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Why People Should Stop Being Duped By the 3D Scam 394

Phoghat writes "The entertainment and electronics industries keep trying to push 3D on consumers, even though a lot of smart people have caught on to the fact that it is a scam and not innovation as the industry would like you to believe. From the article: 'This is a bad experiment that the industry is forcing consumers to subsidize. And since they can’t create a better product, they’ve simply latched on to 3D as a marketing ploy that the entertainment and electronics industries can use to trick people into thinking that they are getting a superior experience. It’s only working because just enough people are falling for the scam to keep it alive.'"
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Why People Should Stop Being Duped By the 3D Scam

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:38AM (#35914306) Homepage Journal

    1. The colors in Avatar most certainly were NOT muddled by any stretch of the imagination. I saw it in IMAX the first time I saw it, and my color vision is actually better than most mens, it's actually better than most womens. I have on the other hand been to theaters that poorly maintain their equipment (Deer Brook Mall)

    2. The Toy Story movies, depending on your interpretaion were indded originally 3D models rendered for 2D viewing. The movies were "enhanced" in a few places, like Buzz's suit glowing in the dark, then RE-RENDERD for 3D use. This is VERY different than the not shot in 3D but shown that way anyways garbage like the less than stellar all all the way around Alice in Wonderland.

    3. When I took my daughter to see the Toy Story movies it was a double feature, I didn't have to pay 3x2 like the author said I should, I paid 3x1.

    4. The LED TV's the author is referencing are most likely LED back-lit LCD monitors unless they truly were OLED models (or similar) that you can only see at technology demo's and tech conferences because thay aren't for sale in anything bigger than a mobile phone right now.

    All of that being said, I agree 3D is a bit gimmicky at times. I think it is an evolution of things that will probably stick around and continue to evolve (LG is now making 3D TV's with polarization instead of shutter glasses), but it's a technology in its infancy. I don't think the companies are pushing it too hard anymore, they were. I think it's going to be like color and LCD's were. At one time a lot of people thought of those as gimmicks, especially before the color standard was finalized (hint there were competing standards), not to mention remote controls, especially the wired ones (like we had for the BetaMax) or the actual audible clickers. Try to buy a brand new black and white TV without a remote control today. Certain gimmicks have a way to becoming permanent. This is one of them even if the current incarnation dies off.

    (on a distantly related note I like to shatter the little worlds the WOW 3D VIDEO GAMES people live in by pointing out that nVidia has support the same basic shutter glasses tech on ALL 3D video games since abuot the mid 90's, with CRTs, the only difference was they had a wire)

    • why is it even if I re-read what I wrote I don't find the spelling errors until after "submit", indeed originally 3D models, bleh

    • by JamesP ( 688957 )

      I agree

      In the case of Toy Story the 3D information is already there, 2D is "the wrong way" to view it. (Of course movies have always been in 2D, so 3D is the 'odd man out')

      Same thing as Avatar: it was from the ground up planned as a 3D movie.

      Apart from that, yeah, 3D is a gimmick and spending money on a 3D TV is probably a good match your SACD player

    • by rxan ( 1424721 )

      3D can be more immersive than non-3D, especially for action/B/popcorn movies, and TFA completely misses this point. It may have some negative effects, but these will be minimized just like with any other evolving technology.

      The major gripe seems to be that the movie industry will make us pay more for 3D. Meh. This was the case when movies went from mute->sound, B/W->colour, VHS->DVD, DVD->HD, not smelly->smelly vision. As a tech writer, he should already be comfortable with paying more for us

      • It may have some negative effects, but these will be minimized just like with any other evolving technology.

        This technology fools the eye into thinking that objects are close while the actual image is still distant. This means you have to override your brain's real 3D focusing instinct. The only way to solve this would be to keep all the objects at the same distance as the image...which would effectively result in something close to a 2D film again.

        The other advances you mention we all real advances. There was no disadvantage to the new system other than the cost. This is not the case for 3D. As for people pa

        • Is this focus problem really unsolvable? Yes, for TVs and theaters it must be. But if we moved to retinal projection, wouldn't there be a way to monitor your depth/angle of focus and according to that, blur/sharpen the image being projected so that it looks natural? (Couldn't an eye tracking system already tell what object you're looking at by working out where your eyes are converging?) Sure that would be amazingly hard, but it would also be amazingly cool (also for games).
        • This technology fools the eye into thinking that objects are close while the actual image is still distant.

          That is an absurd complaint for 3D movies in the theater.

          Why? Because we only use the convergence of our eyes and focal length of our pupils for distances less than 30 feet.

          Looking at stuff beyond that, our focus is completely 'relaxed' and our eyes are parallel. We have no actual depth perception past that, we're just inventing it from the size of objects and their location on the ground.

