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Old 07-23-2012, 08:18 PM   #1
michael vorberg
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Digital Domain Master thread(losses continue. In the first 6 months lost $23M)

whats going on with DD these days? after the "pay for work" discussion John Textor made some new statements which would shock the CG world.

okay, Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) is a public company with shareholders. these shareholders dont want to loose money. how to make a company in vfx profitable? change the work you do.

DDMG started lawsuits against Samsung and PrimeFocus on patents for 2d to 3d conversion process. the settled off court licenses agrements with both.
step one achieved, making money.

step two:
lets make more money
In a significant development, DD today said that its position is that any movie, television project, or videogame that involves 3D conversion dips into the company's patented technology, and indicated that it would "very quickly" begin pursuing licensing deals across the industry.
studiodaily article

step 3:
now lets get rid of the parts that loosing money. stop making these stupid hollywood movies!

"We need to talk seriously about the reallocation of resources [and] prioritizing virtual performances over some of the film work we've been doing," Textor said. "We might be a whole lot less likely to take a project in VFX just to post revenues if we need to build five performances for Evlis and [another] one of our stars is in the Super Bowl half-time show. The priority needs to be the high-margin, massively expanding business."
Old 07-23-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Daryl Bartley
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Exploited labor, industry-wide lawsuits..they're just taking the Apple approach.
Old 07-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #3
Eric Marodon
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"Who is infringing? Everybody that has an interest in a 3D film,"[...]those patents cover "any modern conversion process that involves rotoscoping … and relate to any conversion process that includes horizontal image displacement/transform.

It's almost funny. They patented rotoscoping and horizontal image transformation? Gosh... I thought I had that in After Effects for years... Can I still do it vertically if I rotate my image 90° ?

Last edited by EricM : 07-23-2012 at 08:52 PM.
Old 07-23-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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Zachary Brackin
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What did they actually patent? If it's where people do it by hand I don't think it counts. If that's the case then someone should challenge it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:09 PM   #5
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Wyatt Harris
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This does seem like it falls into the "patenting something obvious" category but looks like it holds up enough for other companies to pay for it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Emre M.
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An automated 2D-to-3D conversion algorithm typically creates different left/right eye viewpoints by cleverly shifting, stretching and otherwise transforming the 2D image at the (sub)pixel level.

There is no good way around doing that shifting, stretching & transforming while converting to 3D, so if DD have a broad & early patent on the process, they are in a legal position to sue a lot of different users of 2D-to-3D conversion, including many 3D TV manufacturers.

This is a prime example of "Patent Trolling" of course. You patent something so elemental that nobody can really get around doing it. Then you wait for people to put their process/product on the market, and sue them over patent infringement when it becomes financially attractive.

There is a danger in this for DD too, of course. They can get sued back for having a patent that is "way too broad", and thus allows nobody else to compete with them in any way, handing them an instant monopoly on 2D-to-3D conversion worldwide.

In the worst case, DD could loose one or more of their patents, if a court rules that it leaves no alternative method or workaround that can be used to perform 2D-to-3D conversion.

DD will either make a lot of money from this (there are tens of millions of 2D-to-3D capable hardware devices like 3D TVs on the market that potentially infringe on DD's patents), or actually loose some of its patents in the process.
Old 07-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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Jared Lindquist
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One potential silver lining - between the hassle of potential lawsuits and licensing the conversion technique from DD, maybe it'll be cheaper for studios to shoot in 3D instead?

Old 07-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #8
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Mike Hanson
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Out of curiosity are there any other 3D effects houses that are now publicly traded or is DD the first? It seems like the way almost all places are run (ie: not much profit) that stockholders would always be angry and it seems like it could potentially be detrimental to finding and keeping clients and to effects work in general to have your effects house be a publicly traded company.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #9
michael vorberg
digital compositor
stuttgart, Germany
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a quick search for In-Three (the company DD bought and gained the patents from) on the USPTO database gave these results:

Old 07-23-2012, 11:25 PM   #10
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Giancarlo Ng
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Just another reason why I don't want to go into live action... In 3D animation I can just make sure it was "Shot directly in 3D" without the need for some fancy battle-armor sized dual-lens camera and I'd never have to do any 2D-3D conversion that DD can sue over.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:32 AM   #11
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Panupat Chong
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If my company starts suing people like that I'm surely gonna lose a lot of work enthusiasm . . . I wonder how the guys at DD are doing.
Old 07-24-2012, 01:00 AM   #12
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Greg Petchkovsky
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Oh Textor... *shakes head*
Old 07-24-2012, 02:18 AM   #13
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Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) and Prime Focus World NV have signed an agreement whereby Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) will license its 3D conversion technology to Prime Focus World. The agreement settles and terminates the patent infringement litigation action filed by DDMG against Prime Focus World in 2011. Under the agreement DDMG and Prime Focus World will collaborate on visual effects and 2D-to-3D conversion services work for feature films.
“Ultimately this was a lawsuit between two companies that enjoy working together, so we’re happy to put it behind us and resume our prior relationship with Prime Focus - one of performing high-quality VFX work collaboratively,” said John Textor, CEO and Chairman of DDMG. “We understand that Prime Focus has its own significant 3D technology and we are pleased to report, as this license suggests, that they respect ours as we respect theirs.”
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:04 AM   #14
High fiddlety
New Zealand
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Originally Posted by pingking
step 3: now lets get rid of the parts that loosing money. stop making these stupid hollywood movies!

But isn't this the very part that they were using to entice students to pay them to do their work?
I don't know
Old 07-24-2012, 03:10 AM   #15
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Terrence Walker
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I am guessing none of the people I knew from back in the day are still there. Still, I wonder, too, how this affects the everyday workers there. Can they continue to feel good about going to the office every morning?
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