jurassic Park. But many fear that, due to its heavy reliance on digital effects, Avatar is just as likely to become the next Phantom Menace. Despite these early reservations, the small number of reviews that have emerged in the past few days have been largely positive.

The trade paper Variety called Cameron’s new world “a place worth visiting” and The Hollywood Reporter refered to the “jaw-dropping wonder” of Avatar. “Special effects have become more than just embellishments within films, now they seem to be the driving force behind the way films are conceived and marketed,” says Simon Hunter, the president of the New York Film Academy, Abu Dhabi.



Alternate World, Alternate Technology
By John Anderson | Excerpt: nytimes.com


“WELCOME to Avatar.” The director James Cameron had materialized, as if by digital magic, before an early screening audience here of his latest blockbuster-in-waiting. But it’s not quite clear what the director was inviting them into this day in early December.

The little $230 million picture he had just finished? The “world” created by his production’s advanced digital techniques? The “shameless engine of commerciality” he has not so jokingly claimed to have constructed?

Whichever “Avatar” Mr. Cameron had in mind, a lot of people’s holiday happiness, and profit, rest upon it. And the debut did not come without a hiccup. The houselights dimmed. The 20th Century Fox logo appeared. Trumpets blared.

But before the first frame of this futuristic, sci-fi, eco-pacifist space fable could make an impression, the houselights rose. “That was a bit shorter than you expected,” Mr. Cameron called out, to polite laughter. “There’s a problem in the projection room.” Fearing for the life of the projectionist, the audience watched Mr. Cameron, white-maned, a little paunchy these days and wearing his standard blue button-down, disappear.

Darkness fell, and “Avatar” resurfaced. This time the audience got to see what four years of labor and state-of-the-art visual effects look like. The next day Mr. Cameron was mock-mysterious during an interview at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “Nobody knows,” he said when asked what went wrong with the film.

“It shut off the computer and turned it back on. It fixes itself, and we don’t know why. I always hate that answer. I always want to know why.” Sounding like the kid who took Dad’s watch apart to see why it ticked, Mr. Cameron has long been a director associated with technology as much as dramaturgy.



The Gimmicks That Changed Cinema
James Cameron promises Avatar will be the next step in a fully-immersive, 3-D movie experience -- but will it have the impact of these?
By Michael Adams | Excerpt: rottentomatoes.com


James Cameron's Avatar is almost here, and if it's anything like the director's been promising -- a new way to experience immersive 3-D movies, whatever that means -- then the industry could be about to enter a new phase of technology.

So to mark the release of the latest revolution in film technology, we took a look back -- way back -- at the ones that have come before it. In the first of our two-part series about the technological advances that changed the movie industry forever, we look at the gimmicks that are now part of the standard moviegoing experience. Tomorrow, we look at the ones that weren't so fortunate.

Color: Hand tinting of black-and-white shorts started at the birth of cinema, but it wasn't until 1906 that the first color process, the additive red-green format called Kinemacolor, was developed in the UK. The Brits can also lay claim to the world's first color feature film, with 1914's five-reel Kinemacolor melodrama The World, The Flesh and The Devil. Kinemacolor flicks had to be projected on special equipment at double speed, which was hell on prints, but, even so, hundreds of cinemas in Britain, Japan and the US installed the technology to play the film.

Sound: Motion-picture pioneers Thomas Edison and Eadweard Muybridge apparently met to discuss the prospect of synchronized sound for the movies in 1888 -- seven years before the first publicly projected films! Film with sound -- that is, projected images accompanied by music, songs or dialogue on a phonograph recording -- began in 1896 in Berlin. And it was in the same German city in 1922 that the first sound-on-film dramatic talkie, The Arsonist, was screened for the public.

3-D: Like sound and color, 3-D's conception coincided with the earliest days of film, with British cinematography pioneer William Friese Greene experimenting with stereoscopic moving images in the early 1890s. The first 3-D film presentation for a paying audience was at New York's Astor Theater in 1915, with a triple-bill program of one-reel travelogues, while the first 3-D feature, Power of Love, debuted in Los Angeles in 1922.

This is the first of a two part article, click the source link above for the complete article and the link for Part 2.



Avatar - Gateway to a new world
James Cameron's long-awaited 3D science-fiction epic Avatar opens this month. Geoffrey Macnab recounts the Titanic director's long struggle to make it, and asks whether the film will revolutionise cinema
Excerpt: independent.co.uk


At the Las Vegas trade event ShoWest in 2005, the film directors James Cameron, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Robert Rodriguez and Randal Kleiser all appeared on stage together in 3D specs.

