Seeing double at IBC

Robert Dow

Welcome to Amsterdam, welcome to the International Broadcast Conference. For whatever reason the IBC seems more susceptible to the waves of fashion and new technology than its more stable US counterpart, the National Association of Broadcasters who throws their big show every spring in Las Vegas.
Every year it seems there are several consistent themes underlying the show and the conference no doubt because the conference is dominated by a fairly homogeneous crew of industry insiders — so what every gets these old boys in a tizzy is going to be “the issue.” But, I can’t say that this is really such a bad thing because the conferences do work their way through a common problem and they’re always interesting. The same cannot be said of other conferences which often give conference slots to exhibitors first and worry about the topics second.
Anyway, this year the topic is stereographics and darned if I didn’t come back at least partially convinced. Sure, stereographic movies represent the last desperate machinations of the studios to bring people into the studios — apparently they’ll do anything short of making better movies. But, the technology is finally there so that it’s easy to site through a feature length movie and the content is even occasionally there. I did kind of like Polar Express by Robert Zemeckis and so did Jeffery Katzenberg who apparently committed to 3D movies after seeing Polar Express. He told the audience at IBC via a 3D video link that Zemeckis’ work had convinced him that 3D was the future for all movies. Ironically, the link convinced me that 3D isn’t going to be practical for most movies — even at its best, it’s distracting.
Without a doubt, though, 3D is going to bring people back into the theaters — at least for a while. It could be a great way for people to watch “the big game”, a stock car race, a rock concert, etc. Then, I think we’ll get board and all go home again. Don’t you?