Variety – The Business of 3D

Buzz builds for home 3-D

Digital Cinema Summit looks beyond glasses


LAS VEGAS — Audiences are becoming interested in 3-D television, and the industry must satisfy that demand for 3-D movies to thrive.

That was the message from a series of panels Sunday morning at the Digital Cinema Summit held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Phil Lelyveld, a strategy adviser for the Entertainment Technology Center at USC, hailed the momentum behind 3-D movies but warned, “If we don’t show visible progress now (on 3-D in the home), this momentum could die and move into a niche environment.”

Lelyveld led a panel offering the studio perspective on home 3-D. Others on the panel were Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros. president of technical operations; Real D co-founder Josh Greer; and Nandhu Nandhakumar, senior VP of advanced technology at LG Electronics.

Antonellis said Warner has identified 40 titles in its library that are candidates for conversion to 3-D. “We’re working on both new titles and on trying to revitalize our library,” she said.

But that effort depends on being able to tap into homevideo revenues that aren’t available because 3-D TV is in its infancy, with multiple incompatible formats and almost no penetration of the home market.

“We want to move it into more of a ‘long tail’ experience,” Antonellis said. “It changes the whole economic model.”

At the corporate level, Warner has been somewhat reticent on 3-D as it is still negotiating deals for virtual print fees, but the studio had a surprise 3-D hit in “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

Antonellis and other panelists agreed it is essential that the industry make buying a 3-D TV simple so that consumers know what they need, understand what they’ll get and enjoy the experience once they have it.

“I need to be sure,” Antonellis said, “and our marketing folks will ask this: Will the experience be the same across all devices? Will the features be the same across all devices? Those are reasonable questions to ask.”

She added that Warner expects to see “a fair amount of movement in (the 3-D TV) space” in 2010.

For now, homevideo 3-D releases such as Warner’s Journey” are going out in anaglyph format, similar to the old red/green glasses method that almost everyone wants to put behind them.

“I would call anaglyph a necessary evil right now,” said Greer. “For people who’ve never seen 3-D, it’s kind of like the gateway drug. It lets you know there’s a possibility.” However, he added, many viewers don’t like it.


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