3-D jumping out of traditional biz


LAS VEGAS -- A dazzling look at 3-D imagery and discussion of potential new revenue opportunities afforded by alternative 3-D content were the focus of a session held Wednesday at ShoWest.

"3-D has turned the market on its head," said moderator Andrew Stucker, director of Sony's new digital-cinema systems unit. "A combination of creative storytelling and new technology has resulted in an increased revenue stream for theater owners that shows no sign of slowing down. But while the revenue from 3-D motion pictures has helped the industry, it is revenue based on existing business models.

"We'll see if 3-D can move out of traditional business models into the still new, still elusive revenue stream of alternative content," he said.

Featured speakers from Pace, a 3-D production techniques business, discussed alternative content and presented a case study of a recent production.

In February, the NBA teamed with Pace to offer the NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the 56th NBA All-Star Game live and in 3-D high definition. The NBA's 3-D HD viewing events took place last month at three sites at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Hotel.

"If there's a fan base out there that is hungry to get as close as it can (to an event), whether it's a sports fan or a music fan ... this (can be) an exciting prospect," Pace CEO Vince Pace said.

The company handled production with its Fusion 3-D production system, whose development started with the 3-D system created by director James Cameron and Pace to shoot Cameron's 2002 Imax film "Ghosts of the Abyss."

Pace said that the NBA production was accomplished with six Sony Cine Alta digital cinematography cameras, modified by his company. Pace's co-director of sports entertainment Deena Sheldon emphasized that they were designed to be "very user-friendly."

The session featured highlights of the NBA production; exhibition was accomplished with two stacked Sony SXRD digital cinema projectors, for a total of four projectors. Pace co-director of sports entertainment Jeff Zachary reported that Pace was in discussions for additional productions, including with the NBA.