The Digital Cowboy
Frame accurate synchronized playback from 2 or more dcinema players, for the Autostadt, Hibino and others was the pre-curser of Digital 3D. Once digital projection “caught up” with syncing players, Studio interest in Digital 3D grew quickly, and Schiffman’s experience was requested, even demanded at nearly every Digital 3D demonstration.
In 2004, 2 QuVIS players and a controller were set up in the projection booth at
Weta Digital, Wellington New Zealand for a prototype 3D Demo.
Temporary scaffolding supports 2 Texas Instruments dcinema projectors
for the first 3D demo. At that time, 2 projectors were required to provide
sufficient light output for 3D.
Although this early demonstration did not result in an immediate sale, Peter Jackson and the Weta Digital staff recognized the potential of Digital 3D. Schiffman and TI engineers were in Wellington for nearly a week. Demos were scheduled around the “dailies” for Lord of the Rings - Return of the King, then in final postproduction.
It was clear a single server 3D player was required, which was introduced later in 2004. Image sync issues were eliminated and interest in Digital 3D took off.
In September 2005 - The featured event at the IBC Conference was the 3D Digital Cinema presentation of segments from numerous major motion picture releases and was attended by over 200 people. The IBC screening followed similar screenings at the 2005 ShoWest, 2005 NAB, 2005 INFOCOMM, The British Film Institute, Cinema Expo. Schiffman was at the server and running the show for every international Digital 3D demo mentioned here, and elsewhere.
Industry response to the events was beyond expectations:
"The 3D was of a quality better than anything I had previously experienced. Seeing my own Star Wars images in authentic 3D convinced me that it would be a whole new way for audiences to be able to re-live the Star Wars films," said director George Lucas.
James Cameron was already in pre-production for his upcoming science-fiction adventure "Battle Angel" to be released in 3D in 2007. "The biggest action, visual effects and fantasy movies will soon be shot in 3D. And all-CG animated films can easily be converted to 3D, without additional cost if it is done as they are made. Soon audiences will associate 3D with the highest level of visual content in the market, and seek out that premium experience," Cameron said. "I believe that 3D is absolutely the future. ... They'll have to pry my glasses out of my cold, dead fingers."
In October, 2005 Buena Vista International (Disney) released the animated film “Chicken Little” in Digital 3D in the US and Mexico. Schiffman was not just involved in the Mexican premiers, he was entrusted to hand carry the digital release prints to the 4 cinemas screening the release.
In the spring of 2006, Schiffman made the 18-hour flight back to New Zealand to permanently install a 3D server in the Weta Digital Screening room.
Today technology from RealD, Inc. is the foundation of 1,000s of digital 3D cinemas all over the world.