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Burbank firms push expansion of 3-D

Burbank firms are trying to make three dimensions more common in a variety of media.

May 13, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk,
  • Systems tech Brian Vanek checks on FUSION 3D system before it goes out on location, at CAMERON-PACE GROUP in Burbank on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Cinematographer Vince Pace and producer James Cameron ("Avatar") own the company. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Systems tech Brian Vanek checks on FUSION 3D system before…

Two Burbank companies are growing and spreading the 3-D gospel beyond feature films.

Last month, “Avatar” director James Cameron helped relaunch the 3-D production firm Pace with a plan to hire more engineering talent and convince studios and networks that the time is now to film everything, including television episodes, in three dimensions.

Separately 3ality Digital, a 3-D technology and production firm with staff in Burbank and Germany, was acquired by Clearlake Capital Group and received what Clearlake termed a “significant capital infusion” to expand.

The changes come as the pace quickens in the industry, which still is hamstrung by relatively small amounts of content, modest U.S. sales of 3-D television screens and consumer distaste for those special glasses.

But people on the production side of the business, including the chief executives of Cameron-Pace Group, Vince Pace, and 3ality, Steve Schklair, say it is a matter of time before the market matures and manufacturers develop 3-D screens for home and theatrical use that don’t require glasses.


Pace said he and Cameron plan to “educate” studios, producers and camera crews about the image-capturing technology and demonstrate that barriers are falling.

“Jim and I shook hands 12 years ago and started to go down this path,” Pace said. “Part of that was his desire to craft a film that he felt was complemented with the technology, and he succeeded at that. Part of my goal was not to be servicing a single filmmaker.”

Pace’s 3-D credits, in addition to “Avatar,” include years’ worth of NBA games, concert films and upcoming features, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

The Cameron-Pace Group now employs about 60 people, Pace said. With a new focus on technical and creative staff, Pace said he expects to see the company top 100 workers in the near future.

Santa Monica-based Clearlake Capital acquired 3ality in anticipation of 3-D production going mainstream, according to a statement from the company’s board chairman, David Modell.

3ality’s Schklair said that in the next 12 to 18 months, studios will begin to shoot TV episodes in 3-D to “future-proof” their content for syndication and the home market to come.

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