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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Teaser Trailer Lands

Tim here, and the Teaser Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is here! It's the final Hobbit movie, and it looks insane already. Check it out below:

First thoughts are: WOW! I love how the logos fly by at the very beginning. They would look so cool in stereo 3D, and I hope that I can see it in front of Guardians of the Galaxy this Friday in 3D. And the native 3D for the production should be over the top with 3ality Technica manning the camera rigs! We barely get glimpses of the action that is to come in the movie. We see a brief shot of Smaug bringing devastation to Laketown, followed by a shot of the aftermath. I definitely get a sense of the "calm before the storm" type of pacing with this teaser trailer. There's plenty of shots leading up to the big titular battle, and possibly some shots from it. I will say that the cinematography, color, and VFX presented within are already impressive.
The movie hits theaters December 17th, 2014 in IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, HFR 3D, and regular flavor 2D. We can also expect a full theatrical trailer in the fall, probably around October.

Watch: Red Band Trailer For SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

If you loved the original SIN CITY, then it seems you will love SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, and isn't that what sequels are about anyway? More of the same type of experience? So if you like highly stylized, predominantly black and white, VFX locations and over the top characters then you are in for another treat. It looks amazing!

It's refreshing to see the SIN CITY treatment because it breaks the traditions of Hollywood and opens your mind to the endless possibilities of this genre and in storytelling.

Of course there is no shortage of talent lined up for this movie, starring Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta and Stacy Keach.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning SIN CITY graphic novels back to the screen in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR is the follow up to Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR opens on August 22.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Instagram Teaser of Teaser Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Tim here, and it looks like we got a 15-second teaser of the Teaser Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies from the official Instagram account of The Hobbit Movie. Check it out below.


And later, the full 1080 version hit YouTube:
The teaser trailer will hit tomorrow (Monday, July 28, 2014) around 3PM EDT / 12PM PDT.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Stereographer Interview Series: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST's John Harper

John Harper on set of THE THREE MUSKETEERS - Photo credit: Rolf Konow, SMPSP
Welcome to MarketSaw's Summer Stereographer Interview Series! To launch the program this year I have a nice list of the world's best stereographers and our goal is to enlighten you about the modern stereographer, his/her role in major tentpole productions, new technology and expert advice for the up and coming new generation of 3D creators.

First on our schedule is John Harper, who was lead stereographer on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION and THE THREE MUSKETEERS. He was also the second unit stereographer on 47 RONIN. For anyone who has seen DAYS OF FUTURE PAST you'll know that the 3D was impeccable and a joy to experience. John has almost 20 years technical experience on feature films and he has risen rapidly in the modern stereoscopic 3D space.

I met John last year at Toronto's International Stereoscopic 3D Conference and was immediately taken with his professionalism, knowledge and passion for cinematography and of course 3D. And yeah, he's a nice guy too.

So I hope you enjoy this interview with John, get something from it and if you have any questions you can leave a comment or email me directly: jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com. John's a busy guy so I can't guarantee a response from him through me, but we do want to foster growth in the 3D community by sharing knowledge!

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions John. I really appreciate it! What is your favorite 3D movie and why?
John Harper: You're welcome Jim. Tough call. Many good choices out there, probably Avatar. It was a film that really showed the potential for 3D in modern cinema. Avatar reached a large audience who responded very positively. The success of the project paved the way for the advancements in 3D technology (capture and projection) we possess at present.

Explain your thoughts on the native 3D vs. 3D conversion debate as it stands with today's technology?
JH: Shooting native you are capturing the full depth of a scene by shooting with two cameras (left and right eye), similar to how we as human perceive depth. 3D post conversion is captured by a single camera. Through computer extrapolation and rendering, the conversion process generates the missing information of the second camera. The more time and money spent on a conversion shot, the closer that depth representation mimics that of a native shot.

In Native, 3D is composed and create live on set. With the help of 3D screens, the director and DP are put into direct involvement with the dimensional aspects of the scene. Creative and technical decision can be dealt with on set and later refined if needed in post. This to me is a key advantage in shooting native. The director is choreographing many different elements during a scene (action, lighting, 3D, camera movement, etc.) being able to see how all the elements interact within the scene has strong advantages. In Conversion, a larger portion of the 3D decisions can be left till post production. It gives the director a few less things to think about but in my experience often leads to the 3D considerations of the project being overlooked as the shoot progresses.

