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3D: Cash, camera updates and more

Panasonic to pay €4,000 for 3D shorts, updates camera; 3D One update; Pointy Stick launched; 3ality and Arri news; 3D certification.

Panasonic will buy your 1st 3D film

Make a short 3D film with Panasonic’s AG-3DA1 integrated 3D camcorder and you could have it bought by the manufacturer for €4,000.

It has set up a programme to encourage professional 3D production and wants users to submit their first short film, which it will use for promotion over the next two years. The programme is open to European production companies or independent professionals (whether cameramen or directors), and is not aimed at consumers.

To qualify, the AG-3DA1 must have been purchased between 1 December 2010 and 31 March 2011 (and registered with the programme by 15 April 2011). The production must be produced with this newly bought AG-3DA1E and saved to a 3D-Blu-ray or Blu-ray (side by side) disc. Only one production per camcorder can be submitted.

The film must be creative and demonstrate innovation and artistic flair, and must be between three and four minutes long. It can be in any language, but must not include any advertising or any material subject to third-party rights. Productions containing “morally harmful content will not be accepted.”

“Innovations in technology show that, this time, the third dimension is here to stay. 3D is delivering dynamic, engaging content and transforming both the viewing experience and the industry as a whole. This initiative is designed to encourage filmmakers to produce new and exciting content and support the industry as it advances into the 3D world,” said Carmen Mendoza, Broadcast Marketing General Manager, Panasonic.

Producers must register online at

Panasonic adds 1080/24p to HC1800

Panasonic has upgraded its multipurpose 2/3-inch 3CCD AK-HC1800 camera to make it more suitable for 3D and episodic production.

At CES, Panasonic demonstrated two HC1800 cameras delivering 1080/24p in a Bexel 3D rig.

The compact 1.5kg HC1800 has been deployed for a wide variety of uses in studios, sports and entertainment venues, and can now shoot 24p (where previously it was 50i or 60i only).

It incorporates an advanced single-channel transfer system and spatial offset processing to reduce aliasing and provide finer resolution, has a useful signal-to-noise ratio of 60dB and sensitivity of F10 (at 2000 lux).

Other features include: 14-bit A/D converter with a 38-bit digital signal processor; 12-axis colour correction; CineGamma; Dynamic Range Stretch; HD-SDI output; genlock; mini 15-pin connector for power and control, tally function, iris and zoom/focus controls; motor driven optical filters (Clear, 1/4ND, 1/16ND, 1/64ND); DC 12v operation; and power consumption of 17W.

The AK-HC1800 with 24p output will be available soon at a list price of $29,900.

3D One upgrades CP31 3D camcorder

3D One has upgraded its CP31 3D HD camcorder with native QuickTime, has started deliveries in the US, and has had the CP31 used for filming rockets in French-Guyana.

Its latest, free software update allows the CP31 3D HD camcorder to directly write .mov files. The recordings are stored in two photo-JPEG encoded QuickTime files, which are natively supported by any Mac application, such as Final Cut Pro. It can also directly write AVI files, which are more commonly used on Windows computers.

The 3D One cameras are already available in Europe, at Alphatron, more2cam, or Visual Impact, and are now being delivered to US rental companies such as t-stop in LA.

The European Space Agency has recently been filming with the CP31 in the tropical heat of French Guyana, recording the integration of its Advanced Transfer Vehicle into the Ariane 5 rocket. This is part of the production of a 3D film to be projected for large audiences across Europe.

3D production specialist Pointy Stick launched

A new creative-driven 3D production company has been established by 3D production services and tech company Inition and director/creative technologist Michael Lindsay.

Pointy Stick is representing a roster of emerging talent and brings together original, creative minds from around the world, all of whom are already successful in 2D but are forging new paths in stereoscopic 3D work.

Pointy Stick’s commercials director roster includes Fredrik Callinggard whose Ikea commercial, Kitchen Dreams, won a Gold Lion at Cannes in 2006; Gaute Hesthagen who has a track record in high-end film and commercials; founder Michael Lindsay whose 3D work includes live event content for Unilever brand TIGI and a series of 3D films for De Beers; Mike Brady, who works across music, commercial and corporate video and recently directed a 3D ad for Royal Mail; and award-winning wildlife duo Deeble & Stone who recently collaborated with Inition to produce a 3D pilot for their feature film Distant Thunder.

