Carmen in 3D

Another session in the Content Theater was presented by Julian Napier and Phil Streather, the director/editor and producer, respectively, of Carmen in 3D, the first live opera to be shot in stereo. Also on hand was Bob Mayson, president of the consumer-electronics division of RealD, which co-sponsored the project with the Royal Opera House in London.

Unlike most live concerts, Napier was allowed to put cameras on the stage during the performance in front of a live audience. He wanted to get close to the performers using wide-angle lenses to enhance the 3D effect, and he convinced the Royal Opera House to allow it by first creating a pre-visualization animation showing what it would look like.

The clips we saw were stunning. I'm not an opera fan, but I'd probably sit through the entire three hours of this presentation. There are a few spots in which things extend in front of the screen plane—for example, the opening shot of the condemned Don Jose holding his shackled hands in front of him, a foreshadowing of the tragedy to come—which Napier did on purpose, though he used this technique sparingly.

The movie was released on about 1500 RealD screens last month, though it has pretty much finished its theatrical run by now. The 3D Blu-ray will be available as an exclusive bundle with Toshiba 3D TVs and Blu-ray players for three months starting July 1 because of Toshiba's partnership in the project. (Grrrrr!) Then it will be shown on TV near the end of the year, after which the 3D Blu-ray will be made generally available.