Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Graphics Software Build Technology

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How James Cameron Pumped Volume Into Titanic

Comments Filter:
  • Wonderful, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brooklynoid (656617) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:04PM (#39615977)
    ...who really wanted to see Titanic in 3D?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:06PM (#39615983)

      Everyone's wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc.

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      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?
      • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:36PM (#39616167) Homepage

        I'd guess the 3d bit is a convenient excuse for some people to see it again.

        What I want to know is, how much are they going to make on an $18m investment? I'm sure it costs more than that when you figure in promotion and such, but still, it cost $200 million the first time around and grossed $1.8 billion.

        I'm going to guess they make a killing on this.

        • I'd guess the 3d bit is a convenient excuse for some people to see it again.

          I wish theaters would re-show good movies now and then.

          (*good* movies)

          Is there some economic reason they don't do it? Maybe the studios are afraid you won't go see their new cr*p if there's a proven classic on?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 bas

      • Poorly rushed crappy post-production 3D has failed. Movies filmed in 3D have made bank. I just hope Hollywood identifies this trend and stops with the crappy post-production 3D.

      • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

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

          That includes both the 2D and S3D (not 3D, it's Stereoscopic) versions.

          I did a small amount of looking, I don't see anywhere that the revenues for box office sales are broken down by which version grossed how much. Raw dollars are also not a good measure of popularity of the S3D version over the 2D version, because you're not adjusting for the increased ticket price. The numbers we need are actual ticket sales for each version, which I haven't been able to locate.

          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.

          No, it's not fair at all to say that. We alr

    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:12PM (#39616019) Homepage Journal
      You haven't ever wondered what a young Kate Winslets breasts and pubic mound looked like in 3d?
      • by X0563511 (793323) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:29PM (#39616133) Homepage Journal

        Nope, but even then this won't show you.

        This is that crappy cut-out-silhouettes pseudo-3d. Think paper dolls at various depths, but each individual doll is flat.

      • Actually, no as it turns out.

        And that's a pretty specific fetish to justify spending $18 million.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday April 09, 2012 @01:09AM (#39616563)

      Well, it might actually add at least virtual depth to the characters.

      • Perhaps it's the part of me abused by seeing Wrath of the Titans recently that's talking, but how did the characters in Titanic lack depth? Even the ship's designer was more interesting than all the characters in Wrath put together. To be fair, that isn't saying much.

    • by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Monday April 09, 2012 @01:27AM (#39616615)

      Just got done watching a Research Channel vid on youtube with Neil deGrasse Tyson. In it he told a story about Titanic where he talked about Cameron using a sub to check out the details of the Titanic to keep it authentic. However, with the scene near the end why the kid chooses to drown, he noticed that the night sky was not only wrong but the left side was a mirror of the right side. Thus, Tyson wrote Cameron a letter about it. Later, he met up with Cameron and decided to bring up the point, and Cameron mentioned how many billions it made and asked how much more the right sky would make him. Yet, that is not the end of the story. Years later Tyson gets a call - its some Hollywood type who says he's working with Cameron on updating Titanic and that Tyson would have a night sky for him. His next words had so much heartfelt emotion in them "YES!".

      So, I guess anyone who wants to see Tyson's accurate night sky will go and see it...

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday April 09, 2012 @01:31AM (#39616623)

      ...who really wanted to see Titanic in 3D?

      I never understood the public's continued fascination with the Titanic.

      As for the 3D movies, please quit going to see them, so they'll let the format die.

    • My mother.
    • by guttentag (313541)
      In 3D? Whatever. Wake me up when Cameron releases a version filmed in Feel-Around [youtube.com]
    • by Pepebuho (167300)

      Wake me up when they convert the original King Kong movie into 3D. That would be something!

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      If anything should be converted or made in 3D is this kind of movie (relationships etc).

      3D works only on close ups, internal shots. that's where our human stereo-base (distance between eyes comparable to the scene depth) works.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:06PM (#39615981)

    Nothing else matters if they can't get naked Kate to look right.

  • All that work... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And yet nothing of value was added.

  • 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?

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      By the way, I watched Avatar in 3D. I hated it. It didn't add anything to the movie. If anything, it detracted from it. The article mentions Avatar as a learning experience for Titanic 3D, which makes me wonder even more. Did they fix Titanic 3D so that it actually adds something this time? Is that why it's such a hit?
      • Re:Avatar (Score:4, Insightful)

        by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:46PM (#39616213)

        While I don't necessarily disagree with you, people said the same thing about color. Color film (vs B&W) is a more "real-life" experience. Evidence suggests that "real-life" experience has a lot to do with movies - from color, to picture quality, to positional audio. 3D is a (if not the) next logical step.

        To be honest, I thought Avatar was a masterfully executed film, if a bit cliched. It's certainly cohesive and "all-encompassing" in a way that few movies are. It's a shame the plot was so pedestrian. The 3D made the movie impressive, but since it seemed like a tech demo more than a proper flick, it came at the expense of me wanting to watch it again in 2D. By comparison, black&white never stopped me watching Casablanca, or Citizen Kane.