          This is one of the reasons people prefer to sit at the distance they do in a theater. Sitting closer is tiring for the eyes, not just because they can't see the whole screen at once, but because the eyes keep trying to focus past the screen, and then back to it.

          And, no, the 3D effect can only make things further away from the screen, not closer. It can't trick your eyes into focusing 10 feet away or whatever. The whole 'popping out of the screen' is just because we mentally think of the screen as a window where the actual stuff in it is at a distance.

          • We have no actual depth perception past that, we're just inventing it from the size of objects and their location on the ground.

            Yep, and only experience teaches you how to judge that.

            One time I was up on a glacier, and I told the guide I'd like to hike over to a nearby waterfall. It was a nice 200' -ish waterfall and only about a quarter mile away.

            He corrected me that it was a 700' waterfall and almost two miles away. There was nothing between me and the waterfall except a white ice field and I was comple

            • by DavidTC ( 10147 )

              The weirdest thing is the damn moon.

              Our brain thinks nothing is further away than 'slightly beyond the treetops' when seeing things above us. Maybe 300 feet or so.

              So we see the moon there, and our brain says it's basically size and distance of a two-story house at the end of a longish street, maybe. Or a football goalpost from the other end.

              But the horizon...we actually know roughly how far that is. We can see trees there, and they are microscopic.

              Put the moon there, behind those trees or mountains or b

    • My vision is as good as the next guy's, but when I saw Avatar, although I thought the 3D effect 'cool' like most people, there was a small portion of my vision that was always on the periphery and which felt 'glassy' or 'haloed' as though a bit on each of the lenses was finely scratched or smeared with Vaseline. It was noticeable enough that I tried polishing the glasses on my shirt several times throughout the movie to no avail. It may have been a dud pair of glasses, and I have not seen a 3D film at the

    • I didn't even realize that the color muddling was a known issue with the polarized filter 3D technology, but as I sat in the theater I turned to my friends and said "this isn't nearly as vibrant as the trailer, stills, posters, etc." Then I read online after the fact that polarized filter 3D technology always mutes colors and there is nothing you can do about it. You can insist otherwise, but you're arguing against science.

      That being said, I do disagree with the article that 3D is a scam. It is an advertise

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Avawha? Oh yeah, no, sorry, didn't see it. My hype detector went off full blast about a month before release and I tend to avoid such productions. Fortunately having learned that the plot is basically Pocahontas with blue people, I'm glad I didn't miss anything innovative. But I realize some people have fond childhood memories of smurfs, so this movie must have been a comfort to them.
      • It also compares well to Fern Gully or Dances with Wolves. All got the same basic story and message that is hammered into your face. Though it doesn't have Robin Williams trying to rap, which means it's not the worst of the 'going native' series.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        Yea the problem with Avatar is the same problem most "made to be certain block busters" have. The story is juvenile and simplistic clearly written to twelve years old, so that everyone can understand. To keep the attention of the rest of us they load it up with special effects and gimmicks. I am not saying I don't enjoy some of these movies. What I am saying is that whatever enjoyment I get from them is the same kind of enjoyment one obtains from a roller coaster. Its a thrill ride. Some might remembe

  • by samael ( 12612 ) * <> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:41AM (#35914316) Homepage

    I think that by now people know whether they like 3D or not.

    Personally, I do, and telling me that I'm being scammed for something that I actively enjoy isn't going to suddenly persuade me that I don't.

    "Oh my, I hadn't realised, but the time when I was completely blown away by How To Train Your Dragon that I was being scammed. In retrospect I shouldn't have enjoyed it at all!"

    If you don't enjoy movies in 3D then the simple answer is to not watch them. Telling other people that they're wrong to enjoy something isn't going to gain you anything.

    • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:54AM (#35914392) Homepage Journal

      Not to mention most theaters have 2D showings of 3D films, all you have to do is watch for show times and pay attention to the descriptions. Or if you want to see it with people who want 3D there's always these things [].

      • by samael ( 12612 ) *

        I think that those glasses are a great idea.

        • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:40AM (#35914652)

          No, they are a horrible idea. They encourage people to spend money on 3D movies while avoiding the 3D.

          Basically, every movie you watch while using those glasses is telling Hollywood that you are willing to pay for the 3D effect. When in actuality, you are willing to pay for the 3D effect to be removed.

          A better idea is would be to ask the ticket clerk 'do you have a showing in 2D? No? Oh, well, we'll go somewhere else then. Bye.' Enough of those and it'll get reported to the manager. Enough of those and it'll get reported to the theater owner. Enough of those and it will get reported to the distributer. Enough of those and it'll get reported to the film studio. (Of course, the theater owner has long since been supplying the local demand for a 2D movie at that point.)

          Then the'll stop making them, and you won't need those glasses.

          • by samael ( 12612 ) *

            I don't want the glasses. But if there's six of us going to a showing, five who want to see it in 3D and one who gets a headache from 3D, then the glasses are very useful.

