As I prepared for IBC, I made a list of must-attend keynote speeches, conferences and of course, screenings. On the top of my movie list is Avatar (Special Edition), which contains an additional eight minutes of content over the original film and will be screened using the Real D stereoscopic 3D system. While I looked forward to watching Avatar, I’m more curious about a recent piece of news which mentioned director James Cameron’s intention to revisit Pandora in an underwater sequel. While Avatar was conceived as a trilogy, it was always up to the box office to decide whether Cameron would be given the green light for the sequel. Despite the mega budget for the first film, which The New York Times estimated to be around US$500 million, for Cameron and his production crew, the hardest part is done: Developing the 3D technology to bring Pandora to life. At IBC and every other industry trade show, 3D technology remains at the forefront of media engineering. In Amsterdam this year Avatar editor Stephen Rivkin gave a keynote speech, and many of the sessions on taking production and post to another level focus on stereoscopic 3D productions. One of the conference highlights this year is a look at digital restoration. Reliance Mediaworks, which worked on the restoration of the Apollo 11 moon landing footage for NASA, gave a talk on 4k restoration, detail enhancement and benefits in the 2D to 3D conversion process. From capture, processing, production, transmission to display, it’s clear that 3D technology is going full steam ahead. By the time Cameron explores the rest of his fictional Alpha Centauri AB system, could 3D technology have advanced leaps and bounds beyond that which created Cameron’s fictional Alpha Centauri AB system? I can’t wait to find out.

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