SPECIAL AWESOME - stereoscopic resource

We at SPECIAL AWESOME are keeping this blog up to date with all the exciting news coming in the world of 3D with special attention to small screens, mobile, consumer devices, and of course - AUTOSTEREOSCOPIC (glasses free). Please dig deep, so much is happening that articles of monumental importance quickly fall down the list into obscurity. Interested in Apple 3D? The latest on touch-screen 3D hand-held devices? Intel 3D? Nokia 3D? ESPN? It's all here and more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

SA 3D rig at the Reno air races

Stereoscope were up in Reno NV the other day shooting the air races with our 3D rig. Here are some pix of the setup with Red One cameras and the rig on a crane. Can't wait to see the footage.

Stereoscope - http://www.estreo3d.tv/v2/


Here's the press relase for the movie:

- The Company Goes From Sea to Sky with Its First Non-Aquatic Film
- Principal 3D Photography Begins this Week in Reno

Los Angeles (CA) and London (UK) -- Sept. 14, 2009 / PRNEWSWIRE / 3D Entertainment is pleased to announce today that it has acquired the distribution rights for "Air Racers 3D: Forces of Flight," produced by Los Angeles-based Pretend Entertainment and Stereoscope. Through the eyes of first-time competitor and rookie pilot Steve Hinton Jr., son of champion air racer and acrobatic pilot Steve Hinton, the film will chronicle the preparation for and competition in the world's fastest motor sport: the legendary Reno National Championship Air Races. The film will fly into IMAX® 3D and 2D Theatres in the US beginning in Fall 2010.

"Just eight days after announcing our first acquisition for IMAX® 3D Theatres, 'Sea Rex 3D,' we are extremely pleased to add this exciting new film, which will be the first non-aquatic title in our film catalogue, to our 2010 lineup," said Francois Mantello, Chairman and CEO of 3D Entertainment Distribution. "Projected on the world's largest screens, 'Air Racers 3D's unique giant screen filmmaking style will put every moviegoer and motorsports fan in the middle of the highly competitive action, and at more than twice the speed of a NASCAR race."

"We are thrilled to have reached a distribution agreement with the passionate team at 3D Entertainment," said Christian Fry, co-owner of Pretend Entertainment and the film's producer. "With 'Air Racers 3D' audiences worldwide will explore what are unquestionably the fastest-moving machines in motorsports and experience what it feels like to race at 500 mph a mere 50 feet off the ground. Pilots fight for position, running a tight 8-mile course marked off by ten giant pylons where flying a perfect line is critical for victory. Under these extreme conditions, it takes only a single miscalculation or mechanical failure to impact the entire field of planes with potentially catastrophic results."

Principal photography on "Air Racers 3D: Forces of Flight" begins this week during the 46th annual National Championship Air Races, which will take place at the Reno Stead Airfield from September 16-20. Ultra high definition 3D cameras will be used for the very first time to capture the drama, sound, emotion, thrills and excitement of the race.

"Air Racers: Forces of Flight" will follow 22-year-old Steve Hinton in his attempt to become the youngest air race pilot ever to compete in the 'Unlimited Class', the most anticipated event, which has always been dominated by pilots with decades more experience. The film will also focus on the science of today's air racing technology, human physiology, neurology and the underlying physics that pilots depend on to take turns at the highest speeds while skillfully maneuvering within inches of their flying competitors.

Air racing is a tradition that started nearly 100 years ago with World War I-era barnstormers that eventually evolved into the grand racing events organized to celebrate the aviation heroics of World War II. The last of their kind, the Reno Air Races began in 1964 as a revival of these high-speed competitions celebrating horsepower, ingenuity and piloting skills of the men who operated these planes under much more dangerous and dire circumstances. For one week every September, the high desert north of Reno becomes home to hundreds of aircraft, their pilots, and crews. "Fly low, go fast and turn left" is their motto.

"Air Racers: Forces of Flight" is produced by Pretend Entertainment and Stereoscope in association with the Reno Air Racing Association. Roger Tonry, known for his extensive experience in aerial and aviation photography, will direct. Christian Fry and Bernie Laramie will serve as producers with John Constantine, Raul Leckie and Jeffery Pierce as executive producers. The official film website is http://www.AirRacers3D.com

source: http://www.bigmoviezone.com/articles/index.html?uniq=381

Sunday, November 8, 2009



Cool new find - check this baby out:


Its a consumer digital still camera that shoots 3D. It requires a 3D viewer - the FUJI FINEPIX REAL 3D V1 for glasses free (parallax barrier type) - a fancy way of saying lenticular...
Maximum resolution is 3648 x 2736 - given this aspect ratio this must mean PER EYE. It also claims to do 3D movies at 640 x 480.

