Yeah, you heard it right…kicked in the FACE! I recently sat in the screening room at 3ality (said: three-ality) Digital in Burbank, California. A camera swept across the stadium toward Bono and the Edge in a clip from the U23D concert movie, and I brought my fingers to the side of my neck to check my heart, which was pounding! Quick cut to a kickoff in last year’s Super Bowl in 3D. I’m not talking about a layer of one team, a layer of another team, and then everything else. I’m talking about a real three-dimensional image; smooth 3D from the closest player to the very back of the stadium, the way my eyes naturally see it. Absolutely amazing! And still, most of the population is perplexed by all the 3D talk.
Over the past year the press has done little to clear up why some people are talking so much about 3D television. The same questions always come up: Do I really need to buy yet another TV to get 3D? Can’t I watch 3D on my current TV? Do I have to wear those funny glasses? The immediate answer to these questions is always “Yes,” and then the writer goes into tech speak and my eyes roll back into my head as I start thinking about something on another website and click away from the article.
After watching the sample in the screening room, we walked into the lobby, where we watched clips from popular television shows in 3D. Again, the images were incredible. So what’s the big deal? Why can’t I have my 3D TV now? Well, you can…sort of. Get ready for the rich-nerdy-tech-girl down the street to have the coolest, newest TV technology before you do. But it won’t be long before you can have it too!
Acer is coming out with a cool new laptop pimped out with a 3D monitor that’ll run somewhere in the neighborhood of $800. But the real test will be next year when FIFA and Sony team up to produce 25 live sporting events in 3D. What I’ve heard is that the events will feature Manchester United, that 3D monitors will be placed in pubs throughout England, and that 3D glasses will be given out with beverages (gives a whole new meaning beer goggling!).
So here’s the key for me: blow-your-mind-incredible production values. What made those images of the Super Bowl and the U2 concert and even the nature images in the 3ality Digital screening room so compelling? They were well produced. When I was watching them, I wasn’t thinking, “What great 3D images.” I was thinking, “Wow, what an incredible experience!” The impression was so mind-bending because it wasn’t just about the 3D images, it was about being engaged with and immersed in the content. It would be pure joy to be in a pub in England with a group of happy (um, drunk) fans when that first ball comes flying out of the television at them. Now that’s just good clean fun! Fortunately, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are leading the charge with 3D films. We can hope that equal heavyweights lead the charge in television.
While I was at the 3ality Digital studio, Angela Gyetvan gave me a brief tour of their system for capturing 3D images, as well as talked about common misconceptions regarding the technology. Please enjoy the tour…and meeting Angela:
When I left 3ality Digital that afternoon, those images kept coming back to me. The experience was unforgettable! Not only do I want to own the latest and greatest technology to view this incredible new content, I want to start shooting in 3D…now! So, yes, you will need glasses, but the latest versions look more like Raybans. And, Yes, you’ll need a new TV, because, NO!, your current TV absolutely will not play 3D like this. Once you see 3D this way, you won’t want to go back.