Shoot: 3D is for everyone, not just for the big boys

Dreamworks animation ceo Jeffrey Katzenberg is a firm believer that 3D is the way of the future. He told Miguel Gonzalez that 3D filmmaking is a club anyone can join.

The executive believes the financial crisis will slow down the rollout of 3D-capable screens but ‘it will not put any real damper on our plans. I’d like there to be more screens, but there are more than we need for our current plans. We know Monsters vs. Aliens will not be on 3D in every cinema in every city in every country, but 3D will soon be available to everybody.”

Audiences may have an increasingly easy access to 3D screens, but no technology can have a real impact until it’s available to everyone in the industry and, until now, 3D has been reserved for big budged animated films and SFX-driven extravaganzas such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth and James Cameron’  Avatar. Katzenberg, however, believes independent filmmakers have access to 3D tools ‘today’. “It doesn’t dramatically increase the cost of making a film; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a $1 million or a $100 million movie, the incremental cost is in the range of about 10%. Besides, it’s much less expensive to do it on a drama than it is to do it on a big, complicated special effects film.

“It is going to be revolutionary in the broadest possible sense to filmmaking, and more importantly, to movie going. It is not going to be taken advantage of only by the big event movies or by animation; it will quickly move out into all forms of film. When innovations such as colour were introduced, within a couple of years filmmakers and studios stopped working in black and white. Colour was simply a better experience, and it became something the consumers wanted or expected. My instinct tells me that 3D will follow that same course.”

Katzenberg is one of the many Hollywood heavyweights advocating for a 3D future for the industry. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, hosting seminars for directors and producers around the world. This is one of the few times when the industry is working together, sharing their secrets and know-how.

“We have opened the doors of our studio to any filmmaker that wants to come and see not only what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it. We’re happy to share, and the executives are interested in opening this up as wide as possible, for all filmmakers and studios if they see the benefit of 3D and they want to jump on the bandwagon,” he says.

When questioned about a timeframe to assess the success of failure of the 3D wave, Katzenberg says the latter is not an option. “There’s no question. It’s here and it’s underway,” he said emphatically. Katzenberg’s predictions might become a reality as 3D expands beyond Hollywood. While the man behind Shrek and Madagascar says the studio has no plans to open production centres overseas, other countries are doing it by themselves. Singapore held its first 3DX Technology Festival, where it announced a S$10 million development fund for the creation of 3D content. Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Lee Boon Yang said they will help local production companies gain presence in the 3D content market and develop expertise in the country. Their first 3D

film will be Brian Yuzna’s Amphibious. Closer to home, Animal Logic also has a 3D project in the works, the animated Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), it is slated for a 2010 release and it will be Australia’s first 3D effort, with global distribution through Warner Bros.


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