      • Not to mention most theaters have 2D showings of 3D films

        Not around me. I had to wait until the DVD before I could see a 2D version of Tron Legacy.

        • I saw that in 3D. I got about fifteen minutes in before I noticed, and could barely see it at all after that. I had to keep taking off my glasses to see if it really was in 3D or not.
    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:05AM (#35914472)

      come back and tell us how much content you watch in 3d over the years and how many times you replay the few selected titles.

      its about software. there is none, to speak of, in 3d.

      deal ends there. if the software is not everywhere (its not) then its still just a novelty.

      plus, selling the idea of wearing glasses when you already wear them - total non-starter for me. 100% non-starter.

      the story is 80% of the movie. the visuals and sound the other 20%. I leave no room for 'stupid effects' as its already included in the visuals. 3d is just another way to try to pump more money in a creatively stale world.

    • I think that by now people know whether they like 3D or not.

      Yep. I love how the advertisement has been inversed now.
      The new movie "Rio" from Disney, had on the poster: "Available in 2D in select cinemas".

      It used to say 3D, THX or digital. Now 2D is a special feature for "select cinemas" :D

    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      If you don't enjoy movies in 3D then the simple answer is to not watch them. Telling other people that they're wrong to enjoy something isn't going to gain you anything.

      That's not enough for some people. They have an opinion and they won't shut up about it until they've convinced all the 'idiots' that they're right.

    • by JMZero ( 449047 )

      What I find interesting about this story is that the Slashdot majority seems to have changed its mind (or perhaps the rabid anti-3d crowd just got tired of posting on every one of these stories?).

      Anyways, I think it's an interesting phenomenon that generally "techy" people seem to sometimes get really bent out of shape about new tech. We saw the same thing with HD TVs. We used to see it more with new versions of OS's and software.

      I'd like to figure it out more, but I can't find anyone in real life who has

      • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @11:53AM (#35915088)

        Anyways, I think it's an interesting phenomenon that generally "techy" people seem to sometimes get really bent out of shape about new tech. We saw the same thing with HD TVs. We used to see it more with new versions of OS's and software.

        In my completely subjective opinion, it's an aversion to marketing. A lot of the population see the world of technology as filled with magic black boxes. Techies see objects with an innate desire to understand at least the basics of how they work. When their understanding of how things work, and consequently the implications of that functionality existing in the real world, doesn't match with the marketing it is perceived as bullshit. A negative opinion is formed. The stronger the marketing effort and the more that marketing deviates from perceived reality, the more strongly the resistance and desire to communicate that negative opinion.

        Which isn't to say techies' perceptions are always on par with everyone else or even in agreement with other techies. But I think it goes a long way towards explaining various flame wars, pseudo-religious product followings / anti-followings, and long-running arguments that are the stuff of techie communities / forums / blogs.

  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:45AM (#35914332)

    The movie industry are selling entertainment, people pay for what they find entertaining, if they pay more money to watch the 3d version then the 2d version, then that means that they think that the 3d version is more entertaining.

    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that everyone else is getting scammed. (However it's worth noting that some movies are scamming in that they're doing really shitty 3D just to get the higher ticket price, but just like anything else shoveled out the door for a quick buck word catches on quick and their sales become abyssmal)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by peragrin ( 659227 )

      Here is the trick though. current 3D tech doesn't work for something like 15% of the population.

      3D tech is like those magic pictures where if you stared hard enough you saw another picture. the problem is since they are optical illusions a lot of people see right through them.

      Fake3D is just that Fake. it is an illusion trying to trick your simple mind into seeing things that just aren't there(depth).

      i can see real depth just fine. broadcasting fake depth on a 2D surface is just play confusing for too ma

      • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:09AM (#35914492) Homepage

        A very poor optical illusion, at that.

        Having played 3D games back in the 90's, I knew exactly what to expect, and even then I was disappointed. The fact that so many 3D movies focus on special effects rather than immersion is a big part of that disappointment. Even in Tron Legacy, they had to do that one shot where some weapon jumps right at the viewer; idiotic pre-teen bullshit that only serves to give viewers headaches and insult their intellect. Actually, that entire movie was an insult to intellect, but I digress...

        In comparison, 3D gaming is a lot more satisfying, because the entire scene is 3D, not just some director-focused gimmick in the background, and since you can adjust the depth effect, it is possible to dial it up to a more convincing level and really lose yourself in the scene. I don't think any of that is even possible in a movie theatre, not unless they start handing out active glasses with their own built-in LCD screens and per-user adjustments... but then it's just a bunch of cyborg weirdos in a dark room, paying too much for popcorn and soda.

      • The current coherence of story telling due to modern design by committee script rewrites requires me to turn off my brain 85% of the time to enjoy a movie ... I make do, those 15% of the population you belong to can make do as well for stereoscopic movies.

