3D is Not a Fragile Egg

By Al Caudullo, 3DGuy Productions

3D is not a fragile egg, it is not going to break so easily either. 3D is a survivor. No more than that. It is a resurrected survivor. It has come back from its proclaimed death so many times it is hard to keep count.

At the beginning of the New Year it’s time to look back and look forward.

3D has been around since the 1800′s. It was stereographs of ordinary people like farmers and soldiers. It was also historical figures like Lincoln ( not to be confused with his 3D vampire killing movie counterpart), General George Custer and even circus performers.

And it survived.

It came back in the Golden Age of 3D anaglyph in the 1950′s. Even the master storyteller Alfred Hitchcock used it for Dial M for Murder. The restored and corrected 3D Blu-ray is a masterpiece and shows that Hitchcock understood the power of 3D even if the technology wasn’t quite there yet.

And it survived.

Then came Jaws3D and The Stewardesses 3D.

And it survived.

Then came AVATAR and James Cameron opened our eyes that technology had finally caught up. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo showed us both a beautiful children’s tale set in Paris and at the same time paid homage to the origin of film itself and did it in magical 3D.

Peter Jackson now has my vote for “3D Man of the Year”. He took the leap of faith and shook the film world by shooting “The Hobbit” at 48fps, creating unsurpassed realism. It is controversial, shaking the very roots of the established norm for film, no less 3D. But others are following suit. 24fps will not disappear overnight, but the impact has been felt and there is no turning back. That is the way of evolution, change, grow or die out.

If history has no other lesson about 3D, it is that there has been an unrelenting search to tell stories in a way that we actually see things.

Evolution is a slow and a cumbersome process. It is a process of trials and failures and ultimately success.

Is this that final ultimate success, of course not. There is no end to evolution and the current technology will continue to evolve and improve. All one has to do is look at the coverage of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. You will see the next improvement 4K. And every set has 3D features. Some say the new LG 4K has the best passive 3D image with so sign of ghosting at all. Watch for sets from Samsung, Sony and others. Even TCL has 4K sets with 3D coming soon.

I just returned from the 3D Expo in China where I saw something that you would never see in the US. The government has mandated that CCTV create a dedicated 3D channel. Further they have 6 TV stations tasked with contributing anywhere from 5-7 hours of content per week. They are building to that number. They are working together! And like I said, something that you’d never see in the US. Can you imagine ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and others working together to build a 3D channel? Hmmm… Boggles the mind…

Not only that, but at the Chinese Basketball Association game that Shanghai Media Group invited me to Stereo Supervise, they were using not only 3Ality rigs with Sony P1 cameras but also the Sony TD300 and the Panasonic AG3DP1.A beautifully outfitted Sony OB Truck to capture and broadcast.

Back at the studio they are using Grass Valley Broadcast equipment and Edius 3D Workstations— a beautiful mix of excellent 3D tools.

So yes! 3D will not only survive it will thrive and grow. The US may be off to a rocky start, but the rest of the world gets it. Right now, 44 3D channels worldwide, in the US…ONE.

Lets hope that 2013 will see more even 3D growth. To all the dedicated 3D filmmakers, hang in there and don’t give up. 3D is not a fragile egg. And even if it gets cracked a few times in the process, just remember that it takes a few broken eggs to make a beautiful 3D omelette.

Published with kind permission of Al Caudullo. Al is Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, 3D Evangelist, Producer, 3D Stereographer and Editor for 3DGuy Productions.


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