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Jeffrey Katzenberg touts 3-D

DreamWorks Animation CEO talks format future

AMSTERDAM -- "I think in a reasonable period of time, all movies are going to be made in 3-D. When the audience experiences this and sees how exceptional it is, and the filmmakers understand how much greater an experience they can offer their audience and they can have as a filmmaking tool, I think 2-D films are going to be a thing of the past."

DreamWorks Animation CEO and 3-D champion Jeffrey Katzenberg made this prediction Sunday evening during an event that was introduced as a historic step in broadcasting. In the first live transatlantic telecast in high-definition digital 3-D, Katzenberg spoke from the DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale to an estimated 1,000 delegates -- all wearing 3-D glasses -- at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam.

The excitement was evident as a countdown clock on the screen showed that the broadcast was about to begin, and the packed auditorium erupted with enthusiastic applause at the first image.

Katzenberg said he anticipates changes with the emergence of 3-D -- starting with the glasses.

Noting that DWA has been doing some work with Luxottica and Oakley, he reported: "They're at a point where they are about to introduce a transition lens that where you go outside its your sunglasses, and when you go into the movie theater it transitions into 3-D glasses. ... People are going to own their own glasses. I think from a fashion standpoint and a coolness standpoint people will want to have their own glasses. I think that will be among the many changes that will come along.

"You are going to see 3-D roll out into all facets of our lives and our culture," he said, suggesting 3-D opportunities "on the Internet through the Web, and you can do this on laptops, computers and all kinds of handheld devices."

He also cited some early advertiser interest. "We have started working with some of the biggest advertisers in North America about trying to create some fun and unique 3-D events."

Still, Katzenberg was cautious when asked about converting 2-D titles to 3-D. "With the existing tools that are here today, we have not been happy with the quality," he said of some tests. "But the tools are getting better. I don't want to say it's not going to happen, I just don't know when."

During the program, he showed a 3-D test clip from "Kung Fu Panda" and previewed a scene from DWA's first digital 3-D title, "Monsters Versus Aliens," which is slated to open March 27.

The conversation then turned to the transition to digital-cinema projection, which is required to enable digital 3-D.

Katzenberg admitted that it was "moving a little slower than I had hoped."

There are currently slightly more than 1,000 3-D-ready digital-cinema screens in North America. Katzenberg predicted there would be 2,500-3,000 for the release of "Monsters."

Elizabeth Daley, professor and dean of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, conducted the interview at DWA.

At the conclusion of the interview, she presented the DWA CEO with the IBC 2008 International Honor for Excellence.

The live 3-D broadcast was delivered to the IBC using 3Ality Digital's 3-D image capture and transmission encoder/decoder technology. It was send via a high bandwidth HD satellite circuit.