Schubin Cafe Event Serves Up Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat Overview

SMPTE Fellow Mark Schubin treated New York City technologists to an overview of the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat that was held in Palm Springs, CA during February, 2010. “The unofficial motto is ‘someone will be there who knows the answer,’” says Schubin of the event that drew more than 450 attendees. “There are more SMPTE Fellows there than there are at a SMPTE convention.”

The HPA Tech Retreat continues to be one of the top think-tank events in the industry covering literally hundreds of topics over five days (Schubin’s complete over view will be available next week at the Schubin Cafe). The event in New York City was the second in a series of “Schubin Cafe” presentations that are open to SVG members, sponsors, and invited guests.

Highlights of this year’s event include the introduction of the Arri Alexa camera, the first broadcast grade camera from Arri. “It looks like a digital cinema camera but it’s shoulder mounted and has an operator control screen,” says Schubin. Resolution is 3.5K and it also has resolution overscan of 10% outside the frame.

Other demo highlights included the Imartis AG “Swissrig” beam splitter 3D rig with the vertical camera below the beam splitter. “They claim that has faster adjustment for convergence,” adds Schubin.

Also related to 3D was a prototype of Panasonic’s integrated 3D camcorder and Dolby 3D delivered in a 7.5 Mbps stream, and a demonstration by Miranda of why 3D graphics need to be in front of everything else on the screen. Adobe also wowed attendees with a demonstration of a 3D image stabilization process.

“It delivered super-smooth moves and was spectacular,” says Schubin. “It looked like it was shot on a dolly.”

In non-3D demos Dolby LCD reference monitors proved memorable. “The blacks were so black you had to ask if it was on,” says Schubin.

In terms of topics one of the more interesting was micro stereopsis in which single lens optics (but two camera imagers) are used to capture 3D images with very little disparity between the two images. The advantage is there is no need for a convergence operator or a stereographer. Schubin said Sony demonstrated such a system and while it doesn’t offer the dramatic 3D effect possible with dual lens systems it does deliver the sensation of 3D.

The hottest discussions, however, centered around presentations by UC Berkley Professor Marty Banks. He dove into the issue of convergence accommodation issues which is where the muscles in the eye that focus on a TV or movie screen converge with the muscles that the stereographer is telling your eyes to focus on as a 3D object of interest. How those two muscles interact can mean the difference between an enjoyable 3D experience and a painful one.

“People come to HPA because they want to get exposure to new issues and learn,” adds Schubin.

The question now is, what’s in store for HPA Tech Retreat in 2011?

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