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RealD for theatrical release


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#1 David Rivera

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:19 PM

Hi, I´ve been working with stereo images for a few months now, and I gotta say it´s really fascinating. I have been reading about modern projectors with realD (and polarized glasses) movies (you know, like Monster vs Aliens, Bolt, etc...) and articles are very brief about what kind of media they can be delivered into.

I was wondering if anyone here has had the chance to produce for RealD?.

What intrigues me the most it´s the projection system. Since I can assume (somehow) this projector is able to read (2 sources) of the movie. Then -as I understand- the "hardware part" is able to project at 144fps for the theater.

I know there´s a lot involved regarding color grading, distance for the viewer, etc... but the one question that I cannot answer on my own is: what format and media are these movies delivered to the theater in?

Does anyone know these answers?

Best regards.
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#2 Michael Most

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 01:16 PM

Hi, I´ve been working with stereo images for a few months now, and I gotta say it´s really fascinating. I have been reading about modern projectors with realD (and polarized glasses) movies (you know, like Monster vs Aliens, Bolt, etc...) and articles are very brief about what kind of media they can be delivered into.

I was wondering if anyone here has had the chance to produce for RealD?.

What intrigues me the most it´s the projection system. Since I can assume (somehow) this projector is able to read (2 sources) of the movie. Then -as I understand- the "hardware part" is able to project at 144fps for the theater.

I know there´s a lot involved regarding color grading, distance for the viewer, etc... but the one question that I cannot answer on my own is: what format and media are these movies delivered to the theater in?

Does anyone know these answers?


All digital cinema content is delivered in the form of a Digital Cinema Package, or DCP, that conforms to the spec originated by the DCI and adopted by SMPTE. Stereoscopic content is delivered in a DCP as a 48fps image stream, with the left and right eyes interleaved - in other words, frame 1 is the Left eye, frame 2 is the Right eye, etc, etc. The Real D device is fed the 48 fps stream, separates it out into Left eye and Right eye, and sends it to the projector at 144 fps by "triple flashing" each frame - in other words, the Left eye is displayed, then the Right eye, then the Left again, then the Right again, and finally the Left a third time and the Right a third time. The RealD device in the front of the projector (the Z screen) alternates its polarization so that all of the Left eye images are polarized in one direction, and all of the Right eye images in the other. The glasses have matching polarization so that the Left eye image is only seen by the Left lens, and the Right eye is only seen by the Right lens. The idea of triple flashing is to eliminate fatigue and eye strain that would normally be caused by the left and right eye images not actually appearing at the same time. The refresh rate is high enough that the brain doesn't really notice the sequential nature of the display.

As for what kind of media is delivered, DCPs are commonly delivered on either a hard disk that is formatted to the Linux Ext3 format, or by secure satellite delivery. It is always accompanied by an encryption key that is sent separately, often on a USB stick, that allows a specific server to show the program for a specific length of time.

Is that enough of an explanation?
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#3 David Rivera

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:43 PM

Yes, thank you. That pretty much cleaned all the questions.
Since I´m trying to apply this for a short (6min) movie I´m animating, I´ll post here any progress with the process described above.
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#4 Michael Most

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:05 PM

Yes, thank you. That pretty much cleaned all the questions.
Since I´m trying to apply this for a short (6min) movie I´m animating, I´ll post here any progress with the process described above.


As an animator, I wouldn't be thinking about anything that I just posted. I'd be thinking about the storytelling and the animation. You basically need to deliver a left eye image and a right eye image. All of the DCP stuff would likely be done by a facility that does that sort of thing.
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#5 David Rivera

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 12:56 AM

As an animator, I wouldn't be thinking about anything that I just posted. I'd be thinking about the storytelling and the animation. You basically need to deliver a left eye image and a right eye image. All of the DCP stuff would likely be done by a facility that does that sort of thing.


Michael, your post has pointed me in the right direction. I´ve also been reading this: http://www.reduser.n...ead.php?t=33118.
I know...that´s only for "normal" 2k movies. I am grateful for the details on the insights of the process.

So, following this thread, in order to produce the "interlaced" effect, the let-right-left eye sequence with the appropriate frame-rate etc.. I should try out one of the software they talk about in the above link.

And as for the animation and the story telling, thanks. I´ve been waiting this moment for 6 months now. So that´s all already been taken care of (zero parallax, twisting camera shots, color grading, etc.. to help the emotions of short animated movie).

I know there may be a gazillion technical details. And I know that´s an area that´s better left for the guys at the facilities which do this kind of conversions all the time (digital assets to DCI)....for example (authoring a real 5.1 channel for Dolby surround system..etc..)..and that they can better guarantee results on the big screen...

Yet all this help by you and other people that has posted around the threads I´ve look and commented, it´s refreshing to the spirit of the indie path making it´s way to the big screen. What better is it, if the animator knows this in advance? -A whole lot.
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#6 Jim Carlile

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 12:03 AM

It's amazing to think that no matter the format, current 3-D is still based upon a 19th century technology-- alternate right-left and polarized light.

Edited by Jim Carlile, 17 September 2009 - 12:03 AM.

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#7 Michael Most

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 12:40 AM

It's amazing to think that no matter the format, current 3-D is still based upon a 19th century technology-- alternate right-left and polarized light.


No, that's only one method. The principle is separate right and left eye images. The technique is how to present those two separate images and how to direct them to the correct eyes for all viewers. Polarization is one method. Shuttered glasses are another, in which the left and right eyes are effectively blanked by an LCD screen that acts as a shutter that is in sync with the images being projected. Anaglyph is another, and a much more directed and specific version of anaglyph that doesn't interfere with the original color pallette is yet another, which is the Dolby technology. Still another is a lenticular screen, which essentially prevents the right eye from seeing the left eye image and vice versa without any eyewear at all, but requires the viewer to be in a specific position in relation to the screen.
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