MSRP for the camera is $599.95 - the 3D digital viewer will go for $499.95.
I am sure going to get one of these soon and a review will be coming.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sony Playstation3 3D

2010 firmware update will enable the Sony PS3
to play 3D games on any 3D television.

This will be a huge boost for 3D in the home. Sony have announced an affordable (active) flat panel, and
1 in 4 gamers surveyed responded that 3D was "must have" technology. The active monitor approach is huge because it will open the market for 120hz displays to console gamers, paving the way for xBox and Wii 3D as well as putting pressure on the high priced passive screens from JVC, Panasonic, Hyundai et all.

Not only that, but (in case you didn't know) the PS3 also has a Blu-Ray player...

MUST BE SEEN Youtube - interview with Sony's display product manager:


Lots of chatter in the gaming world:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Apple 3D Projection Patent

Apple receives Patent for Holographic 3D Projection Display

Nice to see some solid work from APPLE in receiving a patent for an auto-stereoscopic system.

Though actual implementation is not a given - not soon at least, it is good to know what to say when a 3D naysayer quips that it won't be any good until the glasses are eliminated - the answer is "Apple have a patent for that".


This article is very long detailed and interesting as heck - if you are interested in autostero (who isn't?) then you've got to check this out from Mac News Network:


Thursday, November 5, 2009

3D iPhone application

3D iPhone application

Leave it to Grey advertising - it's an ad for Longhorn steak house. The surreal image of a steak flipping ...over... and ...over... in 3D is, well, surreal. The good news is that we know they're serious... are they?

Here is how gomonews.com covered it:


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DCIP funding = 20,000 3D screens

DCIP Funding for exhibitors

DCIP funding is crucial for the growth of 3D.

Beacause the number of screens is still somewhere around 2,000 in the USA and 5,000 worldwide, release windows have become ridiculously short. All recent engagements, from Up, to Coraline have been limited to 2 weeks. Given the current release schedule, James Cameron's much anticipated AVATAR will be available in 3D for 1.8 weeks on average. With the performance figures for most 3D films, this is clearly leaving money on the table.

This $1 billion line of credit from JPMorgan Securities (DCIP) ought to go a long way towards remedying this situation allowing theater owners to upgrade their systems to 20,000 across North America - more than half the total screens.

Heres Variety's take:

Wall Street Journal:


Heres what DCIP say about themselves:

Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) is a company owned equally by exhibition industry leaders AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC). Representing more than 14,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada, DCIP is headquartered in Bergen County, NJ with offices in Minneapolis and Denver. DCIP was created in 2007 to plan and implement the deployment of digital cinema during the motion picture industry’s transition from film to digital technology.

The primary benefit of universal implementation of digital cinema distribution and exhibition is the cost savings that result from eliminating the need to print, deliver and retrieve thousands of celluloid film reels per release. With a digital cinema distribution system in place, film studio/distributors will be able to deliver digital content via broadband or satellite links at little marginal cost.

Digital cinema promises a new world of programming flexibility, picture quality and image consistency. It is expected to expand alternative, non-traditional theatre programming, ultimately providing more choices to moviegoers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

3D TV in England

Sky 3D TV will be launched in 2010

Englands Sky Tv will soon be offering 3D broadcasts. The service will be delivered via its (installed base of) SKY+HD boxes. Viewers will be able to watch movies sports and entertainment in 3D from their existing cable service providing they have a DLP or are willing to upgrade to one of the new generation of monitors from JVC, Hyundai, and Sony.

Nice article here from techradar.com:


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple 3D Game Controller patent

Apple have a patent for a Wii like
3D game controller.

In May 2009 Apple published its patent for a 3D remote-control system. The report suggests that the remote-control system will be able to detect the absolute position of the remote on an X, Y and Z axes, similar to Nintendo’s Wiimote.

AppleInsider suggests that Apple TV would serve as the game console. Supporting AppleInsider’s speculation, PopCap vice president of video game platforms Greg
Canessa said in a Wired interview that he would be "customizing [PopCap's] user interface and display for Zune, ipod, [and] Apple TV."

Details on the 3D-gaming experience itself are scarce; when questioned about gaming in interviews, Steve Jobs has been tight-lipped as usual. But keep in mind that Apple is an overachiever and strives to be revolutionary. Jason Schwarz, a writer at Seeking Alpha, suspects that Jobs is going to blow us away with true 3D gaming: "You actually want to learn to fly a plane, to sail, to race Nascar, or to improve your golf swing? 3D Apple could bring these real life simulations to the mainstream," he wrote in a Mar. 14 blog.

