Cameron, Pace form 3-D consultancy for broadcasters

James Cameron, the director of “Avatar,” and 3-D production guru Vince Pace have formed a new company, the Cameron-Pace Group, to help TV broadcasters produce programming in 3-D.

“Our goal,” Cameron said at the show, “is to banish all the perceived and actual barriers to entry that are currently holding back producers, studios and networks from embracing the 3-D future.”

Cameron and Pace have already contributed technologies, products and services that were used in movies that produced $4.7 billion in box office receipts and have played an extensive role in 25 features, seven concerts and 40 sports productions. They have provided few details of their business plans, but they stressed the importance of a streamlined 3-D production process more like that of standard 2-D.

The new company already has 53 employees. Upcoming projects include the ESPN X Games 17, the NBA Finals, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon,” “The Three Musketeers” and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”

Cameron, who also gave the NAB keynote address, said the ultimate success of 3-D TV depends on broadcasters using their existing talent pool for production.

“People can’t completely reinvent how they do things,” he said. “It’s too expensive to hire separate crews to produce the same content in both 3-D and 2-D. To grow this market rapidly and correctly with high-quality 3-D, let people do what they do.”

When he began adopting 3-D technologies for his own filmmaking, Cameron said he didn’t want to use heavy rigs that would take away his opportunities to shoot handheld or use other techniques.

“I approached that as a director saying, ‘Well, I don’t want to change the way I make movies,’” he said. “I think the language of cinema is what it is, different people have different styles and so on, but I don’t want to be denied my normal tool set.”

Early attempts at 3-D in sports TV didn’t work as well as it could have because the 3-D and 2-D productions were separated, with the 2-D producers getting better personnel and camera positions.

“They were sort of treated as a red-headed stepchild, and then everybody cried that it was costing them too much because there were two entire crews,” he said.

A single, combined 3-D/2-D production team is where sports is headed, Cameron said.

“What they’re bringing to the table is the whole foundation of the whole presentation, the whole basis of the entertainment,” he said.

Cameron said that it’s inevitable that 3-D will be universally adopted for TV, and broadcasters must be ready for it. The big rush in 3-D will come if technology to watch 3-D without glasses becomes easier to put in TV sets, he said.

“At that point, I think the people who are first and foremost leaders of 3-D content creation are going to be the winners in the overall marketplace, the overall broadcast market,” Cameron said. “That’s my own personal prediction.

“A lot of people would say that I’ve just kind of drunk my own Kool-Aid,” he said, “but everything we’ve predicted about 3-D has come true and, for the most part, ahead of schedule.”