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New 3D music videos to 'blow the mind'

3D can enhance the listening experience and the music world is catching on fast. Expect blow-your-mind music videos. Mesfin Fekadu reports.

As 3D re-emerged, the focus was on film, with movies like "Avatar" paving the way for the technology to become an integral part of the cinema experience.

Soon TV followed, with sporting events like the World Cup featured in 3D, and companies such as Sony and Samsung rolling out 3D televisions.

Now, the music world is making sure it isn't left behind in the 3D revolution. Justin Bieber and the Black Eyed Peas are planning to release 3D movie-concerts, while the music video for Shakira's World Cup anthem, "Waka Waka ("This Time for Africa"), had a version in 3D. Even acts like Sia and the Broken Bells are producing 3D clips.

"It's not the 1980s 3D, the way people thought of 3D. It changes the art form of storytelling. It's pretty amazing. It's a whole new freaking jump-off," said the Peas' leader

Oscar-winning director James Cameron, whose groundbreaking "Avatar" has become the top-grossing movie in history, says 3D's spillover to music will be successful.

"Music videos in 3D, it's natural, that's great," he said.

Cameron's production company, Pace, will produce the Peas' upcoming project. says 3D music content will alter the way we watch music videos and concerts - and record labels have taken note.

Jean-Baptiste Duprieu, senior director at Sony Music International, says the company will "produce a lot of 3D content this year."

Duprieu says when he presented Shakira's "Waka Waka" video to Sony staffers, they felt a sense of closeness to the Latin sensation.

"The reaction was, 'Wow, we feel so much closer to the artist ... and really immersed (in) what's going on'," Duprieu recalled. "So I think generally the impression is a better connection and a more sort of real vibrance going on."

The Peas performed a 3D concert in New York's Times Square in March while rap-rock trio N.E.R.D did the same last month. And other musicians like Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Kenny Chesney have released 3D concerts.

International singers Kylie Minogue and Sia have also filmed some of their recent live shows in 3D. Veteran rockers U2 did the same in 2006 on their "Vertigo" tour.

Peter Shapiro, cofounder of 3ality Digital and producer of 2008's concert film "U2 3D," says the music film helped pave the way for others like it. But he adds there are plenty of challenges in creating good 3D material.

"If it's not done well and the cuts don't match, you can hurt people's eyes," he said. "3D likes to be slower than 2D. So if you're watching TV ... 3D lends itself to feeling like you're there. You want to forget that you're watching a recorded image."

Cameron says 3D music content will be more successful in clips that won't have too much action going on.

"It's not that 3D works against you when you cut fast, it's just that you don't have time for your eye to lock in 3D so you're not getting the value out of it," Cameron said. "But some music videos are long, sustained takes - so that's the kind that will work the best."

Duprieu agrees, explaining that Sony plans to film 3D content with its classical musicians - including a recent recital with Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

"You would think classical music is pretty static and you would not feel that much stuff going on, but actually because of the depth of 3D, you really actually enhance the listening experience and connection to the music by having that shot in 3D," he said.

"It can actually be overwhelming to have too many cameras and too many different angles," he added.

Outside the Shakira clip, others have since produced 3D music videos and content. Guitar Center Sessions, a program on DirecTV Inc, features live 3D performances, including recent shows with Peter Gabriel and Jane's Addiction.

A representative for the channel confirmed that there are plans to shoot about 15 more shows before the end of the year.

Rock duo Broken Bells released a 3D video for their latest single, "October," and the video for Bon Jovi's new single, "What Do You Got," was shot in 3D.

Wayne Isham, the director behind the Bon Jovi clip, says 3D music videos are an opportunity for "music videos to blow everyone's minds again."

"I think it's going to be a rebirth of performance again in music, because with everything that's going on with the Internet and everything that's going on with the lack of a true MTV channel where people are not having ... the ability to show their videos, I think now bands are going to be able to showcase themselves ... in the most simplistic sense," Isham said.


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