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  • 1. The 3D Phenomenon

2. Avatar Case Study 3. James Cameron on set of Avatar 4. Some facts: Reportedly budgeted at a whopping $237m(which would place it just one notch belowSpider-Man 3s record-breaking $258m) Took well over $2.6 billion in worldwide boxoffice making it the highest grossing film of alltime. Won various awards including Oscars and GoldenGlobes 5. Old 3D Dependent on glasses with red and greencoloured lenses a pair of closely-alignedimages with different tints gave theimpression of depth by fooling the eyes. 6. Camerons vision Helped move the technology on by workingalongside cinematographer Vince Pace to pioneerand patent a "fusion digital 3D camera system"in 2003. He shot large portions of Avatar on a "virtualcamera", a handheld monitor that allowed him tomove through a 3D terrain, in effect editing thisexisting, computer-generated universe. Theresult, he boasts, turns cinema into "the ultimateimmersive media". 7. The New Wave of 3D Films (or Stereoscopic) There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of 3D studiopictures in recent years. The box-office figures have been encouraging (the 3D version ofMonsters vs Aliens earned more than its flat-screen counterpartdespite playing in fewer cinemas). All across Hollywood, studio executives are now talking publiclyabout mothballing their conventional 2D productions in favour ofchasing after that "illusion of depth". Stereoscopic cinema is also largely protected from the threat ofpiracy. 8. New 3D They call it "the illusion of depth", a conjuring trick on thevisual cortex. 2 cameras shoot images side-by-side. Later, when theresults are projected, the viewer interprets these dualimages as a single 3D image. We see (or believe we see) aforeground, a background and, best of all, bulky projectilesthat threaten to leap from the screen and land in our laps. So far, most successful 3D movies have been entirelyanimated and Cameron, too, has used computergenerated images to build his virtual world. 9. The filming of Avatar Avatars footage is built from around 70%CGI, including the female lead. The cast donned motion-capture suits (leotardscovered in sensors that feed the movements of thebody back to a bank of computers) and acted outtheir scenes on a "performance capture" stage sixtimes bigger than anything used in Hollywood before. In addition, the realism was improved by using a skullcap to capture the actors facial expressions, withclose camera enhancement. 10. Filming cont. Motion capture makes 3D much easier, not just because it allows film-makers toadd the special effects later, but also by letting them position the "camera"(actually a viewpoint from inside the virtual world), wherever they want. Thistechnique is more closely aligned with the way that high-end computer gamesare developed. One major advance with Avatars setup was the creation of a virtual monitor thatallowed the director to see the motion capture results in real-time, as they werefilmed, instead of waiting for the computer to render the images. Cameron also developed new techniques for the live action parts. Cameron developed an innovative filming rig consisting of a number ofstereoscopic cameras that each use a pair of lenses built to mimic human eyes positioned close together and able to move a little in order to focus on objectsthat are nearby or far away. That allows the cinematographer to capture twoimages simultaneously, which align perfectly with and provide the illusion ofdepth. 11. Marketing Innovations Friday 21 August 2009: officially designated "Avatar Day saw the publicunveiling of a full 15 minutes of teaser footage playing at hundreds of sold-outcinemas across the planet. LONDON (21 April, 2010) Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainmentannounced that it would launch the industrys first rich media interactive trailer insupport of the April 22 Blu-ray and DVD debut of AVATAR. Using groundbreakingnew technology, the ads allowed viewers to zoom in or out of any frame, pause atany point and select hot spots without ever leaving the setting. By clicking onpoints of interest, consumers can access extended clips from the film and in-depth information about the world and inhabitants of Pandora. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment enlisted the services of internationalcreative agency, Thinkjam, to build the interactive units and Eyeblaster, to handlethe rich media serving. The result is an elegant and extremely complex productthat is a key component of a global digital marketing campaign unlike anythingexecuted before for a home entertainment release. The ads debutedsimultaneously across the web in 15 markets around the world. 12. Exhibition Viewing not only requires a digitally equipped cinema (sometimes with a silver-coated screen to boost the brightness), but also a pair of special polarised glassesso that the left eye and right eye can see different images shown simultaneouslyon the screen. Tickets for 3D films usually retail for a few pounds more than tickets to their 2Dequivalents to meet the extra production costs of a 3D film, but also because thereis an extra cost to exhibitors. The vast bulk of cinemas across the planet do not yet possess a digitalprojector, and without there can be no 3D screenings. This inevitably spells troublefor cash-strapped independent picture houses who may not have the funds toupgrade their equipment. In the UK alone, only around 320 out of 3,600 cinemas are digitallyequipped, while in the US the ratio is even worse (2,500 out of 38,000). "So thereis a big problem looming," admits Peter Buckingham, head of distribution andexhibition at the UK Film Council. "You are looking at about a minimum of80,000 to get yourself into a 3D position. Even with the hike in ticket prices andthe potential hike in audiences, thats quite a stretch for the smaller venues. Thedanger is that, in this digital switchover, a number of cinemas may well be leftbehind." 13. Have we fallen out of love with 3D? 14. Why 3D? News that US audiences are choosing for the first time to see blockbustermovies in old-fashioned 2D, even when the more celebrated option isavailable., for eg: as box office figures for Pirates of the Caribbean: OnStranger Tides and Kung Fu Panda 2 seem to suggest. Previously, filmgoers have always seen 3D screenings in greater numbers,an unbroken rule that has fuelled the formats rapid growth. 3D tickets are costly, which means yields are higher and end-of-year boxoffice charts are slanted towards movies that are shown in stereoscope.Katzenberg, director of Inception blames studios for embarking on cheap2D-to-3D conversions to take advantage of the current boom, even whenthe movies in question were never meant to be seen in stereoscope. Katzenberg describes the situation as "heartbreaking which underlinesthe extent of 3D fatigue among cinemagoers. 15. New Developments: Michael Bays movie is being touted as this summers torch carrier for 3D itssaviour, even. Katzenberg, in particular, reckons its great. Having previouslyavoided the format, Micheal Bay has conscripted James Camerons people toensure success. So whats the 3D like?Amazing: Suffice to say that the blitzkrieg collision of pixel and steel up on the big screen maywell be more technically brilliant than anything yet seen in the current 3D era. Oneparticularly bravura sequence sees robot-in-disguise Bumblebee transform from car to robot and back in slow-mo to avoid a collision, unwrapping and re-wrapping himselfaround Shia LaBeoufs Sam Witwicky without so much as clipping his earlobe. It drew audible gasps from the audience of critics. Another scene inside a giant alien spaceship I can only describe as like being a small insect flitting through an infinitelycomplex, mind blowingly sublime machine. In fact, for the first 10 minutes or so of the screening I found myself spellbound. Ben Child, The Guardian 16. But. Despite amazing 3D, the film failed to wincritics over as the plot was criticised as beingsecondary to the technology.