This evening, October 19, 2010, may actually go down in Hollywood history as another important milestone in show biz. It was certainly a significant event for the International 3D Society as it was their Inaugural 3D Technology Lumiere Awards celebration at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Not being cynical in my approach, I asked Jim Chabin, President of the International 3D Society; “why do we need another awards show?” It’s a legitimate question. I mean you have the Emmy’s for TV, the Oscars for film and the Tony’s for theatre; what’s the point? His answer more or less reflected their mission statement and that is; “The International 3D Society has been founded to advance the art and technologies of stereoscopic 3D content and its professional innovators. The organization will host educational opportunities for showcasing work, recognizing achievement and advancing member growth…” In short, 3D filmmaking is unique. It comes with a host of new technologies of which the Motion Picture Academy is yet to recognize. In fact, tonight’s celebration honored the people on the technical end of 3D film production. You know all of those names that you see when they roll the credits at the end of the film? These are the people who create movie magic behind the scenes. The 3D Society is more than just a mutual admiration society. It honors those who perhaps you would not think of (like the guy–or gal–who writes the software that allows for digital conversion of 2D to 3D). Two statements stood out from tonight. The first was Jim’s opening statement; “tonight we honor visionaries who were blind. Blind to doubts, criticism and skepticism that go with human innovation.” The second statement that stands out was made by one of the presenters who called 3D “the perfect storm.” He wasn’t referring to the film of the same name. He was referring to the convergence of the digital revolution and 3D filmmaking.
Before addressing who was honored and why, it would be prudent to explain what exactly a Lumiere Award is. Auguste and Louis Lumière were brothers and among the earliest filmmakers in history. In France, Louis Lumière is credited with inventing the motion picture and here in Hollywood, he’s credited as inventing 3D films, which have been around a lot longer than one might have expected. One of the first films they showed at the awards presentation that was in 3D was made in 1935. It was originally made in 1895 and 40 years later the same “Arrival of the Train” scene was shot in stereoscopic 3D. Along the same lines, we were really in for a treat. Sue Lloyd, the granddaughter of Harold Lloyd provided the 3D Society with some old footage along with a really interesting anecdote of a personal nature. Her grandparents raised her and she didn’t know her grandfather was a film star. She thought he was a cameraman because when she was growing up, she frequently saw him with a camera. Harold Lloyd had a passion for 3D and was actually the president of a different 3D Society in the 50’s. His true belief was that 3D was the next frontier. She was on hand to introduce a film made by her grandfather that included the famous clock shot. It was really quite an honor to be among the first to see the updated colorized 3D film featuring Harold Lloyd.
Who was honored and why? First, it’s important to point out the Century Award is the highest mark of respect bestowed by the 3D Society and the first award went to Texas Instruments DLP Cinema. Nvidia was honored for developing a graphics card with the capacity to handle 3D content. This was the point in the evening when it became clear why there’s a special awards show just for 3D. Among others honored were Sassoon Film Design; IMAX; Sony Pictures Imageworks; 3ality; In Three; Autodesk; ReaID Cinema; Dolby Digital; Col. Robert Bernier; Steven Hines; Iridas; Master Image 3D; Quantel; Walt Disney Studios; Xpand and Panasonic. Actually, as the evening moved along, it was apparent that the “international” part of the International 3D society was represented. The President of Panasonic came all the way over from Japan to receive the award.
The following comes directly from the 3D Society press release:
There were three categories of 3D Technology Awards presented; Century, Lumiere, and Gold. The Century Award is the highest honor for a company or individual recognizing major contributions over the past thirty years; Lumiere Award and Gold Award recipients are recognized for more recent accomplishments.
IMAX, RealD and Texas Instruments were honored with the Century Award. IMAX was honored for its “Solido Systems” technology; RealD for its “Cinema System” digital 3D projection technology and Texas Instruments was recognizedfor its “DLP Cinema” technology.
Listed below are the Lumiere Award winners.
3ality Digital Autodesk Dolby Laboratories
Steve Hines In-Three MasterImage 3D
Nvidia Quantel Sassoon Film Design
Sony Pictures Imageworks The Walt Disney Studios XpanD
3ality Digital was honored for its Stereo Image Processor (SIP) technology; Autodesk for its “Maya®” 3D visual effects software technology; Dolby Laboratories for its “Dolby 3D” system; Steve Hines and The Walt Disney Studios for the “Disney Dual Camera Rig”; In-Three for its “Dimensionalization®” technology; MasterImage 3D for its “Digital 3D Cinema System”; Nvidia for its “3D Vision™” technology; Quantel for its “Pablo” 3D color correction and finishing system; Sassoon Film Design for its “2D to 3D Conversion” technology; Sony
Pictures Imageworks for its “3D Pipeline”; The Walt Disney Studios for its “3D Pipeline;” and XpanD for its “Active 3D Cinema System.”
The International 3D Society Gold Award recipients were: Colonel Robert Bernier for his “Optics” technology; IMAX for its “Solido Dual Strip 3D Camera” technology; and IRIDAS for its “Dual Stream” technology.
“There was an excitement in the theater tonight reflecting the growing confidence that 3D is an art, a craft and a good business to be in,” noted Jim Chabin, President of the International 3D Society.
Buzz Hays, Society Chair and Executive Stereoscopic 3D Producer for the Sony 3D Technology Center, Sony Corporation of America added “These innovators are helping pioneer the next generation of storytelling. Without them, we, as creators, would not have the bright 3D future ahead that we do.”
The 3D Technology Awards Show featured MasterImage digital 3D cinema system technology and passive glasses, as well as NEC projectors and equipment.
It was great to see those involved in the technical end of 3D filmmaking recognized for their painstaking and passionate efforts.