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Conference Takes a Look at 3D and the Big Screen

Many of Monday’s conferences — traditionally IBC’s digital cinema theme day — are focused on stereoscopic 3D movie making and presentation. And according to IBC’s director of technology Phil White, Monday’s theme of “New Dimensions for the Big Screen” also has implications for smaller screens too. New digital technologies in cameras, post-production and projection systems are enabling stereo 3D to, literally, add a new dimension to the cinema experience.

Implications for broadcasters and television too, in all its applications from recording to display, are discussed in Monday’s session “Unique to Cinema — but for how long?”

“Sports, drama and movies are all TV genres that should be embracing Stereo 3D and we’ve got several broadcasters attending panels throughout the day talking about this future technology,” says White.

And it appears that broadcasters are not far behind their cinematic counterparts. In April this year it was announced that Hyundai has already built the world’s first 46-inch stereoscopic TV set for consumer use. Currently being launched on the Japanese market, the set is 2D/3D switchable and comes with its own pair of 3D glasses.

The first private broadcasts of stereo 3D have already creating major interest among advertisers and broadcasters alike. In light of these developments this session will look at how manufacturers are already assembling to create an orderly technical environment and determine the standards required.

Guest speakers lined up to attend the session include high-profile figures from the world of broadcasting, including John Zubrzycki, a principal research engineer at the BBC and BSkyB Director of Technology Chris Johns.

The session will also examine how critical the 3D DVD player and displays are to ongoing investments by the major studios as well as the convergence of video games with video content.

Delegates interested in the production side of 3D should also attend the session “Capturing and Creating Stereoscopic 3D content,” which will look at the variety of ways that stereo images can be generated, from cyberspace to motion capture and live action recording. Panelists include new players in the 3D space including Steve Schklair from manufacturer 3Ality Digital Systems.

On Monday evening there is also the chance to catch 3D in all its big screen glory with a screening of “Journey to the Centre of the Earth 3D” in the IBC Auditorium. The movie was the first live-action, narrative motion picture to be shot in digital 3D.

Elsewhere, Monday’s “What Caught My Eye” session explores the workflow revolution with industry veteran Roland Brown, who was, until recently, director of engineering at London post house The Moving Picture Co.

A non-executive director of Quantel and Imagineer Systems, Brown is also president of trade association BKSTS and chairman of the DTG Production Systems group, which focuses on HD research. His aim is to make sure companies get the best out of new developments in broadcast and production technology, while remaining on time and on budget.

In a nontechnical, but informative way, Brown will highlight exhibitors at IBC2008 who are currently leading the way in changing and improving broadcast and production workflows.

Broadcast technology and the environment are not always the most comfortable of bedfellows. However, delegates concerned that changing formats and inbuilt obsolescence are having a negative impact would do well to drop in on the session “The environmental impact of our industry, and what we can do about it.”

A panel of speakers, from the BBC to Panasonic and Sony, are on hand to inform attendees about how they are revising their production methods and even changing their basic materials used for manufacture.

IBC always tries to create a number of ‘world firsts’ and this year is no exception with the world’s first public demonstration of what many have come to regards as the next step on from HD — Super Hi-Vision. This system combines 7680 x 4320 pixel images with 22.2 channel immersive audio.

“Super Hi-Vision is the equivalent of 16 HD feeds making up one picture,” explains White.

Throughout the show live demonstrations with international links of Super Hi-Vision will be broadcast in collaboration with Japan’s NHK, Italy’s RAI and the BBC in the UK, which will be broadcasting live from the GLA building, the London Mayor’s headquarters.

To back up these demos, there is a session on Monday that takes more of an in-depth look at Super-Hi-Vision technology. “Images of tomorrow — will the world demand more than HD?” features representatives from NHK, RAI and the BBC.

IBC’s d-cinema programme concludes on Tuesday morning when it again hosts the annual open meeting of the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF). The forum will provide a particularly European focus on current d-cinema issues, including a look at where d-cinema has grown in the last twelve months and examining the economic drivers behind this.

And, as White points out, it’s also the one time in the year where representatives from the U.S. can meet up with their European counterparts and discuss standards.

“They have all got issues especially as they start moving into a position where the whole of cinema will be digital in a couple of years’ time,” he observes.