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Canada’s Film Board Puts 3D Online

MONTREAL, QUEBEC: The National Film Board of Canada’s new online 3D experiment started today. The NFB has posted samplings of various 3D content to its playlist at www.nbv.ca/3D, and for its iPhone app. The Board is giving away cardboard, Color Code glasses for viewing the anaglyph content--limited to two for personal use or “10 for an institutional use.”

The NFB launched its online screening room last year, and added the iPhone app a few months ago. The site now has more than 1,400 titles. The addition of 3D content is an extension of the group’s StereoLab project.

“StereoLab is an experimental project that does production as well as research and development into the medium of 3D. It has existed, in one form or another, for 10 years and came about as a result of SANDDE--Stereoscopic Animation Drawing Device,” wrote Julie Matlin on the NFB’s blog page. “Simply put, SANDDE is a tool that allows animators to immerse themselves in the 3D environment and create 2D hand-drawn animation that is rendered three-dimensional. It’s a proprietary piece of technology that was developed by the same team behind IMAX.”

One of the postings, a 4:47 short dubbed “Drux Flux,” is a sort of post-Modern video montage of heavy industrial images, inspired by “One-Dimensional Man” by Herbert Marcuse. “Falling in Love Again,” is an animated short set to the tune of Marlene Dietrich’s rendition of the so-named song. It is the group’s first animated film using the SANDDE system. Much of the other 3D content posted explores the process of its own making.

NFB also added 26 high-definition productions to the screening room, including “The Cat Came Back,” a short musical comedy from Cordell Barker; “Ryan,” an Oscar winner from Chris Landreth, and “Le Chandail,” from Sheldon Cohen.

“Normally, organizations don’t share their experimental processes,” said Tom Perlmutter, chairman of the NFB. “But we want to start changing that--letting Canadians into the creative workshop. It’s a little retro at the moment with the funky glasses, but it’s a playroom, it’s the skunk work of testing things out while we figure out how to make this fully part of the NFB online experience.” -- Deborah D. McAdams