NEW YORK - The 2nd SMPTE Annual Conference on Stereoscopic 3D for Media & Entertainment wrapped up its first day at the Millennium Broadway Hotel today. This time around the ornate Hudson Theater was outfitted with a Sony projector and a RealD 3D stereoscopic system, which several presenters used to deliver easy-to-understand illustrations.
The day was bookended by two observations on the current and the future penetration of stereoscopic 3D (S3D) in the consumer market. SMPTE president Peter Ludé opened the conference saying that although some analysts see a decline in the current number of S3D viewers, 40 percent of US film goers choose to the pay the $3.50 premium.
Gordon Castle of PwC closed the evening with a report on the S3D business landscape. The presentation, based on the PwC S3D international market study, was cautiously optimistic, naming the lack of quality content as one of the major adversaries to successful S3D consumer adoption. The study went further to forecast 2012-2013 as the years when S3D will reach its maturity.
Jenny Read of Newcastle University kicked off a series of thought provoking papers by challenging the prevailing notion that a minimal amount of distortion producing vertical retinal disparity in stereoscopic vision is the filmmaker's enemy and suggested that the induced illusion effect could be deployed for creative purposes.
She and other scientists cautioned that more cooperation is needed between researchers who work in labs and engineers who deal with practical applications of the S3D technology.
Such cross of science and technology was evident in the paper presented by Daniele Siragusano of CinePostproduction. Daniele worked with test subjects to measure the effects of S3D distortion and was able to test his findings as a working stereographer.
The second day of the conference will focus on S3D metrology and processing, as well as advances in stereoscopic displays.
Igor Ridanovic is a film and TV technology consultant in Los Angeles.