Among Windows-PC enthusiasts, the most echoed criticism of Apple is its relatively diminutive grip on the gaming industry; despite the ability to run Windows on Apple’s Intel machines, gaming remains a concern.
Will the digital-music giant strive to conquer new territories by revolutionizing 3D gaming? Or will Apple TV just let us play crappy iPod games like The Sims Pool? We’ll keep you posted.

Photo courtesy AppleInsider

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Premium RealD 3D Eyewear

RealD are finally getting the designer eyewear out there. What took them so long? Not only are designer frames potentially an extremely lucrative niche. It's not that they're going to sell that many pair of specs - they're more of a luxury item it's good for 3D's image. The names bandied about by people who know at the 3D Summit this August are impressive (think: French - designer) and Ray-Ban are in there with their classic Wayfarer look.

Here's the story:

Look3D, a leading 3D vision company, and RealD, the world's leading 3D cinema technology company, have reached a licensing agreement for Look3D to design, manufacture and distribute RealD 3D certified premium eyewear. Look3D eyewear will offer the same crisp, clear RealD 3D experience as eyewear currently distributed at RealD equipped theatres and will be compatible with all RealD theatres worldwide.

"Moviegoers will be able to pick from a full line-up of premium RealD 3D glasses in cool designs with shapes and styles that hug the face like regular glasses," said Rhett Adam, director of Look3D. "3D movies are booming and we're excited for the millions of fans of RealD 3D around the world to experience the next film in Look3D style."

"Moviegoers are flocking to theatres in record numbers to experience RealD 3D movies and now they'll be able to have their own pair of premium RealD 3D glasses in a style that's all their own," said Joseph Peixoto, RealD president of worldwide cinema. "Like people having a pair of sunglasses, movie fans will have a pair of RealD 3D glasses personalized in style and fit, and certified by RealD to assure a fantastic movie experience. We look forward to additional announcements about the introduction of designer 3D glasses from top fashion brands and prescription RealD 3D eyewear in the near future."

Look3D will create multiple RealD compatible eyewear collections for adults and children, including a premium collection of glasses of the highest quality with styles matching today's most popular eyewear designs. Look3D will also offer a themed collection of glasses with colors, shapes and other design elements matching a variety of upcoming 3D major motion picture releases.

Look3D RealD eyewear will be available for purchase beginning in December with sales through Look3D, at movie theatres and online retail sites. Check out Look3D's website at www.look3d.com for a sneak peak of what is to come in 2010.

RealD 3D movies are the new generation of entertainment, with crisp, bright, ultra-realistic images so lifelike moviegoers feel like they've stepped inside the movie. A driving force in this year's elevated box office totals delivering three to four times per screen revenue of the same film on 2D screens, RealD 3D adds depth that puts moviegoers in the thick of the action, whether they're joining favorite characters in a new world or dodging objects that seem to fly into the theatre. RealD pioneered today's digital 3D and is the world's most widely used 3D cinema technology with over 9,000 screens under contract and nearly 4,000 screens installed in 48 countries.

About RealD: RealD is the global leader in 3D, bringing the most advanced and realistic digital 3D experience to cinemas worldwide. RealD's new generation technology, deployed across the world's largest 3D platform, provides a stunningly lifelike viewing experience. Beyond cinema, RealD is the worldwide inventor and provider of key stereoscopic technologies used in science, manufacturing, marketing, and other industries, with 30 years of scientific development behind its systems. RealD's mission-critical 3D visualization technologies are used by organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, BMW, Boeing and more. Visit www.realD.com for more information.

About Look3D: Look3D Eyewear is a specialist eyewear company assisting studios, cinemas and movie lovers in the transition into Digital 3D by creating seamless vision solutions which allow the audiences to engage the on-screen story like never before. Our goal is to ensure movie lovers experience Digital 3D as intended by film makers. Look3D Eyewear guarantees that all its glasses meet the specific RealD engineering specifications.

LOS ANGELES and MELBOURNE, Australia, Oct. 28, 2009 /PRNewswire/ --

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

VESA DisplayPort 1.2

VESA DisplayPort 1.2

DisplayPort 1.2 with its added bandwidth will allow for 3D at 2560x1600.

Display standards group VESA has revealed early details of DisplayPort 1.2, the next generation of its interface for computer screens. The technology doubles the amount of available bandwidth and lets the format produce images better than either the current 1.1 standard or dual-link DVI. At a minimum, the technology would allow a near-4K resolution of 3840x2160 at 60 frames per second and more advanced 30-bit color; the current specification is limited to 2560x1600 at the same quality.

