3D Stereo Media: Europe's 3D event
by Domenico La Porta
The fourth edition of the European 3D-Stereo Summit for Science, Technology, and Digital Art, known as 3D Stereo MEDIA, was held in Liège, Belgium, from December 3 to 6, 2012.
In his interview with Cineuropa a few days before the event, Pierre Collin from the Twist cluster, a co-organiser of the summit, justified choosing Liège as a 3D centre of activity for Europe, while insisting on the triple challenge - economic, technological, and artistic - to the European 3D industry and the importance of professional networks to stimulate a sector so far progressing slowly.
The event's second 3D film co-production market (3D Film Mart) focused precisely on networking. During it, the defenders of 20 projects from all over Europe rose to the challenge of pitching their project in no more than 7 minutes to a jury of professionals and a panel of investors, all linked to the 3D sector. The prize at stake was €3,000 for one project being developed, but for all participants, it was especially a unique opportunity in Europe (and an extremely rare opportunity worldwide) to make professional contacts with key players in 3D, a field that still stands apart in the audiovisual industry. 3D production creates distrust among 2D producers, as it implies increased budgets, a new language with which to narrate, and taking risks that are too often discouraged by the lack of clear, rentable economic models.
Another co-organiser of the event is Peacefulfish. Like the Liège Image Pole's Twist cluster, it is one of the companies that is pushing the European 3D market so that it is able to compete against the world's main players in the field such as China, Russia and the United States.
In an interview with Cineuropa, Marika Kozlovska (Peacefulfish) describes how the 3D Film Mart works and what its goals are:
Already in its second year, the market has gained in maturity and has started to bear its fruits. But in Europe, like in the US, producers and consumers are only slowly adopting stereoscopy.
3D veteran Buzz Hays, who was formerly vice-president of Sony's 3D Technology Center and is today one of America's most famous 3D consultants, spoke about this market penetration in his interview with Cineuropa:
As stresses Hays, real stereoscopy has its own grammar that has to be learned and a lot of experimentation is still needed to be able to liberate the creativity of its language. And it is essential to think about how this language is formulated and received. In Europe, some audiovisual producers are specialised in the behaviour of the brain, like Frenchman Yves Pupulin from Binocle, a company dedicated to conducting research and developing stereoscopy, while also acting as a consultant and producing 3D with the aim of inventing this new form of mise-en-scène.
In his interview (in French), Pupulin recounts the evolution and principles of 3D language, something that he describes as a new art form on a par with 2D cinema:
The president of 3D Stéréo MEDIA is none other than one of the world's pioneers in stereoscopy, Belgian director Ben Stassen (Fly Me To The Moon, Sammy's Adventures 1 & 2). President of the jury for the 3D Film Festival held during the summit, Stassen has been the patron of 3D Stereo MEDIA since its first edition. He also made the best of this year's event to screen the premiere of his latest title made from real footage, African Safari 3D.
In his interview (in English) with Cineuropa, Stassen stresses the importance and positive evolution of 3D Stereo MEDIA in the current context of the 3D industry. He places Europe in the world stereoscopy market and foresees prospects on the economic, technological, and artistic levels:
Apart from the 3D Film Mart and the 3D Film Festival that closed with the I3DS-Europe Awards ceremony held in partnership with Hollywood's International 3D Society, the summit was also the occasion for scientific and professional conferences about stereoscopy (read the report) and for a training programme baptised 3D Academy.