Tokyo Control
Sony provides technical support for Fuji Television's 'Tokyo Control', which starts next Wednesday

Starting next week on Japan's Fuji Television is Tokyo Control, a ten-part drama series that's the country's first to be made and shown in 3D and, as far as the makers know, also the world's first.

The series, which takes as its subject the life of staff at Tokyo's Air Traffic Control Centre, will be shown biweekly from next Wednesday, January 19, on SkyPerfectTV's dedicated 3D channel.

At the launch of the series, the producers explained that the drama takes full advantage of the capability of 3D, not just with objects coming out of the screen toward the viewer, but also to convey an enhanced sense of depth to the picture.

The opening episode was screened at the launch event, and it begins with a flight attendant walking up the aisle of an aircraft, the 3D showing the rows of seats stretching away behind them.

In another scene, a flight controller is working at her terminal, and miniature representations of the planes she's controlling appear in front of her. She reaches out and touches a few of them, symbolising her mental checks that they're all where they should be.

More after the break

Fuji Television said at the launch that, before shooting started, Tokyo Control's director, producer and camera crew consulted with the production team behind Avatar.

However, it's not expected that this series will herald an onslaught of such 3D dramas in Japan: at present less than 400,000 SkyPerfectTV HD subscribers can access the 3D channel, and its likely not all of those have 3D TVs.

Fuji Television says that it has no immediate plans for further 3D dramas, adding that 'We will see how widespread 3D TVs become this year'.

However, both Panasonic and Sony are supporting Japanese broadcasters in making more 3D programming.

Panasonic makes a daily ten-minute music programme for satellite station BS Asahi, which features one or two live music performances in 3D.

And Sony's senior manager in charge of 3D projects, Akira Shimazu, said at the Tokyo Control launch that while 3D TV in Japan has to date concerned itself with sports events and music contents, he expects a wider range of content to be made this year.

He added: 'The 3D era began last year, and this year is its development phase.'

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