Gear to create 3-D content starts to heat up

by Kazuaki Nagata

Now that 3-D TVs are hitting the stores, the equipment needed to create three-dimensional content is getting a lot of attention at the 3D & Virtual Reality Expo in Tokyo.

Makers are looking to score big sales with such devices as video cameras and processors that can transform two-dimensional images into 3-D.

The three-day event showcasing cutting-edge 3-D technology and related devices runs through Friday at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.

“There is demand” for devices that create 3-D content, Masafumi Ishige, a senior marketing manager at Sony Business Solution Corp. in charge of 3-D business, said Thursday at the expo.

The company is displaying a video camera that can shoot 3-D images and a ¥2.8 million imaging processor that can make detailed edits when processing 3-D images.

“It’s impossible to create (3-D content) without equipment, so people are really interested in the devices,” Ishige said.

Panasonic Corp. is demonstrating a 3-D video camera for professionals that will debut in August and cost about ¥2.2 million.

Minoru Namikawa, senior coordinator of the marketing communications group at Panasonic’s AVC Networks Co., said the reaction from customers has been better than expected, leading the company to debut the product a month early.

He said Panasonic has received business inquiries for 3,000 units from 2,000 companies, and 300 units have been preordered.

Interest is coming not only from broadcasters and image content producers, but also from people in the medical field, colleges and companies in other sectors, including construction.

“I think 3-D may be spreading not just to content providers but to fields that need 3-D images,” Namikawa said.

Meanwhile, Victor Co. of Japan is demonstrating technology to convert 2-D images into 3-D through an imaging processor that can add depth to original images to produce a clear 3-D image.

Tsuneyuki Takashima, a Victor spokesman, said creating 3-D content by using 3-D video cameras can be costly and take a lot of time, and it also needs skill to shoot 3-D images.

Victor therefore will focus on technology for 3-D content because the amount is still quite limited, he said.