        Theaters should supply glasses which supply the same view to both eyes though.

      • by vadim_t ( 324782 )

        Here is the trick though. current 3D tech doesn't work for something like 15% of the population.

        And color doesn't work for 9% of the population, but that isn't stopping anybody from making movies in color.

        3D tech is like those magic pictures where if you stared hard enough you saw another picture. the problem is since they are optical illusions a lot of people see right through them.

        Fake3D is just that Fake. it is an illusion trying to trick your simple mind into seeing things that just aren't there(depth).

    • Or it means that some movies are released in some areas in 3D only ( *cough* tron 3D *cough* ). I couldn't find a 2D showing within 100 miles of my location, and I had already promised the child that we'd go. So there I was, paying almost 20 bucks a ticket.

      3D is a scam the industry is using to push the upgrade cycle along. Next, when this fails, expect to see equipment mysteriously lasting much shorter time spans.

    • In case you missed it, here's the scam part, and an example where it has been done before to the exact same market:

      For the same money you can always get a better sounding stereo than a surround sound system. Always. Assuming reasonable pricing, two $750 speakers will always sound better than five $300 speakers. But since 99% of consumers don't appreciate how to configure a stereo properly, for example with a central listening position the same distance away from the speakers as the space between the spea

  • by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:48AM (#35914348)

    3D gets a push every couple of decades and can be likely traced back to popular stereoviews of the later half of the 19th century. It's a fad that hangs around for a year or two, then it's gone. The reason it goes away is because it's simply inconvenient compared to 2D movies and television. Glasses, special viewing angles, etc. are not something people are willing to commit to on a large scale just to watch a film or sitcom.

    • by Jiro ( 131519 )

      The reason it went away the other times is that the studios needed to go through too much effort to make it.and it couldn't make money except for the first couple of movies when everyone went to see it as a novelty.

      This is no longer true; modern 3D movies use computers. The technology just wasn't around for the 50's or 80's fads.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:48AM (#35914352) Homepage

    It's entirely subjective. If people believe that they are getting a "superior experience" then they are. If you like it watch it. If you don't like it don't watch it. If many people like it there will be more of it. If not, then not.

  • someone marketed HD sunglasses around 2003: []

    because, you know, we only saw the world in NTSC before HD, our European friends saw the world in PAL

    so i'm just waiting for 3D sunglasses. because, you know, until "Avatar", the real world was 2D

    • by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @11:01AM (#35914750)

      Actually you could have 3d sunglasses - using mirrors to enhance your depth perception. The glasses would widen the distance between the eyes which in turn would exaggerate the perceived distance something is without having to rely on isometric visual cues. Such glasses could be really useful for games like baseball where a ball in flight has no isometric visual cues to help you determine it's speed/trajectory.

      I've done some experimentation after playing games in 3d and found that my brain consistently underestimates the distance something is on pure depth alone.

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultramk ( 470198 ) <[ten.llebcap] [ta] [kmartlu]> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:49AM (#35914362)

    Typical geek blither-blather. "I don't like it therefore everyone who does is an idiot who's being duped." Here on /. I've seen this argument used against: Apple, craft beer, very spicy chiles, tablets in general, 3d film and TV, hybrid cars, wind power, solar power, drug laws, Democrats, Republicans and organized sports.

    Just accept that people like different things and move on. I realize this is a strain to the borderline Asbergers types who are rife around here, but come on. Sometimes there isn't a "right answer" for everyone.

    • I notice Microsoft wasn't on your list, not that I'm reading anything into that particular omission...

      • by ultramk ( 470198 )

        Oh, yeah good point.That kind of thing was very common here about Halo and the Xbox in general.

    • Also, don't forget slashdot is a US based board so until a US marketing company got British people to design and Taiwanese people to build a mobile phone a couple of years back it was all the time "why on earth would people want to use a mobile phone? They will never take off! They are only used by yuppies and fancy pants foreigners. My 8KHz copper wire phone from Ma Bell has all the connectivity I would ever need". At least that trend seems to have stopped recently!
      • And as I submitted, there is an advert for iPhone on the TV in the background :-) such timing!
      • by ultramk ( 470198 )

        To which phone are you referring? I had a Motorola MicroTAC (which is pretty damn American) way way back in the early '90s, and the only people who were dismissive were those who hated the idea of being reachable 24/7. Most everyone else just lusted after it. Especially geeks, because it looked like a trek communicator.

    • by maraist ( 68387 ) *
      Actually - I think you're being short-sighted about this. It isn't that people prefer it or not.. It's that there are billions to be made, forcing people to re-purchase their $10,000 DVD action-movie library in blue-ray.. Another billion in repurchases of blue-ray-3D. So we needn't worry about us being 'duped' into these purchases, we need to instead worry about exclusivity. You like revenge of the nerds, but you don't subscribe to netflicks.. Sorry, only available purchase for you (5 years from now) is
    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      Sometimes there isn't a "right answer" for everyone.

