Victoria-based Cebas Visual Technology Inc. has teamed up with visual effects firm Pixel Magic to develop advanced software and workflows for converting Hollywood blockbusters, including the entire Harry Potter series of films, to 3-D stereo format.
The conversion technology was successfully pioneered for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest installment in the popular Chronicles of Narnia saga. Cebas has also contributed to the visual effects in Spider-Man 3, Alice in Wonderland, and Sucker Punch, among others.
In collaboration with Pixel Magic, Cebas created new algorithms and software to significantly simplify and accelerate 2-D to 3-D stereo image conversion. The streamlining enabled a timely delivery of high-quality stereoscopic sequences for the most recent Narnia film.
“Our client, Twentieth Century Fox, was very happy with the results in Narnia,” says Pixel Magic general manager Ray Scalice. “The Cebas tools were instrumental in delivering our stereoscopic 3-D conversion in a timely and cost-effective manner.”
Cebas has been creating visual effects, particularly explosion and demolition sequences for disaster epics like 2012, for more than 20 years. Until recently, 3-D had been a side business, but vice-president Edwin Braun tells Douglas the technology is more than just a “flash in the pan” this time around.
“We did some testing and experiments and found we had some clever ways to solve some of the issues in 3-D conversion. If you remember, there was a 3-D wave in the 1950s, but now commercially it’s a huge application,” he says.
“For us, this deal [with Pixel Magic] is a big step. Multiple studios are doing this type of conversion, but what we find is that our technology helps dramatically reduce the labour needed to achieve these effects. We think this will give Pixel Magic a competitive edge in stereo 3-D conversion for years to come.”
Cebas also does work for the lucrative video game industry, as well as architectural designers, and Braun says the company is poised to raise its profile.
“We are looking forward to expanding. We want to grow here on the Island and attract more talent here.”