These titans of the US film industry were there to herald what they were confidently predicting would be the next big revolution in cinema – a revolution that might even have the transformative powers of the birth of the talkie in Hollywood in the late 1920s... namely 3D.

Nearly five years on, that revolution may at last be in sight. This month sees the release of James Cameron's Avatar, the movie that advance hype suggests is supposed to change our filmgoing experience forever. Fourteen years in the making, boasting almost 3,000 effects shots and costing (it has been claimed in some quarters) as much as $300m, the film – the publicity tells us – will take us "to a spectacular world beyond our imagination".

Avatar is being billed by Fox as "a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story". The film is about a wheelchair-bound human ex-marine who ventures to a faraway planet full of rich, terrifying life forms. Here, he encounters the Na'vi, a humanoid race. They live at ease with their environment and don't welcome human beings trespassing in their backyard in search of valuable minerals.



James Cameron’s New 3-D Epic Could Change Film Forever
By Joshua Davis | Excerpt: wired.com


Here’s James Cameron’s idea of play: scuba diving near unexploded, World War II-era depth charges in Micronesia. In the summer of 2000, he chartered an 80-foot boat and invited a group of people to dive down to a fleet of sunken Japanese battleships. He brought along Vincent Pace, an underwater camera specialist who had worked on Titanic and The Abyss.

Pace, expecting to experiment with hi-def video, packed all of his gear but soon began to suspect that Cameron had something else on his mind. They were looking over footage from a day’s dive when Cameron asked Pace a question: What would it take to build “the holy grail of cameras,” a high-definition rig that could deliver feature-film quality in both 2-D and 3-D?

Pace wasn’t sure — he was no expert but knew about the cheap red-and-blue paper glasses of conventional 3-D filmmaking. They were notoriously uncomfortable, and the images could cause headaches if the projectors weren’t calibrated perfectly. Cameron believed there must be a way to do it better. What he really wanted to talk about was his vision for the next generation of cameras: maneuverable, digital, high-resolution, 3-D.

Inventing such a camera wouldn’t be easy, but Cameron said he was ready to break new ground. He mentioned a mysterious, long-gestating film project that would bring viewers to an alien planet. Cameron didn’t want to make the movie unless viewers could experience the planet viscerally, in 3-D. Since no satisfactory 3-D cameras existed, he’d have to build one.

He’d brought Pace on the Pacific adventure to ask if the underwater cameraman wanted to help. His goal seemed kind of extreme, but Pace thought it sounded interesting and signed on. “Jim had a clear ambition on the dive trip,” Pace says. “It was fun, but I didn’t really know what I was getting into.” Two months later, Cameron sent Pace a $17,000 first-class ticket from Los Angeles to Tokyo, and soon they were sitting in front of the engineers at Sony’s hi-def-camera division.

Pace was there to help persuade Sony to separate the lens and image sensor from the processor on the company’s professional-grade HD camera. The bulky CPU could then be kept a cable-length away from the lens — rather than struggling with a conventional 450-pound 3-D system, a camera operator would just have to handle a 50-pound, dual-lens unit.

This highlight is the first of a three part series of articles from wired.com. Click on the link above for the full part one article, and click these titles for part two and three - 5 Steps to Avatar: Reinventing Moviemaking and Inventing Effects to Create the Avatar Universe - both by Frank Rose.



The technological secrets of James Cameron's new film Avatar
By Bobbie Johnson | Excerpt: guardian.co.uk


In real life, we see images in three dimensions because our left and right eyes see slightly different images that, when combined by the brain, deliver a picture that has depth.

In old-fashioned 3D cinematography – the sort where your glasses had red and green coloured lenses – a pair of closely-aligned images with different tints gave the impression of depth by fooling the eyes. But modern 3D films have developed new techniques to drag them out of their B-movie past, and Avatar takes things a step further by using both computer generated imagery and advanced stereoscopic filming methods to create the illusion of reality.





The best is yet to come: 3D technology continues to evolve and win audience approval
By Bill Mead | Source: filmjournal.com


3D just keeps getting bigger and better in spite of the early skepticism that the trend wouldn’t last. This year, Hollywood delivered on their promised 3D titles, with many more in the production pipelines.

Like color or stereo sound did before, 3D production techniques are maturing and becoming part of the filmmaker’s everyday toolkit. We are seeing 3D being put to use, not as a gimmick, but in ways that add to the overall enjoyment of the movie. The best 3D has yet to be seen by the public.





3D vision seen paying off
Excerpt: tvnz.co.nz


Digital 3D looks set to be a key revenue earner for businesses from cinema chains to software developers as companies bank on the fast-improving format ushering in a new age of entertainment.