The effectiveness of using 3D in the story telling is that it needs to be kept in mind during the shooting process. Using the 3D as a tool to enhance immersion and composition through out the narrative. This being true for both native and post dimensionalized projects. Using it as an after thought (as we have seen from the response of audiences in the past) has drawn a lot of criticism and rightly so. Another point about the conversion process is that the edit and VFX must be locked earlier, to provide ample time for decent 3D conversion. This cuts down the amount of time the director has to refine the story line and VFX to tweak their work. Both technologies have their definite advantages and continue to improve. The competitive nature of native versus conversion breeds positive advancements in both technologies. The last show I participated on was a hybrid (80% native, 20% conversion). The Director Bryan Singer and DP Newton Thomas Sigel ASC used both technologies to their distinct advantages (eg. 3D rig could not fit into the cockpit of the aircraft), the shot was post dimensionalized. I see this as a highly effective way (creatively and economically) to facilitate 3D in production. To ignore either technology reduces the ability to use the right tool to get the shot the director envisions.

What do you make of the negative comments that Seamus McGarvey has made regarding 3D? 
JH: As the cinematographer of Godzilla, he should be entitled to his opinions and preferences about the film he is helping to create. Granted, not all productions should be produced in 3D and it’s not for all audiences. Conversely, Godzilla’s 3D revenue was 51% of it’s total box office. That’s a pretty decent ratio of movie goers interested in seeing the 3D version of that film. I’d say there is a good portion of the audience that believes differently to some of arguments he presents pertaining to 3D. Strong opinions exist within the film industry, at opposite ends of the ongoing 3D argument. Both bring up some interesting views. At some point our opinions have to be equated with those of the audiences. In the end, the movie goers are the ones we are trying to effect on an entertaining and engaging level. Giving the audience the option of both formats (2D or 3D) should be seen as beneficial to the overall movie going experience.

In regards to the 45 minutes lens lineups, sounds like some technical issues that should have been resolved during prep. To be fair, you cannot fault the DP here for being frustrated on this particular point. The Rig manufacturers at present have really created some very efficient systems. Shooting native, it’s our job as 3D techs on the set floor to show the full potential of these rigs. Otherwise we are doing a great disservice to native 3d as a whole. Prep time should be focus on making the 3D system and crew as efficient and mobile as possible.A loss in the industry’s confidence in the native 3D process is going to be very hard to retrieve.

How to you position China now on the world cinema stage now that they have ~20,000 3D screens in place and growing?
JH: China is quickly becoming a big box office consideration in many ways. In respect to it’s growing appetite for 3D, hopefully this will inspire all of us in the film industry to work even harder to produce 3D productions worth experiencing. We have already seen a back lash last year (in 3D revenue and attendance) from productions throwing a 3D label on a projects for the sake of ticket prices. I believe this caused productions to start to take stock of the situation. Also, let’s not forget about the great stereo work on Gravity here. This year (contrary to the 2014 predictions) we are seeing more people in 3D theaters domestically and abroad. As long as productions continue to consider 3D as a legitimate part of the story telling fabric, I believe that it will be beneficial to the film industry and audiences a like.

What brought you to 3D in the first place? (chance, study, interest, etc)
JH: My initiation to 3D was in the late nineties I got the chance to work (2nd AC) on a IMAX 3D shoot with the Solido. After the first day of dailies, I was blown away. Unfortunately, in the 90’s there very few 3D productions going on. Cut to 2009, I was asked to work as a convergence puller on a feature film. The DP (Glen MacPherson ASC) felt that a 1st AC’s skill set, could be translated to interaxial and conversion pulling. Glen continued his support by taking me on to his next 3D project in Germany. My initial responsibilities were technical support of the 3D system and advise the local camera crew who (at that time) had little exposure to native 3D technology. The project consisted of 4 rigs shooting in some very challenging locations. I enjoyed the experience immensely and decided to pursue more projects shooting 3D.

What is your preferred set up on set? (camera, rig, lens, etc)
JH: Cameras and lens are the part of cinematographers the tool set. It is part of the job description to try to facilitate what the DP prefers and work that into the 3D system. Of course there will be some limitations to what is feasible. Consultation as the stereographer then comes into play, pointing out any impact or disadvantages with the desired gear in regards to 3D.

