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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Multi-core Goes to the Movies, or Who Brought the Popcorn?

August 21, 2008

The boss wanted me to report on the goings on at the Intel Developer Forum. I wanted to take the afternoon off and go to a movie. By the end of the day, however, we were both happy (as happy as the boss can be anyway). How did this happen? Knowing it couldn't possibly take 3,000 developers across the street to the Loews Metreon theatre, Intel brought the theatre to the developers.

Guest hosting the event was Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO and Director of DreamWorks Animation, the movie studio that produced Shrek, Chicken Run, and Madagascar, among other feature-length animated films. What brought Katzenberg to a technology conference was nothing less than what he called the "biggest innovation in movies in 70 years"--multi-core processors and parallelization. Recall that Intel and DreamWorks announced a relationship in July, whereby Intel provides DreamWorks with advanced multi-core processors and tools not available to the rest of us, while DreamWorks is converting its tools and infrastructure for 3D film creation to Intel-based systems. Rolled up together, all of this is referred to as InTru 3D.

Katzenberg noted that sound was the first major innovation to film making, followed by color, both of which delivered a better film experience for viewers. InTru 3D, however, is something different altogether, offering viewers an immersive experience.

DreamWorks is so serious about InTru 3D technology that in 2009, every DreamWorks movie will be 3D enabled. But "this isn't your father's 3D" Katzenberg said. Forget about those cardboard "glasses" with the red and blue lens. Intel passed to everyone polarized glasses. And what did we see?

Katzenberg first showed a "3D retrofitted" clip from Kung Fu Panda, a movie not originally designed for 3D. When the rocks started rolling down the mountain, I flinched. But things got really interesting when Katzenberg debuted a clip from the yet-to-be released (due out March 2009) movie Monster vs. Aliens. I was sitting in the back of the hall, and can't imagine how those folks in the front row could stand it. It was really good.

As for the boss, well, you should have seen the look on his face when I submitted my expense report for soda and popcorn.


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