Juan Reyes, CTO of BluFocusBy Mel Lambert.
Continuing a theme started with March’s on-line webinar, Part 2 of BluFocus’ presentation took the form of a series of detailed presentations that addressed a number of critical issues facing producers of 3D Blu-ray media. Organized by BluFocus and hosted at DTS’ corporate HQ in Calabasas, CA, the invitation-only event attracted an audience of over 100 professionals drawn from the West Coast production community. With Blu-ray being touted as the most successful consumer media of all time – in terms of market penetration and number of available titles since is introduction – there is considerable interest in the potential offered by 3D Blu-ray within the pro-audio industry.
Subsequent to a welcoming address from BluFocus CEO/founder Paulette Pantoja, Andy Parsons from Pioneer Electronics stressed within his Keynote Address a pressing need for powerful 3D audio and video authoring tools. “Blu-ray 3D adds emotional impact to the viewing experience, but it must be done consistently,” Parsons stressed. “The devil is in the details!”
John Ying from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Terry Marshall from Sonic Solutions and John Harrington from Netblender jointly addressed the subject of 3D Authoring and 3D Encoding, including Sony’s new Dualstream 3D software suite, and Sonic’s 3DAccess, which can be used to prepare content for both 3D Blu-ray and internet distribution. Harrington discussed other outlets for 3D content with high-resolution audio, including sales kiosks, museum displays and motion-picture dailies, using Netblender’s DoStudio MVC encoding/authoring tools.
7.1 Surround Audio for 3D was covered by Jesse Torres and Ronny Katz from DTS, who acknowledged that DTS-HD Master Audio lossless encoding is offered on 70% of all Blu-ray titles. Interestingly, it is expected that, worldwide, close to 175 million home systems capable of offering 7.1-channel sound will have been installed by the end of 2012. Master Audio V2.6, which begins shipping soon, offers 48-times real-time soundtrack encoding. Katz also showcased the use of Neural UpMix, an Avid Pro Tools plug-in that produces a realistic sounding 7.1-channel soundtrack from stereo or 5.1 material.
Alex Soohoo from Nvidia and Kam Shek from Arcsoft focused on 3D Payback Tools, including an overview of the currently available 120 Hz video displays, projectors, laptops and HDTV receivers capable of accepting 3D-format images. As Shek pointed out, YouTube is already streaming 3D content for playback on PCs and laptops equipped with suitable video cards and playback software. (The audience was fascinated to hear that, according to Shek, Apple has filed more than 20 3D patents during the past several months.)
A Breakout Session of current 3D Blu-ray authoring and encoding tools was followed by a session on Design and Enhanced Content in 3D by Matt Kennedy from 1K Studios that covered a number of user interface opportunities for menus and interactive audio content, and subjective issues that can affect the 3D experience. Juan Reyes from BluFocus and Geoff Tully from THX addressed 3D Testing, Verification and Certification, including advice that while 2D content might require three discrete tests, new 3D media involves as many as 10 or more different processes. THX Media Director is a new program intended to dramatically simplify the set up of consumer 3D systems. Sam Archer from Deluxe Digital Studios’ Micro Plant focused on 3D Blu-ray Replication of 3D discs, including a 24-hour turnaround.
Philip Corriveau from Intel provided Human Factor and Physiological Review, including research into the 3D user experience, and how best to create convincing playback of immersive content with surround sound. “3D happens in the mind,” Corriveau advised. “Great 3D is about great experiences.”
BluFocus’ Pantoja offered that the seminar was “a great success, with a rewarding turnout. We had expected as many as 50 attendees, but the quality and quantity of the turnout was remarkable. We were particularly encouraged that so many technical members of the West Coast 3D community attended the event.” Similar gatherings are planned for the near future.
Former magazine editor Mel Lambert currently heads up Content Creators, a full-service consulting service for pro-audio firms and facilities.www.mel-lambert.com.