Sony Pictures to Stop Subsidizing 3D Glasses in May

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Thu, 09/29/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Sony Pictures has announced that it will stop subsidizing 3D glasses in May beginning with Men in Black III and The Amazing Spider-Man. So far Sony is the only studio to make the move but Variety has reported that other major studios are studying the issue. The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a scathing response. Sony's actions raise serious concerns for our members who believe that provision of 3D glasses to patrons is well established as part of the 3D experience. Since the onset of the digital 3D revolution in 2005 it has been understood that exhibitors would bear the weight of technological and facility modification costs related to 3D while distribution took on the cost of 3D glasses. Any changes to that understanding must be undertaken through the mutual agreement of both sides of the business. According to the Variety report. Sony denied that studios have any ongoing responsibility to fund 3D glasses. We have been speaking with people in the industry for a long time about the need to move to a new model so this certainly comes as a surprise to no one in the business.” Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles told Variety that there could be potential fallout should the distributors’ subsidies of 3D glasses be halted: This could result in fewer screens exhibiting 3D films she said. Under the current model 3D has generated more entertainment options for our customers and helped exhibitors and studios generate incremental box office revenue Miles said in a statement. To the extent that Sony seeks to change the current model in a manner that shifts costs to exhibitors we would be forced to evaluate this new economic model and program our screens accordingly. ,2779
Texas Instruments Donates Projection System to the National Archives,2011-09-30,Texas Instruments a longtime supporter of the educational initiatives at the National Archives Experience has donated a new state-of-the-art projection system to the Foundation for the National Archives for the National Archives' William G. McGowan Theater. The donation includes a DLP Digital Cinema projector and associated equipment from Texas Instruments' DLP Products and Christie Digital Systems. The theater began using the new projection system for film showings this fall including the September 22 screening of the 1995 Academy Award-winning film A Time for Justice – a documentary on the Civil Rights movement presented at the 5th Annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Program – as well as the 8th Annual showcase of Academy Award nominated documentaries and short subjects in February 2012. This generous donation will allow the McGowan Theater and The Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film at the National Archives to keep pace with the growing trend in documentary filmmaking to produce and distribute films as high-quality digital files rather than on film videotape or DVD says Tom Nastick public program producer at the National Archives. In addition the equipment improves the image quality of HD and standard definition video presented in the theater. Texas Instruments was a generous contributor to the development of the National Archives Experience and has supported the Foundation for the National Archives' scholarship program for teachers attending Primarily Teaching Institutes at National Archives facilities around the country. Their support also helped make possible the revolutionary website DocsTeach which is being used by thousands of history civics math and science teachers nationwide to create and share lesson plans based on primary sources from the National Archives. We are extremely grateful to Texas Instruments for all they have done to support the National Archives' educational outreach says Thora Colot executive director of the Foundation for the National Archives. This donation in particular is a wonderful tribute to our former Foundation president the late Charles Guggenheim who helped the National Archives create a state-of-the-art venue for the public to view its stunning collection of documentary films. Texas Instruments' donation ensures that the McGowan Theater can continue to present these films with the latest high-quality equipment. It is fitting that this equipment will be used in this week's screening of Charles' own award-winning documentary. We're pleased that TI technology can contribute to the educational experience of visitors to the National Archives says Paula Collins TI vice president of government relations. Our country's future depends on our ability to innovate and be competitive. As students learn about our country's past these resources will also keep them engaged and inspire innovation that's such a critical part of our future. Texas Instruments www.ti.com ,2781
Coppola’s Twixt Used AJA Converter for 3D Sequences,2011-09-30, American Zoetrope used the AJA Hi5-3D Mini-Converter for the post-production reviews of stereo 3D sequences for Twixt  the 2011 thriller from director Francis Ford Coppola that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month. 

Twixt staring Val Kilmer and Elle Fanning is a 2D feature that includes six minutes of stereo 3D in various sequences throughout the film. During post-production American Zoetrope had a SIM2 projector for screenings and needed a solution to feed it the proper signal for playback of stereo 3D material. We had heard about AJA's Hi5-3D and it looked like exactly what we needed says post-production supervisor James Mockoski. 

