Monday, June 27, 2005

Chicken Little to be Shown in 3-D

I was wondering how long it would take for a major 3D CG film to be released in 3-D (you wear special glasses). This is exciting news. Maybe just a gimic, but very neat, none the less.

The Walt Disney Studios and Dolby Bring Disney Digital 3-D(TM) to Selected Theaters Nationwide With CHICKEN LITTLE on Dolby Digital Cinema

In a Revolutionary Collaboration With Dolby Laboratories, Employing Dolby Digital Cinema Combined With Industrial Light & Magic's Proprietary Software Technology, Walt Disney Pictures Debuts New 3-D TECHNOLOGY With CHICKEN LITTLE, Its First All-CGI Animated Feature

BURBANK, Calif., June 27 -- Disney once again leads the film industry by introducing Disney Digital 3D(TM), a brand new, state-of-the-art technology providing the first true three-dimensional digital experience in movie theatres, with the highly anticipated movie Chicken Little to be released on November 4, 2005. In collaboration with Disney, Dolby Laboratories plans to install its Dolby® Digital Cinema systems in approximately 100 specially-selected, high-profile theatres in 25 top markets that will present the 3D film. Visual effects giant Industrial Light & Magic (a Lucasfilm Ltd. company) will render the movie in 3D so it can be played on Dolby Digital Cinema servers at selected theatres. This joint effort will create the next leap forward in the evolution of motion picture entertainment, bringing animation to life.

This historic debut of an entirely new release format will further define, refine, and elevate the film art form and marks the first time a major motion picture studio (Disney) has fully embraced a digital deployment plan. Disney selected Dolby Digital Cinema, a state-of-the-art digital cinema presentation system, to debut Chicken Little's brand new proprietary CG animation process. Dolby's technology, combined with Industrial Light & Magic's newly invented method of creating digital 3D imagery, provides the first feature motion picture presented in true digital 3D. Viewers of Chicken Little will experience this revolutionary format with the use of special 3D glasses offering greater clarity and more comfort than conventional 3D glasses.

Commenting on the announcement, Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, said, "Disney Digital 3D is a truly groundbreaking technology that combines the latest innovations of science and art, and we are proud to be a part of filmmaking history. Our proprietary, state-of-the-art CG animation process used to make Chicken Little and future animation projects will finally allow moviegoers to experience true digital three-dimensional entertainment in theatres." Cook continued, "Walt Disney pioneered many technological breakthroughs and set an uncompromising goal for his Studio to constantly push the envelope to offer a superior movie going experience. We are very proud to add this animation milestone to the long list of technological breakthroughs for the studio, and we are especially thrilled to work with entertainment technology leader Dolby in this exciting launch. Likewise, we are proud to have the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic to help deliver the movie in 3D."

"Disney and Dolby's commitment to digital cinema paves the way for a large scale digital cinema deployment," said Tim Partridge, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Professional Division, Dolby Laboratories. "Dolby is a trusted brand for providing technologies that dramatically improve the moviegoing experience, and Disney has a fantastic reputation for delivering incredible movies to audiences worldwide. This is a great collaboration between both companies to launch Chicken Little on Dolby Digital Cinema."

ILM President Chrissie England said, "The digital 3D release of Chicken Little is a very exciting chapter in Hollywood history as it marks the next generation of moviemaking. We are delighted to participate with Disney in setting a new benchmark for the future. We are pleased that Chicken Little is the first animated movie to use our new process using Disney's actual 3D models, animation, and camera data. This process allows us to provide a richer, more nuanced viewing experience for moviegoers than any existing postproduction techniques. We feel audiences will embrace this experience as the new standard in animated features."


Grover said...

Movie's in 3D aren't any better than movies in 2D. Not sure I get why this is interesting. When they tried this in the 1950's it didn't 'change the face of cinema'.

What's really going on is that studios are trying to get people to go back to theatres. But with today's home systems and DVD and NetFlicks the answer isn't 3D on an iMax screen. The answer is a similtaneous release across media. DVD, theatre and online/on demand.

My guess is, in 10 years theatre attendance will be half what it is now, but total revenue will grow.

But 3D tacked onto traditional narrative films is nothing special.

Staloren said...

2D hand drawn movies aren't any better than 3D CG movies either. But there sure seems to be a shift in that direction.

3-D (glasses) based films could provide a gimmick to bring in more bodies. Although it has been done since the 50's, the technology is better and seeing it on a CG film is new to most movie goers. And personally, seeing CG in a newlight is different and interesting and worth seeing imo. Even if it goes no further than CL.

