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Has 3D Film-Making Had Its Day? 436

dryriver sends this hopeful note from the BBC: "'It's three years since audiences around the world swarmed into cinemas to see James Cameron's Avatar. It rapidly became the biggest grossing film of all time, in part because of its ground-breaking digital 3D technology. But, in retrospect, Avatar now seems the high-point of 3D movie-making, with little since 2009 to challenge its achievement. Three years on, has the appeal of 3D gone flat? Nic Knowland has been a respected director of photography in Britain for 30 years. He's seen cinema trends and fads come and go, but never one for which he's had so little enthusiasm as 3D. 'From the cinematographer's perspective it may offer production value and scale to certain kinds of film. But for many movies it offers only distraction and some fairly uncomfortable viewing experiences for the audience. I haven't yet encountered a director of photography who's genuinely enthusiastic about it.'"
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Has 3D Film-Making Had Its Day?

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  • It's not true 3D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:51AM (#42392861)

    It's not popular because it's false advertising. Holograms or bust.

  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:52AM (#42392869) Homepage Journal

    Nor will it EVER have its day until there is a real 3D display system.

    Now, stereoscopic filmmaking may be over, but that's hardly 3D except in the eyes of the bewildered.

    I guarantee you, when a 3D production can be made, distributed and enjoyed, the day of 3D will begin, and it isn't likely to *ever* go back to 2D (or the pale imitation that is stereoscopy.)

    Also, happy solstice + 3. I wish you a suitably bacchanalian event, complete with frolicking, consensual partner of your choice.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zakkudo ( 2638939 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:11AM (#42392965)
    True 3D will also fail as long as we keep the current ADD-style scene changes. (I can barely stomache them now.) Cutting between people talking is a nightmare for 3D and will always be extremely disorienting. The current filming style in Hollywood is prohibitive to anything that isn't straight 2D and I don't see them changing it. That is just the way it is.
  • by Spinalcold ( 955025 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:40AM (#42393081)
    I know they target the normal vision for these movies, but the fact is that a huge amount of people don't have normal vision and can't watch these 3d movies well. I have astigmatism, and most others I have talked to with a string astigmatism have a hard time with these movies. Personally, my eyes can't focus well, but I know others that get dizzy or headaches. It isn't main steam because they ignored a huge population base!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:42AM (#42393091)

    I have a 3d vision projector. Playing Skyrim in 3d is pretty badass. Video games have to store the render geometry somewhere, so it is available to use to create 2 views into a single render scene. No new tech needed, no hard to use filming techniques required, no massive infrastructure investment necessary.

    The same projector, when used in movies, generally sucks. Avatar is basically impossible to buy, and the other movies are mostly terrible. For movies, 3d seems best on documentaries (especially space) where it adds an extra tiny hint of wonder.

  • ...to force theaters to switch to digital projectors, and pay for it themselves. Digital distribution is orders of magnitude cheaper than 35mm film distribution, which is why the studios wanted the change. They could say to small independent theaters, "We're not sending you 35mm prints any more, so you better switch or you'll go out of business." But the MPAA needs the big chains like AMC and Regal as much as AMC and Regal need the MPAA. If AMC stops showing Universal's movies, AMC goes out of business, but so does Universal. There were originally negotiations about sharing the cost of the equipment rollout, but no agreement was ever reached. So the studios started making boatloads of 3D movies and hyping them to death so audiences would demand the change. Audiences are starting to catch on that it's just a gimmick, but it's done its job. Most theaters are digital now and the last few exceptions will be switching within the next year or so. And the studios didn't have to contribute a dime.
  • HR3D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:59AM (#42393423) Journal
    I was searching if anyone mentioned hr3d, to mod him up. But unfortunately not, so instead of modding i have to mention it myself.

    HR3D [mit.edu] (high rank 3d display, where rank stands for high rank matrix used in calculations) is the future of 3d displays. It uses the parallax effect, but to much higher extend, using dual or triple stacked LCD displays. Where each display is serving as a special parallax barrier. HR3D is calculation intensive currently, this is why it is not widely adopted. But the computations costs will decrease, and it will become popular. It is not only two viewing angles for two eyes. It can have 16, 25, 36 or even more viewing angles. And you could look from far above, from far below, from far left from far right. And even look behind something. Though generating content for hr3d requires having 16, 25, 36 or even more cameras (each recording from another perspective) instead of just two cameras recording for two eyes. So it is mostly suitable for digital content, or simply put an OpenGL driver to display OpenGL graphics in real 3D. If a movie director wanted to make a movie, with actors, his camera would look like an insect head, due to so many cameras required. Or maybe some special 3D-camera that records everything and recalculated whole scene in 3D.

    I am watching their progress, and can't wait when I'll be able to buy some hr3d display with OpenGL drivers for linux. Also if they went IPO I would buy their stock immediately.
  • by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:26AM (#42393705)

    I live in French, where american movies are usually shown dubbed.
    While the dub is usually "quite good", the original version, as played by the original actors, is always better, so I prefer watching films in their original language.

    The problem is that now, with 3D, you either have the following choices: French in 3D, French in 2D, or English in 3D.
    I don't even know why, since 3D and subtitles hardly go well together.

    For this reason I'm forced to either watch sub-par 3D, or listen to sub-par voice-over. Or just download from the pirate bay.

