3-D will come to mobile faster than anyone has anticipated, and without the need for awkward glasses, "Avatar" director James Cameron told an audience today at the CTIA Wireless conference.
When the screen is small as on mobile phones, viewers won't need special glasses to get 3-D, he said. "It's the difference between a multiple-user screen and one for a single user. When the screen is small enough, you don't need the glasses ..The ... screen (on a cell phone) is oriented to you and you get perfect 3-D."
Cameron said he was surprised by this year's release of 3-D TVs. He expected a transition period when 3-D content would be broadcast in theaters, but 3-D TV manufacturers — including Panasonic, Samsung and Sony — "jumped that hurdle" and brought 3-D TVs to retail beginning last month.
He said he will not underestimate how quickly 3-D technology will take hold and has a start-up company underway to produce 3-D content for television. The company will provide a complete solution for 3-D entertainment, including the necessary equipment and training.
Despite the availability of 3-D TVs, there is still a content gap, Cameron said.
He predicts "the smaller innovators will scoop the big studios" to close the gap, and sent a clear message to software application developers in the audience to begin development of 3-D apps for mobile.
Cameron also said that "Avatar" was the most-pirated film in history, but says that is good news.
It proves that people discriminate between seeing a movie in a theater and owning a movie and watching it at home, he said. "There's the acquisition experience and the social experience of the theater. I think they can co-exist. People want both."
In a bold move, Cameron shortened the time between theatrical release of "Avatar" and the release of the movie on DVD. "Let's just bring out the DVD while it's in theaters and see what happens," he said.
The 2-D version of Avatar will be available on iTunes in May.