(Source: Vancouver Sun) ┬áThursday’s announcement that the Kerner Group will set up a stereoscopic 3-D research studio at Emily Carr University (ECU) will help British Columbia’s film industry make the transition from a two-dimensional production centre to a place where 3-D movies can be made by local crews.

Several high-profile 3-D movies have been made in B.C. in recent years, including Tron: Legacy, but they always have Americans in the key crew positions. The Emily Carr studio, expected to be operational by late spring, is the first step to building a 3-D movie infrastructure.

The studio, which will be housed in the university’s Intersections Digital Studios (IDS), will be used for live-action filmmaking, and will be available to the school’s faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, as well as to film industry professionals and Kerner staff.

The announcement comes as ECU hosts a three-day Interactive Futures forum on digital art.

Lynn Leboe, director of international research and development for Kerner, said the decision to come to Vancouver was partly the result of lobbying in the past year by “four or five” production executives from the B.C. film industry.

“The 2-D industry is dying on the vine here, and we’ve had filmmakers come to our studios in California and plead with us to come up to B.C.,” said Leboe, a B.C. native. Kerner is based in San Rafael, Calif.

Stating “nobody’s making 2-D any more” because of widespread piracy, Leboe said all technology points to 3-D filmmaking, but Vancouver hasn’t had the training tools.

“There is no infrastructure in Canada to be able to do this. We feel this stereoscopic lab will be a catalyst for growth for the entire creative supply chain.

“We’d been looking to come to Canada for some time. Because of Emily Carr’s photographic visual arts background, we felt this was a really good fit,” said Leboe. “Our enabling technology does not replace existing work crews. Unlike our competitors, who just come in and displace all of the work force in the cinematography area, we include and expand the work force.”

Robert Inkster, ECU’s director of research and industry liaison, said the studio will have all the tools needed for stereoscopic 3-D filmmaking.

“The data capture, which is the camera systems and rigs, and the data processing systems and the display are all unique to stereo 3-D,” said Inkster.

A filmmaker would be able to use the studio to make a prototype, create a portion of a scene from a movie in 3-D to show potential investors.

Rob McEwen, president of the International Photographers Guild (IATSE Local 669), welcomed the news.

“I’m supportive of this venture,” McEwen said, adding that the two IATSE Local 669 members who trained with 3-D equipment on the Vancouver production of director Joe Dante’s The Hole 3D were then hired to work on Tron Legacy.

“I don’t know if 3-D is ever going to the be-all, end-all, but certainly many other projects will [use it],” said McEwen. “Time goes on and technology changes, and it will become easier and easier. We’ll have 3-D television sooner rather than later.”

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