We’ve covered quite a bit on the 3D Industry in Asia on our website. But what about the rest of the world? Is 3D really going global? Today we take a look at one of South America’s fastest and biggest emerging markets: Brazil – the land of the Amazon, samba, soccer & carnival; coincidentally or not, all of which would make for some spectacular viewing in 3D.
Some people have asked me what the S3D market is like in Brazil. My immediate reaction is to not respond as this market has caused me much grief and discouragement. But in order to understand my reaction, I need to first explain my reasons.
Since 2003 I’ve been working with S3D as a researcher within the university where I work. Unlike other scientists who are concerned with hardware and software, my interest is in S3D content, particularly documentaries. To make a documentary in S3D, I needed equipment, rigs and software – so in 2006 I set up a laboratory to support documentary filmmaking and finally in 2009 I completed the first documentary: “The Lake 3D”
Later in 2010, through the company Photon3D cine & video (of which I am a member) (a company dedicated to producing documentary films in S3D), we received financial aid from the Brazilian government; our mandate was to research the S3D market in Brazil and verify its commercial viability. That was the beginning of the market nightmare.
The consultants hired to conduct the market research knew nothing about S3D whilst the audiovisual production companies we spoke to, though interested in S3D, asserted that my “academic origin could not be trusted in the market.” Still at the research phase, we set up our website (http://www.photon3d.com.br) with a lot of information, in Portuguese, about the functioning of stereoscopy. We had hoped that this site would help explain the technical aspects and as such improve the level of information on the audiovisual market.
In 2010, I was invited to lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Cinematography (ABCine: http://www.abcine.org.br/), a sort of ASC (www.theasc.com) Brazilian. From this point onward we started to see many types of businesses and people who claimed they did S3D. In some of these companies I introduced myself as a consultant on S3D, but most companies preferred sending an employee to take a 5-day course in Germany or Canada, thinking that would be enough to make a good S3D film. There was even a Brazilian company that sent an employee to study overseas for a few days and when he returned the company began to make a feature film in S3D. Needless to say, the film did not have the necessary quality and as such did not generate enough box office revenue.
At this juncture, it is necessary to clarify how Brazilian films are financed. Brazilian films are financed by the Brazilian system of exemption from federal income tax for cultural purposes. There is a law called “Audiovisual Law” authorizing the sponsor to pay less income tax because of the amount invested as sponsorship of a film. It’s a good law, but you need to know the right companies and the right people (including politicians) to get such sponsorships.
In 2009 or 2010, the largest television network in Brazil (Globo) filmed the carnival in S3D – a test-version. On that occasion Globo brought a Canadian team and equipment for filming. In 2010 at the Congress of the Brazilian Society of Television Engineering a lecturer at Rede Globo presented some equipment and was very enthusiastic about the future of S3D. Two years later, at the same conference, his tone was one of disappointment; he said he did not understand why the S3D had not spread in Brazil as expected.
We have information that the program “Big Brother Brazil” (Endemol) is being transmitted in S3D in pay-per-view, by Globo TV since January 2013. Personally, I think Big Brother is not exactly the kind of program that should be done in S3D. Perhaps, Globo is testing the equipment in preparation for the transmission of soccer during the World Cup in 2014. But S3D filming within the confines of a house and filming S3D on a football field are two very different things.
I know only of one S3D feature film being made in Brazil. It is an agreement with Disney and a movie production company in Rio de Janeiro. During the Rio Film Festival in 2010, the CEO of that production company spoke to me about his interest in filming S3D, however they ultimately chose to bring in an expert from the United States to co-ordinate the filming.
My most recent initiative in spreading S3D, was the promotion of a S3D Workshop in partnership with CIANT (International Center for Art and New Technologies), Prague (Czech Republic). I met Pavel Smetana (director of CIANT) when I was in Germany in 2012, during the Beyond Festival – 3D International Symposium. When I returned to Brazil, I spoke with representatives of the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Brazilian Association of Cinematography (ABCine). Unfortunately there was not enough funding as well as interest in the workshop. The end result: the workshop was held at the University of California in San Diego in the USA in February 2013.
Since I have not been able to penetrate into the audiovisual market in Brazil, I’m currently focused on making a S3D documentary on the environment, in partnership with Prof. Ludger Pfanz (a co-production between Brazil and Germany).
When I read Torsten’s blog post, “13 important tips for filmmakers 3D” something he said struck a chord with me and I found a glimmer of hope for S3D in Brazil – “slowly build your 3D expertise as well as a library of 3D assets now, which probably will only increase in value when the market matures”. Thus, despite the absence of a S3D market in Brazil, I continue to believe that this will change. So in the meantime, I’m honing my expertise. The best way to overcome this lack of S3D market in Brazil would require a concerted effort by major companies and Brazilian specialists, to join in the promotion and development of S3D.
To conclude, my answer to the question “how is the S3D in Brazil” is as follows: the S3D contracted some sort of tropical disease here in Brazil, we are currently resting as we eagerly wait for the panacea.
Helio holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Semiotics from the Catholic University of São Paulo (1999) and Master of Arts / Cinema at the School of Communication and Arts, University of São Paulo (1991). He is the author of the book “Documentary, Reality and Semiosis: Audiovisual systems as sources of knowledge” (in Portuguese) (Annablume/Fapesp – 2001). Helio has directed and produced several movies on Culture and Environment, among which are: Cubatão My Love (1991); Corumbá Project (2004), Dust (2007), Archaeology of Mato Grosso do Sul (2008) and The Lake 3D (2009).Since 1991, Helio has been teaching Photography and Semiotics at Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, where he also researches on the language and the technology of 3D documentaries.