Most people are aware that Las Vegas is a very long way from London. This is something that some airlines like to make you particularly aware of by increasing the predicted departure time by ten minutes, once every ten minutes, for four hours, and then putting you on a type of aircraft which mounts the engines nine inches from your head. Still, I think the worst of the jet lag has passed because the glowing purple elephants have agreed to stop ballet dancing and leave me alone.
I decided to hit the Digital Cinema Summit first, and was as unsurprised as I've ever been to find stereoscopy at the top of the agenda. The case study concerned a film called Yogi Bear, which I hadn't heard of because, and I apologise for going all Phil so early in the discussion, it's presumably one of those movies that is so utterly mutton-headed they don't even want to export it it. In attendance were director Eric Brevig and a couple of high-level post people, but Brevig's comments were perhaps the most illuminating - he skirted in the usual slightly nervous manner around issues of "why certain films are more enjoyable in 3D" and the use of "3D gags", which almost always seems to mean something pointy coming very close to the audience, but skimmed the subject of not making the audience hurl rather briefly. From the clips we saw it was well done, but they did admit to needing two huge engineering trucks and Pace/Cameron mirror rigs with F23s, plus two or three times the amount of time spent on critical post tasks for a movie heavily dependent on 3D character animation. This was clearly not a low-end show ($80 million, which it has since recovered) and probably one of those situations where it'd be fairly offensive if it wasn't excellent.
All that said, the two-minute demo clips still gave me a mild headache. I'm starting not to complain about this as it just seems to be me - that, or a lot of kool-aid is being drunk by people desperate to jump on the bandwagon.
What's slightly more interesting is the SMPTE's announcement of a new book, "3D Cinema and TV Technology", culled from their entire library of journal back-issues, charting the progress of 3D since its inception in the 20s. Much was made of the fact that previous attempts at stereoscopy weren't necessarily primitive, and many of the same issues - floating windows, excessive divergence, etc - were well understood for previous attempts. Nice as it is to refer to tradition, it's a bit worrying to think that we've been at this for eight or nine decades and still struggling with the same issues. Does this not feel much like progress, or is it just me?
NAB Blog Episode 1
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