StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

What is the Impact of 3D on Factual Budgets? 2/2 – Graphics, Post, Deliverables & Takeaways

What has changed in the 3D production process for a ‘typical’ cable hour since last April?

  • What is the impact of 3D on the budget?
  • Are costs dropping?

Preferred producer Hoff Productions is kindly helping us give the 3D process an annual checkup.

This week

  • Graphics
  • Post (Off- and On-line)
  • Deliverables
  • Takeaways

Last post: Case Study Assumptions; Field Production

And coming soon

  • 3net:  its acquisitions and programming strategy


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Field (recap)

  • 3D Premium for Field: $96,000 +/-
  • And that’s a cost improvement of around $14,000 since April 2010


  • “The 3D layer adds 33-50% to the graphics budget
  • 3D Premium for graphics: $10,000+/

Post: Offline

  • “3D and 2D/HD are offlined in the same way, requiring around 30 days for our hypothetical production
  • Offline editors pay close attention to transitions between shots that could affect convergence. Significantly fewer cuts are made in 3D than in 2D/HD, which helps balance out the overall edit time
  • We expect that client expectations will be closer to what they’re used to getting in 2D shows; we’ll know better once we get through this current production”
  • 3D Premium for Offline: None

Post: OnLine

  • “Standard desktop software-based solutions, with 3D tools for adjusting convergence, color correction, image adjustment / axial offset, mastering, etc. are available for as low as $2,000 a day
  • Online rooms that meet advanced 3D delivery specs, such as those outlined by Sky TV, cost around $450/hour, down from $600 a year ago. These suites use high end systems such as Pablo, Mistika and Smoke.
  • We’re now looking at 5 days of online at the $450/hour cost, or $3,600/day
  • We are hoping for minimal ‘3D fixes’ during the online based on our expectation that we will be taking care of most of these in the field
  • We will also use the same stereographer in the field and post to facilitate this process.”
  • Cost Comparison:
    • 2D/HD Online: $1,600 / day / 5 days: $8,000+/-
    • 3D: $3,600  / day / 5 days: $18,000+/-
  • 3D Premium for Post
    • $10,000
    • That’s a $30,000 improvement year-to-year

Post: Upconversion

  • “There are multiple solutions for 2D to 3D conversion, ranging from fully-manual to fully-automated. The more automated the process, the less expensive it is
  • We recommend against automated upconversion
    • It makes too many mistakes, and it extrapolates the convergence
    • Manual upconversion will be necessary until the algorithms improve significantly
  • Our consensus cost estimate, for June 2011, is $18,000 / minute for 10 minutes of manual conversion.”
  • 3D Premium for upconversion:
    • For 10 minutes: $180,000 (no change)


  • “The 3D deliverables, and therefore their costs, have not yet been standardized by the channels
  • At least one additional set of 2D/HD masters is required.”

(Hoff Productions’ analysis: June, 2011)

  • Field:     + $96,000
  • CGI:      + $10,000
  • Post:      + $10,000
  • Upconversion: + $180,000
  • Deliverables: TBD

Total Cost +/-

  • 2D/HD:  $325,000
  • 3D: $621,000

3D Premium

  • + $296,000+/-

Change since April 2010

  • For this kind of 3D production, Hoff would have cut out about $44,000 from their 2010 budget estimate of $665,000
  • That’s a 6.6% savings

Hoff’s Last Word

  • “A year ago, we predicted  that “3D costs are dropping … and extremely fast”
  • We said “In six weeks from now, the 3D price is likely to be lower”
  • However, the 3D cost premium for quality broadcast programs is not coming down at the rates that we predicted – at least for projects like this Case Study
  • However, we’ll know much more when we complete our 3net commission”

Coming Soon: 3net

  • Our profile of 3net, the 3D-dedicated channel owned by IMAX, Discovery and Sony
  • Programming:
    • How many commissions?
    • In what genres?
    • Which producers are getting the work?
    • And for what budgets?
  • Operations:
    • 3net’s view of the ‘3D cost premium’
    • How they are helping to bring it down
  • Projections: Their view of the growth in 3D market



Sunnyside of the Doc
La Rochelle, France
June 21-24
3D Where is the Money?
For a year now, 3D has been on the rise. Initiatives are announced each week.
Is this new format the next El Dorado, despite the heavy technical constraints?
Between public subsidies, industrial partnerships, TV copros and theatrical releases:
What is the path to successfully finance a 3D project?
What is the cost premium for 3D vs HD?

Ghislaine Le Rhun-Gautier, head of 3D project, Orange (France)
John Cassy, Director, Sky 3D (UK)
Baptiste Heynemans CNC (NTP) (France)
Laurent Dondey, DP La Géode (France)
Modérateur: Peter Hamilton, DocumentaryTélé
June 23, 5PM

Also: Trends in U.S. Television
What do U.S. broadcasters want? Who is getting the work? And how much do they pay?
Channels want series led by ‘big characters’. Reality keeps on rising.
There is less demand for individual documentaries and limited series.
Meanwhile, HBO, PBS, OWN and a handful of U.S. channels commission documentaries.
What are their filters? And is the U.S. market open to international coproductions?
Steve Burns, Veteran network executive
Peter Hamilton, DocumentaryTélé
Stephen Harris, A&E
June 22, 630PM