To be S3D you have to see

Posted: 05.14.10

James Cameron called me the other day and told me (he never asks) I should pay more attention to 3D. I told him I’ve been involved in “3D” longer than he has been making movies, and what he really meant was Stereo-3D, or S3D. He didn’t get it, but he will. Maybe about the time I convince Jeffrey Katzenberg to say S3D.

James Cameron wants 3D in the living room and practically everywhere else. (Source: LA Times)

These movie types think they’ve just discovered imposibideum, like it’s some secret force of nature that was just lying under the surface waiting for them to remove the plenum and re- veal it to the rest of us. Obviously they never had a Viewmaster, went to the movies in the 50s, or played any PC games in the 90s. Newsflash guys: S3D ain’t new.

Which leads to the logical question (possibly answered by Kathleen Ma- her’s Practicality Gap)—how come we are not already using S3D—why now?

The first thing you hear is, “dopey glasses.” Do you wear sun glasses? Do you wear reading glasses? Do you wear glasses when you go to the mov- ies or watch TV or use your computer? What’s with the glasses thing? Glasses have been with us since before Ben

Franklin made them a style statement. What makes them dopey? Is it the red- blue filters that don’t exist anymore? Is it the frame size from the old Crystal- Eyes units from the 90s? Get over it. Oh, it’s that your PC glasses aren’t compatible with my TV. Why is that my problem? Your PC’s program disc isn’t compatible with my TV either. Maybe you don’t like the glasses be- cause of the headaches you get because you’re pregnant, drunk, and have been driving an 18-wheeler for 18 hours. What the hell are you talking about? Do you think it makes you cool to be negative and critical about new (old) technology? Get over yourself. You don’t want to use S3D? Fine, don’t. Don’t use anything you don’t want to use. Did you have this refusal to use new stuff when you were first shown a PC? Boy, I’ll bet the mobile phone must have really upset you.

So as my pals, Cameron, George (Lucas), and Jeffery have been telling anyone who’ll listen, S3D is not com- ing—it’s here and you’re going to be using it, loving it, and probably even advocating it.

But wait a minute, those are movie guys. They’re talking about the movies, that 24 frame/sec, six week render- ing time 2k x 2k 40 bit color stuff— not computers, not TVs, not mobile phones, or in-car entertainment sys- tems. What about S3D on all that other stuff?

It’s also here, or on its way. Nvidia has been bragging about 425 games available with their 3D vision, 3DTV has been demonstrated in the U.S., Eu- rope, and Japan. And maybe there’s not a broadcast standard, but there is proof of concept, and not only that—demand for it. Already the TV set suppliers are selling “3D ready” TVs—whatever the heck that is (OK, I know, its code for 240Hz). And there are 2D-to-3D real time converters that will take existing streams and DVDs and give you an S3D presentation on your 3D-ready TV.

Mobile phones are behind the curve but once a major brand like Apple, Nokia or LG brings out a couple of parallax-barrier models, then it’s off to the races in handheld land.

Last to the party will be in-car en- tertainment and nav systems. (I don’t know why we make that distinction, I find my nav system pretty darn en- tertaining, especially when she says, “Turn around stupid, you missed the exit again.”)

Of course, professional graphics and visualization systems have been using S3D for decades and loving it. There’s nothing more exciting than to watch a subterranean geophysical 3D map in pseudo color with its glowing pulsating gas and tar pockets. And have you seen those MRI shows? Wow.

As you may have figured out by now, we’re about to release a new market study on the S3D PC market— think you can guess what our position on it is? I’ll give you a hint—in 2014 it’s $75 billion. Are you loving that? And there will be glasses.