The medium is already fuelling an increase in cinema receipts worldwide and, should it take off, analysts see the potential for substantial revenue growth going into 2010. Companies such as Cineworld, BSkyB, Pace and DDD Group are likely to benefit as Hollywood studios and punters alike plough their money into 3D products.

A new record for 3D, the 3D screens outperformed 2D screens six to one in the film's opening week. The journey for 3D began over 100 years ago when the technique was first pioneered, while the first projected 3D movies were shown at the Astor Theater in New York City in 1915.



The Hollywood Theater Poster


The future is 3D
By James Clayton | Excerpt: denofgeek.com

By not showing a wide range of movies in multi-dimensional manner, large audiences are missing out on what is truly a terrific experience. James wonders if 3D shouldn't try a bit harder to break away from the realm of kids' movies.

I'm a bit of a late-comer, but having finally been given a good reason in the form of Coraline, I've had my first 3D cinemagoing experience. At long last, I've been exposed to the extra dimension, had my supra-visual virginity claimed and belatedly received the baptism in the waters of future blockbuster filmmaking.

Things will never look the same again... Coraline as a film in itself was fantastic, so to see Henry Selick's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman story sprawl out as an immense eye-popping, immersive piece of moving artwork was a thrilling bonus. Avatar will be the point at which we emphatically arrive in a new cinematic age.



Vista Theater Poster


3D Monsters vs. 2D Aliens
By Andreas Fuchs | Excerpt: filmjournal.com


As the world is looking Up to Cannes and North America, let’s review the last milestone in the digital 3D deployment. According to our friends at Screen Digest, the majority 55% of the opening-weekend gross of Monsters vs. Aliens ($32 million) came from less than 30% of some 7,300 screens in 4,104 theatres.

Even more telling perhaps is the fact that the 3D copies generated an average gross six times higher than their 2D counterparts. No wonder Screen Digest analyst Charlotte Jones opines that “high-profile 3D releases are driving exhibitors to upgrade their screens.” Over 560 new 3D screens were added in the first three months of 2009, more than the total number of the full year 2008.





Cinema's third attempt at 3D | By Mark Savage
Excerpt: bbc.co.uk


"It comes off the screen right at you! ", screamed the poster for the 1953 schlock-horror film The House Of Wax 3D. Audiences, filled with anticipation for the first major studio 3D movie, flocked to cinemas to see the ghoulish spectacle of.... a man bouncing a paddleball into their faces.

This gimmicky showboating set a template for 3D cinema which endured through the medium's two big boom periods in the 1950s and 1980s. Films like Andy Warhol's visceral Frankenstein 3D brought "horror right into your lap", while the sixth instalment of Nightmare On Elm Street splattered viewers with Freddy Kreuger's bloody entrails.





New age of 3D may be big,
but it is unlikely to combat piracy threat
By Amanda Andrews | Excerpt: telegraph.co.uk


The third revival of 3D cinema looks set to provide the biggest boost since colour. There are even hopes from studios it could protect film from its greatest threat - piracy. Ninety per cent of piracy is the result of someone taking a camera into the cinema.

But, as Dreamworks president Jeffrey Katzenberg said recently, "You can't camcorder 3D". The commitment from studios to the medium is greater than ever before. No more is 3D just a novelty. Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are filming the Tintin trilogy in 3D and James Cameron has made Avatar, his first feature since Titanic, in 3D.





Hollywood banking on 3-D
By Bob Strauss | Excerpt: dailynews.com


The image is perfect. Now Hollywood is betting big that everything else about digital 3-D movies will be up to speed soon, too. The biggest wager so far began Friday, when DreamWorks Animation released its $150 million "Monsters vs. Aliens" on about 7,000 North American screens.

But only 2,000 or so of those are equipped to project the computer-generated cartoon extravaganza in 3-D. That's roughly half of the auditoriums that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg hoped would be available by now to show his baby in the eye-popping way it was made to be seen.





Attack of the 3-D movies
By Moira Macdonald
Excerpt: nwsource.com


Jeffrey Katzenberg is not one for understatement. "We're about to step onto the next great revolution in the history of cinema," he says. The longtime movie executive and DreamWorks co-founder was in Seattle earlier this winter to talk about the studio's 3-D animated feature "Monsters vs. Aliens", as well as DreamWorks Animation's recent decision to produce all of its films in stereoscopic 3-D.

Using new technology from Intel and Hewlett Packard as well as its in-house animation tools, the studio is trumpeting its use of InTru 3D as a pioneering step forward.





ReelThoughts: "3-D Revisited"
By James Berardinelli
Excerpt: reelviews.net


The first time I was introduced to 3-D via circular polarization was in the 1990s at Universal Studios Florida. The attraction was "Terminator 3-D," a 10-minute short featuring the stars of Terminator 2 and directed by James Cameron. It was pretty spectacular, but it was never intended to be a fully realized cinematic experience.

