From 9am to 3pm no movies today, just intense geekery – all panels about 3D and stereoscopic imaging for moviemaking – speakers from Intel, RealD (one of the sponsors), NVidia, Troublemaker Studios (Robert Rodriguez’s studio here in Austin), and others spoke today. I’m breaking it up by panel, posting my raw notes from each. Here’s the kickoff panel, on The Future of 3D:
As usual, notes are raw and unfiltered and as I typed’em. I’ll update this with pics from the preso ASAP, don’t have that drive here in the Highball as I type this with skeeball behind me, beer and bowling in front of me, and lessons on how to do the Michael Jackson Thriller dance going on around the corner….
Notes on Future of 3D Panel
Tx Film Commission, G4, RealD, etc. helped put this together
Bob Whitehill of Pixar
series of 3D shots from Up
Josh Greer, tech & infrastructure, 3D IMAX for Cameron, founder of RealD
Andrew Fear, sr. product manager for NVidia, 11 years for 3D processing and drivers
Brian Zucker, 20 year Dell veteran, use of 3D in the home, on the Blu-ray board of directors
? Stoner, Intel, strategic partnerships for CGI, 3D/VFX houses, etc. gen mgr of console for Metroworks, videographer and photographer
Theatrical marketplace – how big is the installed base for 3D theaters?
2 big 3D movies out at once – how long until?
RealD guy – Chicken Little was first 3D, 89 screens at the time, had 1 film first year, then 2, 4, 8, this year 20 films
every new film annoincement, a burst in deployment – credit crisis over the last year was a problem – expectation of 8-10K theaters would get 3D – didn’t happen. 3D has hit their number – with Avatar, expected to have 4500 theaters up and running with 300 exhibition partners in 50 countries, all in last 3 years w/o any digital infrastructure
almost 9000 theaters under contract, that is just RealD with other competitors – more indie 3D opportunities. Next year two 3D tentpoles at once
no sane reason for 3D to come back – somebody came in and asked if they could get 100 theaters up in 100 days (Chicken Little) – studios recognize 3D generates new audiences
3D in the home, economically they won’t go back, and the directors that get a taste don’t want to go back
things that haven’t been done in last 100 years of cinema
board of director of Blu-ray guy from Dell – Q: we had HD DVD/Blu-ray war, how to avoid similar war over 3D formats? There is no format war per se with 3D, all are on board to create a spec for 3D – going to be full high res per eye, no compromises, is going to be backwards compatible – put a 3D disc in a 2D player you’ll get the 2D stream. If had a 2D disc in a 3D player, that’d work as well. Not going to have format issues.
theatrical features & events – but what about gaming?
NVidia has been working on 3D games – they build a prodct that converts standard games into 3D, trying to enable game devs to take it to the next level
Avatar game developers are going with that – game developers want to go that extra mile to write their games natively and NV is providing toolsets. Leading game devs are getting onboard and working on it – Blizzard is working on 3D titles using NVidia, Capcom (Resident Evil devs) are working with it. More game devs are workingwith it, revolutionize how content is made and used by users. Devs are interested, 100% are onboard, but maybe not for imminent titles – in progress as 2D already
gaming space – is about consoles and desktop – looking to get games there too says Intel guy – more layering going on in 3D
definite interest in theatrical, broadcast, – test 3D broadcast for ESPN for football game
Q: ubiquitous in 3D? Grey’s Anatomy in 3D, or just a niche play?
A: some jobs depend on it, so all kinds of answers – Josh Greer is how he sees the world, we look in depth, has been slow since 3D is really really hard. The tech hurdles have fallen by the wayside – how easily will it be created?
3D has failed 4 or 5 times in history
dunno if a 5 year horizon, but tentpole stuff will be 3D, will be coming into the home over time as well, there is no going back – TVs will be 3D in the future as well
A: Cost of transition – everybody just got HDTV, so reluctant to get 3D HDTV. Issue with someone else controlling the focus – someone else controls convergence and divergence – gaming is going kick ass over next few years – the new visual language may come out of 3D – games are natively developed in 3D, so is easier to make stereoscopic – is natively 3D to begin with, to move to stereoscopic is relatively easy. Game devs weren’t ready for this and there’s artifacts – but it’ll come and get there. Dell started shipping a computer w/3D glasses and stereoscopic
NVIDIA – dimensionalized experience – have that control over it for 3D games – everyone uses their computer 8-9 hours a day, “enjoy life in a completely different way”
Q: convergence of computer/TV – will 3D be an engine towards that end?
A: consumer devices – economic reality – 4100 processor from Intel – gotta float the boat’s performance to bring the performance expected – the computers attached have been too slow for consumer stuff – is an economic model issue for devs and publishers – is up to consumers to adopt the glass – if the glass is there, the content will follow
Alice In Wonderland in 3D trailer
Price premiums – how long will the willingness to pay a premium for 3D content last? How much more are people willing to pay to make that TV 3D enabled?
3D has been compared to the coming of color – but color isn’t a “premium” anymore –
A: Chicken Little was 1-2 dollars more for screenings -exhibitors were thinking that was nuts – but that ended after the first weekend
100% markup worked without pushback
up to 6x the revenue per screen with 3D
consumer electronics companies are pushing back against huge price erosion – thinking people won’t pay for that – but gotta wait until have more data next year
on the home front, is a volume issue – as soon as volume is up, prices drop quickly – happened with Blu-ray players as well
some of it is artificial – when a company realizes can extract more value will bump it up
industry is already going to higher refresh rates, which helps since that is necessary infrastructure already in place
NVIDIA – strategy for 3D market knew they were attaching to 3D displays – everyone is moving to faster response and higher refresh rates – if those characteristics are already comoing, intercept that market trend, and see if a minor tweak can be made to make it 3D
-similar to HDTV? Was $4000 at first and $600 now – first 3D systems will be expensive at first and will drop over time.
