This Minute at Runco
By Jennifer B. Davis
The market is abuzz with 3D and Runco is proud of the industry accolades and awards that were bestowed on our new 3Dimension™ Series D-73d product and our Constant Stereoscopic Video (CSV) approach to 3D. The recent releases and announcements from Hollywood studios and cable operators alike are making the 3D space more exciting than ever.
However, market excitement or skepticism (or outright criticism) is overshadowed by confusion. There are too many options, too much to know, and clients are struggling to make good choices. Runco is leading with a projection-based solution that we believe is superior for 3D. However, designing a theater for 3D content playback, while retaining the flexibility for exceptional 2D playback, is a 3-dimensional problem indeed.
Below are some of the challenges with 3D and what to do about them. This is a three-part series and we’ll start with what our clients are asking for and that is exceptional image quality that exceeds what is common in commercial cinemas.
Image Quality -
For 3D displays to create the illusion of depth (and it is an optical illusion), they must give each eye their own distinct view of the world. Active 3D accomplishes this with shutter glasses, which blank out every other frame while the projector alternates between left and right eye images. When synced appropriately, each eye should theoretically only see what it is intended to see. However, in practice, there is cross-talk between the left and right eye content (causing ghosting) and this approach can introduce pull-downs artifacts. But even more importantly, this approach has been known to cause physical discomfort (including nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, and headaches). Some clients will be particularly sensitive to this.
Alternatively, there are “passive” glasses approach (named because they are not electronic, nor do they take batteries) that can be used. Runco’s Constant Stereoscopic Video (CSV) approach to 3D with PreciseLight™ is one such approach. This relies on polarized light to make sure each eye is only seeing what it should. This is accomplished with PreciseLight polarizing filters on the projection lenses, glasses of a unique formulation to preserve stereo separation, and a screen that maintains the polarization (often called non-depolarizing or polarization preservation). Unless all three of these work flawlessly together, you will get less than optimal 3D video performance.
In any case, it is critical that the system not only playback 3D, but also demultiplex, decode, sync, and format the 3D formats (starting with the required list in the HDMI 1.4a specification). If the display company you are working with is not a RealD® licensee and is not compliant with the full HDMI 1.4a list there is a chance that what you are buying will be incompatible with the some of the content that will be distributed.
Note: For more information on how to evaluate 3D technologies and approaches, download a free copy of the Runco Enthusiast's Guide to 3D eBook.
- For a premium 3D experience that is both compelling and comfortable, there is nothing that beats CSV. It has been field-proven in long-duty cycle applications (for 10 hours a day), so we are confident it will lead to a great result for a 2 hour movie when movies like Star Wars or Despicable Me are released on 3D Blu-Ray or sporting events are shown on ESPN 3D.
- If you are looking for a system that will be used primarily for regular cinema or broadcast content in 2D and you want the option to have 3D for those that like it, then Active 3D can be used. Runco offers Active 3D upgrades on several products that can be added at any time to the installation.
- In any case of the solution, Runco offers our 3Dimension processing solution, which is a critical component of great 3D playback. It comes bundled with the D-73d and with the Active 3D upgrade for the SC-50d and SC-60d.
- For years, Runco has led the charge in the playback of Cinema Scope (2.35:1 aspect ratio cinema content) without black bars. It is critical that whatever system you choose is capable of this. We call it CineWide® and you can download an eBook on CineWide with more details. We are the only company who can provide CineWide functionality on a dual-imaging system as we have in the 3Dimension series. It is a Runco exclusive. Just because it is in 3D doesn’t mean that you suddenly like black bars!
Stay tuned for our next installment in this series.
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