      Agreed, but in some cases there is one answer, like with 3D. Its a scam, for everyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Slashdot is full of BORDERLINE Aspergers types?

      In the same sense that Hannibal Lecter is a borderline psychopath?

    • Typical geek blither-blather. "I don't like it therefore everyone who does is an idiot who's being duped." Here on /. I've seen this argument used against: Apple, craft beer, very spicy chiles, tablets in general, 3d film and TV, hybrid cars, wind power, solar power, drug laws, Democrats, Republicans and organized sports.

      Just accept that people like different things and move on. I realize this is a strain to the borderline Asbergers types who are rife around here, but come on. Sometimes there isn't a "right answer" for everyone.

      I responded the same way ito the OP. There is far too much of this type of thinking in any crowd. I wouldn't limit it to us geeks.

      I do agree with him, though, and I can make a parallel to the games industry that many of us here will understand: quality is about more than just eye-candy. Once you get past a certain level of optical titillation; tone, plot, and character development, like gameplay and control, become more important than increasing the eye-candy. It isn't that the eye-candy is bad, ra

  • It is by the very definition of the word scam not a scam! The industry offers u stereoscopic video and that is exactly what u get! And by the way, I for one really thinks that watching a movie in 3d can be a superior expirence. If u don't, go watch the 2d version!
    • Agreed, the only scam here is that they don't adequately advertise when a movie was shot in 3D versus converted to 3D. It does make a difference. There's a limit to what you can do if you didn't shoot it in 3D to begin with.

  • Yep, I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:01AM (#35914440)

    3D is just a scam, I didn't really watch Avatar in 3D and enjoy it far more than when I watched it in 2D, nope, that was all just part of my imagination.

    Really, this is one of the more fucking retarded Slashdot stories I've seen in a while, the article can be summed up entirely as:

    "3D is a scam, because I, Mr Random Nobody, says so. End of."

    Sure 3D isn't brilliant everywhere, some attempts at it are pretty naff, sure sometimes it's misused, but so is audio particularly the likes of surround sound, so are special effects, so is colour. It's a tool, and like any tool, when used right, it can be pretty effective. But a scam? That's like saying a hammer is a scam because you can't screw screws into the wall with it when you try. It'd help if there was anything in the article other than his mere reiteration of his personal opinion that it's a scam and absolutely nothing more than that backing up his point.

    The guy is a douche of the highest order, but the Slashdot editors moreso for letting such utter shite through. If someone is going to suggest something is a scam, they at least need to explain why. People spouting unfounded shite without an ounce of evidence to back up their point is what I expect from the comments, not the story... I know, I must be new here.

    • Opinions are like rectums: everyone has one, and usually they're full of crap.

  • Total hype. Nothing will ever replace raw meat right off the bone! You mark my words. Cave paintings and mammoth blood should be good enough for anyone!

  • "...just enough people are falling for the scam to keep it alive.'"

    Free market capitalism FTW!

  • Want real 3-D? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:15AM (#35914526) Homepage
    Go to a play. All the actors are right there on stage in living 3-D!
  • by Sir_Kurt ( 92864 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:18AM (#35914542)

    I have been into 3D photography since my Grandfather gave me his Realist Stereo camera sometime in the 1970's. I have added many other stereo/3D cameras to the mix since then. I also have a 3D slide projector that uses polarized light to separate the images, as well as an 1890s stereo card viewer.

    3D has been really big since the 1890's.
    3D was big in the 50's - both movies and photography
    You could get 3D comics in the 60's
    Disney has had 3D movies at least since the late 70's
    Viewmaster has been around since -forever-
    NASA has been taking 3D images also since -forever-
    And lets not forget the hologram.

    Bottom line however is that 3D is a novelty and will forever remain a novelty, because viewing a stereo image is a perceptual trick that gives our brains all the clues that we are viewing an image in 3D EXCEPT that you cannot shift your point of view as you can with a real image.

    This combined with the inappropriate manipulation of the apparent interocular distance by the photographer and parallax problems and other off-axis viewing problems make viewing 3D images problematic for a lot of people. And they always will. You can't fix these problems although they can be somewhat mitigated if you know what you are doing.

    I enjoy 3D movies because I have been into for a long time, know where to sit in the theater, (dead center vertically and horizontally) and know how to hold my head. (level, on axis and still)

    So is it a marketing scam? Sure, yes it is. Arguably 2D is much better for most content and situations. Is it fun or informative. Yes, it can be.

    Will I buy a 3D TV? No.

  • Not a 'scam' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:19AM (#35914546)

    The effects are self-evident, there isn't some unfulfilled promise of what it is or some sort of placebo effect making people think things look different, it just is different. It's a feature that one can evaluate and decide for themselves what they think. I personally am waiting because I recognize the flaws in the current system and will see if they get better.

