Global production house NHNZ is now offering highly cost-effective 3D content after completing a 3-year-long collaboration with Korean tech giant ETRI to create new 2D-to-3D conversion software.

ETRI’s conversion software, called SIGN (Stereo Image Generation Nodal Pipeline), offers a faster and easier way to convert 2D footage to 3D, reducing the costs to a quarter of conventional techniques.

NHNZ has supported the development of ETRI’s SIGN since its early stages, providing information about broadcast quality needs and technology, and contributing its blue chip series Life Force as a test case for the project.

The end of the project’s development marks the hand-over of the technology to NHNZ for commercial use with Life Force: New Zealand the first of NHNZ’s new 3D content available for licensing.

NHNZ’s Technical & I.T. Systems Manager Wayne Poll says, “While demand for 3D content for broadcast television has dropped off, there is still a strong market for 3D content in the theatrical and exhibition market sectors, and one of the strengths of the ETRI software is the ease with which conversions can be tailored to suit different display sizes. The resulting 3D content can be optimised for nearly any screen size, from small TV screens to large theatre projection systems.”

John Crawford, Head of NHNZ Business Affairs, is happy to see the results of the new conversion software, “Life Force has been a great case study. The diversity of HD imagery – from super slomo to macro imagery – means that we have really put the technology through its paces.”

“As a company we are always looking towards technological advances that enable us to do things better. While the 3D market is not what it was when we started the project, there is still a vibrant and growing theatrical and exhibition market. With the reduced cost of the SIGN software it really will be worth the effort.”


Since 1976, ETRI, Korea’s largest government-funded research institute, has played a central role in establishing Korea as one of the world’s most advanced countries in information and communications. ETRI developed the Electronic Telephone Switch (TDX) which paved the way for Korea’s “one-phone, one-household era”. It was ETRI which developed the 4M/16M/64M DRAM that revolutionized memory semiconductors. During the 1990s, ETRI once again astonished the world by commercializing CDMA for the first time. In the 2000s, ETRI developed Terrestrial DMB, WiBro, and 4G LTE Advanced, which became the foundation of mobile communications. Recently, ETRI has been advancing communication and convergence by developing SAN Technology (cutting-edge ICT technology converging with shipbuilding), world class portable automatic interpretation technology (Korean/English, Korean/Japanese, Korean/Chinese), automated valet parking technology, and adjustable display technologies such as transparent displays.

NHNZ is a major global producer of factual television, creating original content for Discovery Channels, A&E Television Networks, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Channels, NHK and CCTV. Highly regarded for its 35-year natural history heritage, NHNZ has broadened its factual horizons with success on shows like Redwood Kings for Animal Planet, L.A. Frock Stars for Smithsonian and a huge variety of pacey archive shows for Nat Geo Wild. The company’s storytelling prowess has been recognized with more than 250 international awards including Emmy awards and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda. In addition to its one stop hub in Dunedin, New Zealand, NHNZ has offices in Beijing and Washington DC.

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