February 2011

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Three Times as Thrilling: The Lost History of 3-D Trailer Production 1953-1954

Keith M. Johnston's article titled Three Times as Thrilling: The Lost History of 3-D Trailer Production 1953-1954 is about 3-D movie trailers from 1953 and 1954, which educated audiences about the competing 3-D technology. The article, from the October 2008 issue of The Journal of Popular Film and Television (©Heldrif Publications), reveals a unique perspective about how film studios spoke to their audiences, positioned technology as a star attraction and used 3-D as a potent weapon in Hollywood’s attempt to revise the cinema screen of the 1950s.

The article also attributes a reference about the use of View-Master® movie reels to 3-D Review Online Magazine's editor, Van Beydler. Johnston's book Coming Soon, Film Trailers and the Selling of Hollywood Technology contains an entire chapter dedicated to 3-D film trailers and also references the use of View-Master® movie reels to 3-D Review Online Magazine's Web site.

Keith M. Johnston is a lecturer of film and television studies at the University of East Anglia. More...



Sony Announces 3-D Camcorders at CES 2011

Sony kicked off CES 2011 by announcing plans to get 3-D technology into the hands of consumers announcing the launch of the new 3-D Bloggie and Handycam camcorders so consumers can shoot their own 3-D movies.

"3-D is far more than a science-fiction gimmick to make the special effects dominate the story," explained Sony Chairman HowardStringer. "3-D mimics the real world." He thinks mainstream consumers will want to shoot their home movies in 3-D.

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View-Master® History featured in Oregon Business Magazine

Oregon Business magazine January 2011 cover art.Oregon Business magazine's January 2011 issue takes a look at the past 30 years of businesses in the state and included in the article is a short history about View-Master®.

View-Master® grew from $35 million in sales in 1983 to $106 million in 1986 cranking out the iconic three-dimensional image viewers first developed in Portland in 1939 before being bought by Tyco in 1989 followed by Mattel buying Tyco in 1997.

Oregon Business was founded in 1980 as a print magazine. Today the magazine reaches more than 20,000 business, political and civic leaders and is found online as well. It reports news on a wide range of big-tent business topics.

Read more in the online article...

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JVC Unveils 3-D Camcorder and 3-D Still Camera at CES 2011

JVC GS-TD1 videocamera.The new GS-TD1 uses two camera lenses and two 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors, one for each lens, to capture three-dimensional images much the same way that human eyes work. JVC’s new high-speed imaging engine simultaneously processes the two Full HD images, left and right images at 1920 x 1080i, within that single chip. The newly developed “LR Independent Format” makes the GS-TD1 the world’s first consumer-oriented camcorder capable of 3-D shooting in Full HD. JVC’s new camcorder offers other shooting modes as well, including the widely used “Side-by-Side Format” for AVCHD (3-D) and conventional AVCHD (2-D) shooting.

The camcorder uses a JVC 3-D Twin HD GT Lens that sets a new standard in high-resolution lenses with extra-low-dispersion glass for crisp, high-contrast images, as well as multiple aspherical lenses for fine image reproduction. The GS-TD1 also features round iris diaphragms that enable beautiful bokeh effect (background blurring) shooting of video and stills alike.

Additional highlights include 3-D optical 5x zoom, Optical Axis Automatic Stabilization System for disparity control to give depth to 3-D images, JVC’s BIPHONIC technology for dynamic 3-D sound and Automatic Parallax Adjustment to optimize the 3-D video comfort zone .

There is nothing difficult about using the GS-TD1, which operates like other consumer-friendly camcorders from JVC. A 3.5” 3-D touch panel LCD monitor displays 3-D images without any need for 3-D glasses, making it easy to check 3-D images while shooting and watch 3-D playback in the field.