    Now he does hit upon some points of interest:
    -Adding 3D after the fact. For rendered movies, it's not too hard to do right (add 'camera' with offset, re-render), but live-action stuff is indeed awkward and I hear the biggest source of complaints about headaches.
    -Less defined picture. With polarized lenses, this is true. You are effectively halving the resolution of the screen. On the other hand, shutter glasses will preserve the resolution at the expense of refresh rate, but that's compensated by 240 Hz displays. However I do find shutter glasses a tad awkward with the battery and cost. Instead of 1920x1080 displays with 240 Hz and shutter glasses, I'd prefer 1920x2160 with 120 Hz and polarized lenses (or double the column count).

    However, his gripe about TVs supporting 3D is off the mark. A TV isn't magically 3D only if it has the *capability* of doing 3D. You can still do it fine and sometimes the requirements for 3D drive enhancements that up the quality standard for 2D viewing. An exception to this could be auto-stereoscopic displays, which would cause me concern depending on how much resolution they provide.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:20AM (#35914560) Homepage

    Steven Soderbergh's new musical version of Cleopatra proves an incredible box-office same-old same-old. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as the fishnet-clad vaudeville jazz empress and Hugh Jackman as the mutant self-healing Roman general — in 3-D! —the film carries the Ocean's Eleven franchise somewhere beyond its ultimate extent.

    "I've always wanted to do a musical," Soderbergh said. "All the ones that were coming along just weren't for me. This one, however, involved dumptrucks full of money backed up to my house."

    And All That Cleopatra — In 3-D! opens with Pompey (Richard Gere) coming to Egypt to recruit Cleopatra to the cause ("Mister Cellophane"). Antony leaves Cleopatra to go back to Rome and not shag Octavia (Anna Paquin) ("Funny Honey"). Cleopatra, furious at the news, kills Richard Gere — in 3-D! — because, frankly, he deserves it ("All I Care About"). Meanwhile, Antony, having first conspired with Octavius (Magneto), falls out with him and uses Cerebro to take control of the western third of the Roman Empire with Cleopatra — in 3-D! ("Cell Block Tango")

    Antony. "But Octavius knows about Cerebro?!"

    Caesar. "Of course, Antony. I helped him build it."

    In a 3-D musical tour-de-force, Caesar (Patrick Stewart) dies at the Senate at the hands of Brutus (Popeye) (“We Both Reached For The Gun"), Cleopatra fakes her death to get Antony to like her (";Razzle Dazzle"), Antony fakes faking his death to get over Cleopatra and dies in her arms ("I Can't Do It Alone" — with zither solo on Jackman's adamantium claws) and Cleopatra dies of an aspidistra ("I Move On"). All die. Oh! the embarrassment.

    This ending having been rejected by test audiences, a finale is tacked on with one thousand Agent Smiths engaging in CGI sword-fu — in 3-D! — while Brad Pitt gets out of the casino with his haul intact. Since this makes no sense even to the drooling lackwits they manage to find for test audiences, Cleopatra starts a new 3-D vaudeville jazz act with Octavia which is vastly successful ("And All That Jazz"). A happy ending!

    Soderbergh pooh-poohed suggestions that the film would be some sort of low-rent exploitation quickie that would insult the intelligence of any creature smarter than a flatworm. "I can assure you this will be the most artistically satisfying creation in my entire career as a director," he said, lighting a cigar off a hundred-dollar bill before laying back on a great big bed made of money.

    "DUMPTRUCKS!" Soderbergh emphasised. "FULL OF MONEY! BACKED UP TO MY HOUSE!"

  • I think it's hilarious how much hate I see for 3D stuff here on Slashdot...

    I wasn't around for the silent vs. talky motion picture transition... Or the mono vs. stereo music recording transition... But I have to assume there were similar arguments being made.

    It's a new technology. There are some bugs to be worked out. There aren't a whole lot of standards and interoperability yet. It is being used in some places purely as a gimmick. But that doesn't mean it's all a scam.

    When I go to the movies with fo

    • nah, you're just not grasping how "3D" works currently. If you did, you would not be bringing up mono vs. stereo. I will attempt to explain.

      With stereo music, you lose nothing versus mono music. Each of the two stereo channels contains full audio information - you are getting 2 complete mono recordings, delivered to you via two completely separate speakers. So you are getting the full audio fidelity of a mono system, plus the stereo effect.

      If the 3D movies were all shot in their entirety using two sep
  • Of course the movie industry tries to claim this is innovation. Lots of other industries do the same sort of thing. That doesn't make it right, just reality.

    The real question is, are they pushing something consumers like and want, or are they just pushing another wet noodle, like Blue Ray? Let people make their own choice, which will help decide if 3d movies are around to stay this time, or if they die out as they did in the 1950s, when the technology just wasn't quite there.

