Three-D camera rig company 3ality Technica of Burbank and Asian consumer electronics companies that make 3-D TV sets have a common interest: more 3-D television shows.
More productions would mean additional work for 3ality and possibly more consumer interest in buying 3-D sets. So the two sides have joined forces in an unusual way: providing subsidies to get more 3-D broadcasts produced.
“What we’re looking for is the growth of 3-D TV – faster than it’s growing now – which isn’t very fast,” said Steve Schklair, chief executive of 3ality. “When your favorite shows are broadcast in (3-D) then you have a compelling reason to watch.”
The companies have created a fund that is intended to cover the marginal costs of shooting a TV show in 3-D in addition to 2-D for a season. Depending on the length of episodes, the extravagance of a production and special effects involved, that margin could be less than 5 percent to much more than that. In real dollars, that means the subsidies could be as much as $2 million for a 13-episode season, Schklair said.
The fund, which has been dubbed the 3-D Delta Fund, so far has received commitments of more than $5 million from the electronics companies, a sum Schklair is hoping to double by adding consumer electronics partners. He wouldn’t name contributors, but companies that would appear to have an interest in such a fund include 3-D set makers Samsung Group and LG Corp., both of Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo’s Sony Corp. Sony not only makes the sets but is part owner of 3-D network 3Net of Culver City.
The money would be given without strings attached in an effort to jump start 3-D television and spur productions in the medium, which is only available on cable and satellite television but not broadcast networks.
Indeed, the approach is not entirely unique. Legend3D of San Diego, which converts 2-D television episodes into 3-D, has announced it raised $19 million from private investors in December, in part to help cover the costs of conversions.
Phil Lelyveld, program manager for the Consumer 3-D Experience Program at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, said 3ality’s fund makes sense from a couple of perspectives.
“It’s a good, measured way for all the parties involved,” Lelyveld said. “It helps 3ality get new clients and it helps consumer electronics companies. It’s more content to stimulate the market.”
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