Experience 3D-Con in Costa Mesa!

The 2012 National Stereoscopic Association (NSA) Convention, now dubbed “3D-Con,” will be held in Costa Mesa, CA, from July 25 through 30. With its numerous activities, including a trade fair, stereo theatre, banquets and outings, plus a wonderful venue in the heart of sunny, Southern California, 3D-Con will have something of interest for everyone. Here are just some of the things being planned for this year:

Trade Fair

Our annual trade fair has constantly evolved since its start in Canton, Ohio, to become the largest and best place to buy, sell and trade 3-D items on the planet. Dealers come from across the globe to showcase their items. Not only does one find an overwhelming amount of vintage stereo views, View-Master and all the formats of days past, but also the latest in 3-D digital technology and photographic accessories. 3-D books, phantograms, lenticulars and computerized 3-D are all well represented. Because of its location in a large, populous, metropolitan area, this year’s trade fair has the potential to attract even more people than in the past. The convention organizing committee is working hard to capitalize on this by advertising the event in magazines, and promoting at other local conventions, such as San Diego Comic-Con.

3-D Theater and the Return of the Dive-in Theater

3D-Con’s 3-D Theater brings you 5 days of incredible 3-D hi-def videos and slide shows, designed to entertain, inform, awe, and inspire. The 3-D Theater will feature high-resolution state-of-the-art digital projection. There is an eclectic mix of first-rate programs featuring stills, still animations, and a host of superb high-definition videos encompassing an immense range of subjects and techniques. Special presentations will include a screening of “Brian May’s History of 3D,” a panel discussion “Behind the 3D of Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man,” a presentation on 3-D Gaming, and the return of the poolside “Dive-in Theater” featuring a fashion show of 3-D glasses before the movie. Additional screenings and presenters are being added, and the complete program of content to be shown will be announced soon.

Spotlight Auction

A perennial convention highlight on Friday evenings is the Spotlight Auction of Fine Photographica. Since the 1970s, this NSA convention staple has provided a way for dealers and collectors alike to sell or acquire rare, desirable and unusual stereo items. Including both vintage and modern 3-D images and equipment, this year’s auction will once again include a minimum of two hundred interesting and quality lots. An anticipated feature of this year’s sale is that the catalog will include items used for an upcoming book on vintage views from an old-time collection, presented just as they will appear in the book.


We have three banquets scheduled, all of which will be held at The Orchid Restaurant, located just across the street from the Hilton Hotel. The NSA Banquet is one of the biggest social events of the convention. This year, we’ll have a Persian style buffet. The NSA Banquet program includes an awards ceremony, plus guest speaker Lenny Lipton, author of Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema, founder of Stereographics Corp., and the former Chief Technical Officer of RealD. The Stereoscopic Society of America Dinner is open to everyone, so even if you are not an SSA member, this is a wonderful chance to meet members of this group, and enjoy a social evening and delicious dinner with friends. The SSA dinner will start with a show from an exotic belly dancer; the meal itself is an Italian style buffet dinner. A full bar with beer and alcoholic and soft drinks is available, but not included. The NSA President’s Breakfast is a casual, enjoyable opportunity to have a very special Sunday breakfast, and to hear more about what is going on with the NSA directly from the top. No guarantees, but there is often a roast of some unsuspecting but worthy NSA member.


Our four excursions this year take in the best of local sights and culture, and also provide a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of the Hollywood “dream factory,” in 3-D, of course.

Excursion #1 is an afternoon cruise on a beautiful replica of a 1700’s ship. The ship departs from Dana Point Harbor, and the cruise highlights points of local historical significance, marine wildlife, and local folklore.

Excursion #2 is a tour of the ocean liner Queen Mary and a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach. The Queen Mary is full of history, and features elegant Art Deco interiors and fixtures, making it an excellent subject for photography. The tour includes a museum with restored staterooms and replicas of shipboard life during the war, plus a huge engine room. The Aquarium of the Pacific contains exhibits of more than 19 major ocean habitats ranging from Arctic to tropical. The 350,000 gallon Tropical Reef Habitat alone contains more than 1000 tropical fish. The aquarium also contains a Lorikeet aviary and a shore bird sanctuary exhibit.

Excursion #3 will begin at the Mission San Juan Capistrano and proceed to Laguna Beach . Located in the old town of San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Juan Capistrano was established in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra. It’s a beautiful and unique setting, so make sure your camera batteries are fully charged! The Sawdust Art Festival annual summer show showcases  the fine art and crafts of over 200 Laguna Beach artists.  Since 1966, the festival offers a mix of art media from hand-blown and fused glass, painting, surf art, ceramics,  textiles, photography, and much, much more.  Live entertainment, food and drink, and live art demonstrations (including glass blowing) are available.  One of our LA Club members, Irene Suess (who is also a Sawdust Art Festival artist) will give an introduction to the festival when we arrive.  Photography of the grounds is permitted, however ask the artists’ permission before taking photos, and if they are not there do not take them.

Excursion #4 includes a tour of downtown Los Angeles architecture, plus a visit to DreamWorks Animation Studio in Glendale, CA. The guided walking tour of downtown Los Angeles starts at the historic Bradbury building (used as a set in many movies and television productions), and includes the ultra modern Disney Concert Hall. This is Frank O. Gehry’s iconic stainless steel exterior, and the current home of the LA Philharmonic. Excursion attendees will also have the opportunity to ride on the restored Angels Flight, a funicular dating back to 1901. We’ll also visit the stunning, contemporary Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, the largest house of worship in the LA Archdiocese. The excursion will then culminate at the DreamWorks Animation Studio, in Glendale. We will tour the facility responsible for producing some of the best animated 3-D features in recent years, including the Shrek movies, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

The 3D Den (“StereODeon”)

Easily recognized by its entrance, a “StereODeon” doorway styled in a manner suggesting the early 20th century Nickel-O-Deon “traveling light” entrances, the 3D Den is a place where visitors can enjoy 3-D Stereo as it was in the years before digital photography. The main room of the den features exhibits of vintage film equipment, viewers, and posters. Vintage magazine stereo viewers, which display multiple stereo slide views by sliding a handle, turning a knob, or pressing a button, are available for visitors to sample beautiful film transparencies, in sharp, bright, ghost-free stereo. Many subjects are available, such as award-winning slides from the archives of the LA 3-D Club, Bavaria and its Castles of Ludwig II, and for Worlds Fair fans, the Vancouver Expo of 1986. In a second room of the den, visitors can watch periodic showings of classic View Master reels, displayed by a special View Master Stereo Projector. And for those who simply want to relax and enjoy a show, “Stereography – A Fresher Portrayal” and vintage 3-D Movies are planned for showings in a third room of the Den.


At this years workshops you’ll learn how to harness the latest technology to produce still   images, shows and movies. The full schedule of workshops is available on the 3D-Con website.

In addition to everything mentioned above, there will be Special Interest Group meetings covering all aspects of 3-D and more.

Full details on registration available at 3D-Con.com. Hope to see you in Costa Mesa!

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