ISDC Space and Media Track: Buzz Hayes, Sony 3D expert

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Buzz Hays is one of the leading experts in Stereoscopic 3D film production and post-production in the motion picture and television industry. His producing experience led to his key role as the 3D expert for Sony Corporation worldwide, from film production to live-broadcast events to consumer and professional electronics design consulting. His expertise and guidance was integral to the rollout of Sony 3DTV in 2010, and his contributions in camera design for 3D has led to successful products in the marketplace both for professionals and consumers. He founded the award-winning Sony 3D Technology Center based at Sony Pictures in Culver City, CA. He is now the Owner and Studio Chief of the True Image Company, a 3D and advanced imaging production and consulting company.

QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the distinct pleasure to chat with Buzz Hays and ask him more about stereoscopic 3D technology and the ISDC.

QGITS: What were your thoughts when you were asked to speak at the ISDC?

Buzz Hays: I was thrilled. I actually spoke at the SETIcon conference two years ago and that was a really great experience hanging out with astrophysicists and astronauts. I thought this would be a nice adjunct to that. In much of the work I do, I end up working with scientists. I think if I didn’t pursue this career path, I definitely would have become a scientist. In the work I do for stereoscopic 3D in films, I work with neurobiologists and neuroscientists, partially just to understand what is going on in the brain when we fuse 3D images in the visual cortex, and how we perceive those images on an emotional and physiological level. I also work with these scientists to learn how we can improve the process of stereoscopic image creation, in addition to furthering the use of the S3D medium into the medical, scientific and navigation fields.

Photo Credit: FilmNewEurope.com; Buzz Hays at the International 3D Society’s 2012 Technology Awards.

QGITS: How exciting is it to be working with visual effect technologies and to be part of the film industry?

Buzz Hays: It is incredibly exciting! Filmmakers have a great opportunity to transport you into a new time and place, and bring audiences into compelling situations where they are completely immersed in the story. In visual effects, there has been a lot of refinement of the techniques over the years, but often it has gotten to the point where you almost don’t believe things you see anymore. It’s so fantastic, that it’s hard to get a grasp of it all sometimes because the storytelling is lost in the visuals. However, when it comes to great 3D films like Gravity, where the filmmakers take the use of visuals very seriously, they work very hard to integrate the visuals into the story, and therefore they successfully recreate the experience of what it would be like to be in space. I worked at Lucasfilm for many years in the post-Star Wars era, and I learned that even though writers made up the science in the storytelling, it still had to be plausible, even if the technology they devised in the script hadn’t been developed yet. It’s really fun to look forward and create these situations that may some day come true, but for now we are taking from people’s imagination so that audiences can experience new and exciting places in the universe.

QGITS: What can people take away from your talk at the ISDC?

Buzz Hays: I think people coming to the conference really appreciate the marriage between art and science, so I am hosting a panel about immersive technology from the perspective of both science and art. The panel will include top filmmaking professionals working in 3D who create these worlds artificially for entertainment, and also I’ll have a JPL engineer on the panel who designs systems to connect us directly to space. We will discuss how immersive technologies provide a virtual gateway to space.

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