3D TV Channel Announces Six New Series

5:48 PM PST 12/15/2010 by Carolyn Giardina

Joint venture of Sony, Discovery and Imax expects to have an estimated 200 hours of 3D programming by the end of 2011.

For emerging 3D channels -- including the 24/7 entry slated to launch in early 2011 as a joint venture of Sony, Discovery Communications and Imax -- one of the key challenges is to make available a steady stream of content.

The joint venture on Monday announced six new titles to its planned network programming slate, and it expects to have an estimated 200 hours of 3D programming by the end of 2011.

The result could be among the world's largest libraries of 3D content, and the majority of it would be original productions commissioned by the channel, according to Tom Cosgrove, president and CEO of the venture.

As the channel is for the U.S. market, this library may also become available to 3D ventures launching in other countries.

"We are certainly considering it," Cosgrove told The Hollywood Reporter. "We are in initial conversations with folks about doing that. ... The big complaint that most people have about 3D is that there is just not enough to watch, so part of the mission of the channel is to fill that gap."

At this stage, the venture is focused on creating native 3D content rather than converting 2D material to 3D.

"We are still evaluating (conversion) technology," Cosgrove said. "For us, the sweet spot of an affordable price to do this as close to flawless as possible hasn't quite come together. ... At this point, our emphasis has been on native 3D productions or acquiring content that was shot in native 3D.

Production for the venture is testing a Sony prototype camcorder that was previewed this year. It also is putting through the paces another prototype of a 3D camera that was built by Sony and co-developed with Discovery, also unveiled this year.

However, Cosgrove said that his venture is "fairly agnostic in terms of the brands of cameras that we use. There's lots of different rigs out there and single-body cameras."

Cosgrove also noted that Imax is working on proprietary conversion technology to prepare its large-format films for the small screen.

"What is meant to be seen on a 70-foot screen requires some changes to the convergence," he said. "They have been able to bring it into that television format."

To speed production, the venture has encouraged training at Sony's 3D Technology Center on the Culver City lot. "We have sent through hundreds of people already for those classes," Cosgrove said, adding that the organization has paired new 3D filmmakers with experienced ones for field training.

Content announced Monday included three original series -- with the working titles Bullproof, High Octane and Making the Brand -- and three acquisitions: Discovery's Ghost Lab, Sony Pictures' Open Season and Imax's Space Station.

This programming will be added to a lineup of previously announced content including African Wild (working title), China Revealed (working title), Jewels of the World (working title), Attack of the Giant Jellyfish, The Haunted, Into the Deep 3D, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Monster House.

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