Friday, December 21, 2012

December 20, 2012 
The global 3-D consumer market is thriving in a dynamic environment marked by clear and discernible growth across its major platforms, including cinema, home video and pay-TV video on demand, with international markets continuing to make major contributions to the industry, according to an IHS Screen Digest Cross Platform Intelligence report from information and analytics provider IHS.
Worldwide metrics are on the rise for 3-D technology as a whole. The number of 3-D screens is up fourfold over a period of three years, while 3-D box office climbed in the double digits from 2010 to 2011. The 3-D home-video market is also showing strong growth, bucking the overall trend of a declining physical video market, with U.S spending on Blu-ray 3-D nearly doubling in 2012 from last year’s levels. More 3-D TV channels worldwide are likewise now available, including one just launched in China, with plenty of potential for expansion in the years ahead for 3-D Video-on-Demand service.

The attached figure illustrates the strides made by the 3-D consumer market in the United States in particular, in which the principal metric used for tracking is consumer spending.

“In an age where consumers have at their easy disposal a virtual treasure trove of entertainment options to draw from, the encouraging growth of the 3-D medium is remarkable to behold,” said Tony Gunnarsson, analyst for video at IHS Screen Digest. “The continuing expansion of the industry is especially significant when one considers that 3-D is but a small niche of overall digital viewing, and that consumers have to shell out considerably more money for 3-D products, which are priced at a premium and not necessarily an easy sell in these economically uncertain times.” To read more click here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Growth of 3D in China

Ian Jessel, President, Legend3D
3D in China: An Exclusive Look
By Ian Jessel
Presented at SCREENSINGAPORE - 12/5/12

China’s media and entertainment industry is predicted to grow at a 17% annual rate until 2015, significantly faster than the country’s economy overall. Part of that surge is driven by box-office revenues. China recently surpassed Japan as the world’s second movie market and it will move past the U.S. to claim the number one spot by 2020.

China is also predicted to become the second biggest advertising market next year. This is driven by an increase in disposable income combined with the surge of digital consumption. In 2010, Chinese spending on entertainment and recreation was $350 billion. This jumped the following year to $547 billion.

Two major reasons for this:
  • Economic:  where the growth of the middle class corresponds to the growth of disposable income, which means that all leisure activities, such as cinema, TV and the Internet are booming.
  • Cultural: where the Chinese government has put emphasis not only on economic development of the domestic market in general but also on the development of Culture as a business in particular. One by-product of this emphasis is China’s determination to become the world’s leader supplier in 3D and smart TVs.

Which is The Biggest Opportunity
for 3D in China, Film or Television?

The answer is definitely films in the coming years. 3D in cinemas is booming in China but 3D in TV is at a very early stage. There is only one dedicated TV channel in China, although the government has plans to launch another 10 3D channels in the next four years.

As 3D films are extremely popular, we expect to see 3D content to appear on television and especially on tablets and online VOD platforms very soon. But currently, there is a marked lack of content for all those ancillary distribution channels.

China is Currently Building Digital Screens
With 3D Equipment at an Amazing Rate

Driving this box-office bonanza is a tremendous increase in the number of cinemas and multiplexes, largely due to a construction boom in commercial property. Last year, there were 803 new theaters and 3030 screens added, an average of 8.3 new screens a day, for a total of 2800 movie theaters and 9200 screens across the country. Analysts expect that number to rise to 12000 by the end of next year. 85% of those theaters are digital and are well equipped to screen 3D product and 3D films are achieving astonishing results in China.

Of the current total of 9200 screens in China, over 6000 are capable of screening 3D, second only behind the U.S. but gaining rapidly. For IMAX, China is the fastest growing market in the world. A total of 226 IMAX cinemas have been contracted to date with 95 currently in operation. RealD, Expand, Dolby and MasterImage 3D also have a rising number of 3D-capable screens around the country.

When the first imported 3D film (Journey to the Center of the Earth) was released in China in 2008, there were only 80 3D screens in China. More screens were built in 2009 but in 2010, when Avatar was released, the 3D phenomenon really took off in China. Avatar had a box-office of 1.3 billion Yuan in China (approx. $200 million), a new record in Chinese box-office history. Avatar was swiftly followed by other Hollywood 3D titles such as Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans, both of which made more than 1 billion Yuan in China.

Now that 3D movies were so successful, China started building modern theaters with digital screens and purchasing equipment to show 3D films at an amazing rate, so that, by the end of 2010, these were more than 2000 3D screens in China, 20 times more than three years previously.

