Big data is taking over the world, and Rory Armes and Ken Scott of Gener8 Media Corp. know why. In this interview with Streetwise Reports’ Special Situations, the two Vancouver-based upstarts discuss the tribulations of getting in on the ground floor of the newest developments in information technology—and the many potential rewards.
Special Situations: Gener8 is well known for its 2D to 3D conversion technology and work, but it has also been quietly developing a big data product to facilitate tracking its own 3D movie conversion process. What is the growth potential for these products?
Rory Armes: Our story started with inventing software for 3D movie conversion. Our big data visualization tool, Cumul8, emerged out of technology we developed to convert 2D films to 3D format. Cumul8 was a tool that helped track the immense amount of information needed to complete each frame of a movie. Cumul8 helps the team understand quickly “where the film is at.”
Our 3D division is focused on post-production for prereleased theatrical films for Hollywood. But box office growth for 3D has expanded far outside of North America, into China, India and Europe. Studio budgets for creating 3D films have increased, especially for action/adventure-style blockbusters. And big-time international directors are chomping to work in 3D.
Now we know that our high-quality film conversion software also has applications beyond entertainment. The 3D software can produce visual displays for medical, educational and industrial uses, and can be used to make visual sense out of complicated seismic data for the oil and gas sector, as an example. There is growth potential in a number of areas beyond simply film.
SS: When you talk about converting 2D into 3D, does that mean that the director shoots the movie in 2D, and then you convert it into 3D? Or are the filmmakers using special 3D cameras all along?
RA: There are two ways to create a 3D movie image. One is to film the action with two cameras; one camera is the left eye and the other is the right eye. The cameras are rigged to triangulate moving objects and that creates a 3D effect. We call that native filming. Avatar was filmed natively, with two cameras shooting each object. But, as is often the case, software solutions quickly surpass hardware solutions. We create the 3D stereoscopic effect by using software, as opposed to two-camera systems. Directors only need to use a single camera, and can get stunning 3D objects in post-production.
SS: Can you also convert films that were shot in 1940 to a 3D format?
RA: We can make any digital version of a movie into 3D. A good example is in Ridley Scott’s 3D film, Prometheus. There is a background scene from the 2D film Lawrence of Arabia, which we converted to 3D to keep the full illusion of 3D for the entire Prometheus film.
SS: How did your software get from 3D filming into big data applications?