JVC’s other new HD Everio with 3-D capabilities is the GZ-HM960. . Similar to other HD Everio models in size and features, the GZ-HM960 is distinguished by its 2-D-to-3-D output function, which turns any 2-D footage into 3-D. Output can be viewed without glasses on the camera’s 3.5-inch 3-D LCD monitor, or by connecting the camcorder to an external 3-D television. Bluetooth® wireless technology enables integration with other devices, such as smartphones, to synch images with Google Maps™.

The GS-TD1 and GZ-HM960 both use Everio MediaBrowser software (for Windows®) for full management, editing and sharing of content. In addition to full-fledged video and still image editing, files can be uploaded effortlessly to social media sites such as YouTube™ or Facebook. In the GS-TD1, the software allows 3-D video to be shared on YouTube™.

The JVC GZ-TD1 Full HD 3-D camcorder will be available in March for $1,999.95.

JVC GS-TD1 rear view.

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Fathom Events Neogtiating to bring WWE Wrestlemania 27 to 3-D movie Theatres

WWE is negotiating with Fathom Events to air this year’s WrestleMania 27 pay-per-view in 3-D in movie theatres across the United States.

While the idea of WrestleMania 3-D sounds great, fans should not get their hopes up just yet as the two parties have still not yet come to terms on money distribution.

According to a report from The Chicago Independent Press, WWE wants 47 percent of pay-per-view revenue for 3-D buys, which is standard for WWE pay-per-views, but Fathom reportedly wants a larger cut. WWE also wants 60-70 percent of revenue from theatres, but Fathom isn’t willing to give that much away.

The negotiations have reportedly stalled and with WrestleMania coming up in just three months, the window opportunity for both sides to reach an agreement is closing.

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Buy 3-D items at The Stereo Store!

Seeing a future without 3-D glasses

by Peter St. Onge
Permission to post this article courtesy of Peter St. Onge, The Charlotte Observer, in Charlotte, North Carolina

JAN. 15, 2011 -- This month, technology lovers from around the world descended on Las Vegas for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, an annual gathering of geekdom that features the latest in personal gadgetry.

Among the stars of the show were 3-D televisions - not only the sets that are populating your local electronics store, but newer prototypes that answer the cry of consumers everywhere who don't want to wear those dorky 3-D glasses.

More than 2,200 miles away, Ken Conley sat at his desk in a small office park in Indian Trail, 15 minutes south of Charlotte. Unlike last year, he decided not to make the flight to Vegas for the show. "Now," he said, "I wish I had."

On display in Vegas were glasses-free 3-D TVs from companies that included Sony and Toshiba. They're the next potential big thing in visual displays - made possible, in part, in the warehouse over Conley's shoulder.

For the past quarter-century, the N.C. State graduate has been a pioneer in the production and use of lenticular sheets, a plastic that is placed over images to give them a three-dimensional effect. Until recently, the technology has been used for still images, like the portrait behind Conley's desk of a firefighter emerging from a burning building or the 3-D poster promoting the movie blockbuster "Avatar."

But now, Conley's product and ideas are being used for moving images, including those on laptops and portable Blu-ray players that also had bloggers buzzing in Vegas.

"It's even more intense this year," said Conley, "which makes us very happy."

Engineers from 3-D manufacturers send their units to Conley for customized lenticular sheets, or they fly to Charlotte and drive down to Indian Trail, where they are greeted at the front desk of a nondescript office by Conley's wife of 50 years, Mary Ellen.

The Conleys founded Micro Lens 14 years ago in the basement of their Matthews home. And if a basement seems a clichéd kind of place for a technological advance to be born, well, it's about the only thing typical about Ken Conley.

He is 77 years old, a Shelby native. He doesn't look much like a techie - more, perhaps, like a techie's dad. And at an age he says might put him "down at Myrtle Beach," he instead finds himself at the edge of new technology.

And he's there for a very old reason: He's never quite satisfied with his work.

Leader in the industry
"You want a tour of the place?" Conley asks.

It's a small operation - nine employees, including their daughter, who brings the Conleys' grandkids on weekdays to play in an office/toy room.

