Stereoscopic TV review: editor Brian Mann details Vizio’s E3D420VX 42” Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV

On a recent trip to the U.S., Parallax Film Productions editor Brian Mann bought Vizio’s E3D420VX 42” Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV.

Here’s his take on the viewing experience:

The buy

I bought Vizio’s 3D TV for approx. $650.00 US at Costco in Bellingham, WA. 42 inch TVs seem to be a sweet spot right now – you can get really big deals. The Vizio was the best deal – even compared to non-3D capable TVs that were the same size.

Native versus converted

I’ve watched Blu-ray native 3D DVDs, including Tron and (Robert Zemeckis’) A Christmas Carol. I’ve also watched a 3D conversion – Green Hornet. You can tell the difference on this TV, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. With converted 3D you don’t get that “pop up book” look, but it still does feel like you have layers rather than the full depth.

Passive versus active

A lot of people are being snooty about the passive 3D experience. With a huge TV you might feel the difference or see jaggy edges. But with this 42 inch, the quality loss is not huge when you’re sitting 5 or 6 feet away. It’s great quality for the price. You can also use the same kind of glasses you use in the theatre (RealD technology) – which makes everything brighter and clearer – and avoid those big, bulky expensive active shutters.

The last word

Finding a 3D TV at this price means it’s no longer a luxury feature. It’s now making its way into mid-range TVs. It also means you’re not paying a premium for 3D capability … you’re just getting it with your TV. With this Vizio, you get a great 2D picture for the price, and the 3D’s an added bonus.

This week in Battle Castle-Oct. 14

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

On YouTube

Battle Castle: host Dan Snow details Conwy Castle’s peculiar curvature

Battle Castle host Dan Snow explores Conwy’s great hall and details the reason behind its unusual shape. This Welsh castle was built by King Edward I in Snowdonia, Wales, and was tested with Madog ap Llywelyn led a medieval rebellion against the English and their Iron Ring of fortifications in the late 13th century. The secrets of this mighty castle’s build and details of the siege it faced are revealed in Battle Castle: Conwy.

Dan’s blogs will be released every Thursday on YouTube, unveiling details related to the stories that will be profiled in the Battle Castle shows

Battle Castle: Conwy – the winds of Wales

Writer Nicole Tomlinson details the wilds of Wales and their role in Battle Castle: Conwy. The film crew and host Dan Snow moved away form the city and into the outlands to capture the spirit of what Snowdonia may have looked like in 1294 when Welsh leader Madog ap Llywelyn headed a medieval rebellion against the English and laid siege to their castles. The castle builders who engineered and constructed Conwy and the other fortifications in King Edward I’s Iron Ring and the soldiers who fought for the English would have had to navigate lands like these.

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

@Battlecastle  Oct. 12,

Chainmail designed with wide armholes will not plague its wearer with constriction – B. Cornwell

3 ways to #gomedieval

Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:

Creative forum for teaching medieval history

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=3067 via http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/

Kids food from the Middle Ages to your table

http://www.ifood.tv/blog/medieval-foods-for-kids via http://www.ifood.tv

Paper trebuchet takes down office monotony

http://twitter.com/#!/dale42/status/103257397958684672 via @dale42

Want more Battle Castle action?

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

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MIPCOM … 3D: stereoscopic dispatches from the world’s entertainment content market

Parallax Film Productions President Ian Herring was in Cannes, France last week for MIPCOM, armed with a 3D monitor and ready to showcase our first 3D documentary to the world’s entertainment content market.

Here’s what he found.

I wanted to share Blowdown 3D, our stereoscopic documentary on explosive demolition produced for international broadcast, at this year’s MIPCOM conference in Cannes, France.

My criteria was it had to be an easy and hassle-free viewing experience. NO ACTIVE SHUTTER glasses. I needed the technology to work seamlessly so I could be free to discuss more important things.  My post-production team came up with a brilliant solution – take my own passive 3D monitor to the conference.

The gamble

When we chose LG’s D2342P 23IN 3D LED Backlit LCD Monitor I was taking a chance on alienating my audience and turning them off 3D – counter to everything I have been doing for the past year and a half. Would I be able to get the quality I needed to show our flagship 3D documentary to clients and colleagues at MIPCOM?

The journey

I brought it over from Vancouver, Canada as carry on.   From what I could see I was the only one who carried a computer monitor on board an international and then a European domestic flight.

The destination

The LG monitor was the only one of its kind at a TV conference that hosts 10, 000 buyers and sellers. I walked the floor of the market and saw lots of large 3D TVs, but not many people viewing them. I wondered if this was because the content wasn’t compelling or because people just don’t want to look stupid with glasses on.

The impact

Many of the people we showed a clip of BD 3D had not seen much 3D TV.   It worked.  The discussion came down to not WHY we were doing 3D but our next project.  Here’s one of our clients screening on our LG.  Easy and discrete.

 

File 196

When it comes to 3D, seeing is believing – you have a have a good reason to don glasses and it had better be an amazing the viewing experience or we as content creators are going to have a tough time convincing folks its worth the effort to finance and exhibit.

The last word

Sadly, at the market a major journal profiled 3D and its evolution, technology and got it SO wrong.  A bad joke at a TV market.

Ian Herring, President

@ianherring

This week in Battle Castle-Oct. 7

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

On YouTube

 

Battle Castle: Host Dan Snow reveals how Malbork’s Teutonic knights dined like kings.

Battle Castle host Dan Snow reveals what the Teutonic Knights at Malbork Castle in Poland ate and drank, and how their meals were prepared and brought to them during life in the Middle Ages. This stronghold, believed to be the largest brick castle in the world,  was built by Christians during the Baltic Crusades. The fortification, historically known as Marienburg, was besieged by Polish and Lithuanian forces after the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410, and defended by Heinrich von Plauen.

Dan’s blog will be released every Thursday on YouTube, unveiling details related to the stories that will be profiled in the Battle Castle shows.

On Flickr

Battle Castle: Conwy – Dan Snow climbs a siege ladder

On-site photos taken during the filming of Battle Castle: Conwy as host Dan Snow attempted to defeat a stone wall using a replica of a medieval siege ladder. The ladder, built by Gary Ball, is similar to those used in the Middle Ages during the time that Conwy and King Edward I’s other Welsh castles were built. The show reveals the castle builders who engineered and raised these fortifications, as well as the weapons and battles that tested them in 1294 when Welsh leader Madog ap Llywelyn headed a medieval rebellion against the English and laid siege to their castles.

More: http://www.flickr.com/photos/battlecastle/sets/72157627664058083/show/

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

@BattleCastle Oct. 6,

A military architect’s duty is to counter the ever-changing arsenal of the aggressor – M. Keen

3 ways to #gomedieval

Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:

Middle Age warfare, go-cart edition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmw8JEQvK48&feature=fvsr via r00bear

Medieval fashion meets modern life

http://www.brianshumway.com/projects/modern-medieval-new/ via brianshumway

History inspires Tarot cards with a twist

http://platypusart.com/wetherell/modern_medieval_tarot.html via Shayn Amber Wetherell and TimWetherell

Want more Battle Castle action?

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

Join us.

battlecastle.tv

Review: 3D in the boardroom – LG’s 23-inch D2342P monitor a good candidate for showcasing stereoscopic footage

The Parallax post-production team’s latest mission has been to find a portable 3D display so I can easily show our stereoscopic footage to colleagues and broadcasters anywhere in the world.

Brian Mann and Matt Sikka brought in LG’s D2342P 23IN 3D LED Backlit LCD Monitor to see how it would stack up.

Here’s what they found:

-It plays back our flagship stereoscopic documentary, Blowdown 3D, decently from both computer and Blu-ray Disc;

-The viewing angle is key – as with most monitors, the eye-line should be hitting around the top 1/3 of the screen. For boardroom presentations, the monitor’s height has to be adjusted to hit this sweet spot;

-It has limited range side to side, so only a couple people at a time can watch it comfortably;

-Menu is navigable, but not intuitive. If you’re using it for presentations, you’ll want to become familiar with the settings first; and

-This monitor has no built-in speakers. This means if you want to take it into a boardroom situation, you’ll likely need a set of portable speakers.

Overall, the LG D2342P is a good offering for what we’d like to do with it. The price tag for the monitor itself (can be found for sub-$300) and the passive glasses (rarely more than $20), also make this system an appealing option.

For consumers who are able to wait a bit longer and willing pay a bit more to eek out higher quality in every pixel on the screen, it may be better to hold out for LG’s forth coming LG W2363D, which is said to be a superior passive 3D LED monitor (street date currently unknown).

Lugging a monitor around to meetings isn’t exactly ideal. But until there’s a 3D TV in every boardroom, it’s the best way to make sure we get to share the stereoscopic experience.
With a little prep and some extra gear, it looks like this LG model will get the job done.
Ian Herring, President

This week in Battle Castle-Sept. 30

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

On YouTube

Battle Castle: Six mighty castles. Six epic sieges.  Explore. Play. Go medieval.

Battle Castle host Dan Snow reveals details of trebuchet balls in the depths of Syria’s Crac des Chevaliers, the crown jewel of crusader castles. The castle was constructed by Christian knights in the 12th and 13th centuries, and faced attack by a Muslim force armed with trebuchets and led by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1271. The secrets of this mighty castle’s build and details of the epic siege it faced are revealed in Battle Castle: Crac des Chevaliers.

Dan’s blogs will be released every Thursday on YouTube, unveiling details related to the stories that will be profiled in the Battle Castle shows .

On Flickr

Battle Castle: Malbork – the art of war

Photos taken of various works of art at an exhibit while filming on-site for Battle Castle: Malbork with host Dan Snow in Poland. The show profiles the siege of 1410 when Polish and Lithuanian forces attacked the brick stronghold. The offensive, which was led by King Jagiello and Grand Duke Vytautas, occurred after the Battle of Tannenberg. The castle, historically known as Marienburg, was built by the Teutonic Order, crusader knights who occupied this area of the Baltic in medieval times.

More: http://battlecastle.tv/blog/battle-castle-universe-medieval-journey-awaits

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

@Battlecastle  Sep 26,

Castles are magnificent at delaying and dislocating an invading army – P. Warner

3 ways to #gomedieval

Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:

Learn about medieval fast food

http://www.medievalists.net/2011/01/27/medieval-food/via http://medievalists.net

How you’re speaking medieval (and you probably don’t even know it)

http://www.hyw.com/books/history/Medi0015.htmvia @liz__murray

Race-track trebuchet “retires” a car

 

Want more Battle Castle action?

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

Join us.

www.battlecastle.tv

This week in Battle Castle-Sept. 23

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

 On YouTube

Battle Castle:  Malbork — exploring the castle

Writer Nicole Tomlinson and the rest of the Battle Castle crew, including host Dan Snow, explore an area of Malbork Castle in Poland that’s normally out of bounds to the public. Battle Castle: Malbork profiles the siege of 1410 when Polish and Lithuanian forces attacked the brick stronghold. The offensive, which was led by King Jagiello and Grand Duke Vytautas, occurred after the Battle of Tannenberg. The castle, historically known as Marienburg, was built by the Teutonic Order, crusader knights who occupied this area of the Baltic in medieval times.

On Flickr

Battle Castle: Gaillard – surrounding lands

Photos of the area surrounding Chateau Gaillard, including the River Seine and the town of Petit Andely, taken during the filming of Battle Castle: Gaillard with host Dan Snow. The French army, led by Philip Augustus of France, laid siege to English King Richard I’s stronghold in 1203-1204. The show reveals how Richard the Lionheart’s castle builders constructed the fortifications and details the medieval weapons used to attack it.

More: http://battlecastle.tv/blog/chateau-gaillard-how-nature-stands-guard

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

For a soldier seeking comfort, supple deerhide leather can be tailored to fit like a second skin – B. Cornwell
3 ways to #gomedieval
Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:

Build family memories reenacting another age

http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.com/2011/08/flashback-friday-medieval-fun.html via beckywilloughby

Collect Ancient maps to share in a modern time

http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/EML.html via henry-davis

Learn parts of a medieval castle by playing hangman

http://www.freado.com/hangman/172/parts-of-a-medieval-castle via @ccarpinello

Want more Battle Castle action?

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

Join us.

www.battlecastle.tv

This week in Battle Castle-Sept. 16

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

 On YouTube

Battle Castle: Gaillard — crew arrives at hotel

Executive Producer and Director Ian Herring and Camera and Director of Photography Sean F. White arrive at Chateau Corneille with the rest of the Battle Castle crew, ready to film host Dan Snow at Chateau Gaillard. The French army, led by Philip Augustus of France, laid siege to English King Richard I’s stronghold in Normandy in 1203-1204. Battle Castle: Gaillard reveals how Richard the Lionheart’s castle builders constructed the fortifications, which included securing the castle, an island fort, and the town of Petit Andely, and details the medieval weapons used to attack it.

On Flickr

Battle Castle: Conwy – the Wilds of Wales

Photos of Snowdonia in Northern Wales, taken during the filming of Battle Castle: Conwy. The production crew and host Dan Snow travelled out into the Wilds of Wales to capture the spirit of what the region may have looked like in the Middle Ages during the time that Conwy and King Edward I’s other Welsh castles were built. The show reveals the castle builders who engineered and raised these fortifications, as well as the weapons and battles that tested them in 1294 when Welsh leader Madog ap Llywelyn headed a medieval rebellion against the English and laid siege to their castles.

More: http://battlecastle.tv/blog/battle-castle-universe-dead-men-fight-again

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

From the dawn of defence, fortifications have aimed to exploit height– M. Keen
3 ways to #gomedieval
Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:

 

Want more Battle Castle action?

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

Join us.

www.battlecastle.tv

Underworld: Awakening, The Darkest Hour stereographer Kasimir Lehto details the 3D entertainment experience

Shooting, editing, and delivering the first ever 3D documentary on explosive demolition for international broadcast has connected us with others who are forging paths into the third dimension.

These brilliant, passionate, innovative filmmakers are redefining entertainment … one project at a time.

One of the people we’ve spoken to is Kasimir Lehto.

Lehto, who found us through an article detailing the production of Blowdown 3D, has been in the stereoscopic filmmaking business since 2005.

In that time, he’s worked as a stereographer/DOP on several 3D productions, including Underworld: Awakening and The Darkest Hour. His latest project, Apartment 1303, is slated for production this fall in Montreal, Canada.

Born in Finland to filmmaker parents, Lehto has been immersed in cinematography his whole life. Here’s what he had to say about the exciting world of 3D:

On entering the third dimension

I got involved six years ago. I noticed all the marks in the air that this would be the next step in the history of cinema in terms of distribution and new kind of form. I foresaw that this is the new area where cinema is evolving. You have to take risk to accomplish something or go forward. I was keen to find new horizons in filmmaking – it was strong intuition so I just went for it.

It inspired me. It allowed me to forget everything I know about cinematography and filmmaking and try to and start to build again on top of a new principle – this new format that brings up creative possibilities and rethinking the cinematic language.

On funding stereoscopic films

We founded a company called Stereoscape to generate works for us in 3D. First we applied for money from different technology research centres, film funds for researching and test-driving 3D. We got quite a lot of money from Finland to research and develop this whole thing – we were government-financed.

On the road to 3D

When we started there wasn’t much knowledge and tricks and technology around so it took like a really long time to figure out. We did a lot of short films and a lot of demo content which we tried to figure out how to shoot 3D, how to place the cameras, how to edit, how to view which took enormous time for us because nobody was really doing it in the small budget level we were doing.

Figuring out everything was kind of a struggle but the was the fun of it, to kind of explore and learn new things, to figure it out and to have it working. Now everything has changed dramatically. Editing software is supporting 3D, there are a lot of different 3D cameras for different price ranges and budgets, there are production services, there is screening, there are 3D TVs.

On 3D’s universal appeal

3D gives the viewer more information. When the viewer receives more information that’s a richer experience and it engages you in a deeper level. My basic ideology is that drama is actually one of the best areas to work in 3D. You are observing the people and the action and the drama between them. When the 3D is added it gives the viewer a richer experience of the character, which makes it more real and more understandable.

I think that 3D is something between the cinema and the theatre. We all know that with the theatre the presentation of the characters is real so the whole context of the story or the subtext is stronger. In drama it’s about emotions and the story. 3D can deliver these characters and situation with a higher level of information like social signals, emotional signals – if all this can be delivered in a stronger level of information that’s always better.