“Pointy Stick stands out in the field for having both creative credibility and fantastic 3D technical credentials under one roof,” claimed Inition director, Andy Millns. “We have the crucial technological lineage and support built up in Inition, which is a major defining asset. The most exciting thing about this new venture however, is that we now have the framework in place to focus on expanding the creative parameters of what is possible in 3D.”

“Creatively, this is an exciting time to be working in 3D as most of the defining pieces of the medium are yet to be made,” added Michael Lindsay. “There is very little creative precedent to lean on which makes 3D a challenging medium to work with but one with huge potential. Bold, innovative and creative S3D films are our primary interest.”

Lindsay and Millns first worked together on series of 3D films for a global launch event in Las Vegas in 2006. Since then the pair have collaborated on a number projects. Pointy Stick has already completed work for DeBeers (for a no glasses display at its London and New York stores – pictured), LG and Unilever and shot pilots for music and documentary projects.

3ality Digital and Arri Media join forces

Arri Media is to supply 3ality Digital’s active stereoscopic 3D shooting systems to the UK’s TV and film market.

The new partnership will expand equipment availability, as 3ality Digital’s systems will be available to rent direct from Arri Media’s London and Manchester bases.

Content producers will also be able to demo or test the systems in one of the six Arri Media test rooms, at its offices in Uxbridge. There they can gain familiarity with 3ality Digital’s technology and ensure that it meets their requirements.

The agreement will also see Arri Media becoming the UK service centre for 3ality Digital’s products.

“Arri Media has over 20 years’ experience working closely with some of the biggest names in the UK’s film and TV industry, so they provide the perfect platform to expand the availability of 3ality Digital’s products. They fully understand advanced digital technologies, have industry-recognised technicians and support and are the perfect partner for us on this side of the world. Arri Media has a stellar reputation and we look forward to working closely with them,” said Steve Schklair, CEO of 3ality Digital.

The systems are already in regular use in the UK. BSkyB uses 3ality Digital equipment for acquisition for its 3D HD satellite channel, since using it on its first S3D broadcast, the Manchester United v Arsenal football game in January 2010.

“3ality Digital’s reputation for being the best in the 3D industry has been built on the quality of their products, which are at the heart of S3D. The company is capable of equipping at the highest level in the S3D world and together with Arri Media’s camera and grip range, we will be able to provide customers with complete S3D production solutions,” said Bill Lovell, Head of Arri Media’s Digital Department.

Arri Media recently supplied 3ality rigs to SK Telecom, Korea, to shoot Mozart l’opéra rock (Mozart – the rock opera) in Paris, using six 3D rigs (and an OB truck from Euromedia) at the Palais des Sports to capture the event, initially for cinemas across Europe then for global release. It also supplied 3ality rigs and Alexa cameras for a shoot in London, featuring the dance group Diversity, for Sky 3D.

Technicolor 3D certification endorsed by BSkyB

Technicolor’s new 3D certification programme, Certifi3D, has been endorsed by content owners and network operators, including BSkyB. The certification programme is geared towards broadcasters, network service providers and content owners, with the goal of delivering quality and comfortable 3D experiences to viewers.

“As the first operator in Europe to launch a 3D channel, Sky is at the forefront of both capturing and commissioning 3D content for broadcast on its platform. Sky aims to provide our customers with the very best quality and value 3D content across movies, sports, drama and the arts,” said Chris Johns, Chief Engineer, Broadcast Strategy at BSkyB (pictured). “We therefore see a clear need for innovations like Technicolor’s Certifi3D service that will help the creative community to deliver consistently high quality and safe 3D content, which will in turn maximize the comfort and enjoyment of the 3D experience for our customers.”

Certifi3D was demonstrated at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was created to ensure that 3D material meets minimum comfort requirements before it is delivered to consumers. As part of the service, Technicolor evaluates each shot against a set of objective criteria for stereographic reproduction, including a 15-point quality checklist to identify common errors in production that result in suboptimal 3D content. The company will also offer training to broadcasters and content creators to help them migrate their production and post-production techniques from traditional television to the three-dimensional medium.

“We are very excited that BSkyB is endorsing our 3D certification program,” said Pierre Routhier, Technicolor’s VP for 3D product strategy and business development. “Together with our customers, we will take a proactive approach in support of the industry to ensure a consistent and quality end-consumer 3D experience in the home.”