The future of temporary settings in Hollywood by an Italian. 3D ANAMORPHIC VIDEO: the coolest trend of the coming years.

3D ANAMORPHIC VIDEOS create an optical illusion that blurs the line between the virtual world and the real world. More than just 3D, the visuals appear to burst out of the screen with an astounding degree of realism without the aid of glasses of any kind.

We were told more about it by none other than Davide Bianca, Chief Creative Office of Los Angeles-based BCN Visual, an internationally renowned innovation technology company, digital superstudio and 3D anamorphic pioneer.

Davide Bianca was born and bred in Sicily and has theatre in his DNA. He is from Syracuse, just a stone’s throw from the famous amphitheatre dating back to the 5th century B.C. and we will see why this factor was decisive for his future. After five years working for customers based in Los Angeles, on the other side of the world, at night on account of the time zone, Bianca took the plunge and relocated to the USA.

Award-winning executive creative director, strategist and technologist. For almost two decades Davide Bianca has been at the forefront of innovation, telling stories using an array of different media and collaborating with renowned Hollywood studios, TV networks, streaming platforms and gaming companies.He was responsible for directing complex Hollywood film and TV launches through experiential, digital and XR (extended reality) films.

Bianca’s work includes collaborations with The Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Wheel of Time and American Gods, and blockbuster film franchises such as Avatar – The Way of Water, Jurassic World, Saw, John Wick, X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, supplying customers such as Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Amazon, Netflix, Disney and Sony Pictures with ground-breaking effects. Bianca has also been actively involved in the gaming industry, supporting studios such as Riot Games, 2K, Activision, Namco, Square Enix, Konami and PlayStation to create original content.

With more than 35 film and TV launches to his credit, two original screenplays and a plethora of awards including twenty Cannes Lions, twenty-nine Clios, five Webbies and three Emmy nominations, and with a background in Computer Science Engineering & AI, Bianca believes in the emergence of a new form of immersive entertainment that offers meaningful shared experiences, transcending cultural constraints or geographical boundaries, effectively blurring the line between storytelling and physical-digital interaction.

Why did the 3D ANAMORPHIC trend start in Hollywood?

Hollywood has always been on the cutting edge by definition, driven to use innovative means, platforms and formats. The secret lies in operating between the intersection of narrative and technology. Technology must always be at the service of storytelling and never an end in itself, otherwise, you run the risk of being just gimmicky. On the contrary, when it is the story that drives everything, technology becomes invisible, and indistinguishable from magic. And it is there that the fantastic can be created.

Why is the Avatar 2 campaign so innovative?

In 2007, James Cameron’s legendary Avatar rewrote the cinema and innovation playbook, breaking all box office records and revolutionising computer graphics. Fifteen years later, the second chapter had to go even further. For the launch campaign of Avatar 2: The Way of Water we aimed from the outset to do something unprecedented, both technically and in terms of scale, and to redefine the state of the art of blockbuster movie release, creating the largest 3D anamorphic campaign to date.

There could be no better place than Times Square in the centre of New York, the Big Apple. We started with a takeover of Times Square, where original content was developed for more than 45 perfected synchronised screens. It looked like Times Square was underwater with the film’s characters swimming from screen to screen and culminating with the 3D breakout of one of the key characters, giving viewers the feeling that the content was splashing off the screen. It was a complex undertaking that required planning by a team of 60 people for three months. It was also the first time in history that an audience flocked to a location to see an advertisement!

Where does the anamorphic illusion come from?

The concept of the anamorphic illusion dates back to the time of Leonardo Da Vinci. We were the first to apply this technique by extending it to digital billboards and using computer graphics and 3D animation instead of static images. It all starts with a geometric study of the screens. After identifying the ideal perspective that allows us to fool the viewer’s eye into believing that there is a real, physical world beyond the screen, specific content is created taking into account screen size, positioning, elevation above ground, etc. Each screen has its own perspective and is studied by itself.

We also do a solar path study to determine the position of the sun at any specific time on any specific day of the year, and calibrate colours and contrasts for optimal content rendering. Therefore, the secret recipe is a combination of high-impact animation and storytelling skills, mixed with a mastery of perspective and optical illusions. The Avatar 2 campaign, for instance, included 13 locations in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Seoul, Manila, Milan, Tokyo, and various screens in China and Australia. We did launch campaigns for The Walking Dead on Disney+, The Witcher with Netflix, The War of Tomorrow for Amazon Studios, and the new PlayStation 5 campaign.

How will 3D anamorphic videos evolve?

We are only at the beginning and we are moving in a very interesting direction. We are already experimenting with formats that combine 3D anamorphic with geo-localised augmented reality content, or artificial intelligence to provide increasingly unique and contextual experiences. The idea is to see these kinds of initiatives not as stand-alone, disconnected performances, but as an integral part of fluid ecosystems.

Will 3D anamorphic videos impact exhibition design?

Certainly, use on exhibition stands is possible. There is no need for LED screens with special features. Anamorphic videos can also work on flat screens without curvature. The important thing for a good performance is that the screens must be hung at a good distance from the ground. Exhibition centres with high ceilings will be ideal. Like all new technologies, it is very expensive right now but the price will come down in a few years.

The first manufacturers, outside of film and gaming, to use this new immersive way of promoting fashion and luxury brands are focusing heavily on 3D anamorphic and immersive content as their preferred format for high-impact promotions.

BMW has already done so, again in Time Square and, for the first time in history, the video (the 3D anamorphic one) generated 19 million views and the new BMV XM sold out within hours. Dior also used a 3D anamorphic campaign starting with the East Asian markets.

Osservatorio Allestimenti can anticipate that this explosive mix of theatre, cinema, advertising, AI and augmented reality will make its debut with 3D anamorphic videos at car and luxury fairs. You can bet on that!