Once in a while, my job has some pretty nice perks. Last week, for example, I was invited to the Disney studios in Burbank, CA, for a preview screening of two movies coming out this holiday seasonTron: Legacy and Tangled, an animated telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale.
Traffic on the San Diego Freeway and surrounding surface streets was among the worst I've seen in many years as Tom Norton and I slowly made our way to Sony's big 3D launch event yesterday at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. We finally got past the accidentafter a medevac helicopter landed right next to us on the freewayand arrived shortly before Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer said, "Thanks for coming!"
At last week's Sony press event, the company's ES A/V receivers weren't the only things on display. (For more on these feature-packed AVRs, see my report here.) Tucked away at one end of the room was a mysterious shape tightly draped in a black shroud standing several feet from a projection screen. What could it be?
Last week, Sony invited hundreds of journalists to soundstages on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City California. The event: a kickoff of its new 3D component lineup, plus announcements of upcoming 3D software.
Last week, I attended a meeting at Stewart Filmscreen, where I learned about a new screen material called Silver 5D. It's a clever name, since this material is designed to work well with both polarized 3D and 2D images (3D + 2D = 5D).
If you're shopping for an HDTV this weekend, you might find yourself battle-scarred by a war you didn't even know was happening. Anyone considering a set with 3D compatibilitywhich now comes along for the ride in most better flat panels will be forced to choose between one that comes with either active-shutter or passive 3D technology. The key proponents of active-shutter 3D are Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony. Leading the charge for the more recently introduced passive technology are Toshiba, Vizio, and LG (which developed the passive home 3D system being used by the others). Although both types will play back the same 3D Blu-ray Discs and broadcasts, the glasses and the resulting 3D image are different. Here are some facts to help you sort things out.
On Tuesday evening, I attended a panel discussion on the future of 3D for cable and TV presented by iHollywood Forum to coincide with the NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunication Association) 2010 convention in Los Angeles. Also on hand were several demos, including Panasonic's VT25 3D TV and a super-cool 3D camera rig (pictured above), which I'll get to later.
With all the buzz about Toy Story 3, my expectations were pretty high, and I wasn't disappointed when I saw it in Imax 3Dthat is, I wasn't disappointed in the story or the 3D, which was among the best I've ever seen. However, the particular presentation I attended at the AMC Burbank 16 did have some problems.
Yesterday, I ran into David Reisner, digital-cinema consultant and recent guest on my Home Theater Geeks podcast, who told me about an exhibitor called Volfoni, which is showing hybrid active/passive universal 3D glasses at NAB. Intrigued, I sought them out.
The hype about 3D these days is overwhelming, with manufacturers and studios hailing it as The Next Big Thing. And the technology has come a long way from the red-and-cyan anaglyph glasses of the 1950s. But it still has a few drawbacks, leading some to predict it will be The Next Big Flop. Remember quadraphonic sound?