Table of Contents
This issue takes a look at the latest innovations and innovators using stereoscopic 3D; how stock footage libraries AND soundstages are dealing with economy; and a Spotlight on production in the Mid-American states.
Stereoscopic 3D is nothing new as our 19th-century forebears would attest as they slid a new dual-image photographic card into their handheld stereopticon viewers. A 3D movie process was patented in the 1890s and a stereo camera rig in 1900. Great Train Robbery director Edwin S. Porter showed 3D tests in 1915, and the earliest confirmed 3D film showing followed in 1922. The Depression and World War II sidelined the technology, but 3D movies were back in force in the 1950s, often for horror and sci fi titles.
With everyone around the world feeling the impact of damaged economies, many in production have turned to the stock-footage industry as a sort of refuge, an always effective and affordable solution for their production needs. That doesn't mean the stock-footage industry is recession-proof, however. Clients are still demanding unique, high-quality images, but they're making fewer projects during tough times and budgets are tighter for those that do get the green light.
It's been a challenging economy for just about everyone in every industry, including the companies that set the stage(s) for the country's movie and TV output. But major stage complexes nationwide are staying profitable by catering to new markets, investing in infrastructure and offering new capabilities while promoting those oh-so-crucial tax incentives that progressive states offer. That translates to more prospects, more work, more expansion and more content on a screen near you.
For a region that's often identified with broad sweeps of flat land, the states that comprise America's Heartland actually offer a range of landscapes and cityscapes that the production community knows can help make a production. What the states in MidAmerica lack in incentives — Missouri has the fullest till at $4.5 million — they make up for in looks, from the beauties of The Great Outdoors to the charms of small-town America.
As we thought likely, the buzz at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention was stereoscopic 3D with myriad vendors stepping up to the plate to support the technology as it moves beyond special venues and cinemas into your living room. There's still a lot of hype around stereo 3D, and how quickly and deeply it will be embraced by American consumers remains to be seen.
When setting out to promote Ford Motor Company's SYNC technology for Ford's Dealer Groups, JWT/Retail First in Detroit handed Atlanta-based Artistic Image (AI) a complicated challenge.
With newspapers and news publications failing across the country, who knows what the next generation of news will look like? WNET.ORG, the New York City metro area's premier public media provider and parent company of TV stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21, may have an answer to that question: Its weekly newsmagazine program and daily news website called Need To Know.
"We made the commitment to 3D when we saw the new rigs Element Technica was developing last summer; we told them to call us when they were ready. In the meantime, we continued to research the 3D production and postproduction workflow, so when Element Technica released their production models in October we immediately started work on the (independent) feature, The Mortician 3D, an urban gangster film written and directed by Gareth Maxwell Roberts."