Dolby's new 3-D technology ... Two upcoming events
I had a chance to chat last week with Dolby exec Tim Partridge about the deal. He says the new Dolby/Infitec system should be available by the spring of 2007, and that he hopes to do demos before then -- but he didn't commit to a specific date.
Right now, he said, digital files of 3-D movies like "Monster House" are mastered for the Real D system. Dolby is hoping to have a digital 3-D standard created (by working with SMPTE) that can work on both systems. That'll be a challenge.
"We think this will be cheaper [than Real D]," Partridge said, as well as more flexible for exhibitors. With just one silver screen in a multiplex, for example, that means 3-D can only be shown in one auditorium. (Of course, moving it around even with the Dolby/Infitec system would probably require moving some hardware from one projection booth to another, along with the movie.)
"We want to grow," Partridge said, "and be widely adopted. [3-D is] a technology that clearly enhances the theatrical experience, and therefore it fits right into our mission. Yet the current solutions are not ideal."
Will Dolby actually prove to be the low-cost provider of 3-D tech? How good will the imagery look on the screen? Could this spark a price war between Real D and Dolby? I suspect we'll have the answers to at least some of those questions by ShoWest 2007.