        But there's all sorts of movies that are a lot of fun, if "safe". I can't exactly call them bad, in the same way that I can't call any of those Sundance films bad despite the fact that they're so boring. It's just a different kind of movie.

        • by hkmwbz (531650)
          Color actually added something to movies, I think. And if I am not mistaken, the mass market did not outright reject it, unlike 3D.
          • The mass market hasn't rejected 3D either. Many of us did, sure, but if there wasn't lots of profit to be had in it then they would not still be making them.

          • Did color really add anything to movies, though? It may seem that way to us, but I get the impression that there is a bit of psychological feedback going on between what we see in movies and what we expect in movies.

            In fact, there seems to have been a lasting effect from the original black and white movie footage of the the 1900-1950 era in that often directors will present footage set in that era in black and white. Sometimes it just feels wrong when it's in color. (it's almost like if you were to time

        • 3D is a (if not the) next logical step.

          What about smell-o-vision [wikipedia.org]. ;)

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday April 09, 2012 @05:14AM (#39617101)

          If it were real 3D, sure then everyone would be all about it. If you could get a real 3D display, they'd be the Next Big Thing(tm). However the "3D with glasses" shit we have now is nothing new. It has been tried at least twice before by my count and failed badly both times. There are multiple problems:

          1) You have to wear glasses. If you don't it is an unwatchable mess. So you can't just have something in 3D playing on your TV and have people wander in and out. Also all the glasses have downsides. The polarized ones lose the 3D effect if you tilt your head too much, the shutter ones flicker a bit and require power, the analgyphic ones fuck with colour.

          2) For the polarized and shutter glasses, they kill brightness and hurt contrast ratio. They are like wearing ND4 or worse filters on your eyes. So you take a nice bright digital projection screen, put those on and it is kinda dim. Only thing to be done is to just overpower it with even more brightness but that isn't always feasible.

          3) There is no parallax. As you shift your view and position, everything stays static, because they only provide image separation. They don't provide parallax so shit looks wrong.

          4) There is no focus. Everything is in the same plane of focus. This only works if everything is at or beyond your infinity focal point. If anything gets closer, your brain gets confused.

          It is a half-assed 3D implementation, as I said tried before (Disneyland had a 3D Micheal Jackson flick years ago as an example). It isn't a real 3D display. You show me the display that can get all the aspects of 3D, separation, parallax, and focus, and can do so without wearing something, you've got the next big thing in displays. Until then, it isn't going anywhere.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        That's kind of the way I am with 3D, I paid extra for this bonus and damit I am going to put more attention into the 3D than into the movie.

        Captain Eo was the first movie like thing I ever saw in 3D, couldn't tell you shit about it, but do remember crap popping out of the screen at me

        • Now imagine Kate Winslet's nipples popping out at you, Captain Eo-style. You have just discovered the marketing hook for re-releasing Titanic in 3D.
      • My jaw dropped on the first scene (you flyover the jungle) and my mind made the effect so realistic I had persistent motion sickness from about 15mins in. Every tracking shot, I felt like I was moving. Every new camera angle I felt like I teleported.

        Then again, I'm a somewhat hedonistic yogic. I convinced my brain to perceive it as real.

    • by sdnoob (917382)

      the movie. 3d was just the excuse used to push for the re-release.

      titanic 3d will be very successful, as it was 15 years ago in 2d. there is an entirely new generation of movie goers that have not seen one of most successful movies ever. being a historic piece, the story, plot and setting cannot be dated, so it will appeal to people today just as much as it did 15 years ago.

      for those who have seen it before (many having done so multiple times), it is a chance to see it again in on the big screen, an experie

      • there is an entirely new generation of movie goers that have not seen one of most successful movies ever.

        Have they been living in a cave someplace? Titanic has been out on DVD, and re-released multiple times in various editions - and it's been shown pretty regularly on cable.

      • by Swampash (1131503)

        the movie. 3d was just the excuse used to push for the re-release.

        Oh yeah, I'm sure the fact that it's the 100th anniversary of the sinking THIS WEEK has nothing to do with it. Re-releasing in 3D was the excuse to do a re-release. Totally.

    • by Orne (144925)

      I'm pretty sure that the interest in reviving the Titanic movie has more to do with the 100th anniversary of the original sinking of the Titanic on April 15th, 1912. It's like free advertising for everything Titanic-related. And, if there's any movie that squeezed more money from the public the first release, I can't think of it.

    • Is it the 3D that is causing people to buy tickets? And if so, why did just about everything else 3D fail so far?

      The way it works is pretty basic: they only show the movie that people want to see in 3D and then charge a 50% mark-up on the ticket price "because it's in 3D".

      This cranks up both profits and box-office statistics, at least for the studios. I suspect the theatres would do better with 2D and selling more $7 popcorn.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      There are many parts of the problem:

      * large up-front per-person costs: 100Hz TV and $100 goggles for everyone.
      * the movies are also more expensive
      * differing technologies of differing quality and compatibility

      In essence, it really is just an enthusiast and "1%" market, like the original LaserDisk. I hear rumors that the latest 3D tech isn't even being adopted by the porn industry to any significant degree, either.

      For my part, the only "3D" technologies I've seen which are actually worth persuing are NVidia'

  • Depth (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:09PM (#39615995) Journal

    When I said that movie lacked depth...

  • I'd like to see a Titanic themed ride at Universal or whatever. Throw in some 1910s decorations. Some classical music. And then have it like a roller coaster or tower of terror but in sub zero degrees at one of the drops to simulate the ship plunging into the ocean.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Does Leonardo DiCaprio embrace you at the end of the ride, because that would be DREAMY.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524)

      I'd like to see a Titanic themed ride at Universal or whatever. Throw in some 1910s decorations. Some classical music. And then have it like a roller coaster or tower of terror but in sub zero degrees at one of the drops to simulate the ship plunging into the ocean.

      Yes, yes. Let's take an incident that killed 1,500 people in the frozen waters of the North Atlantic and make it a ride. It's bad enough that Cameron turned the tragedy into some bogus "love story" - that scene in the water with Winslet and DiCaprio makes me want to puke - then the woman ditches the necklace into the open water with an "oops". Call me jaded, but I think the movie is a bigger tragedy than the actual event.

      • by russotto (537200) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:31PM (#39616143) Journal

        Yes, yes. Let's take an incident that killed 1,500 people in the frozen waters of the North Atlantic and make it a ride. It's bad enough that Cameron turned the tragedy into some bogus "love story" - that scene in the water with Winslet and DiCaprio makes me want to puke - then the woman ditches the necklace into the open water with an "oops". Call me jaded, but I think the movie is a bigger tragedy than the actual event.

        I'm guessing you're not going to like the "Springtime For Hitler" Experience either. Sort of like "Pirates of the Carribean", only with Nazis.

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        There is always World Trade Center to treat in a similar manner a century later.

    • Great idea! A steel coffin and a one-way trip down through three miles of water.

      I've got a list of people *I* would buy tickets for.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I'd like to see a Titanic themed ride at Universal or whatever. Throw in some 1910s decorations. Some classical music. And then have it like a roller coaster or tower of terror but in sub zero degrees at one of the drops to simulate the ship plunging into the ocean.

      I'm thinking more along the lines of a naked Kate Winslet or two.

  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I want to see Terminator 2 in 3D.

  • *YAWN*

    Another 3-D-ified movie. Another way to get eyeballs that want to fall out on the pavement and a stiff neck.

    Remember Star-Trek the Movie? All sorts of special effects, because the film creators had no clue what an audience might want.

    They just don't learn.

  • by tangent3 (449222) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:35PM (#39616163)

    Check out the (parody) trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJxj1mou03M [youtube.com]

  • I don't know how many people have seen a 2D movie converted to 3D. I saw Lion King 3D and it seemed flat compared to other films original made in 3D. It might be my imagination, but the Christmas Carol seemed much more natural.

    My thought, then, is if Titanic 3D is going to turn people of to converted 3D movies. This may the first movie of this type many will see, and there is a huge if misguided following for Titanic. Expectations are high and I don't think the technology is up to the expectations. O

    • Re:make or break (Score:5, Informative)

      by dmomo (256005) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:42PM (#39616193) Homepage

      I saw this movie, not out of my own free will. I was impressed with the 3D. It was good, not over done and I could not believe it wasn't filmed that way.

      It wasn't just a cheap shoe-horning of objects onto differing planes. I still don't think the 3d added value, but the tech itself was done right.

      • by JimboFBX (1097277)

        mod up, about time someone who actually saw it gave an opinion on what it was and not speculation on what they think its going to be.

        One thought is, would you consider it flat, or was the depth realistic?

        • by dmomo (256005)

          That's the thing. It didn't seem flat. Flat would be if a single object was 2d, but just sort of on its own plane. But, even on a single object, you could see that that the "closer" parts stood out more than the "further" parts. This is true of the actors' facial features as well as intricate objects (like the metal diving-crate containing a submersible robot).

          It's still not my cup of tea, but in the same way I don't like new movies filmed in 3d with two cameras. The classic problems still exist. Eye fa

  • Thats like 1/40 the cost of making the movie again in 3D.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday April 09, 2012 @12:33AM (#39616429)
    They spent 18 million reworking it to 3D. I haven't seen a lot of publicity so it's unlikely they spent more than 18 million for prints and advertizing. They made 17.4 million on the opening weekend just on domestic box office. It almost certainly will make 50 million domestic and could hit a 100 million although somewhere in the middle is more likely. Foreign is less for 3D but it sold strong overseas so it could match the US take. Break the numbers down and for a 36 million investment they get around 50 to 100 million back after you factor out the theater take. They either double or triple their money and that doesn't factor in a spike in DVD and Blu-rays since they are likely to also release a special addition. The studios are in it to make money not films. Why risk 18 million on a film that could bomb when they make 30 to 70 million in profit by recycling a hit? Disney survived through many bleak years after Walt died re-releasing old animated films.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

Working...