Personally, my preferences for 3D:
(It should be understood that this is based on gear that I have utilized in the past and found amicable. Other manufacturers exist and with emerging technologies there are always options to explore.)

Camera:
Arri Alex M beautiful images and compact.
Red Epic good resolution , high speed capture, on board recording and light weight
Phantom: ultra high speed capture

Lens:
Primes: Optical quality, light weight and compact. efficient stereo lineups
Leica: Summilux-C good optical quality , match really well as stereo pairs.
Zeiss: Master primes great optical quality, nice depth and roundness
Zeiss: Ultra primes good optical quality , lightweight and compact.

3D Rigs:
3ality TS35: Remote stereo lineups, rigid rig construction. thick mirror with minimal flex. Preston compatibility, utilize different cameras (Arri, Red,Sony etc.) steadicam, handheld

CPG Smart rig: Remote stereo lineups, rigid rig construction. Preston compatibility, utilize different cameras (Arri, Red,Sony etc.). Acquisition of gear from a single rental source, steadicam, handheld, underwater and phantom camera rigs.

Cinesail 3D Atom Rig: Light weight and compact , rigid rig construction,acquisition from a single rental source, steadicam, handheld, budget conscious, transforms to side by side rig using same components, built to ship and shoot quickly with little prep time.

Stereotec rig: Have not used but by the great things I have heard needs to be mentioned.

This list consist of the broad strokes regarding advantages of each system. Looking at shooting style, terrain, budget, VFX considerations etc. becomes a key factor in choosing what is best for the production. A good example of this is shooting in a remote location under hostile weather conditions, such as the arctic. Motors will sometimes freeze, having a rig with manual adjustment has it’s advantages in this scenario. A rule of thumb for myself is building a 3D system and work flow that is efficient but not overly complicated.

Preferences of gear aside, you must also rely on the talents and experience of the camera and 3D team. The efficiency of the equipment is reliant on whose hands it is placed in. Building a talented team can be said to win half of the battle. The X men DOFP Camera and 3D team where a fine example of effective on set 3D execution. A real pleasure to work with.

Are there any new stereoscopic technologies coming out in the field that has your interest?
JH: The IMAX 3D digital camera, has my vote. Hopefully more cinematographers utilize this system in the future. 3D aerial drones. I believe will simplify getting some epic air to ground shots.

When working with optics do you find there is disparity between how long it takes to make a 2D lens change verses a modern 3D set up?
JH: Since I started in 3D, this has been one of the main criticism against shooting native stereo capture and a big concern of mine. The advancements in rig, camera and lens technology combined with veteran stereo crews have reduced this change over time considerably. You’re averaging around the 3 minute mark these days. By the time the Director, Actors, DP’s lighting, Hair/Make up, Stunts etc. have all made their adjustments, they are not waiting on the 3D rigs.

If you have worked with 3D conversions as a stereographer adviser on set, how are the general interactions with the cinematographer and director as opposed to a native 3D production?
JH: A little more difficult. Without the ability to show the director a 3D image on set you loose the strengths of the visual support of the image. When the director has a question pertaining to 3D, it is often easier to use a visual reference to show different 3D opportunities. The director has the ability to make a decision based on a visual presentation rather than oral interpretation. In this instance a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

What would be your favorite shot for 3D and why?
JH: Atmospheric environments are always one of my favorites (rain, snow, underwater, explosive debris etc.). You're really showing off the expansive depth of the space with great dramatic effect. This combined with a larger depth of field and slow motion can be very visually rewarding. Sparingly used throughout the film seems to create better impact. Also 3D medium close up using a wider lens, personally seems give a character a more engaging presence than you can achieve in 2D with the typical longer lens look. The roundness of the characters face plays on a very subtle level but
subconsciously effective.

Obviously 3D has matured since the late 2000's both in technology and expertise. What credentials / experience would you mention that helps separate you from the field and brings you to the top of the industry?
JH: There are a lot of great stereographers in the industry and I have been very lucky to participate on the projects offered to me. Interaction with cinematographers, other stereographers, VFX supervisors and 3D rig manufacturers has help me progress both technically and creatively. Experience, is another key factor in ones development. Each project brings new challenges and with that better solutions. On a personal level I think coming from a camera department background gave me a solid base in which to draw from and accomplish the job.

