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SMPTE conference on stereoscopic 3-D goes beyond basics

When the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) holds its inaugural 3-D science conference next month, it will go beyond any other conference to date in terms of the level of technical information and understanding among those in attendance.

Peter Lude, an executive vice president of SMPTE and chairman of the 3-D conference’s program committee, said the international event, to be held July 13–14, at the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York City, will focus on the scientific aspects of 3-D entertainment, not just the new techniques (such as side-by-side acquisition), that must be resolved for successful production of live events.

The SMPTE 3-D conference will address issues ranging from how to acquire 3-D images without expensive mirror rigs and why some 2-D-to-3-D conversions look better than others to whether broadcasters will have to run a cable for each eye to transmit 3-D images effectively and when can consumers finally get rid of those annoying polarized glasses.

“There is a real need for education right now, as everyone’s trying to figure out the best ways to produce and distribute 3-D content,” Lude said. “What’s been missing is in-depth explanations from the various labs and technical experts around the country (who are all SMPTE members) about what the real issue are that stand in the way of practical deployment.”

He said that the conference program assumes that attendees are already acquainted with the basics of what’s happening in the general press but need a better understanding of lab work and field trials that might not be public knowledge. The program is broken down into for main sections: how images are acquired, processed, distributed and displayed.

Lude said that within SMPTE, more interest is currently coming from the broadcast TV engineer members, because many of the motion picture engineer members have already spent the last five years figuring out how what’s most important to them — namely converting 2-D content to 3-D.