It was an amusement park ride. And that’s how I felt about Monsters vs. Aliens, except that it was about ten times too long for what it offers. Cameron's Avatar is looking increasingly like the acid test for 3-D, although the temptation exists to see it in a "regular" theater.





The Evolution of 3D
Will Avatar be the pinnacle of 2009's 3D Emergence?
By Shawn S. Lealos
Excerpt: 411mania.com


IMAX has helped usher in the current 3-D explosion. In 2003, James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss was released as the first full-length 3-D IMAX feature film with the Reality Camera System. This system uses HDTV video cameras instead of film and was built specifically for Cameron, per his specifications.

Pixar is determined to release every movie from here out in 3-D, and DreamWorks is following suit, promising the next Shrek film will be 3-D as well. Ice Age has a new sequel coming out, also in 3-D.





Will 3D Really Take Off?
TechRadar's 2009 technology predictions
Excerpt: techradar.com


"I think 2009 is going to be a breakthrough year for 3D, at least in the sense of it building a head of steam as the next must-have tech upgrade," says Editor-in-Chief Nick Merritt.

"The technology is closing in and it works: from Hollywood, with James Cameron blazing trails with Avatar and rapid installation of 3D in theatres; from the broadcasters, with Sky putting in an impressive demo and from the manufacturers, who will be showing working 3D TV sets."

"That's not to say that the path ahead is easy," adds Editor Patrick Goss.





Paramount Offers To Pay Print Fees Directly to Exhibitors for Digital and 3D Conversions
By David Chen | Excerpt: slashfilm.com


With more than a dozen digital 3D releases coming out this year (including James Cameron’s sure-to-be-megahit Avatar in December 2009), studios have a vested interest in making sure films can be viewed by the audience in the way they were intended.

According to Variety, Paramount is now offering to pay virtual print fees directly to theater owners who convert at least 50% of their screens to digital, with a higher fee offered for screens converted to 3D. Currently, there are only 1,250 digital screens (out of 5,620) that have 3D capability.





Entertainment Geekly:
The Push For A 3D Cinema Revolution
By Nick Broughall | Excerpt: gizmodo.com


3D Cinema is nothing new, but 2009 is the year that we'll really start to see films being released in 3D on a large scale, rather than just special feature events down at IMAX.

But is it the revolution that cinema seems to so desperately need, or just a not-so-cheap gimmick that is more about raising revenue and lessening piracy for the internet age?

Dreamworks animation has announced that every animated feature film they create for the big screen will be created in 3D, starting with Monsters Vs Aliens, which opened in cinemas yesterday. And they're not alone: Pixar are releasing their upcoming film Up, plus Toy Story 3 next year, in 3D.



Polar Express/3-D


3-D Advertising Comes to the Silver Screen
Excerpt: prnewswire.com


Screenvision, the leading innovator in cinema advertising has partnered exclusively with the Wrigley brand to bring the first ever 3-D ad to cinema beginning May 1st.

This exclusive partnership extends Screenvision's focus to create 360 degree entertainment experiences for consumers and marketers alike.

Already the 3-D in-lobby leader for advertisers, Screenvision will now also be the 3-D in-theatre leader with the launch of its first ever on screen 3-D ad. The 3-D ad will run for a five week period beginning May 1st on 762 3-D screens in 461 Screenvision represented theatres.





Can 3-D save the movie industry?
By Stephanie Zacharek
Excerpt: salon.com


In the early 1950s, as the advent of television threatened the supremacy of movies, 3-D was hailed as the future of cinema, the magic solution to Hollywood's postwar slump.

Jerry Wald, Columbia's production chief at the time, was understandably thrilled when a quickie picture rushed out by his studio to cash in on the craze, "Man in the Dark," became a hit.

The new 3-D doesn't make you throw up; the glasses are plastic, not paper, and don't have those old-fashioned red and green lenses; and, come on, the whole thing is just cool.





Michael Mann wants to do 3D
By Di Gabriele Niola
Excerpt: screenweek.it


Director of movies such as Last of the Mohicans, Collateral and now Public Enemies Michael Mann is a man in his sixties, who’s very keen on taking notes during the questions, who fully answers, who remembers dates, places and events and who sometimes likes to complete answering question.

“We were supposed to shoot on film but then just before the beginning of the shooting we had a test. When we watched the result, the film images looked like a period movie, the digital ones looked like today. Yes! I’d love to shoot a 3D movie, it’s something that fascinates me! The more the audience is immerse the better it is!“.







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