September 21, 2008
3-D Home Theatre Is Coming

By Gary Reber

During CEDIA, JVC Professional and SENSIO demonstrated high-performance 3D. This is exciting and points to the future of home theatre. Already, there is a movement embracing the idea that at least A-title motion pictures should be produced in 3D.

On Sunday Jeffrey Katzenberg, the “K” in DreamWorks SKG, addressed the delegates attending the international Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam. Katzenberg, who is the head of the animation division of DreamWorks, stated: “I think in a reasonable period of time, all movies are going to be made in 3D. When the audience experiences this...and the filmmakers understand how much greater an experience they can offer their audience—and they can have as a filmmaking tool—I think 2-D films are going to be a thing of the past.”

Well, I for one am really excited about the prospect of seeing every A-title in 3D! To drive his point, everyone in the audience was wearing 3-D glasses, because they were watching Katzenberg speaking from DreamWorks’ Southern California campus in what was billed as the first transatlantic telecast in high-definition digital 3D. DreamWorks is firmly behind producing all of its future films in 3D.
In fact, next March the studio will release the animated Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D. I just hope that theatrical exhibitors will see the potential and embrace equipping their theatres with the necessary digital projectors to present movies in 3D.

As for home theatres, enthusiasts should start thinking about how they will implement 3-D projection, as well as flat panel viewing, and stay on the lookout for the announcement of a pending 3-D delivery standard for the home. Display manufacturers are now experimenting with display technologies that will optimize the 3-D experience in the home. We can also expect new innovative companies to introduce “designer” 3-D glasses for this upcoming market. There will be all kinds of opportunities for “personalizing” your glasses to make what can be termed a “fashion statement.” If the engineers behind bringing this exciting experience to the home get it right, we are in for an incredible adventure that is sure to take home theatre to a new dimension.

We now have the capability to deliver via Blu-ray Disc™ (and only on this media) “holosonic®” discrete 7.1 spherical surround sound in the home via lossless
Dolby® TrueHD and DTS®-HD Master Audio. As well, thanks to the D-BOX Motion Code™ System, we will be able to excite our motion senses in perfect synchronization with the 3-D visual and holosonic experience. This is, to me, the next frontier for THE home theatre. I think that the potential market for 3D in the home far surpasses that of theatrical exhibition. The last requirement is to settle on the standard for the home. Once done, then, as long as the studios deliver content, I believe the market for 3-D home theatre will explode. I caution filmmakers to not lose themselves in 3-D eye-popping gimmicks and stay focused on good storytelling in the classic sense of filmmaking.

In recent years, there have been several major motion pictures produced and shown in 3D, both in the digital theatrical format and IMAX®. It will be interesting to see what Warner Bros’ achieves, in terms of image quality, when it releases The Polar Express in 3D on Blu-ray Disc in December.

You can find a series of articles recently published in Widescreen Review on the technologies competing to become the home and theatrical 3-D standards ("Deep Impact - Part I: The Technology Of 3D
Cinema" in Issue 132, June 2008, and "Deep Impact - Part II: 3-D Home Video" in Issue 133, July/August 2008). My personal bet is on SENSIO. Look for an article on SENSIO in the December issue.

Gary Reber
Editor-In-Chief & Publisher
Widescreen Review

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