The tour begins in a conference room lined with striking 3-D images. A NASA astronaut leaps off a wall portrait. A crisp black-and-white head shot of Queen Elizabeth changes as you walk past.

Micro Lens is the world's leading producer of the lenticular sheets that cover images like these, which means that if you see a 3-D poster at a bus stop in, say, Dallas - odds are the plastic that created the 3-D effect came from North Carolina.

So how did Conley become an industry leader? A brief history of 3-D:

The origin of autostereoscopic displays, or 3-D imagery, began in the 17th century, when French painter G.A. Bois-Clair composed paintings that broke two images down into stripes and placed them behind a grid of vertical bars. The resulting effect was that if you walked by the paintings, one image would turn into another.

More than a century later, in the mid-1800s, English and Scottish inventors developed the stereoscope, a device that used lenses or mirrors to combine two photos of the same object into one 3-D image. By the early 20th century, film pioneers were doing the same with moving pictures.

The 3-D technology enjoyed its first heyday in the 1950s, with several movies employing the effect, and it has seen a recent resurgence that began in the 1990s with several documentaries using IMAX 3-D technology. The effect also was popular in advertising, thanks in part to lenticular technology, which began to boom in the 1940s and was used for products that included baseball cards and, of course, Cracker Jack prizes.

In the 1980s, a small Matthews company called Rexham supplied lenticular materials for manufacturers that had introduced multi-lens cameras. Ken Conley was an engineer on the project.

In the mid-1990s, he started his own company, Micro Lens, which sold lenticular products and the means to produce them to companies that wanted to make 3-D images. His timing was perfect. A new wave of technological advances was bringing computers and high-quality ink jet printers to small businesses, allowing Conley to offer lenticular sheets for 3-D products in smaller quantities. The use of 3-D in advertising again boomed.

In the late 1990s, a friend sent Conley a computer program that allowed users to place one picture on top of another and print it - perfect for 3-D photos. To make that process simpler, Conley created a lenticular sheet to go on a computer monitor, so artists could see their images in 3-D.

It was 2002, and a new thought came to him: If his lenticular sheet could make a monitor show a still image in 3-D, why couldn't he do the same for moving images?

"That's pretty much how I got started in 3-D TV," he says.

'Brain is being tricked'
How does 3-D work?

The simple answer: In real life, your brain takes the separate images your left and right eyes see and gives them depth. 3-D technologies essentially do the same. Says Conley: "Your brain is being tricked."

For 3-D movies, that trickery is performed by 3-D glasses, which separate the left and right images for your brain. For most of the 3-D TVs now hitting the market, motorized spectacles called "active shutter glasses" switch the image from one eye to another at a rate of many frames per second, fast enough to create one smooth, merged image.

But those same glasses may be holding 3-D TVs back from mass-market acceptance. Yes, the Dork Factor. People don't want to wear glasses - or look across the room and see their spouse wearing glasses - while they watch TV every night.

"I've never worked with glasses," Conley says. "They're a faddish thing."

TV manufacturers have apparently shared his concerns. About four years ago, even before today's 3-D TVs with glasses hit the U.S. market, companies were exploring how they could do 3-D without glasses. One of the people they approached was Ken Conley.

Now, his offices are strewn with monitors from those companies, and Conley is charged with making lenticular sheets that match the pitch and pixel arrangements of each TV.

"It's fun," he says, "and it's frustrating."

The frustrating part: There are still obstacles to overcome before they're ready for market. The biggest such challenge is the "sweet spot." Viewers of 3-D TV without glasses have to sit in designated places to get the full effect of the technology. Move from those spots and the 3-D effect diminishes.

"It's still not quite easy to watch," said Andrew Eisner of the electronics website Retrevo.com, who saw the displays at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. "It seems as if it won't be practical for another four or five years."

Another possibility: A different technology will emerge that makes 3-D without glasses work. Already, Conley's lenticular sheets have competition: parallax barrier technology, which uses a fine grating of liquid crystals on TV screens to help create a 3-D effect.

