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Getting Back to Wow - AvNetwork.com

Getting Back to Wow

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A few issues back, I mused in this space about the arrival of 3D. I suggested that 3D was here, now, being pushed from both the high end and the consumer side, and it represents real growth opportunity for stagers with the vision to offer new experiences for their customers.

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We had just seen at InfoComm 3D with inexpensive 120 Hz time-sequential 3Dcompatible projectors — 3D using just one projector. And, of course, also at InfoComm the high end 3D-ready projectors from other manufacturers — Barco, Christie, Digital Projection, projectiondesign in the DLP camp, and offerings from a variety of players in the LCD or LCoS camp that use two projectors (Sony SXRD and others).

Well, 3D is here. Check out this issue’s feature on producing and staging “the best 3D experience possible with a large-scale traveling production.” The production, called “Al’s Brain,” speaks well to the future of portable 3D entertainment. Gary Hardesty and his team were able to create a system that was extremely flexible and fairly small in terms of the amount of electronics involved.

“We have successfully created the protocol for doing a complex traveling multi-venue 3D theater show,” says Hardesty. “We’ve proven it can be created and moved. We’ve also demonstrated that a screen of this size can handle the rigors of a traveling production.”

“Al’s Brain” will continue to make its way around the country and could potentially make its international debut at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

Quite a feat, and it’s always gratifying to hear it from a stager, and see the system in action on the road, and not just see demos at a tradeshow.

Other proof that 3D is not just for cinemas (or on the opposite end of the scale, simple classroom educational systems)? I am the chair of the Judges committee for the DIGI Awards, where we honor digital signage deployments and new products. And I don’t have to explain the crossover between the staging world and the digital signage world. One of the winners of a DIGI Award this year (we awarded the trophies at a ceremony in New York this past November) was an intriguing 3D tool that brings the technology down to a very personal scale. Winner of the award for Best New Generation Display Device (Non-LCD or Plasma) was GestureTek for 3D Depth Sensing Interactive Digital Sign with Mobile Phone Interactivity.

GestureTek’s innovative 3D depth sensing technology was selected to power an attention- grabbing interactive digital signage system on behalf of Sprint. Sprint’s 3D depth sensing interactive display screen, with mobile phone connectivity, tracks people’s body movements, and responds by sending a Sprint promotional message that follows them the entire length of the interactive billboard. The interactive motion-detecting advertising message invites users to create their own personalized interactive wall art on Sprint’s gesture control screen by calling Sprint on their mobile phone. The installation was led by partner Mission Electronics.

Increasingly, the line is blurring between the world of staging, corporate events, entertainment events, merchandising, branding, and advertising. The future is in bringing new tools (such as 3D) to bear that allow us to cross over the boundaries, and enable our customers to once again “wow.” That may not be a word you’ll see in the spec sheets at tradeshows, but it’s the word we need back in this industry, and it is indeed coming back.

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