The next presentation directly addressed 3D TV testing, and featured video guru Joe Kane explaining in detail about how to go about testing and evaluating a 3DTV. Since home 3DTV hasn’t been around very long, there’s been little guidance available as to how to conduct a proper objective technical evaluation, and the demo included a side-by-side 3D TV comparison with 3D test patterns he’d recently created just for this purpose. The demo featured a Samsung D8000 active 3D set parked right next to an LG W5700 passive 3D model, and attendees were invited to don appropriate 3D glasses (active shutter types for the Samsung and passive types for the LG).
While viewing his 3D resolution evaluation images, it was pretty obvious that the LG set was delivering a much lower resolution image than the Samsung, caused by some sort of low pass (high cut) filtering in the LG, although Mr. Kane couldn’t specify why LG saw the need for such filtering. My guess is that there must be some sort of Nyquist-related aliasing going on with the LG, which could cause numerous picture artifacts if left unchecked, hence the use of the low pass filter.
The last presentation of the afternoon was conducted by DWA’s resident 3D guru Phil (Captain 3D) McNally, who explained the ins and outs (pun intended) of 3D production, and providing insight as to why 3D upconversion of 2D content can’t provide the same immersive 3D effect that a full-on 3D production can. A clip from DWA’s at the time unreleased KungFu Panda 2 (which debuted in theaters the week following the session) was used by Mr. McNally to demonstrate how the 3D effect is fine-tuned for each scene, with DWA’s ability to “pull” or “push” the 3D imaging plane forward and backward to get the best possible effect. Indeed, the short clip used had many quick cuts, each one needing 3D tweaking so that when viewed continuously, the 3D effect proved to be seamless and free from any unnerving 3D-related distractions.
The presentations wrapped up with attendees having a brief tour of the main technical building, and in one hallway there were pre-production drawings showing early visualizations of characters slated to appear in an upcoming DWA 3D animated movie titled The Croods. The movie had only recently gone into production, and is slated for release sometime in 2014.
After a short break, we were ushered into DWA’s main screening room for a special treat—a full length screening of Kung Fu Panda 2. Our congenial host for the screening, DWA’s Head of Enterprise Marketing Kate Swanborg, pointed out that we were the first group of outsiders to see the complete movie, and she also gently reminded us that the taking of pictures was strictly verboten. She introduced us to one of DWA’s security team members, whose sole purpose during the screening was to be on the lookout for such nefarious activity, noting that if he saw even a hint of misbehavior “he’ll be coming over to have a word with you…”
I didn’t see the original Kung Fu Panda during its theatrical run, but as Mr. Katzenberg had pointed out during his opening remarks earlier that day, DWA’s mastery of 3D has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. I won’t give you a full review of Kung Fu Panda 2 here, but right from the movie’s opener, it was clear that they’ve really upped the 3D animation ante. The 150 seat screening room itself is well equipped to handle first rate 3D fare, equipped with a high end Barco DP3000 digital projector and a 29’ wide white (not silvered) screen.
Interestingly, DWA chose to go with Dolby’s 3D viewing technology for their theater, which utilizes more sophisticated glasses than the cheaper and simpler polarized types handed out at your typical movieplex. While still based on passive polarization technology, the Dolby 3D glasses also feature different left and right tri-band RGB color filtering, which provides better 3D stereoscopic separation with reduced ghosting. The Dolby Digital 7.1-channel sound system was similarly excellent, featuring lots of dynamic range and crisp and clear dialog.