Blu-ray was expensive at first – and a minimal perceived quality delta for consumers – Blu-ray is cascading fast – $12 and $15 videos at launch
Q: Digital downloads are picking up speed and DVD was threatened, will 3D HDTV save the disc? A: only for a little bit
Blu-ray disc is likely the last optical disc for movie distro, issue of have fast can you download – until we get ownership of the bits – consumers like to own their stuff, and the movability of the bits, etc.
Q: curious if any have application content in 3D?
A: NVIDIA guy – many professional apps – CAD, architecture, car designs,etc. – are using 3D today are using this 9-10 hours/day. Car racing games – reaction times are better in 3D – perhaps for someone working with charts all day – what’s the biz app for 3D? 3D graphs – takes your brain a second to wrap around it, makes data visualization easier – an example of applications for 3D
-RealD has supplied the military for years for biz apps – the guys in Cheyenne mtn picking missiles against debris – we all die if they don’t do it right! Gamers will be the first beneficiaries of 3D IF it is done right – GUI is ripe to make into 3D, 3D powerpoints may be one of worst timekillers of all time – is going to be a cost perspective – Fuji camera for 3D – RealD guy has it, “reserveing comment” – can’t give to gramma to take 3D pictures –
clip from U23D:
WOW! pogoing crowd
Q: Conversion of 2D to 3D – Alice in Wonderland was shot in 2D, as was G-Force
A: conversion is critical to home success – Nightmare before Christmas – 600 animators in Hong Kong for 19 weeks – was something like $15-20M to do. $75K/min. About $5K/min, can get extraordinary quality, the biz math works. There are some realtime tools, but they are crap. (This is RealD guy). If you can’t produce in 3D, an interesting backup choice.
Q: when do we NOT have to wear glasses?
A: Intel guy – everyone got excited about autostereo monitors – are driving towards the edge of resolution. Holographic displays are of interest. Performance is not being built to meet those specs – limited viewing capabilities – 360 degree viewing is about 100 teraflops.
6 teraflops of performance for $20 is what you need – it isn’t here yet, may take till 2025 or so! How many flops can you deliver at what price?
how do we fit all that stuff on Blu-ray was earlier question, this would keep it ffrom happening – how to pack that many pixels onto the
QuadHD display getting cut into 56 views, gotta divvy up the 4K x2048 for all the displays, yields less res than cellphone
26 GPUs and the res is less than your cellphone
a lot of studies recently has shown people aren’t as against wearing glasses as folks would think
if play Guitar Hero – who’da thunk you’d be playing w/a plastic guitar controller on a Saturday night with your friends?
autostereo graphics has been done for some time – the first issue is because no one wants to wear glasses – 100M pairs of passive glasses this year, 1-2M shutter glasses – gotta completely rip apart the capture medium for autostereo. Can build an autostereo display now, but need high switching 8K panels before can make something people will prefer autostereo over 2D HDTV
autostereo – gotta stay EXACTLY in the sweet spot
autodisplays in the next couple of years in Vegas, public display, etc. – autostereo will be the holy grail of gadgetry
Can’t curve a lense without screwing up the 3D – now that that is done, that’ll start happening – premium glasses will come out – Vision Service Plan considering putting this in – anti-scratch, RealD, etc. – why want prescription 3D glasses? How many 3D movies are you going to? How many other activities do you have custom gear for?
-anti-reflective coatings front/back on curved 3D glasses coming
current glasses are way nurd, but getting better
Q:-where is 3D going in 5 years? How many films, in home, what kind of gaming, etc.
A: dimensionalized experience – the GPUs today are capable of displaying everythingin your home in 3D – hardware infrastructure is there – content is there and money can be made, as a film producer/game dev, if you’re not looking at 3D today you are falling behind, not in the market to develop content consumers will enjoy – in 5 years, will see mass market adoption of 3D – what percentage? Dunno, but is coming – looking at content – is it 3D? Yes or no – (same way I am with HD now)
-in 5 years we’ll have key technologies, 3ality has about 40 rigs, Pace has about 70, etc. – price points have to drop as well – is it like HDMI? went from zero to 100% in 5 years. Will it be like HDMI with a bigger infrastructure play?
HDTVs are 25% currently
A: Brian – is going to take some time – isn’t like a cable – people want this – they want 3D – is gonna take off – people buying next set will start looking for 3D capable on next HDTV. will have 3D discs for home, 3D YouTube, etc – it will come
A: tough to predict out since forseee silver jumpsuit and hovercraft, but likely will come down to content, is there must have content – animation houses aren’t going back, they are in the stereoscopic business. But what else wiill be out there? The killer app for HD was sports – what will be that for 3D? Once you get it right, you can’t get it anywhere else and people want it. At U23D concert in Cannes, people took out their lighters, called for encore during credits, etc. When done right, ask’em on the way out and they want it. Can we get it right, ubiquitous, etc is the challenge. After doing it right, “Why would I watch that in 2D?” is the desired response.
A: guy on the end – gotta get the capital market lined up – is gonna be a 5 year play for 10-15% adoption. What he liked about HDMI – is was everywhere in 5 years. If you make it a premium roll, that’ll stall the adoption rate by 5 years – gotta go for ubiquity, NOT have it be the extra special thing from a perception and content perspective. (Make it DVD not Blu-ray is my thought)
(people next to me commenting on the pogo-ing crowd in U23D – yeah, that is what stuck with me in my head – amazing shot!)