Technicolor has revealed more details of how its 3D quality control programme is being put into practice, including a move upstream to pre-production planning. Currently Certifi3D is intended to quality control (QC) 3D material for movie studios and broadcasters and was recently used by Momentum Pictures on its 3D film, My Soul to Take.
“We are currently providing it as a service and we have key clients for whom we can act as a gateway before 3D content reaches the viewer,” says Pierre Routhier, Technicolor’s Vice President for 3D product strategy and business development. “Ideally we want to be further upstream working with producers on equipment choices and not just catching the product at the end.”
Routhier likens the situation to the move from black and white to colour: “Then, Technicolor had to send consultants onto movie sets to help the art or make-up department as well as the cinematographer to make the on screen images work in colour. Misunderstanding of the issues with 3D is widespread and some of the content is questionable.
“Our goal is not to make money fixing problems – this is not Technicolor’s business,” Routhier stresses. “Our goal is to take in a lot of content and feed it to distribution platforms but we recognise that a lot of that content is poorly produced so we have to take a proactive step in evangelising high quality 3D.”
BSkyB has endorsed the programme although it QC’s original content at its own 3D facility. Technicolor is taking 3D programming imported by Sky and passing that through its own facility before delivering to the broadcaster.
“It doesn’t make sense for every broadcaster to build super huge 3D departments to fix everything which is why we are offering the service,” says Routhier.
Certifi3D is a software analysis tool which evaluates 3D shots against a set of criteria for stereographic reproduction, including a 15-point quality checklist to identify common errors in production.
“There is a world of difference between TV and movie 3D production,” he explains. “With features I have six months to make it right – with TV I have three days and basically no budget. You are going to see issues.
“For example there will be issues where both eyes are not exactly the same colour or same brightness level. Your brain is going to compensate some of that but it will cause constant fatigue.
There could be as little as 1/30th of a second difference in sync between the streams so that the left eye is slightly ahead of the right eye – but even that makes the world of difference to a viewer.
“You can have data management or editing errors where the left track is put onto the right eye and vice versa. I’ve even seen this presented as good 3D to the public and trade.
“If you use high end self sentient rigs and analysis tools on-set you may be alright but more than likely TV productions will employ a generic rig and have no time to make the geometry perfect.”
Technicolor’s software will automatically identify and correct some of these issues but manual intervention by a trained operator is also required, he says.
The Certification chart, which describes their evaluation criteria, is available at www.technicolor.com and here as a pdf download: Technicolor.Certifi3d.Poster