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SONY AND THE 3D REVOLUTION

Written By: Harold Schossman

02-17-2010

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Ever since James Cameron’s sci-fi spectacle Avatar shattered literally every single box-office record in movie history 3D technology is gearing up to invade the entire entertainment industry and it seems there is no stopping it:

Sony has announced a 3D firmware update for its Playstation 3 that will allow any game to appear in 3D. They are also developing games specifically designed for 3D gameplay. The data will be stored on 3D-BDs (Blu-Ray discs) and the PS3 will be able to read those 3D-BDs once the firmware update has been installed. A debug version of Sony’s 3.20 update is apparently now making the rounds among programmers. It clearly features a “3D Video Output” option. Pretty cool! So does that mean that next summer we all can jump into 3D at no extra expense? Unfortunately not! While you can continue to use your PS3 your TV will not be able to the task of displaying 3D. Why not?

In order to create the illusion of 3D game programmers and filmmakers have to add depth to the images they create. This is achieved by two slightly different angles, one for each eye. In order to display these two angles Sony has come up with a TV set that mimics the 3D process used in theatrical 3D motion picture presentation of movies like Avatar. Your PS3 sends out a HDMI signal to a 3D TV that runs at 200Hz. Each frame displayed on the screen alternates between the left and right eye giving a 100Hz per eye 3D image. Spectacles you need to wear polarize the film/game sending the right images to the proper eye thus creating the illusion of 3D.

So is it worth dishing out your extra bucks for a brand new 3D TV set? In my opinion: Yes. Even though 3D has been around for many decades its breakthrough is happening right now.

While the film industry has been dragging its feet mostly due to the difficulties of having to ship 2 filmprints per 3D movie theater the huge number of digital projectors both in the US and the rest of the world have finally paved the way for 3D on a grand scale. Warner Bros. has recommitted the cast of its upcoming Clash Of Titans to reshoot scenes for 3D. Clash has been pretty much completed when Avatar’s huge success and the fascination of 3D prompted the studio to follow in those footsteps and also deliver a 3D version once the film opens in April.

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James Cameron is in talks with various electronic manufacturers to aid in the development of 3D technology for private use. It’s his firm intention to bring the “true Avatar experience” into people’s homes. Microsoft has also revealed that the Xbox 360 will definitely able to process 3D although details are yet to be announced. Last but certainly not least software manufacturer Majesco is planning a 3D title of the Wii later this year.

In conclusion it’s important to observe that Sony is also a leading supplier of professional broadcast equipment. The PS3 creator has paved the way for digital motion picture cameras, is widely distributing theatrical digital 2D/3D projectors and has helped director James Cameron to develop his Fusion 3D camera for Avatar. I’d say it’s a safe bet that their engineers in Japan are already working on a smaller, better version suitable for broadcast. While 3D is still in need of improvement it is certainly not a mere trend. It’s here to stay.

About The Author: Harold Schossman is our International News Correspondent and our resident Expert Videographer. He has worked in the entertainment industry for almost two decades. Be sure to check out his outstanding video work on his YouTube account.

http://www.youtube.com/user/hdeditor