BIFCOM focusing on digital 3-D


More news from the Pusan fest

BUSAN, South Korea -- Producers and exhibitors wrestling with the convergence to digital 3-D were treated to practical demonstrations of new technology Monday as BIFCOM 2007 offered up the first in a series of 3-D cinema presentations.

BIFCOM's 3-D focus will continue Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the 2F seminar room in the Grand Hotel with a seminar on the opportunities and challenges posed by 3-D. Participants will include DeJohn, KwangWoon University professor Lee Seung-hyun, CJ CGV manager Kim Sung-woo, filmmaker and journalist Takayuki Oguchi and cinematographer Koo Jae-mo.

The individual presentations will continue today with Visual Communications showing its wares at 1 p.m. and Stereopia at 4:30 p.m. Big I Entertainment will offer a presentation Wednesday at 1 p.m.

U.S. firm In-Three offered up samples of its "Dimensionalization" process, which turns regular 2-D movies into eye-popping 3-D films -- complete with demonstration footage of the outerspace battles in "Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and still frames, given the 3-D treatment, from Bong Joon-ho's Korean horror hit "The Host."

Seoul-based Master Image demonstrated its new 3-D projection system, using trailers for Walt Disney Studios' 3-D version of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and its recent animated, 3-D movie "Meet the Robinsons."

In-Three coined the term Dimensionalization for its software, which scans 2D images and then transforms them into 3-D. Matthew DeJohn, manager of operations for In-Three, demonstrated how the process allows filmmakers to alter depth within the frame. The same scene can take on the appearance of an open window, allowing viewers to look into the scene, or objects within the scene can appear to extend out from the screen, reaching into the movie theater.

"The basic operating principal is to understand the director's original artistic intent," he emphasized.

Since Dimensionalization is a post-production process, it allows directors to shoot a 2D film, without having to use 3-D cameras, and then convert a film to 3-D. It also can be used to increase the value of film libraries by converting both existing movies and stock footage to 3-D.

Lee Young Hoon, CEO of Master Image, which was founded in 2004, described his company's efforts to develop a new 3-D display system for use in theaters as well as a separate system for personal display devices like PC monitors, mobile phones and MP4 players.

Master Image has created an external, rotating circular filter that is placed in front of a digital projector to separate the left and right images that combine to create 3-D. The system, which utilizes a silver screen, is intended to compete with technology developed by 3-D systems purveyors like Real D and Dolby. It already has been used in Korea for the theatrical engagements of "Nightmare" and "Robinsons."

Predicting that, by 2009, there will be 10 major 3-D digital films in the market, Lee said, "The 3-D market doesn't have a limit on its market expansion" and that it will be both "less expensive and more profitable."