Venice Menace said...

I think CG in 3D looks great. The best example I've seen is the Shrek show at Universal Studios.

I would happily go out of my way to check out Chicken Little in 3D.

Gimmick or not, I'm happy that someone is trying something different.

Grover said...

I have to wonder if 3D is more than a drop-in-the-pan, than why didn't it change the face of films in the 1950's or 1980's? Remember Friday the 13th in 3D.

Is there something in 3D animation that makes it especially good when it is in 3D?

Still seems like a limitied time gimmick. Sell a few more tickets? Maybe...Maybe not.

Of course th argument that most filmakers use is "make a good movie and people will come to it". That is used to explain why a Pixar film sells more tickets than, well, say Atlantis, or Home on the Range. So if getting people to a movie house is about making a good movie, 3D would be irrelevant.


Staloren said...

I think the major difference with what Disney is doing is that technology has evolved quit a bit since the 50's. I cannot say how good or bad the new 3-D is. I haven't actually seen it in person.

If any of you actually saw those 3-D red/blue movies, they were pretty crappy. The last 3-D CG film I saw looked pretty darn good minus the headaches from the 50's technology.

For one, Disney will be screening these at digital theatres. Two, they are most likely going to use some sort of glasses that work better than red/blue. Perhaps with shutter technology..

2D traditional animation would be nearly impossible to do with this technology. CG is a natural fit since it can easily be rendered from two cameras. So the question is: Why not? What's the harm? You've got to take a chance sometimes.

If it attracts a few more people into a sagging movie businesss- then great! Lucas swears by the new 3-D technology and plans to do it for his Star Wars films as well. In fact, Disney worked with Lucasfilm on this technology.

I'll be first in line to check it out.

Staloren said...

Additionally. I wonder if this technology actually requires rendering a second camera. If Lucas wants to do this to his already shot live action films, it must be some sort of post process.

I wonder exactly what the technical aspects are of the Chicken Little 3-D.

Grover said...

Well, I have dug into the technology, talked with a few people who have bumped against it at Disney and it really strinkes me that this is nothing more than a publicity type stunt. It in no way improves the movie going experience EXCEPT to take effects driven films further into the control of effects supervisors and effects directors. This is not a good thing. One of the biggest problem with most large studio films is lack of vision these type of people most often bring to projects.

They don't look to story or writing. It is all about effects. Technology does not make a good movie. Color, 3D and great matte paintings do not make great movies. They can be elements, but are only elements.

Of ocurse this entire discussion is silly because it is obvious that adding 3D to anything other than a void effets driven film (see George Lucas) does not make it a better film in anyway. But it might bring in more teenagers, and will for a short time increase sales. It is the thrill-ride effect.

However, Chicken Little will still have (from the last version of the script I read a month ago) a difficult time in the market as the film does not present characters who have anything on the line, and offers sitcom like ending.

Instead of investing in 3D prints, a place like Disney should cut the number of executives and add time (money) to the story department. Perhaps even work with some writers they haven't before. spending even a dime on turning a film into 3D, is a waste. Did colorizing Casablanca make it better? Would 3D make Gone With the Wind or the original Star Wars 'better'?

Staloren said...

Well, we should just agree to disagree. :) I think it actually can improve the movie going experience. It may not improve the movie or the story. But it certainly can imrpove the experience.

To answer a couple of your possible rhetorical questions. Yes, I personally think that better effects make some films better. If something enhances believability or drags you into it more because it isn't a bunch of cheesy pie plates hanging on strings, I think it could really make a movie better and more enjoyable.

Disney isn't going to cut any executives either. So you might as well get used to how the place is run. As far as the Chicken Little script. Anyone that is in this industry should know the script has little to do with the final product. That is what makes animated films so unique in their construction. They are mostly done visually. A terrible script doesn't necessarily make a terrible animated movie. That's why so much trust is put into the story artists.

Grover said...

Agree. All in the name of a good discussion.

And I also know that Disney isn't about to cut executives, even though from a financial POV their feature dept. is a disaster because of that habit. You'd think, just maybe, jussssst maybe they would look at the success Pixar has had with 'creator/story' driven films and back away from the committee system of film production...but I wish for too much!

I look forward to seeing a film or two using the new technology.

The only other comment I have on this subject is that a good script is equally important for any film. It does not guarantee a good film, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And going into production without a good script almost always spells disaster. Animation isn't 'magic'. It still comes from solid story and characters who are interesting and alive. The best animated film -is not the best ANIMATED film, if you know what I mean.

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