Stereo conversion, or dimensionalization as it is sometimes called, is the process of making stereo images from non-stereo traditional 2D images.
Many people argue that if you want a film in stereo you should shoot it in stereo. Yet many studios are warning post houses that if they work on stereo projects, even ones shot in stereo, there may well be a need to convert some footage and that high quality conversion is an important tool in the box of any effects house.
Stereo conversion is also needed for converting older films – such as the Star Wars franchise. John Knoll (ILM) is overseeing the stereo conversion of every Star Wars film for director George Lucas and in a recent AWN article he expressed the view that, “You can’t rush it and it’s an iterative process, and if you’ve got a gun to your head and you’ve got eight weeks to convert a 2,000-shot show, it’s not possible to maintain the level of quality control that you need.” In the case of Star Wars conversions for which Lucasfilm “will be (mostly) using outside vendors,” he also pointed out that he had been vocal in saying that past efforts “were victims of a too rushed production schedule and a too low budget.” Few people doubt that Knoll will deliver anything but cutting edge results.