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Curry College Launches First 3D Video Production Curriculum on East Coast

March 30, 2012


It's one of the country's most bizarre classroom experiences.   The dozen or so students-all wearing sunglasses-are listening to the professor's lecture.  But they're not outside squinting against the sun, they're deep inside the TV studios at Curry College in Milton, MA, learning how to produce 3D video content.  It's a first-of-its-kind class on the East Coast.

"Students were a bit skeptical in the beginning," explains Jerry Gibbs, professor at Curry and director of the college's television and digital video curriculum.  "But then you watch the 3D image come to life on our big screen 3D television, and you know this is going to be huge."


3D has had its fits and starts over the years.   It is actually a technology that has been in vogue since the 1800s, with many variations coming together over the years.  But, Gibbs says, this is not your grandparents 3D, this is a new version that is here to stay.

"Certainly film audiences have embraced 3D in the past few years with Avatar and the Oscar-winning Hugo being prime examples," says Gibbs.  "But that is just the beginning of what we believe will be a 3D revolution in the years to come."

That "revolution" is going to take a more organic approach to consumers' living rooms, according to Gibbs.   His research suggests that instead of blockbuster movies or big screen 3D content leading the way, 3D will evolve with shorter-form content produced for smart phones and tablet computers.

"The biggest issue many people have with 3D is not the idea of 3D, but how you are viewing it," he says.  "Right now everyone must wear special glasses that look like sunglasses.  But that will change, and change is coming very soon."

The Holy Grail is glasses-free 3D, and some devices already have this technology, albeit in smaller screen sizes.  Nintendo's 3DS video game device is an example, and some smart phones have it too.  But, it is only the beginning.

"Developers are hard at work on making glasses-free 3D ubiquitous on the next generation of smart phones and tablets.  And word on the street is that Apple has put in a patent for a next-generation iPad that will also have a glasses-free display.  Not to mention the fact that all televisions purchased in the U.S. by late next year will likely have 3D built into it, whether you requested it or not."

So what does that mean for Curry's video and film students, now in the first class on the East Coast that teaches 3D?

"They are way, way ahead of the curve.  They'll know the production and editing terms unique to 3D production, and they'll be learning how to create short-form and long-form content that purchasers of these devices will crave.  We'll be able to feed content to YouTube's unique 3D channel, where content is quite sparse at the moment."

Being on the leading edge of this content revolution reflects the type of distinctive and relevant academic programming that prepares Curry students to compete in a complex and changing job market.

"Curry's communication department's innovative use of 3D digital video is a perfect example of how effective education does more than mirror the world today - it anticipates the future," says David Potash, chief academic officer. "What makes Curry's 3D program so powerful is that our faculty are teaching the technology and marrying these innovations with the broader theories so that our students can see its impact on our world."

As part of the 3D roll-out, Curry College flew in 3D filmmaker Jason Goodman during the first week of April to teach workshops and host an all-day shoot using his advanced 3D gear.

"I'm very excited to be a part of the 3D curriculum at Curry College," said Jason Goodman, president of LA-based 21st Century 3D. "Having the opportunity to share my experience and expertise in 3D filmmaking with future filmmakers is an honor."

"Jason's visit will solidify Curry's commitment to the future of 3D, and even holographic television that will be coming up next," says Gibbs.  "Just as we've done for over 130 years, Curry will be a leading-edge institution in Communication advances."

"Giving the students access to 21st Century 3D's cutting edge digital cinema equipment and a hands on 3D filmmaking experience will expand their creative talents and technical skill base," adds Goodman. "It's exciting to see 3D production being integrated into the curriculum at Curry."

And back in the classroom, students finish their class by taking off their 3D glasses, and putting on their own sunglasses, as they head back outside to the sun-drenched sky to continue their day.


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