Good for business
Conley is optimistic. He keeps an eye on where research and development dollars are spent, and he sees a continued emphasis on 3-D without glasses. Companies also are pursuing 3-D on portable DVD players and gaming units, where the 3-D sweet spot isn't as much of an issue, and the technology has a logical future with the flourishing tablet market, as well.

All of which would be good for business at Micro Lens. "It would be way bigger than it is now," Conley says, finishing his tour in a warehouse full of lenticular screens and images.

There are Disney posters and several large prints of dinosaurs popping menacingly off their 3-D display. It's a visual treat that begs for a second or third look, and Conley waits patiently, smiling. He is humble about his place in the 3-D world - and his role in 3-D TV. "I'm not the father of anything," he says. "I just created something that people can use."

Is he still wowed by it, too? Not really. He looks at the images he helps create, and he wonders how he can give them more pop, more crispness. New technology. Old school.

"I think, 'I can make this better,'" he says. "I just ain't satisfied with it."

More: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/01/15/1983048/seeing-a-future-without-3-d-glasses.html#ixzz1BK00H92s

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Razzies Add Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3-D (Special category for 2010!)

Razzie AwardThe 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards ceremonies will be held at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The misuse of 3-D has it's own category this year.

3-D made the rounds in the theatres last year, and while some of the pictures were pretty amazing (Tron: Legacy), there were a ton of duds. And the Razzies being what they are, a celebration of the year's worst in film, felt the need to call out the most offensive 3-D offenders in a new category for 2010: Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D.

Here are the 2011 Razzie 3-D film nominations announced on Jan. 24.

  • Cats and Dogs 2: Revenge of Kitty Galore.
  • Clash of the Titans.
  • The Last Airbender.
  • Nutcracker 3-D.
  • Saw 3-D.

You can enjoy "Razzie-dazzle" awards moments on the new Razzie YouTube channel.

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2011 SD&A 3-D Theatre Best of Show 3-D Content Winners Announced

Experts in stereoscopic cinema declared several winners at the 3-D Theatre session of the 22nd annual Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) conference. The SD&A conference is the largest and longest running technical conference dedicated to the discussion of technical stereoscopic imaging topics.

The 3-D content winners at the 2011 SD&A 3-D Theatre are:

  • Best of Show - Live Action: "White Knuckles 3-D" by OK Go (USA)
  • Honorary Mention - Live Action: "Stereo Timelapse" by Takashi Sekitani, StereoEyE (Japan)
  • Best of Show - CGI: "Fractal Odyssey" by John Hart and Jerry Oldaker (USA)
  • Honorary Mention - CGI: "Holy Moly" by Passmore Labs (USA)
  • Best of Show - VFX: "Dead Boring" by Dave Edwardz, AFTRS (Australia)
  • Honorary Mention - VFX: "Experiments in Stereoscopic Imaging" by iCinema (Australia)

This year's judges of the SD&A 3-D Theatre session were: Dr Samuel Zhou from IMAX Corporation and Bernard Mendiburu, author of 3-D Movie Making. The judges were impressed with the high quality and inventiveness of the content and had a challenging task to choose the winning entries amongst a strong field.

The prizes for the Best of Show winners were a copy of the new DVD-ROM "Stereoscopic Displays and Applications - 1990-2009: A Complete 20-Year Retrospective" (which contains over 1200 technical manuscripts covering a wide range of 3-D topics), and a copy of the book "3-D Movie Making" by Bernard Mendiburu.

Forty different 3-D Video segments were shown during the two hours of this year's SD&A 3-D Theatre show - representing a wide range of different content types from producers of 3-D content located all around the world.