Apple's DisplayPort mini-connector: soon to be standard

The advancement will also allow the extra bandwidth to be used for either a faster image or multiple images. It could be used for 120 frames per second images at 1080p and reduce the loss of detail in fast movement, similar to modern 120Hz HDTVs; that same speed could also be used to maintain two separate images in a stereoscopic 3D effect for displays like the ViewSonic FuHzion and NVIDIA's matching GeForce 3D Vision glasses. In 2D, the bandwidth could be split into daisy-chained displays and include as many as four 1920x1200 screens or two 2560x1600 examples.

Version 1.2 should also make DisplayPort more practical for notebooks and is expected to use Apple's Mini DisplayPort as the official standard, shrinking the connector to provide more space. The output format is already being made available by Apple under a free license but would now be officially encouraged for use by the VESA group.

Confirmation of Apple's participation and the full standard's specifications should be published in mid-2009; devices using 1.2 should be available shortly afterwards.

Source: Electronista

Saturday, August 8, 2009

LIVE 3D demonstration at Maker Faire

LIVE 3D demonstration at Maker Faire

SPECIAL AWESOME were invited to O'reilly media's maker Faire to speak about 3D and to demonstrate the stop motion and motion control techniques which were used to create "Coraline". We were very lucky to have (stereoscopic cinematographer) Peter Williams - comomoco.com - and (animator) Justin Kohn - mechanicalspirits.com - both Coarline alumni and both of them working at the speed of light so the audience could actually SEE something (watching animation being made is like watching paint dry...).

Colin Miller - SPECIAL AWESOME founder and senior visual effects artist showed reels and spoke about the history and techniques of stereoscopic 3D. Colin's presentation script is included below - unedited - but full of ineteresting tidbits and a good overview of where 3D has been and where it is going. Enjoy!


(thanks to everyone who made this possible: Dale Dogherty, Louise Glasgow, Kate Rowe, Arne Frager)


Hi I am Colin Miller. I am here with my company SPECIAL AWESOME. We are a 3D film production company.

The core of our group have known each other and worked together for years BUT we really started working seriously on 3d as an extension of our experience working together on a little movie called Coraline. When Coraline was wrapping, I felt that what we had learned was really unique, and we ought to apply it to the growing world of 3d film production - thus special awesome was born... since we started, we've included all sorts of other friends we've known over the years - many did 3d before, and all have done high end animation. live action, and special effects work for high end commercials and feature films. 3d itself is a really great discipline because it presents all sorts of new technical and creative challenges which keep us learning, and that is what makes working in film and television production interesting.

Today we are really lucky to have some amazing professionals from the film biz with us - everyone is special AND awesome which BTW is the #1 requirement for being a part of or working with our company: INTRODUCE OUR GUESTS.

PW - directed for nike coca cola and turner networks, and cinematographer on Coraline and mokeybone, ALSO the inventor and maker of the como fully protable motion control camera system, Peter can go anywhere and shoot computer controlled stereoscopic 3D at iMax quality on battery power - see comomoco.com

JK - world class stop motion animator - has done everything: nightmare, james, Coraline, life aquatic, ALSO a maker of Channelled Alien Mechanical Spirits, animatable sculptures which are better seen than described LOOK- see mechanicalspirits.com


although there is a current wave of 3d film making actually its not new - actually has been around since 1833 when the first stereo photos were made

by 1915 3d techniques were being used to create stereoscopic films

1st stereo art actually came about in the renaissance when painters started trying to understand the world of optics light and perspective around 1600

lots of famous films were made in the first golden age of 3D in the 30's This was the same time as the view-master - technically a stereoscope

by 40's 3D was getting mainstream with a a consumer 3d camera and stereo-viewers, lots of home made stereo-pairs exist from this era - ebay collectors

1950 1st big boom of films: house of wax creature from the black lagoon dial m for murder - vincent price alfred hitchcock

there were also lots of ridiculous 3-sploitation films (I'd really like to see some of these) - catwomen of the moon - top banana with phil silvers, and one called "The French Line"

starring Jane Russell (for those of you not familiar she was a voluptuous movie star of the 50's for whom howard hughes invented the underwire bra) in revealing costumes playing up her sex appeal, "It'll knock both of your eyes out!"

