3-D future still fuzzy as execs debate availability

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Stakeholders in the 3-D arena believe the upcoming concert films "U2 3D" and Disney's 3-D "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" signal that future content can be much more than theatrical features.

But all is not rosy in the 3-D universe: Some execs who attended a panel discussion about 3-D on Tuesday at Digital Hollywood at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel have concerns about production.

"I don't think anyone realizes yet what (the potential of 3-D concert films)," said Josh Greer, president of 3-D provider Real D, speaking of the "Hannah Montana" concert film and the frenzy behind the live performance ticket sales.

"The idea that you go from a venue where you have 5,000 or 7,000 seats to being able to offer 1 million tickets — I think this is going to have a profound effect on the type of content in theaters. That will also relieve some of the pressure for 3-D content."

But a potential holdup to increased live-action 3-D production is the commercial availability of 3-D cameras, said Bob Mayson, Kodak's GM of digital motion imaging and vp entertainment imaging.

"Until the day we see hundreds of commercially available rental cameras, it's going to be tough to drive the large volume of 3-D live action projects," he said. "You can get to 10-12 films a year, but to get beyond that is going to be tough. If we want to get to sports and concerts, we need to see commercially available 3-D broadcast cameras."

Shifting to 3-D in the home, 3Ality Digital will be shooting the "Live With Regis & Kelly" 3-D Halloween show today as an anaglyph NTSC broadcast. 3Ality COO and CTO Howard Postley said that this will be a four-camera shoot, making a total of eight cameras. The 3-D broadcast will air with the involvement of Walgreens, where viewers can pick up a pair of 3-D glasses to view the episode.
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