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Digital Cinema Summit Goes to the Next Dimension

Patrick Lussier While in 2009, there are promising 3D theatrical releases, including "Monsters vs. Aliens," "Final Destination: Death Trip 3D" and Director James Cameron's "Avatar," as well as a growing interest in 3D broadcasts, as evidenced by recent Super Bowl commercials and a 3D episode of NBC's "Chuck," stakeholders have yet to determine 3D's longer-term impact. Can it drive digital cinema adoption, increase box office revenue and develop audiences across multiple platforms?

This year's Digital Cinema Summit, being held Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, is focused on the business, technology and viability of 3D, with the event theme of "3D Cinema and Beyond: Lens to Living Room."

Including keynotes from Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, and Patrick Lussier, director of "My Bloody Valentine 3D," the two-day symposium is produced in partnership with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and Entertainment Technology Center.

Sessions on the first day of the summit, which examines theatrical exhibition, include a "Digital Cinema Roll-out: A Status Report" panel, with a look at the ongoing transition of theaters from film to digital projection systems and projections (literally) for 2009; updates from trade associations Digital Cinema Initiative and National Association of Theater Owners; and "3D Releases — How Many Screens Are Enough?" which previews upcoming theatrical projects.

Mark Zoradi Saturday's event also offers three technical sessions: "Advances in Cinema 3D Technology," which explores new tools for capturing, managing and projecting stereoscopic material; "Stereoscopic Vision — How Do We See in 3D?," which explains how the visual system perceives and processes 3D; and the tutorial "Fundamentals of Stereoscopic Imaging," which details the specific requirements for shooting a 3D project.

Director Patrick Lussier, who worked with the stereographers to develop an innovative system for capture on "My Bloody Valentine 3D," will provide the day's keynote address.

Sunday's program focuses primarily on 3D in non-theatrical applications, from television to mobile devices.

Opening with a status report from the 3D@Home Consortium, the day includes presentations such as "3D Anytime, Anyplace," which will consider carrying 3D for broadcast, package media, IP download and mobile networks; "Studio Perspective: Technical and Business Considerations on Home 3D," which examines the market for 3D in home entertainment in areas such as DVD, syndication and pay-per-view; and "Delivering 3D to the Home," which examines the technical feasibility of viewing 3D through various displays and distribution media.

The "Stereoscopic Sports — Case Studies" discussion on Sunday will highlight recent efforts to bring live 3D broadcasts of sporting events to both theaters and homes. Panelists from ESPN, NBA Entertainment and Fox Sports will discuss the underlying technologies and also screen game footage.

President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group Mark Zoradi, who oversees the worldwide distribution and marketing of all Walt Disney Studios films, will deliver Sunday's keynote address, focusing on new possibilities for digital 3D content.

"The ongoing digital shift in our everyday lives continues to create new opportunities for content distributors to engage with a broader audience," explains Zoradi. "It is crucial that entertainment companies, broadcasters and content creators operate with creative and business strategies that help to drive revenue across multiple platforms and channels. As a leading creator of digital 3D content, we are committed to exploring and utilizing new opportunities."