  • by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:40AM (#42393749) Homepage
    Both my g/f and I have astigmatism. She also has nystagmus. I also have pretty severe short-sightedness in one eye. For us, The Hobbit's 3D (at 48 fps) worked really well. No dizziness, no headaches, no nausea, and no vertigo except when looking down into a valley from above, which is what we'd hope to feel in that situation.

    So it worked perfectly for us, and we clearly have nothing like normal vision. Certainly astigmatism is nothing to do with your problems. And what's this "[your] eyes can't focus well" bollocks? They don't need to focus - the screen is the same distance away the whole freaking time! Which is the same for 2D and 3D movies. It really looks like you're just pulling random excuses out of your arse.
  • Re:It's not true 3D (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpaghettiPattern ( 609814 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:17AM (#42394643)
    I can only watch 2D and when in a 3D movie I must ware the friggin' specs. If 3D would cause me headaches then I would not hesitate to blacken one lens. It would actually make sense to produce 2D specs that would only let one channel through.
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:57AM (#42394933) Journal

    I was the stereo supervisor on 30% of Transformers 3, and did a lot of research into stereo as part of that project.

    It's obvious once you think about it that stereo 3D is most useful and appropriate at arm's length -- that's what our stereo perception has evolved to do for us. We want to be able to bash that wolf with a club, or pick up a glass of water, or shake somebody's hand -- all things that happen within 5 or 8 feet.

    I believe you were being facetious, but My Dinner with Andre would be perfect for 3D. You would be absolutely in the world of that tabletop; many more of the natural depth cues would work synergistically. Give me 6 or 10 million dollars, and I'll prove it :)

    Porn is another obvious example that would work for the same reasons. According to people in the market, though, the viewer typically wants to be at some distance from the performers -- they want that wall to be there.

  • Re:It's not true 3D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seedy2 ( 126078 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:10PM (#42395049)

    Since the 1950s there has been 3D after 3D after 3D but all anyone wants is the hologram of Princess Leia from the movie.

    There are lots of problems with stereoscopic "3D". Your eyes (actually your brain)determine distance both by rangefinding and focus. When the two don't match (and they seldom will in a stereoscopic movie), many people get headaches.

    Then there's the stupid glasses you have to wear.

    Then there's the fact that 3D isn't really necessary.

    But if you like 3D, never fear, it'll be back. It always is. As soon as a new crop of kids come around who think "3D" is new it will ressurect, just as it's done for over sixty years now.

    I think you hit it with focus part. I always thought the reason I liked the 3D in Avatar was that it was environmental, it wasn't the focus of your attention as much as just there. They might have better luck with it if they kept the 3D to the edges instead of trying to jump your primary focus out of the screen, or at least reduce my headaches. I know I am altering the literal sense of the word focus from your intent, but I still think it applies.

  • Deep Screen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:17PM (#42395119)

    I would *love* to see more 3D done using a "deep screen" effect rather than the "things popping out" effect that is commonly used - i.e. the stereoscopy is calibrated to make it look like everything is *behind* the screen instead of in front of it, like you're looking through a window. It's a more subtle effect, but far more consistent. When you try to put stuff in front of the screen you inevitably end up with large borders where only one eye is getting an image of something that both eyes should be seeing, and personally I find the effect quite distracting and uncomfortable. Not that it doesn't have it's uses - when I saw the IMAX 3D Oceans there were incredible scenes where sea snakes, cuttlefish, etc. were floating right in my lap / the center of the screen, but then a school of fish would try to swim across the theater and go all wonky except for the narrow window where both eyes were getting the proper image. Avatar had the same problem - the 3D was actually pretty good, but you still had large, wonky borders because stuff was floating in front of the screen and going invisible to one eye.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:43PM (#42396087) Journal

    It makes sense. Generally that is when we use 3D in a utilitarian sense. We are mostly able to derive depth information at a distance in a 2D using clues like relative size and it only for up close fine tasks that we need the precision of true visual 3D depth data.

    I have no idea what parts of Transformers 3 you might have worked on but I own that film on 3D Bluray and the 3D is quite nice for most of the film. There are still a few flickery parts though. I think a big part of it is that film makers like to focus a character in the foreground and put the background out of focus for artistic effect. But anything out of focus in 3D flickers. Possibly because digital blur, or digital compression of something blurry isn't going to match in the two opposing frames. I can only speculate but it is possible to keep the full frame in focus and that makes the flickering go away or it has in the films I've seen that are made that way or have shots done that way.

    In summary, we need more 3D porn. tyvm.

  • by Woogiemonger ( 628172 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:55PM (#42396207)

    While it is true that 3D has been largely either "poke you in the eye" or "show it in 3D, even though the director refuses to acknowledge it", there are SOME examples to the contrary. The main one that stood out was Coraline, which I made a point of seeing recently. The director, in an interview, confirmed how I took his approach to be:


    "There was a learning process – mainly not to overuse it. We ultimately used it to help draw the audience into the Other world as Coraline is being drawn into the Other world. The sets in the Other world are actually deeper. In her real world, it’s crushed space with steeply raked floors. For example, the kitchen in her real world is one foot deep. The kitchen in the Other world is four feet deep. I wanted to use 3D in a more subtle way to show what Coraline is going through, that there’s a sense of spaciousness in that Other world. We have a few shots where things poke you in the eye, but when the Other world goes wrong, we crank up the 3D almost to an uncomfortable level to enhance the storytelling."

    Great usage of 3D in my book. It's too bad not many good directors are taking 3D seriously.

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