3D content guru Torsten Hoffmann reveals why it’s hard to make it in the stereoscopic film industry – and how you can beat the odds

In an exclusive article published online by our friends at 3D Focus, Torsten Hoffmann, a recognized leader in 3D content as the distributor of one of the largest stereoscopic 3D portfolios in the world, warned producers against unrealistic expectations for the commercial value of 3D content and outlined the business models of making money with 3D content.

Here are the highlights:


MIPCOM analysis: 3D Focus founder talks buried content, bad press, and the search for stereoscopic gold

Jonathan Tustain of 3D Focus – a UK-based website that covers the latest developments in stereoscopic entertainment – attended this year’s MIPCOM conference to check out the latest 3D content and report on the event.

Parallax Film Productions President and Director Ian Herring and Executive Producer Maija Leivo also attended the event to showcase our production Blowdown 3D, the first ever show on explosive demolition to be delivered in stereoscopic form for international broadcast.

We chatted with Tustian about his experiences at MIPCOM – and the state of 3D TV in general.

Here’s what he had to say:

Why MIPCOM was a must

A lot of websites (about 3D) really do focus on the technologies. I thought there was way too much of that and not too much of the actual content. So the idea was really to get to MIPCOM and see what was being created – if it’s being made in 3D, it’s likely you’ll see it there. In a nutshell that’s what MIPCOM’s about – content.


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.

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.


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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


3D TV exclusive: 3net’s Director of Programming and Acquisitions weighs in on the state of stereoscopic entertainment

Blowdown 3D makes its US debut on the 24-hour 3D channel 3net this Sunday, Aug. 28.

Here at Parallax Film Productions, we’re counting down the days until our American audience gets to experience explosive demolition in 3D for the first time.

To mark this event, we chatted with Mark Ringwald – Director of Programming and Acquisitions at 3net – about the premiere, the channel, and the state 3D TV in general.

Some of his thoughts appear in yesterday’s blog post, which details Blowdown 3D’s production and features a few clips from the show, put up in Dubois Anaglyph for the web.

Here are some other highlights from the interview:

On 3net’s programming

We have over 100 hours on the air at this moment and by the end of the year we’ll have 200 hours in our library. There will be a lot of new programming this fall. It’s going to be entertainment, it’s going to be kid’s programming, and it’s going to be concerts and movies and scripted programs. The content is going to be about 75 per cent commissions and co-productions and 25 per cent acquisition. So we’re doing a lot of original content.

On why 3D production can be a challenge

It’s a brand new technology and everybody’s feeling their way through it. Shooting 3D is not like shooting 2D. If somebody says “oh we’ll fix it in post”, chances are you won’t be fixing it in post. 3D gives you every opportunity to come back with no footage whatsoever. Unlike 2D when you can go out and shoot a bunch and say “well, I can piece together something”, you really have to do a lot more planning, you really have to worry about composing each and every shot. You have to shoot it differently than 2D.

We’ve been fortunate here at 3net with Sony’s part: they have a 3D technology centre for DPs and directors. So on the commissioning side people that have been doing projects for us have been sent though that school, so they have a firmly established background.

On the future of 3D TVs

Everyone is getting a 3D set. Starting this year all the major manufacturers – Sony, LG, Panasonic – are all putting the 3D technology in their sets. If you buy a TV set that’s over 42 inches it’s either going to be a 3D set or it’s going to be 3D capable. So we have to stop thinking “is 3D going to work?” and say “well, everybody’s going to be getting a 3D set, are we going to have good content, is there going to be a reason for them to watch something in 3D?”

On the future of 3D content

3D is coming in our homes, so I think the challenge is how to use it to its best advantage. And that’s the real challenge for producers and content creators. People say “what are you looking for in the next 3D show?” and I say “I don’t know”. I think this technology opens a lot of doors to a lot of new concepts and I don’t think people are using the 3D space to its fullest creativity yet. So it’s the challenge of creating content that people will want to go and watch.

On why 3D is great

3D immerses you in the experience. If you’re underwater you’re swimming with the sharks, or if you’re in a country in the Himalayas or on Mount Everest or if you’re at the Indianapolis 500 you feel more immersed inside that content and more like you’re there.

The underwater stuff is great. In one show about dolphins and whales the whales kind of came out. They were out there far enough that you felt like you could touch them and that’s kind of a cool effect. I don’t scuba dive so seeing a whale or a dolphin coming out and almost poking you is pretty spectacular.

On the big picture

You watch television for a myriad of reasons. It’s an experiential form, you’re enjoying the story or the drama or the action or the sport or whatever it is that you’re watching. This is a different way of enjoying it. I don’t think everything’s going to be in 3D. But I think there’s going to be a lot of programming that once you watch something in 3D you’re going to want to watch it in 3D.

The last word

Our mission is to create compelling 3D content that will make people want to go out and get a 3D set and sign up for 3net. There’s no trick to it. It’s just making great television.