21 Oct 2008
Portable Performances(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2008)
The future of global entertainment is 3D according to Sun Ruby 3D Technology Ltd Founder and CEO Eric Wan, who predicts that Hollywood will soon switch to the exciting new genre.
The action movies Hollywood produces will be shown either in cinemas or at home on a new generation of DVD players, while screen-based advertising will also go 3D by producing "advertainment" so compelling that the industry will leap to a new level of prosperity.
Mr Wan has done his homework, pointing out that surveys show that 40% more viewers respond favourably to the extra punch 3D gives to on-screen advertising.
"I'm also confident that all the new techniques and technology now coming on stream will transform home movies with vivid shots of memorable occasions like weddings, 21st birthdays, graduations, reunions and Christmas," he adds.
Mr Wan's firm is a leader in providing innovative 3D visual solutions and infotainment-based networks, including 3D media digital displays, and specialises in 3D digital multimedia signage networks that can be installed in various outlets and locations.
Sun Ruby has been instrumental in redefining the entire digital signage proposition, and is now able to offer end-to-end solutions to advertisers that want to stand out from the crowd.
"We offer digital display, networking digital content solutions, 3D content production, portable 3D media players, 3D cameras and management," Mr Wan explains.
Typical of Sun Ruby's products is the Moboview, which comes in 4.8-inch, 7-inch and 10.2-inch sizes and can fit in a pocket, purse or satchel.
"Using it couldn't be simpler - you just hold it up screen outwards and start shooting away," Mr Wan explains, adding that the device's tiny digital file holds three hours' recording and can later be edited. "Anytime you wish to check on your filming, you rewind then watch your efforts on the LCD screen."
Alternatively, Mr Wan recommends a 42-inch Philips WOWvx system with dual-mode 3D and 2D capability for those consumers who prefer a large monitor for watching 3D programmes in the lounge.
"We also offer 19-inch and 22-inch 3D/2D LCD monitors from Korea," he notes. "These dual-mode systems represent the best of both worlds - today's and tomorrow's."
Sun Ruby's catalogue also contains the popular Anywhere 3D glasses that make jaw-dropping scenes virtually leap from the screen. "Anywhere is a virtual 3D cinema," Mr Wan claims. "Even astronauts would love to wear the wraparound stereophonic model that virtually brings the wearer right into the action with its stereo soundtrack."
The technology has clearly come a long way since British film pioneer William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a 3D movie in the late 1890s that required two films to be projected side by side on screen.
More recently, Sharp's developments in autostereoscopic 3D displays utilise a switchable LCD to allow instant 2D/3D switching, while Philips's WOWvx system is a slanted lenticular-type autostereoscopic multiview display.
The California State University electrical engineering graduate is building on these developments by entering into a Technology Development Agreement with City University of Hong Kong to develop a cost-efficient 3D system.
It's a collaborative arrangement with the university's Technology Transfer Office and 3D-expert Dr Peter Tsang of the Department of Electronics Engineering.
"In this and other ways we continue to invest in 3D research and development, and the deeper I get involved in it all, the more convinced I am that this is where the future lies," Mr Wan says.
He adds that he often gets "nibbles" from would-be investors but believes most of them are just attracted by the get-rich-quick aspect of 3D. "When I choose a partner, my emphasis will be on solidity and staying power."
This careful approach is typical of a man who confesses he was "crazy" about all art forms in high school in Hong Kong. "As a teenager, I even made a 30-minute amateur movie about Chinese music, with the performers using traditional instruments like the erhu and pipa," he recalls."It was titled I Love Music and it won the movie competition."
Mr Wan saw his first 3D movie about 10 years ago when visiting Disneyland in the US. "Like everybody I was gasping all through the movie - but at the potential I could see in 3D movies rather than what was on the screen," he recalls. "I said, 'This is for me' - and so it has been ever since."
TEXT BY GEOFFREY SOMERS