3ality Digital to release ‘U2 in 3D’ to theaters

“U2 in 3-D” is a live-action 3-D movie shot with multiple cameras.

On Jan. 23, a 3-D movie of the band U2, “U2 in 3D,” will be released to audiences in select cities. The live-action 3-D movie from 3ality Digital was previewed at the Sundance Film Festival and CES 2008 earlier this month. A preview was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last July.

The film contains images from seven South American U2 concerts as the band performed its Vertigo tour, primarily in Buenos Aires. 3ality Digital used nine of its custom 3-D cameras to record the performances.

The company manufactures stereoscopic camera systems that automatically align, and the imagery systems adapt to mechanical and lens imperfections. As many as 16 motors are used to keep the left and right camera lenses aligned as it changes depth and zoom. The ability to align the lenses in the camera means less time is required to rematch them in post. This is a key step in keeping costs low and reducing eyestrain.

Stereoscopic imagery production is similar to that required for 2-D — conforming, basic effects and color grading — as well as additional steps specific to 3-D, such as image and color balancing, Z-axis and convergence manipulation, image alignment and layering.

With its techniques to handle misalignment when recording, the company sees potential for 3-D to be shown live to audiences. Live sporting events, for example, could be transmitted in 3-D to digital cinema theaters via satellite or fiber.

Not so far away is 3-D viewing at home. In fact, 3-D-ready consumer televisions are on the market. Samsung’s 3D-Ready DLP HDTVs have a refresh rate of 120Hz, making the transitions between right and left image display fast, smooth and flicker-free for viewers wearing prerequisite LCD shutter glasses. The Burbank,CA-based company says that it’s even possible to broadcast in 3-D to consumer televisions, because the signal can be compressed to fit into the ATSC bit stream.

The company is also working to eliminate the need for 3-D glasses. Its newest 3-D camera platform, the TS-3, is a lightweight, miniature high-resolution camera system specifically designed to capture 3-D images for display on the newest generation Autostereo (no 3-D glasses necessary) flat-screen monitors.

For more information, visit www.3alitydigital.com and www.u23dmovie.com.