3ality Digital has acquired rig developer Element Technica in a move that will impact Sony’s aspirations to provide an end-to-end 3D production chain for live events, writes Adrian Pennington. 3ality Digital gains an in-house manufacturing and design capability, and the opportunity to expand its R&D infrastructure.
The new company will be called 3ality Technica and for 3ality it removes one of its main competitors at the same time as it beefs up its business to compete with the marketing and financial firepower of the Cameron Pace Group.
LA-based Element Technica designs and manufactures motorised S3D camera rigs and are well respected by the industry for their cost-effectiveness relative to 3ality and Pace products. Its Pulsar and Quasar rigs have found particular favour among low-to-medium budget feature film productions and 3DTV documentary teams.
Its Quasar rigs were the equipment of choice for HBS, the production team responsible for the World Cup 2010, and for CAN Communicate who helped select the rigs for use in the Wimbledon 3D coverage earlier this year.
On both occasions Sony was heavily involved as 3D production sponsor and ensured that its MPE-200 stereo processor became an integral part of the workflow in helping to control convergence.
While 3ality Technica would on one level be foolish to turn down a request from HBS that the same model of ET rigs plus MPE-200 software be employed for the World Cup 2014, on the other hand it is likely to look at ways to integrate 3ality’s new suite of automated convergence tools into ET rigs.
“The amalgamation of 3Ality and Element Technica is obviously a startling development within the 3D community,” said Duncan Humphreys, Creative Director, CAN Communicate. “CAN has worked with Element Technica very closely over a long period and they have assured us that there will be continued development on all products that they currently support, including the MPE-200, and as such there seems to currently be no cause for any concern.
“In many ways it brings together two of the brightest stars in the manufacture of 3D equipment and one can only look forward to the new 3D products and accessories that may come out of their collaboration within the newly formed 3Ality Technica.”
The acquisition was flagged in April this year when 3ality Digital received a substantial but undisclosed investment from Clearlake Capital Group, which 3ality Digital CEO, Steve Schklair (pictured), said would allow the company to grow its research and development, expand service, and cover planned acquisitions.
“We have 40 projects on our R&D list and we could only do one at a time so now we can ramp up our R&D efforts,” he said at the time. “We are suddenly a worldwide manufacturer so we need to step up our customer service side and build more inventory and we have had discussions with a company about acquiring them.” Of the target Schklair added: “I want them. It’s good for our business if we get them and it’s good for their business, frankly.”
Speaking after the acquisition, Schklair said: “As our primary competitor, we have always had great respect for Element Technica and their achievements. The complete compatibility and lack of redundancy between the companies has made this an ideal acquisition, strengthening our position to provide the most advanced and dependable S3D solutions to the market. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this acquisition will be to the motion picture and broadcast producers who will now have an unprecedented amount of tools and technology tailored to meet their specific needs.”
Stephen Pizzo and Hector Ortega, co-founders of Element Technica become vice presidents of the new company.
“With this acquisition, 3ality Technica will be a decade ahead of the rest of the industry. Not only will automation become more common, it will be the standard as the industry begins to enjoy the simplicity and speed it affords,” said Ortega.