I attended the Seoul Digital Forum (SDF) this week, it took place at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in Seoul and apart from high calible presenters the hotel’s service and the organizers (SBS) event management were outstanding. As part of the service every attendant had real-time interpretation via the provided headsets and a set of glasses to view the 3D presentations and movies.
My first impression about the sessions was that after James Cameron’s presentation many others were primarily linking the success of Avatar to their own topic. Particularly discussions about the future of three-dimensional displays and content production were frequently referring to James Cameron. Rightly so as he has “not only opened the doors, he has broken the doors” into the next generation of content creation – as agreed by all speakers including Yong Duk Jhun Director of Photography at DreamWorks Animation SKG, who showed parts of the new Shrek 3D movie.
The good news is that both foreign and Korean technology companies were keen to become significant pioneers in changing the way we consume entertainment by improving the appropriate hardware and software tools.
One of the questions to remain answered was if we will be able to watch 3D TV without 3D glasses at some point.
In my opinion, and I don’t have any technological evidence, it will be possible. Just imagine having the same shutter glasses that you would usually wear maximized in size and tweaked as a layer on top of the TV set. This would obviously skyrocket the production costs.
As touched on above, Avatar provided the much needed push for 3D to gain traction. Recently I see more advertisements about 3D enabled TV in Korea than anything else. Giants such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are heavily investing to encourage consumers to switch to 3D HD TV. And official announcements of collaborations between Samsung and DreamWorks Animation are setting the path.
While 3D was discussed across many sections of entertainment, one topic that was missing at the SDF was gaming. Especially because game developers are key contributors for the evolution of 3D graphics.
Only recently Microsoft confirmed their partnership with LG to promote 3D TV with Xbox 360 games. Around summer time this year we are to expect bundles of 3D ready Xbox 360 games and LCD TVs in Korea.
Although I have yet to see a list of developers, games, and possible console firmware, I am very positive that the games industry will lead the way in producing stereoscopic 3D content.