    I liked 3D in the 1950s, an

  • I wonder if people complained about talkies. You that the well made one often had intense action sequences, followed by cards that had to be read. This, IMHO, let the audience process without the need of artificial filler like we see in talkies. I mean the gratuitous panoramic or fake banter.

    Same thing with black and white. Color was not needed in these flicks. All good movies present a selected slice of the world, and this slice was simply without color. Color in many moves provides a crutch for fil

  • 1.Finding a 2D session can be hard. I live in a major Australian state capital city with at least 14 different multiplexes (each having at least 4 screens) and there was ONE session of Thor in 2D anywhere in the city that was at a time suitable to me (and this was on opening day, the rest of the week wasnt any better). It was in the crappiest theater in the place too. No problems finding a 3D session at all times of the day.

    2.Far too many "3D" films (including Thor) are really 2D films converted into "3D" i

  • by Retron ( 577778 )
    LOL at that rant.

    The technology is nothing new, of course (I still have a Pentium3 PC from 1999, set up with a GeForce2 GTS (purchased in 2000), 120Hz 17" CRT and tethered, active 3D glasses). Exactly the same technology as used today was available over a decade ago, it's just that it was quite expensive and back then it didn't take off. I still remember playing Quake 2 and Black and White using that 3D setup and yes - it was very impressive.

    11 years on and I have a 3DS. I've taken pictures of wolves
  • []

    I do believe the key word in that slashdot article is "Lame"
  • Maybe they should just stop calling it "3D" - it is 2D with simulated 3D.

    If it were truly 3D, there would be real depth of field that our eyes would have to focus to.

    True 3D is years away (if it's coming at all -- holographic viewers?), but when it comes it should take care of everyone's 3D complaints. Well, except for the complaint that filmmakers make 3D a central element of the film rather than the storyline.

  • Don't like 3D, wait for the blu-ray. Added advantages, thousands of dollars saved on concessions.

  • What about all of us cyclops?
  • It seems to be an unpopular point of view, but I really enjoy 3D movies. I've never gotten this headache people talk about. I just really like the immersive experience. It's true that 3D is not always used properly by directors, and that it definitely requires a higher frame rate than is normally used, but these are technicalities that will improve over time. In general I find 3D really makes a movie more immersive, it can be quite captivating. Avatar was an incredible experience.

  • The new and improved double platinum turbo titanium HD 3D?

    Isn't that better?

    {contents may settle during shipping}

  • I have seen a few so called 3D tittles now and to be honest my brain keeps telling me it isnt 3D and all I am seeing are two images with one closer than the other. Bit like getting part of a picture and another part and placing them at two set distances. For me thats not 3D, in real life objects are at random distances not two set points. I have talked to a few people now and they admit that they have a similar issue with this fake 3D thing the movie industry are kicking out,
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @11:45AM (#35915032) Homepage

    Two-eye, two-image stereoscopic photography was invented by George Wheatstone (the same man who invented the Wheatstone bridge) in 1838. For almost two centuries it has constantly occupied a niche market, never going away and never going mainstream.

    The Victorian parlor stereoscope became the ViewMaster of my childhood days. I still see them in toy stores. From time to time in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s I saw casual amateurs with Stereo Realists taking vacation pictures, but it was rare. A few years ago the Ritz stores had single-use cameras with four lenses, and a photofinishing service for them that delivered lenticular prints. Motion pictures using polarized stereo glasses have been with us for half a century, continually being rediscovered.

    Most impressive to me so far has been IMAX 3D, which is _considerably_ better than whatever process the local Showcase used for Avatar, because a) it is much brighter, and b) the picture is large enough that you really are unaware of the ugly pseudoscopic problems at the edge of the field. There's no way that home 3D is going to be as good as IMAX 3D.

    And none of it is ever going to be any more popular than quadrophonic sound. Because there are, plain and simple, insoluble problems with two-image stereoscopic 3D.

    The biggest is that the added realism of 3D is only seen if a) you are seated on a location that's reasonably square-on to the center of the screen, which is never true for more than one person in a living room, and never true for more than a tiny percentage of the people in an auditorium; b) the 2D perspective is consistent with the 3D perspective, which is only true if the cinematographer restricts herself to a single focal length and throws away a century of screen grammar. If these two conditions are not met, you get a stimulating, novel, Cabinet-of-Dr.-Caligari experience that has limited appeal--reminiscent of the early days of color TV when it was thrilling to watch people turning from magenta-skinned to green-skinned as they crossed from left to right, because it was SO not black-and-white.

    If 3D were automatically realistic, from every seat in the living room, and did not require directors to completely reinvent their storytelling technique, then, like stereophonic sound, it would be (mostly) just value added, and would gradually displace 2D as costs drop, the way stereo sound has gradually replaced monophonic.

