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How James Cameron Pumped Volume Into Titanic 289

Posted by timothy
from the really-big-hose dept.
MrSeb writes with ExtremeTech's account of how director (and deep sea explorer) James Cameron spent a reported $18 million converting his blockbuster movie, Titantic, to 3D. The article "looks at the primary way of managing depth in 3D films (parallax), how you add depth to a movie that was originally filmed in 2D, and some of the software (both computer and human-brain) difficulties that Cameron had to overcome in the more-than-two-year process to convert Titanic into 3D."
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How James Cameron Pumped Volume Into Titanic

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  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:09PM (#39615993) Journal

    I'm somewhat confused by the success of the 3D "remake" of Titanic, considering that 3D has been a massive failure so far. The market (not counting a tiny niche of enthusiasts) has rejected 3D at the movies, on game consoles, on TVs, etc. Sales started out decently, but took a major hit, and there just doesn't seem to be any interest in 3D.

    So when 3D Titanic is such a success (at least for now), is that because people are just thrilled to see a "classic" again at the movies, or is the 3D genuinely sparking people's interest? Is it the 3D that is causing people to buy tickets? And if so, why did just about everything else 3D fail so far?

    Is this the resurrection of Titanic the movie, or the 3D experience?

  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:17PM (#39616057)

    I want to see Terminator 2 in 3D.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:17PM (#39616065)

    OK, it drew a huge audience because it managed to be both a chick film and (at the time) a guy film with all of the special effects and geeky historical research. But the script and acting were mediocre, and the song that won the Grammy was weak.

    The Poseiden Adventure [] from the '70s was a much better film with a similar subject, on a much smaller budget.

  • Re:Wonderful, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2012 @12:24AM (#39616397)

    3D hasn't failed, it's just succumbed to the usual Hollywood profiteering. They do it every time the technology comes around. Initially the first films are great, but before too long you end up with things that are converted to 3D to get on the bandwagon and the quality suffers. Eventually they get so bad that people are no longer willing to pay the premium.

    There's also the issue of movies already being in 3D when shot properly. The human mind can do an amazing job of creating volume where there is none based upon what it knows about the scene that's being shown from the parallax and depth of focus.

  • Re:Wonderful, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Monday April 09, 2012 @01:21AM (#39616601)

    Exactly. 3D has failed big time, but Titanic 3D is attracting lots of people. I made a separate comment about it: Is it because it's Titanic the movie or is it that it is in 3D? Would a re-release of the original movie be a big hit?

    3D has not failed big time. Avatar at $1.6B is one of the most successful films of all time.

    I think it's fair to point out that people were saying the same thing about color TV in the 1960's: It's a fad--who needs it.

    If you adjusted the color for one station/network so that flesh tones were natural, they were yellow on other channels because there was no agreed upon standard on which to base this and each network did its own thing. Eventually, the standards were developed and each station/network adopted them, which is why, today, you can channel surf and never need to adjust it [if you even can on a modern TV set].

    It took at least a decade to achieve this, perhaps longer.

    The same thing happened when "colorization" technology first arrived. Originally, it was used [badly] to colorize B&W movies because someone [Ted Turner] thought that people would not watch B&W movies anymore. A particularly horrific attempt was the colorization of the [original] Edmund O'Brien version of D.O.A.

    Eventually, it was realized that this was a solution in search of a problem. And the true problem to be solved by this technology was eventually discovered: restoral of faded color films. In fact, even B&W films benefit from this. Look at any recent DVD releases of classic films and you'll usually see that the entire film has been "digitally remastered".

    I can assure you that there are many players in the video technology field that are placing heavy longterm investments on 3D.

    Also, there are advantages to shooting a movie in 3D, even you only ever intend to release it in 2D (e.g. better control of depth of focus, etc.). Thus, 3D will be here to stay [as will shooting digitally vs film], if only for mastering/editing.

    Something that was once known as "Seward's Folly" is now known as something called "Alaska" ...

  • Re:Wonderful, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <> on Monday April 09, 2012 @02:13AM (#39616739) Homepage
    The reason is called "home video." Before the VCR came along, studios would periodically do revival showings of popular older films in theaters. But when home video made the entire Hollywood back catalog available for viewing anywhere anytime, the economic rationale for re-releasing classics in theaters disappeared.
  • Re:Wonderful, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quacking duck (607555) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:50AM (#39618235)

    You left out Titanic buffs in general, which I was years before the 1997 movie came out.

    Sure, its attention to historical facts and details is secondary to the melodramatic love story, but they did an incredible technical job showing the ship going down. The ship is as much a character as the others, and watching it slowly die in the most realistic depiction to date was technically fascinating while emotionally gut-wrenching, in much the same way many Star Trek fans were devastated when the original Enterprise was destroyed in The Search for Spock.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant