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LAS VEGAS — James Cameron and Vince Pace, who together developed the Fusion 3D camera system used on Avatar, are forming the Cameron-Pace Group to facilitate 3D broadcasting with the development of new technology.
Cameron and Pace announced the venture during a keynote Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.
“Broadcasting is the future of 3D,” Cameron said, predicting that in as few as two years, “everything will be produced in 3D and 2D versions will be extracted from that.”
The venture is a rebranding of PACE, which offers the Fusion camera system.
Cameron and Pace will serve as co-chairmen, with Pace also serving as CEO. PACE president Patrick Campbell assumes the role of chief technology officer.
Company headquarters will remain in Burbank, in an expanded 50,000 sq. ft. space. The pair is also looking to form relationships in different territories to enable global 3D adoption.
The pair believe a key to unlocking the broadcast market is to integrate 2D with the 3D.
Said Pace, “2D viewing would need to be just as good as a 2D production, with no compromise.”
As an example of the direction they are going in, Pace described the company’s Shadow system, a development that allows 3D production technology to piggyback on a 2D camera. It was used on the 3D coverage of the Masters golf tournament.
“The beauty is we are not paying for the (extra) operator,” Pace explained. “Out of 18 cameras we had six of these new cameras that piggyback on the 2D show.”
“The business model had to start with service filmmaking,” Pace added, noting that cameras need to be small enough to put on the shoulder or in other mobile configurations.
“There are a lot of myths about the barriers to entry,” said Pace, saying that that includes the myth that the technology needs to be different. “We believe it is the opposite. To grow this market correctly, we need to let people do what they do and the use of the tools be transparent.”
Cameron added, “I don’t want to be denied my tools and the ability to move the camera fluidly.”
As CPG targets broadcasting, Cameron said, “We are shifting from having to create 50-70 (camera systems) for movies to thousands of rigs that need to got out there for the rapidly growing broadcasting business. We have a very specific strategy and are investing aggressively in R&D.”
“Our strategic plan is to make 3D ubiquitous over the next five to 10 years on all platforms,” he added, predicting that in three to five years there will be 100% adoption at the cinema level and rapid expansion in the home market.
Cameron pointed out that when the consumer electronics companies “charged ahead, that created a content gap.”
He suggested that a move toward passive glasses in the home — which are cheaper that those frequently offered today and don’t require batteries — could help the adoption of 3DTV, and when glasses-free technology becomes available, the adoption curve “is going to go ballistic.”
He added that stereoscopic 3D could also create impact in other areas such as the scientific and educational communities.
In related news, CPG and Munich-headquartered camera maker Arri announced a partnership in the development of a new Arri Alexa M modular digital camera system, with an eye toward 3D production using the Fusion system.
CPG will have exclusive commercial access to the first Alexa M camera systems, to be made available in September. Production and sales release of the Alexa M to all customers is slated to begin during the first quarter of 2012.
CPG is also building Fusion technology for the Red Epic camera, which is likely to be available even sooner, Cameron said.
CPG is looking to work with camera makers in order to forward the market.
“Broadcasting will be the future of 3D,” said Pace. “We are going to turn it into something that is really a revenue stream.”
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Jamie Lee Curtis