Daily Blog

Dimension 3 2010 Paris

I’m working with Avance Rapide to put the event together. Volunteering advices all year, and directing the Campus3D course week and hosting some conferences.


Imagine you are in charge of the oldest and biggest Stereoscopic-3D trade show in Europe, the very year 3D popularity is skyrocketing. I didn’t know “running a show” meant wearing running shoes.


From my point of view, it was a blast, with the same faces bearing even bigger smiles, and so many new faces. 3D is mainstream, that’s for sure. And every European country is fighting for the “1st in Europe / 1st in the World” medal, creating an interesting emulation in content production on the old continent. Just an example; we had 3D football (soccer, if you prefers) from Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, UK and Netherlands (I may have forgot some).


Exhibitors seems to be happy. Visitors saw many brand new equipments like the Sony “MCE200” a.k.a. “3DBox” and the Pana single-body camera, both live on the show floor. There was 20+ 3D rigs of all flavors, including steadycam, camcorders, and Binocle shown both its real-time and batch processed image correction. Avid, Assimilate, Quantel, Autodesk, Orad, VizRT… Every was here, beside Apple that did insist on not revealing their secret 3D products in Paris (yes, this IS a joke).


Many a friend complained about not having enough time to see the exhibit, the three conference and workshops rooms. Sound like a big show !


Obviously, not everything was great, and most problems came from unexpected growth of the event and workload. As an example, we opened an independant production” section in the festival, to be submeted in anything readable, along with regular entries on DCP. We were expecting an handful of content, and we get a rainfall of all sorts of DCPs (Drives, Thumbdrives, DVD, FTPs) on all sort of file systems (HPFS, NTFS, FAT, EXT, UDF, CDFS). Needless to say, we spent hours, days, loading, converting, copying, transfering. Getting new KDM was the easiest part!


And that was for DCPs… In the independent format, we had everything, in every frame format (SbS, O/U, Dual, Squeezed), with the sound in the left, right or separate file, in stereo, surround or whatever.


And we had every codec, wrapped in any container. I had to rewarp VC1 (aka VFW9) from Quicktime to WMV. Why put a PC-only codec inside a Mac-based wrapper? We encoutered uncompressed H264 on the way. Playing separate L/R files with codecs that does not allow to frame-accurate control play is an interesting challenge. Nothing out of synch came to the eyeballs of the audience, beside a few close calls. My lappy ended the week with Linux and Apple filesystems plugins, QT dewarpers and its codecs registery totally messed up.


On the last day I had to play a 3D movie using VLC, that was the only media player still properly accessing its codecs, using arbitrary aspect ratio, in an forced display window in GDI mode, with an external sound file. If you read and understand the previous line, you may understand why I ended the show saying “That 3D mess makes me miss the worse years of multimedia!”


The biggest blunder, and I apologies about that one, to the audiences and film crews, came from the framerate conversions. My PC was running at 60fps and the signal was converted from 60 to 24 with a Doremi Dimension3D generating the DCI-compatible dual-SDI signal. As a result some independent content was quite jiggery. It was supposed to play 24fps, but all the Doremi saw was some 23fps. 23.xxx I guess. Will have to check this out.


Anyway, we had 24, 25, 50 and 60 content, leaving us with the option to re-set the computer framerate at every new line in the play list. Next year, we may have to re-encode in DCP every content we receive, in order to play it through the DC server that can reset the projector framerate on the fly. I love this job. Digital will make it easier, as they said ! Hopefully, next year we’ll have the 3D Bluray as a common delivery format for independant content.


What worries me a bit is the craziness will be here again with the 3DTV formats, Tapes, Streams we’ll have to deal with. Maybe we should considers accepting entries as Youtube 3D only ? Hey, does the Youtube 3D player do 24fps in XYZ color space ?


Author: Bernard Mendiburu

Stereographer, Consultant