The full list of 3-D content segments shown during the SD&A 3-D Theatre is as follows:

Competition Category

  • Karisma Films Showreel (Timelapse), Karisma Films (Finland)
  • Hong Kong - Potential Unlimited, Digital Magic (Hong Kong)
  • Ztring Theory, Karl Bryhn & Jo Eldøen, Chiptoons (Norway)
  • Go Kia, Dzignlight (USA)
  • The Girl Who Had No Fear, John Hart (Boulder CO USA)
  • Gloria (The Death of Me), Andrew Murchie, Enhanced Dimensions (UK)
  • My Best Stuff!, Nat Bartholomew, Spinteck (USA)
  • Plasticity 3-D, Ryan Suits, Atomic Cheesecake Productions (USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz 3-D 2010, Lightspeed Design (USA)
  • The Army Learning Concept 2015, Digital Revolution Studios (USA)
  • Smart Action 3-D, Korean Broadcast Service (South Korea)
  • Stereo Timelapse, Takashi Sekitani, StereoEyE (Japan)
  • White Knuckles, OK Go (USA)
  • Experiments in Stereoscopic Imaging, iCinema (Australia)
  • The Solo Adventures 3-D, The Digital Animation and Visual Effects School (USA)
  • Jack Daniels whisky company, GALI-3-D, Arnold Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Highly Strung, Buzzbomb Media (Australia)
  • Holy Moly, Passmore Lab (USA)
  • Microworlds, Passmore Lab (USA)
  • 3-D Safari: Africa, Digital Revolution Studios (USA)
  • Coming Home, Rehela Jagric (Slovenia)
  • Citrullus Lanatus, Argyris Theos (Greece)
  • 3-D MOOD, Aquarium Lightspeed Design, Inc. (USA)
  • Spinteck 3-D Shorts, Nat Bartholomew, Spinteck (USA)
  • Dead Boring 3-D, Dave Edwardz, AFTRS (Australia)
  • Waiting for the End, Linkin Park, Passmore Lab (USA)
  • Fractal Odyssey, John Hart and Jerry Oldaker (USA)

Demonstration Category

  • Go Ahead!, U-Staff (Japan)
  • Invincible Tiger - The Legend of Han Tao, Blitz Games Studios (UK)
  • 21st Century 3-D Demo Reel, 21st Century 3-D (USA)
  • Keitai Deka - Zenigata Yui, BS-TBS Inc. (Japan)
  • 2009 Stereo Clips, Enxebre (Spain)
  • Une Nuit Au Cirque 3-D, Olivier Kauffer and Fabien Remblier (France)
  • Gnomeo and Juliet (trailer), Walt Disney Studios (USA)
  • Hidden 3-D (Opening Title Sequence), Dzignlight Studios (USA)
  • Immersive PC Games with NVIDIA 3-D Vision, various games companies
  • Maker Faire, Stone Circle Productions (USA)
  • 3-D AFL Grand Final (Australian Rules Football), Seven Network (Australia) and 3Ality Digital (USA)
  • StreetDance 3-D (trailer), Paradise FX (USA)
  • Tekkonkinkreet - 3-D digest, Tekkonkinkreet Program Committee (Japan)
  • Garo Red Requiem 3-D, Keita Amemiya (Japan)

Note: Items in the demonstration category were not judged for the Best of Show or Honorary Mention awards.

The producers of the 2011 SD&A 3-D Theatre were Andrew Woods (Curtin University , Australia) and Chris Ward (Lightspeed Design , USA). The SD&A 3-D Theatre was projected in high-quality polarised 3-D using equipment and services from DepthQ Stereoscopic, Christie Digital, Visitech 3-D, and Strong MDI Screen Systems. Additional support was provided by Dan Lawrence (Lightspeed Design) and Stephan R. Keith (SRK Graphics Research).

The SD&A 3-D Theatre is one of the highest attended sessions of the annual Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) conference. Many audience members commented afterwards about the high quality and diversity of the program and expressed their appreciation at being able to see such a wide range of 3-D content.

