Cameron says 3-D production has to make economic sense

Virtually everyone agrees that the days of separate 2-D/3-D production will soon be over.
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James Cameron, the director of the 3-D film, Avatar, and now the most famous advocate of the 3-D television production movement, told an audience at IBC that shooting separate 2-D and 3-D will never work for broadcast television because it is simply too expensive.

Cameron said his Cameron|Pace Group model for 3-D production will mix the two methods into a hybrid format for a lower overall production cost. The Cameron|Pace Group is a company that was announced at NAB 2011 and founded by Cameron with Vince Pace, a 3-D production pioneer who has worked with Cameron on a number of projects. The company is providing production services and consulting to broadcasters.

At IBC, Cameron announced the launch of the company, which will focus, he said, on live sports production using a “shadow system,” where 2-D is piggybacked with 3-D to keep production costs down. That technique was recently used at the U.S Open Tennis tournament in New York City.

The Cameron|Pace Group will soon provide complete 3-D mobile units and supply OB units with its technology for use by its broadcast clients.

Also at IBC, Grass Valley announced a partnership with Cameron and Pace to work with the company to develop more affordable 3-D production systems that allow both 2-D and 3-D to be shot simultaneously.

Cameron and Pace had used production systems, including the Grass Valley Kayenne switcher, to create the first edition of the production level and 3-D live concert “Glee Live! In Concert!” That production also used a Grass Valley Kayenne video production switcher and a K2 Dyno replay system for multichannel playback in stereo 3-D.

It was also announced at the show that Arri has delivered production prototypes of its modular Alexa M camera to the Cameron|Pace Group. The M was developed for use in 3-D rigs.

“The success of 3-D will be based on designing technology that supports the creative process of the filmmaker. The team at Arri has brought to the industry a great step forward toward quality 3-D,” said Pace, who is co-chairman and CEO of the Cameron|Pace Group.

The front-end of the Alexa M transmits uncompressed RAW sensor data at around 18Gb/s to a back-end image processor/recorder using a hybrid fiber optic cable that can also power the head. The fiber means the head can be up to 1km from the body.

The feedback Arri gets from the Cameron|Pace Group will help develop the final product on version expected early 2012. Arri will also integrate elements of company’s 3-D rig automation technology into the Alexa M, the company said.