Effects Company Specializes In Giving Movies A 3-D Makeover Legend3D is a San Diego-based visual effects company that converts 2-D films to 3-D. The company can't hire fast enough to keep up with demand. They're hiring young talent fresh out of art school.
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Effects Company Specializes In Giving Movies A 3-D Makeover

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Effects Company Specializes In Giving Movies A 3-D Makeover

Effects Company Specializes In Giving Movies A 3-D Makeover

Effects Company Specializes In Giving Movies A 3-D Makeover

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134342231/134342211" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Legend3D is a San Diego-based visual effects company that converts 2-D films to 3-D. The company can't hire fast enough to keep up with demand. They're hiring young talent fresh out of art school.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Six of the top 10 most successful films last year were in 3-D. Movies like Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ALICE IN WONDERLAND")

BLOCK: (as Mad Hatter) A land full of wonder, mystery and danger.

SIEGEL: NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji visited one that is so busy, it can't hire fast enough.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI: Legend3D in San Diego, California, is responsible for many of the 3-D sequences in "Alice in Wonderland." Although Legend3D didn't get started on "Alice" until 2009, founder and neuroscientist Barry Sandrew knew conversion was the future way back in '05.

BARRY SANDREW: What happened is I saw a prototype of the Samsung 3-D television. That coupled with an understanding of what Jim Cameron was doing with "Avatar," we knew that this was going to be a game-changer.

MARISOL MERAJI: He was right. Today, Legend3D is in the process of converting six feature films, but he won't say which ones for legal reasons. In 2005, Sandrew had 25 employees. Today, there are more than 400 in San Diego, another 800 in India.

(SOUNDBITE OF OFFICE)

SANDREW: One, two, three.

NPR: Hi, NPR.

MARISOL MERAJI: Employees on this floor are going through movie scenes one frame at a time identifying parts of shots that need added depth. The work looks very precise and tedious. But it's good work in a tough economy. And Sandrew is hiring about 20 people a month.

SANDREW: We're hiring people straight out of art school and we're giving people an opportunity that they would never have if they were working up in L.A. in the Hollywood studios. I mean, they're working on first-run feature films that most people would dream about doing.

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MARISOL MERAJI: When did you graduate?

CYRUS JAY GLADSTONE: 2000 and, I don't know, does it say on my diploma?

MARISOL MERAJI: The very first stereo artist at Legend3D can't remember what year he graduated from college. Good thing his diploma's hanging on the wall.

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MARISOL MERAJI: Brooks Institute, Cyrus Jay Gladstone?

JAY GLADSTONE: Yes.

MARISOL MERAJI: Bachelor of arts.

JAY GLADSTONE: June of 2008.

MARISOL MERAJI: So three years later, you've got a corner office.

JAY GLADSTONE: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARISOL MERAJI: Cyrus Jay Gladstone is 23 years old. He won't tell me exactly how much he makes, but he says he's comfortable. Gladstone isn't worried that his meteoric rise to success won't stick. He thinks 3-D has reached the tipping point, and so does his colleague, Toni Pace Carstensen, a senior visual effects producer.

TONI PACE CARSTENSEN: That's how I see movies now. It seems normal to see things in 3-D stereo on the big screen.

MARISOL MERAJI: Carstensen got her start in radio and has seen the media landscape change over her long career. She calls 2-D films flatties now and is already imagining the possibilities beyond 3-D.

PACE CARSTENSEN: We're on our way to the holodeck. I feel like, you know, there will be a point in time where you go to the theater and you'll walk in, it will surround you. It won't just be on the screen. You'll be on Pandora.

MARISOL MERAJI: That's the magical land in James Cameron's "Avatar." The holodeck may be a long way off, but until then, there are plenty of 2-D favorites adding a third dimension. Next year you might be able to reach out and high-five a young Leo DiCaprio as he yells...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TITANIC")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: (as Jack Dawson) I'm the king of the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

MARISOL MERAJI: Shereen Marisol Meraji, NPR News.

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