What education would you recommend to up and coming stereographers / cinematographers in today's world?
JH: Addressing the up and coming my advice would be, read, converse, experiment and make some mistakes (just not too many of them). I’ve gained an equal amount of valuable experience from negative and positive results while searching for solutions. Technically, know your tools at hand (camera, lens, 3D rigs, etc.). It’s important to know where the gear might hang you up during production and have a solution. The belief that digital equipment is bulletproof can be dangerous. Especially, working at “the bleeding edge of technology”. We often find ourselves working with prototypes because of the desire for the newest, most advanced systems. Preparation and testing during pre-production becomes very important.

Do you have a post-production software preference for working with the stereo images to do any fine tuning you need to do?
JH: Most of my work occurs on set. We employ a stereo image processor usually different depending on the 3D rig chosen. This speeds up rig alignment during lens changes and helps identify any optical disparities between the two cameras. A Qtake is responsible for providing 3D/2D playback and disbursing an image to different locations around the set. When required to shoot in parallel the Qtake will generate a H.I.T value which is passed onto the Dailies trailer. This allows the DaVinci Resolve operator to properly input the desired convergence into the image. This is later refined at the end of day with the director, cinematographer and myself present.

How important is resolution? Would more pixels be more important for stereo 3D? Higher dynamic range? HFR?
JH: All of the above components serve to better the expression of depth in 3D. The more information captured without causing unwanted optical disparities creates a better sense of dimension. HFR, to me personally works better in action sequences than in dramatic sequences. The only argument I would have against these advancements is taken to a hyper level, does the image become unreal to the viewer and destructive to the suspension of disbelief.

Are there any specialty filters that you find enhance the stereo images? How about specialty filters that you have found should never be used?
JH: The least amount of glass you put between the subject and the camera chip the better. Filters in native photography must have a uniform effect across the field of view in both cameras so no optical disparities occur. Basically, if the filter effect is greater in one eye you’re going to cause discomfort to the viewer. Neutral density filters, front mounted quarter wave attenuators and optical flats (during explosions) are generally what we stick with. Diffusion filter by diminishing sharpness also diminishes depth. Many of the filter effects such as contrast and color can be effectively dealt with in post.

Split focus diopters are a popular tool in 2D. Do you think a director looking for an effect like that can get that in stereo 3D?
JH: Diopters have been successfully used in native 3D photography, but do take a longer to align. With the use of a wide angle lens, camera proximity and a large depth of field we have achieved a similar effect. Enlarged props and set pieces have also been successful. A VFX option with green screen can also be an alternative. Shooting two 3D passes and then combining them.

Open mic: What is the biggest industry challenge that you'd like to openly discuss about today's 3D?
JH: From some members of the audience and film industry’s perspective, 3D is seen only as a gimmick to charge higher ticket prices. The visual effect of 3D is subjective and therefore open to debate. Not all projects (do to there subject matter) will be bettered by dimension. This can be illustrated by the differences in 3D revenues percentages of individual projects. To enhance the experience of those who prefer the 3D format we have to make a commitment. If 3D is to continue, then our attitude should be to employ it purposefully on a immersive, entertaining level. I am not saying that 3D should be the main focus of a project. Clearly direction, acting, cinematography, script, production design etc. are the mainstays of creative story telling. The history of film is defined by them. Hopefully, like the introduction of sound and color into movies, 3D’s contribution to the film experience will mature and find it’s place. If this is achieved the audience may feel more justified in paying for the extra premium. The consumer and manufacturer both benefiting. Theaters also must keep up their end of the deal with proper quality projection. Anything strived for 2D or 3D during production can be diminished by unsuitable projection. The exposure and color the DP has worked hard at accomplishing should be translated faithfully to the movie goer.

Open Mic: What are you happiest about in the 3D field?
JH: Seeing advancements in image capture technology that will benefit 3D, better lens, cameras and recording systems. Seeing directors actively supporting 3D and employing it creatively. We are seeing better quality in 3D and this in part is because of their efforts.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry what would it be?
JH: When talking with productions considering 3D, certain ideas persist about native 3D technology that I consider outdated. Technical information based on 3 or 4 years ago. The technology and crews have advanced considerably since then. Perceptions should not be locked in the past. Reassessment by production is needed to judge what has been achieved. This will be important for the continuation of native 3D in the future. A process with great potential and if disappears will be detrimental to the industry and audience.