AJA's Hi5-3D Mini-Converter automatically combines left and right-eye SDI inputs into stereo 3D output that can be viewed on a 3D monitor or projector. The 3D company and our VFX houses sent us left eye and right eye material which we put through the Hi5-3D using its two SDI inputs and sent a side-by-side signal out. It was a convenient easy way to run 3D previews to check masks and titles says post-production manager Sin Cohen. We also got a lot of use out of it as an SDI/HDMI converter to get signals from SDI to the projector. It was really handy to have that option in a pinch. We're up in Napa and it was great to be able to do stereo reviews right here in our own facility rather than having to drive into the city for them Mockoski says.  Twixt was shot using a combination of Sony and Red digital cameras and edited using seven Apple Final Cut Pro systems equipped with AJA KONA cards. An AJA Io HD device floated among editing systems laptops and screens to enable on-the-spot playback. American Zoetrope is also considering bringing the Hi5-3D along for its road show screenings to potential distributors to enable stereo review on the road. The AJA Hi5-3D is available for $495. 
 AJA Video www.aja.com ,2782
UltraStar Organizes Effort to Offer Digital Cinema Management Training in China,2011-09-30, UltraStar Cinemas one of Southern California’s largest privately-owned movie theater groups has formed a public-private partnership with the Xiamen Culture and Art Center and Xiamen University of Technology to create an organization dedicated to education and training in digital cinema management. Together they will establish the XMUT UltraStar Academy of Digital Cinema Management with a multi-disciplinary curriculum developed jointly by all three entities. The curriculum will be offered at the Xiamen University of Technology a public university under the major of Digital Cinema Management beginning in 2012.
  “The Academy of Digital Cinema Management aims to equip Chinese workers with the understanding experience and skill set necessary to operate digital cinemas as high quality profitable businesses ” says Terry Guo executive president of XMUT College of Digital Arts.
 
 The curriculum will incorporate Chinese business employment and cultural standards in order to create an effective synthesis of management practices used in China and by UltraStar’s U.S. locations. Instruction and hands-on experience will be provided by Chinese educators and UltraStar representatives in areas such as: digital cinema design and construction; cinema management principles; cinema marketing techniques; booking and buying of content; digital equipment usage and maintenance; digital content alternatives; concessions management; human resources; and customer service.
  “Chinese audiences represent a tremendous market for digital cinema and the associated exhibition of alternative content ” says John Ellison COO and co-founder UltraStar Cinemas. “This partnership combines the resources of one of China’s leading cultural institutions the talents of a highly-respected technical university and our 40-year experience as one of North America’s most innovative and successful exhibitors.” “By establishing a network of digital cinemas across China we believe we can serve an important cultural purpose and create successful businesses incorporating leading-edge technology for the 21st century says Tony Gaston manager of UltraStar Asia’s operations.  The digital medium will allow network locations to exhibit the wide array of entertainment and educational content now available to audiences and fine tune programming to meet the specific demand of culturally diverse populations across China.”
  “Box office has grown rapidly in recent years and in the first quarter of this year our cultural output increased by 37 percent ” says Xu Xiang Ming vice director of the Xiamen Culture and Arts Center. “In China we still have to fully develop the infrastructure necessary to receive and exhibit and digital content. The advent of digital cinema also requires individuals trained in digital cinema management and operations. We are thrilled to partner with UltraStar the world’s first exhibitor to go all-digital to create a course of instruction that will expose Chinese students to all aspects of the business and prepare them for leadership roles in this industry.” ,2783
Pacific University Opens World’s First 3D Vision Performance Eye Clinic,2011-10-15, Pacific University’s College of Optometry in Beaverton Oregon has opened the world’s first 3D performance clinic. The Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton is the sixth full-service vision care clinic operated by the University. “The 3D Performance Eye Clinic is the first-ever clinic that specializes in diagnosing and managing the eye and health-related symptoms related to viewing 3D electronic displays ” says Dr. Jim Sheedy director of Pacific’s Vision Performance Institute a research arm of the College of Optometry. Housed inside Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton the 3D Performance Eye Clinic is equipped to diagnose and treat eye coordination problems that affect 3D vision. It employs state-of-the-art technology including a movie theatre for one to measure the performance of binocular vision performance (both eyes working together). The virtual 3D environment provides many unique challenges to the visual system including vision and vertigo-related symptoms Sheedy says. There is much yet to be known about the interaction between the human visual system and the virtual 3D environment created by 3D displays. The clinic offers treatment including prismatic and 3D polarized prescriptions which allow patients with 3D difficulties to comfortably view 3D as they never could before.” THX provided nearly $40 000 in THX-certified products to the clinic. John Dahl THX’s senior fellow and director education says that while studies have shown that “3D doesn’t cause vision problems it actually can reveal vision problems.” There is a decent chance that children especially who have trouble viewing 3D could have underlying problems with their vision and should be checked by an eye doctor. Dr. Sheedy says the VPI has worked closely with the American Optometric Association and the [email protected] Consortium – a group of audio-video industry leaders – to explore public health issues associated with viewing 3D and to develop policies to ensure both the health and enjoyment of end users. In addition to 3D vision treatment Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton provides comprehensive eye services to patients including primary care contact lens fitting treatment of eye infections glaucoma and cataract management visual field testing retinal photography and imaging and emergency eye care services. University optometry students – supervised by licensed optometrists who are also faculty members – perform eye examinations. Dahl says talks are ongoing to create similar clinics in partnership with other universities around the country.
                                             Intel Nike and Planar Systems were also instrumental in contributing to the project