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IBC 2008 Review: First Live Transatlantic 3D Wows Audience

Despite an awards ceremony, parties, and dinners, the RAI Convention Center“s 2,230-seat auditorium was packed to witness the first live transatlantic stereoscopic HDTV interview Sept. 15 during IBC in Amsterdam. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, sat in a California courtyard as his gigantic 3D image appeared on screen to the assembled crowd.

As the countdown to the live interview appeared behind him, Steve Schklair, founder of 3ality, quickly described the technology involved. Both Sony HDC-1500 and Iconix Video HD-RH1 cameras, in pairs, were used to shoot Katzenberg. The stereoscopic signals were combined into a single video video and compressed to what Schklair thought was 36 Mbps (he noted that some previous transmissions in the United States had used only about 20 Mbps).

The single feed was sent by Arqiva across the Atlantic in a single satellite hop to reduce conversational delay. It was then fed to an ultra-high-brightness Christie projector, which recreated the stereoscopic images through a RealD system. RealD also provided glasses for all participants.

The event was termed a near-flawless achievement. The California scene appeared to extend both in front of and behind the screen. Katzenberg showed a section of "Kung-Fu Panda" that had been re-created from the storyboards in 3-D and noted that it had a different duration and different sequence than the original "flat" version. He also showed a clip from the upcoming "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Katzenberg said there were no technological hurdles preventing home 3D, and, in response to a question from Amsterdam, noted that it was already possible for consumers to watch HDTV movies stereoscopically at home. After Katzenberg was awarded the 2008 IBC International Honour for Excellence for his contributions to computer animation, the live transmission ceased, but the audience was shown more examples of 3-D imagery, starting with a song from the "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour."