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.