Cameron Pace Group beats the 3-D drum for primetime episodics

At last week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, James Cameron, the renown film director and 3-D guru, continued to ignore the “the doubters, the naysayers and scoffers” and pushed for a 3-D production path he claimed will be profitable for broadcasters.

With his partner Vince Pace, Cameron owns a company, CAMERON | PACE Group, that provides producers with the workflow tools they need to produce 3-D content. He said 3-D television needs to move beyond sports and special events to scripted dramas in primetime.

Cameron Pace has done large-scale 3-D projects like the Masters golf tournament on CBS and the Winter X Games on ESPN with as many as 35 cameras. But now they are pushing for highly rated TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “NCIS” to be made in 3-D. The goal is to get TV producers interested in a nascent technology that heretofore has been expensive when used properly.

Shooting such a drama could be cost-effective if planned correctly, Cameron said, requiring as few as three cameras, with no expensive and complicated visual effects. “I think that should be the place we’re looking for the most rapid growth,” he said during a talk at NAB.

To date, most television executives have targeted sports, movies and nature-oriented programming for 3-D. But Cameron said he wants more routine dramatic fare produced in the format, causing many in the audience to roll their eyes in disbelief.

Cameron seems to be ignoring the low consumer interest in 3DTV. He praised TV set manufacturers for getting 3-D television sets into the consumer living rooms. “We imagined it might be hard to get to that,” he said.

In addition, the lack of abundant 3-D programming has “created that chicken and egg challenge we had in the movie business. It’ll be the larger flow of content that encourages (manufacturers) to (move) to the next big milestone, which is a glasses-less display,” Cameron said.

Cameron Pace has been working to reduce the cost of producing 3-D content using a strategy they call the 5-D concept. Basically, the 2-D (HD) and 3-D feeds are shot and produced simultaneously with much of the same equipment, infrastructure and manpower. ESPN used this 5-D technique at the recent Winter X Games with its 35 cameras.

“If every single 3-D camera has got to have a 3-D technician standing by it somewhere in the chain, you’re dead,” Cameron said. “You can’t do it.”

The latest innovation from Cameron Pace is a mobile, handheld camera that has a 2-D camera, with a 3-D device mounted on top, which allows one shot to yield the two feeds.

Cameron suggested that camera operators and producers become skilled in both 2D and 3D. “The more we try to make 3-D different, mysterious and special, the more we do ourselves a disservice,” he said.

At the NAB Show, CAMERON | PACE Group announced that FUJIFILM's Optical Devices Division, has joined the Cameron Pace company's Strategic Alliance Program to help advance 5-D workflows. In its exhibit booth, FUJIFILM showed a number of solutions with FUJIFILM lenses, as well as the newest member of FUJIFILM's Premier PL "Mount Zoom" line, the PL 19-90 Cabrio lens. Additionally, the company’s Nano Beamsplitter rig – at less than 19 lbs., the most compact and lightweight system for 5D sports production – was displayed in FUJIFILM’s booth.