The 2D/3D debate: it’s black and white

You know many times in the past people have asked me why 3D is better than 2D then I’ve asked them “what do you prefer, black and white or colour in films?” And 99 per cent of the time it’s like “colour” and then I ask why. They always the answer is it’s because it feels more realistic. 3D it delivers the content on a more realistic level so in that case the viewer is more encased and he feels what he sees at a stronger level. You feel that you’re being there, you’re part of the whole story or scene, you’re in the room. That’s why 3D is good and why stories can benefit from it.

On the creative process

[As a stereographer] the biggest challenge is to get everybody on board on making a 3D film and telling the story in three dimensions … to start feeding people and to start helping people understand the difference. The optimal ways to block a scene in 3D, how the cutting and editing pace is different, how to incorporate all these things for the method.

[As a DOP] The biggest challenge is to try to give the director as many tools and as many references and experience so that he or she could be able to tell the story in a way that it works great in 3D in a way that 3D wouldn’t disturb his or her method … it would be a fluent experience. So it’s optimizing the storytelling method to match the 3D.

The biggest reward happens every day you look 3D on a big screen. When you screen your dailies or test or whatever it’s always shocking of how amazing it is. And you get more rewards when things are working smoothly and you get great shots and as a cinematographer you can use the camera in a way that is kind of matching how the audience wants to see 3D. Once you get to the kind of method where you can shoot 3D in a 3D way, not within a 2D method, that’s when the 3D starts to flourish.

On stereoscopic success

Try to look at as much 3D as possible. Try to make test shoots and try to explore things and learn from it. You have to learn how the 3D is different from 2D and according to that information you should tune your method to match the features of 3D.

The biggest asset in the set is everybody’s mind. So everybody should, from the whole team, director and DOP, production designer and producer, all the key positions should have experience or knowledge about the 3D so everybody understands what it is and how is it different from the 2D method.

On indie filmmaking and the future of 3D innovation

Indie films are more capable of mobilizing or utilizing this form that’s because they are smaller so they can explore and be more innovative. And since they are small they have to be smart and kind of jump higher than they actually are. There’s more intention of really nailing it and exploring it in ways that it can be really impressive and tell the story. I’m sure the big films will follow but they are so huge it takes more time for them to kind of evolve and arrive.

The last word

I’m quite positive that 3D is here to stay. If we look at how far moving pictures have come in the last 100 years it would be naïve to think that the format would stay in the 2D format. It’s the rule of evolution. Things are going forward – I don’t think there’s any other option for visual media language than to go to the third dimension.

This week in Battle Castle – Sept. 9

Here’s what’s going on this week in our current production, Battle Castle:

 On YouTube

Conwy — comparing Welsh castles

Executive Producer Maija Leivo reveals her impressions of the differences between Conwy, Caernarfon, and Harlech castles in Northern Wales. The Battle Castle crew scouted and shot at all three locations for Battle Castle: Conwy. The fortifications are part of the Iron Ring that King Edward I erected as part of his castle building campaign in what is now Snowdonia. In 1294 Welsh leader Madog ap Llywelyn challenged these strongholds during a medieval rebellion against the English.

More: <a href="

On Flickr

Battle Castle: Gaillard – fisheye’s view of the keep

The keep at Chateau Gaillard, captured through a fisheye lens, shot during the filming of Battle Castle: Gaillard with host Dan Snow. The French army, led by Philip Augustus of France, laid siege to English King Richard I’s stronghold in 1203-1204. The show reveals how Richard the Lionheart’s castle builders constructed the fortifications, which included securing the castle, an island fort, and the town of Petit Andely, and details the medieval weapons used to attack it.

More: http://battlecastle.tv/blog/chateau-gaillard-change-perspective

On Twitter

Medieval siege tip of the week:

Several things are needed to construct siege engines: skilled engineers, considerable labour, accessible material … and so on – K. Nossov
3 ways to #gomedieval
Awesome medieval moments on the web, chosen by The Gatekeeper:
A case for graffiti

 

Knights give bowling tournament an old edge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwLR-Abh8Kk Uploaded by MedievalTimesUSA

Watermelon prepared by longsword

A world of castle engineering, bloody siegecraft, and epic clashes that transform mortals into legends awaits …

Join us.

www.battlecastle.tv