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3D lab for Durban U

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South Africa’s first educationally orientated 3-D film production laboratory was recently launched at the Durban University of Technology.

South Africa’s first educationally orientated 3-D film production laboratory was launched at the Durban University of Technology. Established by Matla Innovation, in partnership with the DUT, the lab will be able to produce full length 3-D feature films and 3-D advertisements whilst providing 3-D training facilities.

Use of the lab will be available to the university’s video technology students and to international and local production companies, studios and TV stations. It also has the ability to convert existing 2-D content to 3-D, which is useful for entities with large video libraries and also for the setting up of a TV channel dedicated to the distribution of 3-D contents.

Mr. Zwelakhe Sisulu, executive chairman of Matla says, ‚The technology that we are providing could easily make South Africa a creative centre for content creation for the big screens, television and the internet.‚

Matla has spearheaded this collaborative project with eThekwini municipality by using its extensive technology networks in the East. Innovative 3-D film-making techniques and equipment were sourced from the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan, a research and development agency that promotes industrial development. The partners also work closely with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Education and the Department of Science and Technology. The project is part of a wider electronic device development and education connectivity initiative that is funded by the Technology Innovation Agency.

Two of ITRI’s top technical minds, Dr. GZ Wu and Mr JD Chen will be responsible for training 20 DUT video technology staff and senior students on the various aspects of 3-D production including the handling of 3D cameras, recorders, viewing hardware and the use of specialised content management software. Once the training is complete, DUT video technology staff and students will begin work on five 3D television programmes, which can be beamed into schools around South Africa.

This is part of a pilot project to test the effectiveness of delivering upgraded content including 3-D content, via affordable South African branded set-top boxes, netbook and tablet computers to help bring educational messages to life. ‚I am excited about the venture we are undertaking because it will have a huge impact on young people who want to make careers out of movie making,‚ says Sisulu.

Professor Pete Burnett, head of the video technology department says, ‚3-D is the future of television and film. We are very pleased to be involved in these cutting edge technologies as the equipment is so costly and the opportunity to receive training is rare‚ .

Beyond its impact for education and filmmaking, the partners of Matla believe that the local advertising industry can also benefit. The access to 3D production can mitigate the current absence of 3-D commercial adverts. ‚We often found at a 3-D movie that we were only asked to wear our glasses after all the ads had been played in 2-D,‚ says Chia-Chao Wu, the CEO of Matla. ‚Now the local advertising industry can easily access new techniques and equipment which will allow them to expand their creative capabilities‚ .

The innovation company aims to further develop these unique technologies by equipping studios, production houses and other universities around the country.

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