1969 saw the release of the softcore sex comedy The Stewardesses. The film cost $100,000 to produce earned $27 million becoming the most

profitable 3-Dimensional film to date, and in purely relative terms, one of the most profitable films ever. over 100 million in current dollars

3D legend Chris Condon, and Director Ed Meyer, are set to remake The Stewardesses, next year

you can see what 3d film makers were thinking about in this era...

its funny because when I tell people I do 3D I often hear "wow - you could..." - believe me its NOT an original idea

another revival in the 80's some real gimmick films like: jaws 3d friday the 13th pt 3

2003 the current era - digital techniques have paved the way for a renaissance (digital production and projection) a lot of the films you've seen or heard about recently -

beowulf bolt bloody valentine monsters vs aliens u2 and of course Coraline


I've got a somewhat dry definition here which I like because its so accurate: stereoscopic imaging consists of creating a 3-D illusion starting from a pair of 2-D images.

The easiest way to create depth perception in the brain is to provide the eyes of the viewer with two different images,

representing two perspectives of the same object, with a minor deviation similar to the perspectives that both eyes naturally receive in binocular vision.

a viewing system is used to cause each eye to see only the image intended for it.

SO - an easy example of this is what we refer to as anaglyph (old fashion red/blue) -> filters, for each eye and the films for each eye are corresponding tinted ---

This is the clearest way to understand a 3D or stereoscopic film - a film for each eye from a slightly different perspective with a viewing system designed to cause each eye to see the film intended for it.

current techniques are more sophisticated using polarization and color interference technologies. Real D and Dolby and iMax

What this means is that in producing a 3d one is actually making = 2 virtually identical movies - we call them the left and right eyes, and then encoding for a presentation system -

BTW - tv coming soon. NAB last month in LV - lots of very cool big 3d flat screens - cable and content providers are scrambling to catch up

so to get a 3d film a 2 camera system must usually be used - this process of making 2 virtually identical synchronized films goes all the way through the prodcution edit post etc -

most everyone with few exceptions needs to work in 3d to one extent or another & most face additional challenges because of this

lots of considerations not immediately apparent - i.e. you cant just make it in 3d - the 3d needs to flow with the rest of the elements just like the music or lighting wouldn't change radically from shot to shot, the 3d must flow in a way that makes sense too. from deep to shallow perspectives in a way that is compelling and makes sense -- this is the real challenge - to NOT make it a gimmick but have it fit into the story and actually assist in the dramatic motion of the film. there are also lots of technical challenges: you get errors simply because of optical anomalies that cant be controlled or predicted. you get things which are physically correct (exist in nature) but don't work on a screen - hold your hand up top a light - retinal rivalry, this happens in all sorts of ways - things exist in nature but look bad or hurt your brain when you see them on the screen

this is one of the many reasons that Coraline is such an amazing film - because every little thing was painstakingly finessed to make it calm and smooth and enjoyable without any visual bumps or corners or headaches - Henry was so adamant about it being a PART of the film and not a gimmick + PK and BVH incredible pros with a great vision for the film


- and speaking of these guys: we are listed as... this is true to MAKE but maybe FROM is more accurate - actually it took a huge team of hundreds and a few years. its really an appropriate subject re: make because one of the key principles was thet the entire film was entirely hand made - truly a MAKE - why? it has a real life and magic when someone puts their spirit into a tree or a sheet of raindrops - every stitch of clothing, every flower and tree and every raindrop and doorway strip of bacon and spider web .... all made by hand

this also applies to the ACTING - or a PERFORMANCE in animation - its a ridiculous technique in some ways those of us who do it know only too well but its worth it cos you get something really special. and the word performance is really important here - there is a human quality that comes through when an animator creates something from beginning to end by hand without the aid of the non-liear technique i.e. CGI to revisit every nuance and gesture and thus take the spontanaiety OUT of the performance

so the MAKE of Coraline is really relevant because it was truly MADE by hand from beginning to end

there are numerous magazine articles about all sorts of unique techniques we used for Coraline, many of which were developed specifically for this movie.

the one I would like to mention today involves motion control cameras - (most people know) animation is shot a frame at a time, . look at any live action film - the camera needs to move. so there is a problem her that needs to be solved..... mo-co uses a computer to program highly crafted camera movements that can the be shot an increment at a time so that the animator can move his puppet after each frame is shot - what was unique about Coraline was that this SAME (mo-co) system was used to create the 3d - the computer moved the camera back and forth for the right and left eye positions for each and every frame of the film. this was not only convenient but also necessary since the 3d effect depends on the distance between the right and left eyes to be proportional to the size of the objects being shot and the size they should be on screen in the finished product - thus for Coraline (miniatures) the distance was so small (a few mm) that 2 cameras could never be gotten that close to one another.

AGAIN - we are special awesome. we have (these people) here with us today

watch animation take place before your eyes and we will all be answering questions until we run out of time