Is it the most important part of the D-Cinema roll-out?

Will 3D save digital cinema, or will digital cinema save 3D? The
answer, director James Cameron told attendees at this year’s pre-NAB
Digital Cinema Summit, is a little bit of both.
Cameron, who gave the second-day keynote address, invoked the specters
of piracy and an increasingly indifferent viewership in an attempt to
convince attendees that 3D exhibition ‘ a more involving experience
and, at least for the time being, an unpiratable one — will help get
the fickle butts of movie audiences back in theater seats.
“I’m not going to make movies for people to watch on their cell phones,” he declared. “To me, that’s an abomination.”
Three different 3D processes were discussed. There’s the Cameron way,
which involves shooting a live-action feature with a 3D camera rig
(generally two Sony F950s bound together in a complicated assembly);
there’s the Chicken Little/Polar
method, which involves adding 3D to a previously
devised CG-animated world (simply by rendering out a second camera
view); and there’s the In-Three way, which has that company
“dimensionalizing” existing films. (A demo reel from the first
Star Wars movie was a highly compelling
demonstration of that company’s technology.)
The In-Three process takes a lot of time and costs a significant amount
of money ‘ Cameron said it’s cheaper to shoot a movie in 3D in the
first place than to shoot it flat and then add the third dimension. But
he said he’s “looking seriously” at having In-Three create 3D versions
of Titanic and Terminator 2,
calling it an efficient way to generate new interest in yesterday’s
blockbuster hits.
Cameron said he’s seen the potential of 3D cinema for years, but
expected the digital cinema rollout to take place sooner than it has.
Digital theaters are a key enabler for 3D technology, since they can
run at a high enough shutter rate (up to 144 fps in systems that
“triple flash” each image) to make the viewer’s experience more
seamless and less headache-inducing. He argues that 3D movies will
bring audiences to digital theaters in greater numbers, and that those
numbers in turn will help support more digital-cinema installations. In
addition to the Star Wars dimensionalization, in
time for a 30th anniversary reissue next year, Cameron ticked off a
number of other 3D projects in the works, including his own
Battle Angel and Project 880, a
New Line/Walden Media production of Journey to the Center of
the Earth
, Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf
project, and Disney’s CG title Meet the Robinsons.
Cameron noted the business implications go beyond entertainment. “They
could shoot live 3D that is so real that it’s practically
indistinguishable from human vision as if you had been standing there,”
he said. “Once you can use this installed base of 3D theaters to allow
people to participate in world events that are happening thousands of
miles away in 3D just like you were actually there, think of the
immediacy. Think of the power of that.”
And then, with wry comic timing, he added, “Think what you could charge.”