Thank you so much for your help with this John! I'm really looking forward to your next set of 3D projects. And again, congratulations on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST - it was amazing.

Stay tuned for our next interview in the Summer Stereographer Series coming soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

**UPDATED - SDCC 2014: Marvel Unveils New Concept Art For AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Click to enlarge
Marvel loves the San Diego Comic-Con and has unveiled four new pieces of concept art for AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON featuring Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and Iron Man battling the Ultron robot army which is probably part of a larger banner - note portions of Hulk's hand and Thor's Mjolnir in Black Widow's poster. If we get more images soon - I'll update this post.

Looks like the Avengers definitely have their hands full.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens on May 1, 2015.

NEXT DAY UPDATE: Here are the next two pieces of concept art featuring Hawkeye, Quicksilver and The Vision. They do all fit together as originally thought!


Click to enlarge

...AND Just Like, That Sony Announces Playstation 4 3D Blu-ray Support !

BOOM. Just as Microsoft announces its first ever support of 3D Blu-ray discs in the XBOX One, Sony has stepped up to the plate and stated that its PlayStation 4 will also get 3D Blu-ray disc support with its next software update (v1.75) coming next week!

For all of you PS4 owners, there was no mention of other home theater features in the mix yet, like Bluetooth remote, MP3 playback or DLNA but really, that has to be coming soon too. For those of you in the UK, you now have support for Sky's NOW TV app (XBOX One version coming soon) which gives you subscription based on-demand movies (£8.99 monthly), TV shows (£4.99) and sports (£9.99).

I'm still using my PS3 for 3D Blu-ray playback and it remains my hub of entertainment.

Thanks for the heads up Johnno!

Source: PlayStation Twitter

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SDCC 2014: First Poster For THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES; First Look This Saturday In Hall H !

Click to enlarge
Glorious! Love this poster!! It's not often I am so elated by a poster but in this case I will make an exception. The Hobbit's twitter account just launched the movie into marketing mode with this poster and that Warner Bros will host a first look in Hall H, Saturday at 10am. So if you're at the San Diego Comic-con and are planning on lining up... do so right now!

Think about it. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first two Hobbit movies. Decades of trials and tribulations to get this all on screen and it all boils down to this final chapter! Smaug is rolling in!

The poster amplifies the setting, depicting the great dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) staring down Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) of Lake-Town. And yes, Lake-Town is made of wood. Uh-oh.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town. Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES opens on December 17 in HFR 3D, 3D and IMAX 3D. This marks the end of one of the greatest fantasy epics ever told, and presumably the end of the Tolkien Middle-earth universe as well, at least for quite some time. Sad really. I hope this movie owns up to it's pedigree. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is shot in native 3D using 3ality Technica rigs in 48 frames per second. Can't wait!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Must Watch: Five Minute Extended Clip From GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY


Alright. Marvel's marketing machine has slammed out another home run with this five minute extended clip from James Gunn's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I have to say there is nothing I do not like about this movie thus far!

We all love STAR WARS and I'm thinking that GOTG may be the closest thing yet to that style of movie outside of Lucasfilm. An epic space comedy - with Marvel flair. Have to say the casting looks spot on too. Music, check. Visual effects? Cmon - it's Marvel. 3D? More superlative work from Stereo D. I can't find a hole yet. This could be a monster hit for a bunch of original characters that not many outside of the comic book world know anything about.

I won't spoil the clip for you - but it's certainly worth the 5 minutes! As far as content and how it relates to the movie, there are a few pieces of information that we hadn't known officially yet about Gamora and some cool visual effects shots but I'd say it was pretty well chosen to illustrate the quality of the movie, build excitement and yet not give too much away. I say watch it - but I understand if you are trying to avoid these clips for a pristine viewing experience opening night.

Anyway - for those that want to, here's the clip. ENJOY!! Dave - thanks for the heads up!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens on August 1.



Here's the storyline:
An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is presented by Marvel Studios.

Finally! XBOX ONE Gets 3D Blu-ray Support



Yes! Finally Microsoft will be implementing 3D Blu-ray support for it's XBOX ONE console with a new software update coming in August. This marks the first time the XBOX platform will offer the cool feature.

