The Future of Films

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Hollywood believes 3D can deliver a cash and creativity boost

‘We view our world in three dimensions and hence we ought to create our entertainment into that.' So says Buzz Hayes, a man who has produced seven of Sony's eight 3D pictures. 'We wake up and we see the world in 3D. I find it entirely absurd when people say it is a trick. Trick or not, 3D skeptics may have to eat some humble pie. There's growing proof that an entertainment phenomenon fuelled by the amazing success of Avatar is gaining real toehold. By the end of the year, 7,000 3D cinemas worldwide will be ready to screen the 100 new 3D movies planned by 2012.

Adding further weight to the movement are big-name directors who want to follow the trail blazed by James Cameron - out next year is The Adventures of Tintin, Steven Spielberg's 3D debut, while Martin Scorsese has just put pen to paper to direct a kid's film, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

3D kings
3D, of course, is good news for companies like Sony. While on the Columbia lot, Michael Lynton who is the chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures described 3D as 'a blazing bright spot' for an industry apprehensive to revive the home entertainment market. The fact that the format has so far evaded piracy is a big benefit, predominantly at a time when illegal downloads are eating into DVD sales.


As you would expect from a studio executive, Lynton is interested in new ways that Hollywood can make money as well as entertain, but he was also keen to talk up the creative possibilities. It goes beyond animation and special effects movies. 3D also goes beyond Hollywood. Sony plans to extend its training services to include medical imaging and other non-entertainment applications. But right now the obligation is on helping film and broadcast professionals accomplish the best feasible results.

Software solution
The camera rig at Sony's 3D Technology Centre is built by 3ality, a digital film company that also makes the software that corrects anomalies which can occur in a potentially complex shooting situation. 'You build advanced cameras and rigs - but that will only get you a degree of accuracy. The algorithms in our software are what take you the rest of the way,' explains 3ality CEO Sandy Climan.

As for retro-fitting 2D films with 3D, it can be done at a cost of $50,000 a minute, but results can be mixed, as Clash of the Titans has proved. On the other hand, it's fair to presume that if there is money to be made, it will happen. James Cameron has already revealed plans for a 3D version of Titanic, so anticipate other older classics to be given the treatment. This has creepy echoes of the colorized black-and-white whim, which came and went with compassionate speed.



By: Francis David


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