For David Niles, founder of the Niles Creative Group, the task was challenging on many levels: how to produce a show in 3D at five times the resolution of high-definition television, how to switch the LED wall between 2D and 3D playback, and how to achieve the level of brightness and contrast required to properly display 3D in broad daylight.
“The creation of a stereoscopic 3D image is the more difficult part of the puzzle, but that's exactly what we do here,” said Niles. “The next part is the technology to actually display it, and here's where we're breaking barriers. Creating effective 3D in a daylight environment is a challenge, and to that end, we have to give credit to Barco's 4mm LED screen. It has a light output high enough, and a contrast ratio great enough, to be able to use the anaglyphic display method.”
To solve the technical challenge of compositing a dual stereoscopic image into a single anaglyphic image that the LED wall requires, Niles partnered with Sirius 3-D, the creators of the ColorCode 3-D system. “They've perfected a blue-yellow anaglyptic method of encoding which is quite spectacular, and which preserves colorimetry,” explained Niles. “Even in broad daylight, the results on Comcast's existing, unmodified 4mm wall are beautiful.”
For the challenge of switching the wall between 2D and 3D playback modes, the video system itself at The Comcast Experience accomplishes the task. “Using our content delivery system, we were able to program changes into the way the wall operates,” said Niles. “When the Christmas Spectacular is running, we increase the wall's output level to make it optimum for anaglyphic viewing. Then, as soon as the 3D Christmas show is over, the wall returns to its normal viewing levels.”
Comcast's Christmas Spectacular opened just after Thanksgiving, and to date, the attendance numbers have been remarkable. For a four-day period, over 50,000 people enjoyed the program, and higher numbers are expected throughout the remainder of the year. “The Niles Creative Group is truly at the forefront of extraordinary photo-realistic environments,” said Steve Scorse, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Barco. “Using our NX-4 wall, he's demonstrated that LED is a viable technology for large scale 3D presentations, and moreover, ones that can take place in a daylight environment.”