3D to become standard format

  • TECH
  • Friday, 14 May 2010

SEOUL: Avatar director James Cameron believes 3D will replace 2D as the standard, mainstream format for film, television and online content in less than 25 years.

Viewers will soon not only enjoy films in 3D theatres but all forms of entertainment, including sports and music shows on TVs and laptops, Cameron said at a technology forum here.

He directed the 3D epic Avatar, which won three Oscars and is the highest grossing film in history, with US$2.7bil (RM9.2bil) in worldwide ticket sales to date. He has also directed other blockbuster films such as Titanic and Terminator.

Avatar has proved that 3D technology is not just a fad but a revolution changing how the audience chooses to consume media and entertainment content, the 56-year-old director said in a speech to the Seoul Digital Forum, an annual technology and media gathering.

“Quite simply, where they had a choice, the audience was selecting for the best possible way to see the movie,” he said. “And they saw 3D as the premium viewing experience.”

A shift

Cameron likened what he called the “3D renaissance” to the advent of sound and colour in motion pictures. But he said full adoption of the enhanced format will require less time than the 25 years it took for colour movies to become standard.

Pointing to the popularity of 3D films, Cameron envisions the film, technology and consumer electronics industries rapidly moving toward mass adoption of the enhanced format.

That could come as soon as “in a couple of years,” but “definitely less than the 25 years it took colour movies,” he told reporters at a press conference after the speech.

Television makers Samsung Electronics Co and Panasonic Corp started selling 3D TVs this year in hopes of riding one of the next big waves in consumer electronics.

Movie studios Universal and Disney have released 3D films on Blu-ray, such as Coraline and The Polar Express.

Discovery Communications and ESPN previously announced they will launch their own 3D cable television networks in the United States, with ESPN first broadcasting World Cup football in 3D next month.

Not enough

The biggest hurdle to rapid mainstream adoption of 3D is not technological shortcomings, but the lack of 3D content to watch, Cameron said.

“If you play all the 3D movies in existence on your fancy new 3D TV, it will keep you entertained for about three days,” he said. “This content gap is the biggest hurdle for the rapid adoption of 3D TV.”

Asked about the prospects for Internet streaming of 3D movies, Cameron said he was upbeat. “3-D laptops are already here,” Cameron said. “I’ve already seen some very good ones.”

Cameron also said he intends to personally dedicate himself to helping the industry adopt 3D without creating a consumer backlash.

That will include continuing to create quality 3D content, like a sequel to Avatar, which he estimated will take about three years to make — 18 months less than it took the first.

The release date will be announced in a few months, he said. — AP

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