First 3-D concert albums produced in Los Angeles

AIX Media Group in Los Angeles, an independent record label and media production company specializing in the development of DVD-Audio/Video and Blu-ray Discs, recently shot the first 3-D concert albums with Grammy-winning pop artist Rita Coolidge, multiplatinum country artist Mark Chesnutt, classical pianist Bryan Pezzone, the jazz/classical group Free Flight with James Walker and The Old Towne String Quartet.

Previously, AIX has gotten widespread recognition for its attention to audio fidelity and surround sound from customers, reviewers and equipment manufacturers. The company’s tracks have been licensed and used by Intel, Microsoft, Creative Labs, Acura and others to show off the advancement of audio technology and ultimate reproduction of music.

“I believe we’re the only label on the planet to create HD ‘albums’ of music that are not ‘live’ concerts but rather private performances intended for one’s own media room,” said Mark Waldrep, AIX’s founder. “The idea is to have an artist play and sing directly to you from across the room, not come blasting through a couple of speakers from a PA system.

“The next challenge for us was to add a third dimension to our HD albums,” he said. “I planned a project where I would shoot source material for these 3-D music Blu-ray Discs — personal, intimate performances with great surround sound and HD video shot in 3-D.”

For the 3-D production, shot during three days at Los Angeles’ Colburn School for the Performing Arts’ Zipper Auditorium, Waldrep used four new Panasonic (opens in new tab) 3DA1 camcorders and four preproduction Panasonic BT-3DL2550 3D monitors. The AG-3DA1, which became available in August, is a fully integrated HD 3-D camcorder that records to SD card media.

“The consequence was that I was able to simplify production on a tightly orchestrated shoot, speed up the workflow, have ultimate confidence in what we were seeing on the 3-D monitors and increase efficiencies in post production,” Waldrep said.

The workflow during post included logging and transferring (converting) the AVCHD files through Final Cut Pro 7 into Apple ProRes 422 HQ files for editing and then maintaining files in the ProRes 422 HQ format all the way to the encoder.

Waldrep said the new Panasonic cameras dramatically lowered the cost of the 3-D production when compared to more expensive 3-D production methods and, in fact, made the album projects possible. He finished the music mixes, video edit and convergence tweaks on “Goldberg Variations Acoustica” in June and released it on Blu-ray 3-D as one of the world’s first 3-D concert albums.

AIX plans to make up to six 3-D concert albums available over the next four months and to have an audio calibration and sampler disc available by the time the Consumer Electronics Association does its “3D Demo Days” campaign this month.

“The 3DA1 camcorder represents a success story for the little guy,” Waldrep said. “It’s making it possible for a small company such as ours to produce a suite of 3-D products of audiophile quality for a diverse, potentially large-scale public.”