3-D technology popping up everywhere

With major releases including Bolt, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, 3-D movies exploded off of the silver screen in 2008, marking a renaissance in 3-D technology. Production companies are attempting to get theaters to furnish themselves with 3-D gear, the likes of which moviegoers have not seen since the technology’s heyday in the ’50s.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, told CNN 3-D technology  is “the greatest innovation to occur in the movie business in 70 years.”

Katzenberg is part of an emerging group of filmmakers who would like to see 3-D technology amplified and used more in motion pictures. Part of such a process will include conceiving innovative ways to project 3-D technology to viewers.

The innovation of 3-D is happening in the least likely of places. This month, the NBA will team up with Turner Sports and Cinedigm Digital Cinema to feature the All-Star game in 3-D in movie theaters across the nation.

This year’s Super Bowl featured its first 3-D movie trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens, a DreamWorks release slated for 2009. DreamWorks has partnered up with Intel, incorporating Intel’s chips and processors with 3-D movie applications. DreamWorks plans to release all its films in 3-D this year. Following suit, Pixar also plans to make all its 2009 releases easy to convert to 3-D.

On TV, NBC’s Chuck is attempting to bring 3-D technology to a wide audience. Intel’s InTru3D, the technology that originally inspired DreamWorks to make its movies 3-D compatible, sponsored the distribution of the red and blue glasses for the show.

In Tampa, theaters like Muvico Starlight 20 have already started installing 3-D equipment to meet the anticipated rise in demand for it.

“We’ll be debuting with Coraline as our first-ever 3-D movie,” said Marvin Rammarine, Starlight manager.

As more theaters switch to digital movie formats and leave bulky film reels in the past, a marriage between 3-D and digital technology is poised to change the motion picture landscape, but not all theaters are ready to make the transition forward.

The University’s closest movie theater, Regal 16, has yet to install the new 3-D technology.

“We haven’t installed the new technology yet and we’ll be keeping any time frame information under wraps,” said Anelique Pugliese, Regal 16 manager.

The 3-D infatuation doesn’t end in theaters or large venues. Sony announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that 3-D games including Wipeout HD and Gran Turismo Prologue, which use black 3-D glasses with grey lenses, were in the testing stages for the popular PlayStation 3 gaming console. Sony said it was still contemplating whether consumers would be interested in the technology.

Also at CES, three major manufacturers of flat-screen TVs introduced a concept called 3-D HDTV. Employing a technology similar to that of the MyView movie glasses that just hit the market, 3-D HD TV will use an infrared receiver to send signals to the 3-D spectacles.

Though the measurable effect of 3-D technology has yet to be fully understood, 2009 looks geared to be its make-or-break year. For a list of past and upcoming movies using the technology, visit 3Dmovielist.com.