ABOUT THE SD&A 3-D Theatre
The purpose of the annual SD&A 3-D Theatre is to showcase the wide range of 3-D content being used and produced all around the world. 3-D content segments shown in the 3-D Theatre session are usually limited to three minutes in length in order to allow as much 3-D content to be shown as possible. The 3-D Theatre provides a useful focus on the more artistic and creative side of stereoscopic imaging in juxtaposition to the technical focus of some of the other sessions of the SD&A conference. The SD&A 3-D Theatre session was held on the evening of Monday Jan. 24, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel.

An illustrated listing of content shown during previous 3-D Theatre sessions is provided here: http://www.stereoscopic.org/3dcinema.

The 22nd annual Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) conference was held Jan. 24 through 27, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel in Burlingame California . The SD&A conference is the largest and longest running technical conference dedicated to the discussion of technical stereoscopic imaging topics. At this year's conference, more than 80 technical manuscripts were presented covering a wide range of stereoscopic imaging topics. The program of the 2011 SD&A conference is available here:

The SD&A conference is held as part of the annual Electronic Imaging Symposium organized by IS&T and SPIE.

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Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon 3-D Teaser Trailer

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Auction Results

Prof. Wise Balloon stereoview

A stereoview showing Professor Wise inflating his balloon sold for $410 with two bids. The E. Anthony real photo stereoview is dated Oct. 10, 1859. It is view No. 222. Prof Wise inflating his Balloon Ganymede at St Johnsbury VT; Caledonia Agricultural Fair of 1859, at St. Johnsbury, Vt.

In the Oct. 10, 1859 New York Tribune, John Wise, the famous air man of that period, records his observations of St. Johnsbury seen from overhead.

"In the midst of the ballooning mania with its perils and romances, I made my 234th ascension as an embellishment to the Caledonia Agricultural Fair of 1859, at St. Johnsbury, Vt. It was an exceedingly pleasant and serene trip ; and I give this narrative from my notes taken in the air. At 3 o'clock, p.m., Gov. Fairbanks admonished me that the time for the ascension was at hand. In another minute The Ganymede was in proper ballast, the cord cut, and up I went slowly, nearly perpendicularly. Having attained an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet in twenty minutes, the balloon became perfectly still, and I took a general observation of St. Johnsbury and the surrounding country.

"What a world of mountains, rivers, lakes, dells - mountains and hills by myriads encompass me; in the southern horizon a gallery of cloud-knobs based on a horizontal stratum, overtopping the terrestrial gallery, like Pelion upon Ossa. Franconia Notch with its gorge looking like a grand causeway to some submarine territory is awfully grand. Mount Washington looms up in patriarchal grandeur, like a father at the head of his national family of mountains, hills and knolls. The confluence of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers forms a scene as it were in a romance.

"Now the train of cars is stopping at Passumpsic to take a look at the balloon. I hear the strains of the brass band on the St. Johnsbury Fair Ground. I hope The Ganymede will remain poised here all day. Time flies with memory's delight. There is Stratford Peak which I was near coming to from St. Johnsbury three years ago. Not more than 500 yards off it seems, yet must be over twenty miles. I now see forty-two villages; lakes, rivers, ponds are glittering in the sunbeams like sparkling diamonds. The heavens between the mountains and the clouds are radiant with the rainbow. The horse track on the Fair Ground looks, in size and shape, like an old fashioned elliptical waiter. The enclosure with its people looks like a bee hive, and the Morgan horses coursing around the track, remind me of rabbits running around in a warren. I am now up an hour by the watch, and nearly in statu quo over the point of starting. I do not want to drift from this point above the Fair Ground."

John Wise

Professor Wise was the pilot of the nation's first hot-air balloon, Jupiter, postal delivery just a couple months earlier. (Smithsonian Magazine August 2006)

A stereoview of the Grand Square Malines in Belgium sold for $775 with six bids. Several other views from the same seller sold for similar prices.

Custer's expedition stereoview.

Two stereoviews of Custer's Expedition sold for $810.57 with 13 bids. The cards are from the STEREOGRAPHS OF THE BLACK HILLS series by W. H. Illingworth. The cards are Nos. 852 and 854, both titled, Custer's Expedition.

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