In 2011, Transformers 3, Kung Fu Panda and Chinese film The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate were huge successes, and more and more 3D screens were built so that, by the beginning of 2012, there were 3000 3D screens, which represented a third of all the movie screens in China. It is generally acknowledged that the number of 3D-equipped cinemas will continue to rise at a remarkable rate and there are now one or two Chinese films like Painted Skin 2, which are generating box-office revenues to compare with Hollywood successes as Titanic.

Home Grown Movies vs Imported

In most countries, the revenues accruing from a film are split between box-office from theaters, home video revenues and television. In the U.S., only 27 % of that total comes from theatrical box-office with 39% coming from home entertainment and 34% from television. In China, however, 94% of the total comes from theatrical box-office with TV and home entertainment currently being very minor contributors.

According to SARFT, by the end of 2012, the total box-office movies in China will be $2.4 billion, of which 3D will account for about 28% of total box-office and rising.

However, Painted Skin 2, which was released only in 3D, was the exception rather than the rule as most other Chinese films released in 3D failed to attract audiences despite lengthy black-out periods for foreign movies and protectionist measures such as releasing The Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises on the same day.

The domestic film business is central to the new government’s goal of boosting Chinese cultural influence overseas. Although from a business point of view, Xi Jinping and the new government may want to allow more foreign products into China, there will be great political pressure to focus on home-grown movies.

And yet, despite the government’s protectionist measures, Chinese films have had disappointing results in 2012. Even this week, two expensive, large-scale Chinese historical epics, Back to 1942 and The Last Supper, have been comprehensively beaten at the box-office by Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

One Undeniable Factor in This Equation:
There is a Hunger for 3D Films in China

Life of Pi is in 3D. By far this year’s most successful Chinese production, Painted Skin – The Resurrection was released only in its 3D version, grossing over $100 million and breaking all records for a domestic movie.

The Reason 3D is So Popular in China

Chinese people are very willing to test new things. They love innovation and cinema-going for the younger generation is rather like New Yorkers going to see a Broadway play. They want to make the experience as unique and remarkable as possible and 3D supplies that experience, that thrill.

There’s no question: Chinese consumers welcome 3D and the cinema chains and distribution companies play their role in catering to this demand. Even the government has played its part by easing import restrictions for films in 3D. Watching a movie in 3D is more spectacular than 2D and with the quality of 3D now attaining new heights, whether originally shot in 3D like Life of Pi or films like Transformers, skillfully converted by companies by Legend3D, this love affair between the Chinese audiences and 3D films looks poised to continue for many more years.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

HFR (High Frame Rate) explained!

HFR (High Frame Rate) 2D and 3D video explained | RED Camera « 423 Digital, Inc.

From RED Camera’s website
The advent of digital cinematography has opened up new creative possibilities for how motion is captured. This article explores the influence of high frame rate (HFR) video playback, along with the associated motivations and controversy, with an eye for what this might hold for the future of cinema.
Although modern cinema uses a 24 fps time base, early film was projected with a wide variety of speeds. Prior to the 1930’s, many silent films used just 15-20 fps, since this is when the illusion of continuous imagery begins. Then, with the advent of audio, frame rates were increased to the now-standard 24 fps, primarily because this was the minimum rate that would still produce acceptable audio when read from a 35 mm film reel.
In any case, the overall strategy was to use as little film as possible. None of the motivations were to maximize the viewer’s sense of realism — footage was just deemed “good enough” without being prohibitively expensive. However, with digital capture, we’re no longer bound by the same rules. Recent and upcoming productions are beginning to explore high frame rate (HFR) playback. HFR is already being used for sports and other HDTV broadcasts, and in cinema, Avatar 2 and The Hobbit are known productions targeting HFR release.
When compact discs were first unveiled, the initial reaction by record connoisseurs was that the music had too much clarity and lacked the familiar and characteristic sound of a vinyl record. This closely echoes the early feedback about HFR. Similarly, while low frame rates will always have applications, having the creative flexibility to use other frame rates is virtually always beneficial. Even though a record can be mimicked with a compact disc recording, the opposite isn’t always possible — and the same can be said for low vs. high frame rates. Although not everything necessarily needs HFR, it may eventually become another creative tool, similar to how shutter angle is used currently.
Although great progress has been made with improving spatial resolution — particularly with the advent of 4K cinema — temporal resolution also deserves more exploration, and has a similar potential to enrich the cinematic experience. After all, real-life imagery is effectively received by our eyes as unlimited fps, infinite resolution 3D footage; it’s our mind that processes this as a hybrid of video and motion-blurred stills. Higher frame rate, 4K+ footage gets us closer to that reality. To read the entire article Click Here.