We work on dozens of video projects with the best companies and finishing houses in New York City, and they're all trying to figure out how to work 3-D. Not technically -- that part is straightforward -- but as part of their business. They're not getting a lot of calls for it, so they're trying to figure out how to price it and market it.
I remember going through exactly the same thing with HD (high definition). For years, the big question was, "Can you do HD?" Of course we could, but at first the question seemed to be hypothetical; it was rare that there was a real project attached. The first year we offered HD, we got one or two real requests for it, then a bit more the second year, and about the same the third year. Then suddenly it exploded, and now everything we do is routinely in HD. I believe the same thing will happen with 3-D at some point.
3-D Costs More
From a cost perspective, creating 3-D video is currently about 35 percent more expensive than 2-D -- if you use two cameras and plan for 3-D from the beginning. You can also take 2-D video and transform it into 3-D, but it won't be as good. It will also be a lot more expensive because of the higher labor costs involved.
Who Wants to Wear the Glasses?
For the moment, though, there aren't a lot of people with 3-D TVs at home. We don't see a lot of people with the glasses sitting on their coffee table saying to their friends, "Put on these glasses and we'll watch a show." For one thing, 3-D glasses are very expensive. Among industry insiders I know, there's not a lot of confidence that using glasses is how people want to go about their media experience at home. If somebody nails 3-D that works without glasses and looks good from every angle, then we'll suddenly see it become very widespread.
Be Ready When 3-D's Time Comes
Right now, there are a lot of different methods for creating 3-D content, and a lot of different standards. But I believe that, in a year or two from now, there will be a clear winner. So the best idea for a small business is to learn all you can about 3-D, but proceed with caution when it comes to making any investments in the hardware or software.
If you're asked for a 3-D project, you're probably better off renting equipment for now instead of buying it. If you dive in and buy everything you need for your first 3-D job, you may wind up having to throw it all away and start over for your second one.
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/adventtr
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