2D to 3D: Classic masterpieces to get 3D makeover

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are seeing a massive shift right now to 3D”.


“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are seeing a massive shift right now to 3D”.

Words from a rather excited Steve Glum, head of branding and distribution at Passmorelab in San Diego, the world’s largest 3D content provider.

With the world and its dog touting the excitement of 3D you can see why companies like Passmorelab are excited about the world going three dimensional when it comes to watching movies.

The studio specialises in turning 2D movies into 3D, ready for the studios to release in the cinema to a 3D hungry audience, as well as creating its own 3D content.

The company is just finishing up turning the 1968 horror movie Night of the Living Dead into 3D, showing that 3D movies aren’t just about cartoon monsters or space battles in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Originally shot in black and white over 40 years ago, George Romero’s masterpiece has, says Glum, been “painstakingly restored, colorized and converted, frame by frame into full 3D” using the company’s proprietary technology. The process, which took over 12 months to complete at a cost greater than the film’s original production budget, “was no small feat”.

So will it succeed? Glum certainly hopes so:

“3D is out performing 2D content in most cases”, Glum tells us before commenting that most cinemas and studios are keen to embrace the technology because they can charge more for the experience at the cinema.

With over 30 Hollywood 3D blockbusters slated for 2010 and the cinema currently packed with titles like Coraline and Monsters versus Aliens it’s only a matter of time before cinema goers want that experience in the home.

“There is no content yet for the home”, confirms Glum. “But that’s because there isn’t any technology out there yet that is mainstream. No Blu-ray 3D, no vast array of televisions that offers the technology. But do you really think James Cameron will be happy to let that slide?”

Glum is referring to James Cameron’s Avatar due out in the Cinema in December.

The film, which Cameron himself believes will have the same if not greater effect on cinema as the first “talkies”, is expected to catapult 3D to the masses and open the flood gates to more 3D content from all directions.

If, as expected, it is the box-office smash that the studio and Cameron is planning on, then come the time of the scheduled Blu-ray release in 2010 there currently isn’t a way to experience the film in the home.

Industry experts predict that this will force the studios into pushing for the adoption of a standardised format with Blu-ray 3D at the centre of it.

“The industry will change pretty quickly”, states Glum.

Of course you can get 3D for the home at the moment. Anaglyph 3D is probably the most familiar and involves you wearing blue and red glasses. It’s been around for sometime, however to get a “true” 3D experience studios are opting for the more efficient “polarised” method. It still involves you wearing glasses but the 3D effect is considerably better.

This year’s IFA confirms that 2010 will be a big year from a hardware perspective, with Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung, LG and the Blu-ray Disc Association all putting their weight behind the technology.

“It will be a number of years before you get to deep penetration, but we still will see a robust market that will begin to emerge in 2010”, Jeffery Katzenberg, the boss at Dreamworks said at 3D Summit in LA in September. “All the major manufacturers are aggressively rolling 3D products beginning next year”.

So are we likely to see a barrage of re-released 2D movies in 3D? As the quote at the top of this article stated:

“This is just the tip of the iceberg”.

With the higher revenue from cinemas, the chance to convince consumers to re-invest in possible new Blu-ray players, TV and films, combined with a hunger for 3D content, expect your world to go 3D very quickly over the next 2 years.

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