At the Staples Center in Los Angeles, AEG Network Live produced a live broadcast of the Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. Tour in High Definition to 500 theaters nationwide–and to one movie theater in 3D. That theater was located in L.A. Live, adjacent to the concert venue, the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “This is the first live concert in movie theaters in 3D,” says John Rubey, president of AEG Network Live, which has already produced numerous prerecorded 3D concerts.
Rubey reports that once the decision was made to broadcast in 3D, the logistics were actually fairly simple. “Because we were at the LA Live campus and everything is connected by fiber optics, all we had to do was double-check the technology,” he said. “We looked to see if we could take a 3D line-cut and send it over, which we did.” Rubey reported that once the live 3D broadcast was announced, the theater sold out.
“It was relatively straight forward,” continued Rubey. “From a technical perspective, it was less daunting than it might have appeared originally. In particular, there are a host of technical issues in delivering in 2D and 3D simultaneously but at the end of the day, it wasn’t as hard as it appeared on the surface and the audience loved it.”
AEG Network Live hired 3ality Digital, which had already completed 3D production work with Samsung, which partnered with the Black Eyed Peas at a Madison Square Gardens concert. “We had had a dialogue with 3ality starting with [president] Sandy Climan two years ago,” said Rubey. “And we met with [director] Ted Kenney last May.Â Ted and I connected on a couple of advance trips, and the chemistry was good. He was flexible in understanding that it wasn’t just a 3D shoot but that there were a myriad of uses, including a transmission to 500 movie theaters. His vision and flexibility plus the relationship he’d created with the Black Eyed Peas made him a logical support.”
3ality Digital also came to the project with an enormous expertise in both 3D and concert films, having produced the memorableÂ U2 3D. Despite the fact that the Black Eyed Peas concert would be live in 3D, 3ality Digital CEO Steve Schklair told Studio Daily that “you’ll be surprised how close we can get to the look of that U2 movie.” How do they do it? “We try to keep depth consistent and not jump around a lot,” said Schklair. “We do do close-ups, but we won’t do big cuts from people behind the screen to a scene in front of the screen.”
Director Kenney, who is 3ality Digital head of production, alsoÂ has experience in live 3D events; the stereographer for the Black Eyed Peas concert was Nick Brown, who had previously “pulled convergence” for numerous BSkyB 3D events in the U.K.
But the $64,000 question was, Would anyone get queasy in a live 3D event? “This moves slower than NHL Hockey and we broadcast that event to 2,000-square foot theater at Madison Square Gardens and no one got queasy,” said Schklair. The NHL Hockey event also was also carried by Cablevision, which served it to their subscriber base. Schklair reported that “there was a big uptick in 3D TV purchases prior to the game,” although there are no numbers as to how many Cablevision subscribers actually watched the hockey match in 3D.
The Black Eyed Peas are notably technologically savvy, and have been working with Samsung to amass a body of 3D footage. Elizabeth Olson reported in The New York Times that” Samsung is spending about $100 million this year on marketing and advertising its 3-D products. That included promoting its 3-D line with a Black Eyed Peas concert in Times Square on March 10.”
Schklair confirmed that 3ality Digital was recording all the 3D material for later editing. “We’ve already shot a lot of 3D for the Black Eyed Peas,” he says. “What the results of all this footage will be remains to be seen.”
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