This is HUGE news in the platform gaming and entertainment field. 3D support adds the immersion that is expected with console owners as anyone with a PS3 and 3D TV will attest to.

Some other improvements coming with the update:
  • Activity feed updates, and expanded friend area on Home screen: you'll be able to see what your friends are doing, and be more aware of it right from the Xbox One dashboard. And it'll show how long a friend's been away from his or her console.
  • Mobile purchases: You can buy games or other content from the SmartGlass app or from Xbox.com, and have it download right to your Xbox One remotely.
  • Low battery notification: You can already peek at your controller's battery level, but a pop-up warning now lets you know when it needs a recharge.
  • Disable notifications during video: It's amazing this wasn't available before.
  • OneGuide in Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland: Four more countries can try connecting their Xbox One to their TV and browse TV listings.
Those with early preview access could get these updates as soon as this week.

Sony's Playstation 4 still hasn't updated with 3D support as of yet, but it is expected as they did with the Playstation 3 support for 3D Blu-rays (that I am still enjoying tremendously).

Now I'm considering an XBOX ONE purchase whereas I've always been a Sony guy. Congratulations on the 3D support Microsoft! Thanks for the heads up Tobias!

Source: XBOX Wire

Friday, July 18, 2014

Watch: First Clip From GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY


Check the first movie clip from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY registering in at just under 1 minute. The scene involves a shot that has been widely seen in the trailers thus far and expands both before and after. There's no spoilers of any significance in the clip - so enjoy!

Here's the movie's storyline:
An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is presented by Marvel Studios.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens on August 1.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two New TV Spots For TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES


Obviously the world wants more Michael Bay-ish action (TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION just hit $750m worldwide) and they are in for just that with TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES which is being produced by Bay.

These TV spots highlight more of the interactions between the turtles themselves and with reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox). William Fichtner is in this movie. I repeat, WILLIAM FICHTNER is in this movie.

TMNT looks like some good popcorn fun for the family with heavy emphasis on VFX.

Here is the storyline for the movie:
The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plan.

TMNT hits theaters on August 8.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Watch: Two More TV Spots For GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY


Curious about the origins of Star-Lord, Drax and Gamora? These TV spots spend some time giving you some background as well as dropping in a sprinkling of new shots and scenes about the characters played by Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana respectively.

Here's the movie's storyline:
An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is presented by Marvel Studios.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens on August 1.




Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm Back!

Hi guys - thanks for all the support over the past week or so as I had some emergency surgery done. I am back on my feet and feeling fine. Back to more 3D stories and in particular the Summer Stereographer Series of interviews I am lining up! Stay tuned!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Tim's Review

Tim here, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best blockbuster movie I have seen so far this year! It currently ranks as the second best movie I've seen this year behind The Grand Budapest Hotel, which would have been fantastic in the stereoscopic 3D format. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has such a compelling story that is very well written and directed that it manages to transcend beyond the normal sci-fi summer blockbuster into a contemporary power struggle tale between two species and the factions within each.

In regards to the story, the writing, and character development it is not without some fault. There was a moment early on in the movie where the characters made a claim about how important it is for a certain character to come along with them into the ape territory to fix the dam to restore power to the human community. However after an incident he is sidelined without further explanation of how his expertise is missed when it comes to repairing the dam. Beyond that small plot hole I couldn't find any additional faults with the story. Although some of the main human characters lacked development the main ape characters made up for that. And the truth is the movie is more about the apes than the humans. However, it would have been nice to have equal attention given to both.

Within the apes' community there are three particular apes that had great development and were performed by the actors with great poise. In fact two of the ape performers were so mesmerizing in performance that their characters felt compellingly real. It was so easy to relate to both viewpoints and where each of those characters were coming from in terms of their motivations and intentions. Those two characters (and, the actors who played them) are Caesar (Andy Serkis) and Koba (Toby Kebbell) whose relationship is strongly built. Very early on it's displayed how they are close friends (loyal to each other) and rely on each other to lead the ape community. As the film progresses they represent two opposing sides within the ape community: peace and war.

Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar is magnificent and awe-inspiring! If Serkis does not get award nominations this award season it will be criminal. Through Serkis' performance the full weight that rests on Caesar's shoulders is so immediately conveyed. He's responsible for not only his family but, also, the entire ape community needs his leadership. Serkis conveys so many emotions visually in his performances, and succeeds on levels that are astounding, while the WETA Digital team that brought those emotions through the digital make did a fantastic job at making him believable.

The visual effects in this movie are remarkable; the best I've seen so far this year. The opening shot and closing shot of the movie, which have beautiful circularity, are wonderful examples of how far WETA has come. They focus on Caesar's eyes and use a zoom where beyond the close-up detail the audience witnesses the amazing level of artistry to create the skin and hair of the apes. The apes are shown in wet and rainy environments and it's amazing how realistic the hair reacts to that environmental element.

This is a movie that deserves to be seen in the 3D format!

Next the stereoscopic 3D in the movie was excellent. It was a very soft and subtle 3D, and it worked so well for the story. There were maybe a few places where I wished they had pushed it more, but overall it was really well thought out in its use. Props need to be given to 3ality Technica for their stereoscopic services on the film since it was their rigs that were used paired with the ARRI ALEXA. This is a movie that deserves to be seen in the 3D format! Michael Seresin's cinematography was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. It felt very naturalistic, and his use of lighting was fantastic. He used the full latitude of light and as well used color, or lack of, to convey the emotional points of the story. It felt grim, and at the same time Edenesque.

The production design and art department did a fantastic job as well. They accomplished so much in building practical sets and environments for the actors to work in. As well they helped build a sense of realism with those aspects. One of the most impressive was the single abandoned gas station in the middle of a forest. The moment when the humans and apes manage to restore power and go to it is an astounding one. It was made all the more powerful due to the production design.

A movie isn't complete without the sound and score, and both were fantastic. The sounds of the ape world were very well designed. A lot was built around what was heard and not seen in the movie, and that couldn't have been accomplished without the astounding work of the sound team. One of my favorite shots in the film worked so well because of the sound. Completely the sound-scape was Michael Giacchino's score, which was hauntingly beautiful. It hit the soft moments, hit the fast paced action moments, and emotionally connected me to the world all that much more.

Director Matt Reeves deserves mad props for his excellent direction of this motion picture. Going back to the favorite shot I mentioned earlier: it was a long tracking shot similar to what Alfonso Cuarón did in Children of Men, however it's not quite as long. It follows Malcolm (Jason Clarke) in a building that is overrun by apes hunting down humans as he desperately looks for medicine. The choices Reeves made as a director were spot on in so many places. He brought so many talented people together to create a rich and engaging world set to a complex and emotional story and did a great job leading the charge.

I highly suggest you go out and see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 3D. Make sure to see it on the biggest possible screen. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

#FourthOfApes Message From DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES


Watch the Independence Day message from DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES - some new shots in this and all shown with the dramatic narration of a famous speech you will all recall.

Can't wait for this movie. Critics who have seen it are raving! Currently sitting at 94% fresh over at RottenTomatoes. Don't forget this is a native 3D production using the industry's best of the best technology, like 3D rigs from our friends over at 3ality Technica.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES opens on July 11.


THEORY: Is Gentleman Ghost A Villain In BATMAN V. SUPERMAN? Check The First Official Image Of Superman


Beware first glances! You may overlook something. Ok, it's Henry Cavill in his Superman outfit. So what? Well for starters, does that look like Metropolis to you? More like Gotham correct? Yes, it's the location that counts here and the image certainly does convey the dreariness of the city if it does indeed turn out to be Gotham.

Note the smoking chimneys on the left hand side of the photo. That looks like the industrial revolution to me - and interesting inclusion for the downtown skyline of Gotham. It almost looks out of place, time wise that is. If it is Gotham. Perhaps it's London in the 1800's? Let me explain...

Looking down to the small clue that was left in the image: "LF GHO..." - LF is the common abbreviation for "Looking For" and GHO could very well be the first three letters of GHOST - or better known to DC comic fans as "Gentleman Ghost" or Jim Craddock. Craddock was a robber who lived in England during 19th century. Eventually he becomes a phantom and must walk the earth until the spirit of his killer moves on to the next plane of existence. Unfortunately for him - that can't happen (you can read more via the link at the end of the post).

The point is - he is immortal and has battled both Batman and Superman at various times. In the DC comic universe, Ghost is a member of the Injustice Society. BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE may explore some of the origins story of Ghost - or at least set the stage somewhat. And I'm just saying, that looks like London at SOME point in history. Time and dimensions are not really a problem for Superman as most comic book aficionados know, so he could very well be standing in 1800's London.


Here are Ghost's powers and abilities (from wikipedia):
Originally, the Gentleman Ghost seemed to rely on devices to simulate a ghostly existence; the original 1940s stories left the question of his nature open to speculation. Later, however, he is retconned into a true ghost and his abilities altered to follow suit. As a ghost, Craddock has several abilities. He can become intangible and pass effortlessly through solid material. He can become completely invisible. In fact, the appearance of his head as a floating hat and monocle is actually him rendering his decayed face invisible. He has been shown as being able to teleport as short a distance as a few rooms or as far as across states. Gentleman Ghost can also summon spectral weapons including a cane that shoots spectral fire and flintlock pistols. When passing through Craddock's ghostly form, people will sometimes experience an intense feeling of cold. Since this does not happen every time, it would seem that he can control this effect. Craddock can apparently track psionic energy and travel across dimensions as he did when he followed an astral tether from the Wizard to Johnny Sorrow. On certain occasions most of the manifestations of his abilities like teleportation and phasing are accompanied by a purple glow of spectral energy or transparent mist (possibly courtesy of different pencilers). Around the time of his prophesied return to life, he gains the power to summon and control the spirits of the dead due to his mother's spirit spending centuries recruiting them to help her son. It is unknown if he can still call upon them.

The Gentleman Ghost is apparently unable to touch or be touched by virgins. This is confirmed by his inability to do harm to both Stargirl and Jakeem Thunder. However, he can pick up a real weapon and be able to hurt them, as when he brandished the Cosmic Rod.

As a supernatural being, Gentleman Ghost cannot be killed and is very hard to hurt. However, those with royal blood can physically harm him and, when unaware, energy hitting him causes pain.

In the episode "Dawn of The Deadman" of Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series, it is shown that if he is hit with Nth metal, he will momentarily show his true form, reverting to a decayed version of himself with black suit and hat. As shown in the same episode, he can also be hurt by other ghosts, as Deadman is able to hit him. It is also shown that if he is out cold then he remains in his black form. Also, despite the fact that he is easily defeated by Batman during the early episodes, Gentleman Ghost later demonstrates that he is a skilled hand-to-hand/martial combatant, as shown for example when he simultaneously fights with Batman and Deadman. His heroic Earth-Three counterpart reverses his color scheme, appearing as a ghost with a black suit and hat and turning white when hit.


This actually makes sense to me as DC really has to play catch up very fast in order to not be overwhelmed by the coming onslaught of all that is Marvel. It would make sense to have a super villain of Ghost's caliber as he is somewhat analogous in some few ways to Marvel's Thanos.

And get this - Ghost could tie in a number of other very well known characters in Sherlock Holmes (no longer protected under copyright) and even lure Batman and Supe to London (as what occurred in Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame with Batman at least). Probably a bit too far down the rabbit hole, but interesting conjecture at this point.

I think there are some tantilizing clues in this first official photo that points to the Gentleman Ghost, Jim Craddock as a super villain in BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and in fact sets up their nemesis group called the Injustice Society.

What do you think? Think I am on track or way off? Time will tell! :-)

BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE opens on May 6, 2016 starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Laurence Fishburne, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey, Scoot McNairy, Tao Okamoto, and Jeremy Irons.

Gentleman Ghost material courtesy of Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Must Watch: Short Films Lay Groundwork For DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES


Check these three HD shorts that nicely help set up DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Love the innovation in this marketing! About 10 years have past since RISE so there is a need for something like this to help set the stage.

These are not movie clips but rather standalone shorts inspired and presented by the franchise. Here are titles of the shorts in chronological order:
- Spread of Simian Flu: Before the Dawn of the Apes (Year 1)
- Struggling to Survive: Before the Dawn of the Apes (Year 5)
- Story of the Gun: Before the Dawn of the Apes (Year 10)

I'd say it's a must watch. No spoilers. The actors are not involved with any of the other movies and some fairly good production value as well. The last short in particular is quite inventive.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.


DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES opens on July 11 in native 3D shot on 3ality Technica rigs. Thanks sigma66 for the heads up.



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