3D mobile displays a game changer: Anthony Geffen21 November 2011
The CEO of Europe’s most successful 3D TV producer has highlighted the market penetration of glasses-free mobile displays as a potential game-changer for the industry. Anthony Geffen (pictured), who is CEO and creative director at Flying Monsters 3D producer, Atlantic Productions, also admits that being in such a high-profile position, he feels the pressure of responsibility to deliver the best 3D projects possible.
The arrival of mobile and tablet devices with autostereoscopic screens, “could be a significant game changer,” believes Geffen. “More people will see 3D content on tablets. From demos I have seen, the experience on tablets will be of high quality, and in turn it will attract consumers to see 3D content on 3D TVs. Our future 3D projects will start to link content into those new platforms. It will define our business model going forward.”
Geffen, who is also Creative Director of Colossus Productions, a joint venture with Sky specialising in 3D, believes that the conventional business model of winning a commission from a single broadcaster doesn’t work in 3D.
“Some funding is happening where people are topping up a 2D production, which is not a barrier, but it’s not always easy to produce good 3D off the back of a 2D show,” he says. “The market for 3D TV has split between large scale projects shooting, for example, 4K for IMAX distribution at feature film budgets with feature film kit and feature film stereography teams, and lower budget approaches using cheaper technology. It’s the middle ground which is really hard.”
He continues: “There is absolutely a place for producers on much lower budgets, cutting deals on technology and experimenting with cheaper technology; but people need to scale back a bit and put the emphasis on why 3D illuminates a story better than 2D.”
For Geffen, the main impediment to 3D production remains a lack of practical experience. “It’s just not that easy to do. Kit is still problematic because you will always have complications with a rig. At the cheaper end, new integrated 3D cameras are very limited, so a lot of stuff shot on them wouldn’t meet the technical specs of broadcasters.
“The principal backing for 3D will inevitably go to those few companies who have proved themselves, who have committed resources to learn the necessary skills. They will be the companies that have to deliver on a big scale. But that does not cut off innovation from other people.
“We need the market to grow and for there to be more original content commissions and distribution channels. I feel the responsibility to carry 3D in some sense and that puts additional pressure on us to deliver.
“I think the studios have tried to get rich rewards quickly by adapting 2D films badly to 3D, then rushing things to market and giving 3D a bad name. Not many films have been released where people can say ‘that was better in 3D.’
"I believe that the areas we are in – high-end documentaries – has a license to push the boundaries of what is possible where cinema can’t. That’s because everything we do is conceived from scratch in 3D. It will also work in 2D, but we are driven by what we can do in 3D, not by an economic or creative model that is led by 2D.
“The only thing we have in mind is that each 3D project we make has to be so much better as a 3D film than the same subject in 2D, or why are we making it at all?”