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Feature: The Next Big Thing

17 May 2011
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On Tuesday, May 10 2011, BAFTA New York and the Sony Corporation of America presented an evening event all about 3D technology.

Designed to give media professionals an inside look into the latest 3D technology–also known as 3D stereography–the evening included an array of onscreen visuals and explanations of how the techniques and the equipment work. A truly remarkable amount of information was shared during the presentation, and BAFTA members in attendance followed with rapt attention.

3D technology has already carved out a unique and expanding place for itself in the film world, and the transformation is taking hold in the television arena as well. Sony’s 3D Technology Center, based on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot in Los Angeles, has a primary mission to “train and nurture a community of experts in the rapidly growing market of 3D entertainment.” At the BAFTA New York event, held at the Sony Building on Madison Avenue, several executives from the Center gave an abbreviated version of the in-depth trainings they regularly provide at their home base. The goal was to present what is historically known about stereoscopy, applied to state-of-the art technologies and known techniques. The information was keyed to BAFTA’s diverse audience of film and television professionals.

Chris Cookson, president of technology at Sony Pictures Entertainment, welcomed attendees to the evening. Sony executives who presented were Buzz Hays, Executive Stereoscopic 3D Producer for Sony’s 3D Technology Center in Los Angeles, and Grant Anderson and Matt Blute, stereographers at the Center.

Following a historical overview of 3D, the presentation included an explanation of the fundamentals of the technology, and an excellent sense of how the technology of stereoscopy is applied today. Aided by clips and other visuals, presenters made the science behind the technique understandable even to those without a technical background. On a practical level, they explained the fundamentals of making good 3D, what to avoid, and how a 3D stereo rig works. Also covered: 3D terminology, physiology of 3D, 3D versus 2D techniques, types of 3D production, and how 3D affects storytelling and the creative process as well as crew, budgeting and scheduling.

The main presentation was followed by Q&A and refreshments. SONY extended an invitation to all BAFTA industry professionals to apply to join one of their three-day hands-on courses in California. Write to Michelle Leigh at [email protected]. This event was organized by the Television Committee of BAFTA New York. Chair: Charles Tremayne.