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James Cameron: 3D heading beyond movies

Filmmaker tells digital advertisers the kind of three-dimensional experiences just making their way into film will also revolutionize television and gaming.

James Cameron speaking at Advance 08
James Cameron speaking at Advance 08 advertising conference Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash.--Filmmaker James Cameron sees the world in stereo. So does everyone else, though, and that's exactly his point.

"When you are viewing in stereo, which is what we do," Cameron said, "more neurons are firing. More blood is pumping through the brain."

Cameron has been a big proponent of making movies in 3D, but he said that the digital projectors going into movie theaters are capable of showing more than just movies. Cameron's talk came as part of Microsoft's Advance 08 advertising conference, which runs through Wednesday.

"That digital image can be live," Cameron said. "That digital image can be 3D."

He suggested such locations can show live sports and events, alongside impressive travelogues and other content.

"We're not quite there but we are on the cusp of that and people need to have a strategy for it," he said.

More than 1,000 theaters in the U.S. already have stereoscopic (3D-capable) projectors, while Cameron hopes that there will be 5,000 such facilities by the time his 3D movie Avatar debuts next year.

3D movies have often generated much more revenue than 2D versions of the same film, a potential boon to the entertainment industry. Retrofitting theaters with 3D technology is expensive and difficult, though, and some 3D advocates are unhappy with the pace of adoption.

"I feel as though things have dragged along, and it's been pretty disappointing," DreamWorks Animation SKG Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said in April, according to Reuters.

3D isn't just for theaters. The real revolution, Cameron said, comes as games and television also start appearing in three dimensions.

"Stereo production is the next big thing," he said. "We are born seeing in three dimensions. Most animals have two eyes and not one. There is a reason I think."

He noted that games, in particular, stand to benefit. First-person shooters become true first-person experiences, he said.

"You are in the game," he said. "This is the ultimate immersive media."

He noted that Ubisoft, which is making the game version of Avatar, already has a stereoscopic game up and running using a standard Xbox 360 and 3D glasses.

Cameron said that displays for laptops, phones, and Zunes can be made stereoscopic even without needing special glasses.

The Windows operating system, Cameron said, should be viewable in 3D.

"They should be talking to their various partners," Cameron said.

Earlier in the day at the conference, Microsoft announced a new "Microsoft Advertising" brand to try to unify its disparate tools for advertisers and publishers as well as an effort to start selling display advertising on mobile phones. staff writer Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.