    But it is not. There are tradeoffs, and not just in cost. And the content for which 3D adds more than it costs is just not that big a percentage of the showtime universe. There is more to cinema than Kiss Me, Kate, House of Wax, This Is Cinerama!, The Polar Express, Titanic: Ghosts of the Abyss, Sharks 3D! and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

    Avatar was a good movie. But does anyone believe it would not have been a good movie in 2D?

  • It mostly sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @12:49PM (#35915478) Homepage

    A big problem with "3D movies" is Disney "Real3D(tm)", which is Disney Fake3D. The image was delaminated in postprocessing, and reassembled with shifts to simulate depth. That stuff sucks, and it sucks worse if the 3D producer overdoes it. (Ref "Pirahna 3D").

    "Avatar" is good 3D. It was really shot and animated in 3D, and Cameron put a lot of effort into getting it right and not overdoing it. At no time in Avatar is something positioned in front of the screen plane. Few other directors are that good.

    Even so, film 3D is inherently fake, because of the scaling issue. In the real world, there's no noticeable stereoscopy beyond a few meters of range. Our eyes are too close together. 3D distant shots with wide separation are a cinematic convention, not visual reality.

    TV 3D is far worse, It can't be watched casually. If you're off-axis, or lying on your side, the effect is totally wrong. Having to wear glasses or sit in the correct position is too restrictive. I'm curious to see how 3D sports bars work out.

    My guess is that after a while, 3D will be scaled back, and it will only be used for content worth showing in Imax.

  • by Targon ( 17348 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:04PM (#35915922)

    If you look back at movies and TV, you see this same complaint against any new advance, that the improvements are useless. Silent film to "talkies" was a clear advance, and I am sure that there were SOME complaints from those who didn't care for it. When color came out, some saw it as useless and then there were more complaints. Color TV was the same way, an added expense that did not add to the quality of the movie or show in the eyes of some. When stereo first came out, again, some complained and they didn't hear how it improved things, or surround sound. All of these things added to the overall experience of going to the movies or watching TV/movies at home, even if not everyone notices or cares about the improvements that have been added.

    I remember the first time I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation in stereo, there was a background ship hum that on older "mono" TVs just did not have that added to the experience of watching it. It may not have been amazing by modern standards, but it was cool that it was an obvious improvement. For surround, watch most action movies with a decent surround sound system, and you can hear bullets flying AROUND you, some behind, some moving from behind and then to the front. This is the sort of thing that, as I said, enhances the experience, yet would not be "required" for the movie or show to be entertaining.

    So, 3D. For the most part, most 3D is very poorly implemented, with a few objects that pop out of the screen at the viewer, and does NOT enhance the viewing experience as a whole. The 3D is really just an extra "layer" that is added, and in these cases, those shooting down 3D are correct, it is NOT worth extra money in these cases. Now, Avatar is an example of 3D done fairly well, because there is a true "depth" throughout the movie, at least that was my impression when I saw it in IMAX. It wasn't about objects popping off the screen, it was about the entire movie feeling like there was more depth to EVERYTHING. This is where people want to see 3D go, where 3D isn't just for "cute" effects, but enhances how things look overall. If the home 3D experience is anything like what they did with Avatar on IMAX, then 3D is a very good addition.

    All special effects have always had their origins start in a way that it really WAS just a gimmick, and often replaced good acting or story, but as time has gone on, special effects have improved to the point where even some modern commercials would awe someone from the 1970s. In time, there will be no extra expense for filming in 3D, and the costs will drop. As I said, the real key is if 3D focuses on adding that depth of field to all scenes, rather than being focused on a few objects that just pop off the screen but otherwise leaves the movie as a 2D film. Only time will tell if 3D matures into a true way to enhance the movie-going experience.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:23PM (#35916050) Homepage Journal

    Way back in the '70s when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were a few novelty 3D movie presentations on broadcast TV complete with free 3D glasses at a 7-11 near you. It worked just fine on the old analog NTSC color TV (the movie itself was terrible, of course, but the 3d was working). This was the anaglyph 3D with the cardboard glasses with colored filters.

    Given a modern 3D video stream, re-rendering as an anaglyph 3D is a simple matter of computation. There is one and only one reason 3D bluray players don't offer to render 3D content that way for people who don't have a special 3D tv (or who don't have enough expensive goggles for all their guests) and that is that they won't make money by the ton if they allow that. The "premium" value on regular 2D LCD TVs is nearing it's endpoint where prices start to fall so they need a new gimmick to drive prices. For the same reason, you'll not see any of those movies rendered in anaglyph on DVD even though they could generate the content for practically no cost.

  • by steppin_razor_LA ( 236684 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @04:12PM (#35916708) Journal

    I have a 3D TV. Could 3D be better? Yes. Am I enjoying my 3D content? Yes. The idea that this is a "scam" is just plain silly. I'm *clearly* being tricked into paying money for something that I appreciate.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham