Originally Published: March 15, 2005
Monday, at the annual pilgrimage of film exhibitors known as ShoWest 2005 in Las Vegas, Imax Corp. planned to announce its new 3-D live action technology at the convention. The technology makes it possible to convert any two dimensional 35mm film into Imax’s large-screen 3-D environment, The Hollywood Reporter states.
The magazine went on to say that during the course of ShoWest this year, 3-D-related discussions and announcements also are expected from George Lucas, James Cameron, Mann Theatres and Texas Instruments.
“Going into ShoWest this year we all thought the major theme would be movie piracy,” said Ted Costas, Inter-Society president and director of production services at Dolby Laboratories. “Now it looks like there will be a big focus on exhibiting in digital 3-D.”
Apparently there are a number of reasons the film community will be taking a closer look at an enhanced 3-D entertainment experience:
Filmmmakers like George Lucas, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez are looking for ways to make films with a new type of appeal. Major studios are also eager to capitalize on any additional boxoffice revenue generated by day-and-date simultaneous 3-D releases; and exhibitors hope to get audiences into local theaters and out of increasingly enhanced home-viewing situations with content that can’t be duplicated in a home theater.
3-D also could serve as a deterrent against film piracy because 3-D content is extremely difficult to watch outside the proper viewing environment.
Late last week, Imax began displaying 3-D test footage of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man 2. (Spider-Man 2 was used for testing purposes only, and there are no plans to release the film in 3-D.) Imax also tested 3-D footage for Lucas’ upcoming release Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. Sad to say that IMAX and Fox will not be working together for the film’s May release.
Which brings us to the next part of this story. Lucas is apparently more interested in applying the 3-D technology to his library titles, whereas Imax is concentrating its efforts primarily on day-and-date releases. Thursday at ShoWest, George Lucas is expected to discuss 3-D as part of a digital cinema panel hosted by Texas Instruments. He is expected to project a digitally remastered 3-D excerpt from one of the Star Wars movies, but not the upcoming Revenge of the Sith. Lucas has apparently also contacted, a firm named In-Three about the possibility of remastering all of his Star Wars movies for 3-D. As part of its technology, In-Three also provides theaters with 3-D glasses and cleaning devices.
Mann Theatres plans to announce today that it is installing a 3-D digital cinema screen at the Mann Chinese VIP Theater in Hollywood in a deal with the Beverly Hills-based firm REAL D.
Cameron, who also is expected to be in attendance Thursday, has used In-Three to remaster portions of his documentary Aliens of the Deep. Although Cameron shot the footage with a high-definition video stereoscopic rig, portions were massaged by In-Three during postproduction to enhance certain 3-D effects.