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Why I Hate 3D Movies (And Why You Should Too)

Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 3:12pm

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Arktic

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Hey guys,

I just read this article, and I think it's right on the money -

Roger Ebert: Why I hate 3-D (And Why You Should Too).

He raises some very interesting points there, and I think that I agree with most of them. Much of this is down to the fact that I'm part of the 7 - 15% of the population for whom 3D just doesn't work (my left eye is a bit rubbish, so I'm pretty much right-eye dependent).

Also, there's another interesting article here, which pretty much sums up my predictions for the future of 3D.

But what do you guys think? I know that there was a "to 3D, or not to 3D" thread before Avatar came out - but now that we've all had a chance to experience 3D, what do you reckon? What about the points that Ebert raises? Anyone have any objections to those? smile

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 4:03pm

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b4uask30male

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Interesting, it's something that I've had to deal with recently.

The DOP I have for my new film has shot 2D and 3D for cinema and suggested that no matter what I should shoot 3D, he said companies like Sky will pay a little more for the 3D version, you also get a 2D version anyway.
By shooting 3D the film is future proofed in some way.

I see his point and I really didn't want to shoot 3D.
So I'm guessing that other companies think the same as him then no matter what there will always be 3D movies sad
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 4:15pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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Rating: +4

I am glad that in Ebert's conclusion he states that he isn't opposed to 3D as an option, but 3D as a standard method of production for all Hollywood movies. This being something I absolutely agree with.

Though everything else was utter bullshit. I'll elaborate;
Our minds use the principle of perspective to provide the third dimension. Adding one artificially can make the illusion less convincing.
Can be compared with "Our minds use the principle of imagination to provide the visual image. Creating one can make the illusion less convincing" in regard to books over Cinema. It's not necessarily a completely invalid point, but it neglects to mention that 3D can also make the illusion absolutely more convincing.

IT ADDS NOTHING TO THE EXPERIENCE.
Recall the greatest movie going experiences of your lifetime. Did they "need" 3-D? A great film completely engages our imaginations. What would Fargo gain in 3-D? Precious? Casablanca?
Did they need colour? How many people do you recall who after seeing Avatar said "I would rather have seen that in 2D"? None, because the 3D was amazing. If anything the consensus was that without the 3D, Avatar would not have been as good as it was. This statement alone completely nukes the idea that 3D adds nothing to the experience.

My favourite movie going experiences ever were Speed Racer and Star Wars. Both of those films would have benefited from 3D. Just the idea makes me excited.

I CANNOT IMAGINE A SERIOUS DRAMA, SUCH AS UP IN THE AIR OR THE HURT LOCKER, IN 3-D.
I think that lack of imagination is what separates a critic from an author, director or artist.

To summarize, I disagree with every point Ebert makes except that I don't think 3D is something that should be, or needs to be applied to everything. Much alike heavy Visual Effects work - it's something that should be used to enhance a production which would benefit from its qualities instead of applied for the sake of it. Perhaps, just perhaps that does exclude a lot of serious dramas.

I feel bad for saying it, but if you can't see 3D then it does somewhat undermine any argument you have against it. A percentage of people are colour blind and so don't receive the full benefit of colour film either. 3D films will likely always have 2D versions.

I'm also not completely sold on 3DTV just yet either. I honestly feel that 3D could be something that remains cinema only creating extra incentive to see something at the box office.

-Matt
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 4:24pm

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Pooky

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Completely agree with Hybrid, except that 3DTV at 60fps would be amazing for sports. smile
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 5:32pm

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Atom

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God I love Ebert.

With the exception of his few but severely, rigidly liberal-for-the-sake-of-liberal moments, he always seems right on the money with how I think of all these things.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 7:03pm

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Evman

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:



Ebert wrote:

I CANNOT IMAGINE A SERIOUS DRAMA, SUCH AS UP IN THE AIR OR THE HURT LOCKER, IN 3-D.
I think that lack of imagination is what separates a critic from an author, director or artist.

This is one of the best things I've ever read on these forums. Bravo sir.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 7:39pm

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Atom

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I think Ebert is the exception to this rule. More than an artist- he's an audience member, and someone that has a very deeply-rooted and very evident care and passion for movie-going and all kinds of movies. And those kinds of people, I think, are more than allowed to make opinions on these sorts of things.

I mean, that and he's got a buncha incredibly valid points. I think he saw his power and position in the world as such a notable film critic, and is using it to voice his (completely valid) frustration.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:07pm

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Pooky

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Despite that, though, the fact remains that he is indeed showing a lack of imagination by believing serious dramas cannot benefit from 3D in any case. It's harder to get right, obviously, but a skilled filmmaker could pull it off just fine.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:20pm

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jawajohnny

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The good thing about 3D is that if done correctly (by that I either mean filmed in 3D, or painstakingly converted), it provides an amazing level of immersion. It adds considerably to the movie theater experience.

The bad thing, is now we're getting 3D added on as nothing more than an afterthought. Clash of the Titans, The Last Airbender, etc. It's fake 3D that they're trying to sell as the real thing. If we're talking about only the fake 3D, then I completely agree with Ebert.

Ultimately, true 3D adds a completely new element to a movie. Much like surround sound, it doesn't change your overall perception of a movie... it just changes how you experience it. For example, I've been working on pre-production of an independent sci-fi feature (about a war on the moon) that just started filming in my town this week. I've been closely involved as an assistant/intern for two years now, and only just recently did the production go 3D. Not only will it extremely enhance the moon setting, it opens up new avenues for the theatrical release, etc.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:38pm

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ben3308

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

I CANNOT IMAGINE A SERIOUS DRAMA, SUCH AS UP IN THE AIR OR THE HURT LOCKER, IN 3-D.
I think that lack of imagination is what separates a critic from an author, director or artist.
How ignorant of a statement. I don't think imagination separates a critic from a creator. That assertion alone is maybe the most pretentious thing I've ever read.

Ebert clearly states his objections are not due to lack of imagination, but assumption of poor execution - and demonstrates, with evidence, where this has happened with good directors, such as Tim Burton. If Scorsese accomplishes it with his next film, perhaps it will work. We don't know.

But maybe it's not that lack of imagination or creativity separates the critic. Maybe it's that their views, by nature, are intended to be more grounded, more cognizant, and more related to the world at hand. Ebert's insight may be harsh but it's real, supported, and fair. Which is more than I can say for how you've treated Ebert - by virtue of the statement you've made.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:43pm

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Atom

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I don't think it's a terribly emotionally-resonant technology, and think it would be lost on dry, serious films myself. Ebert says it best in mentioning that it's not a blanket-use technology; and that while it exists and bolsters some films it isn't for every film.

It doesn't take a lack of imagine to come to the conclusion that it won't work for certain kinds of films, the same way decadent special effects and large, brooding sound design doesn't work for quiet, poignant dramas- they're just incongruous, and there's nothing wrong with that.

It isn't jumping the shark to argue against 3D for the sake of its inaccessibility to certain films and film genres- it absolutely is limiting to certain people and certain stories. This is seen in Clash of the Titans itself; which despite the late-conversion likely never would've worked right in 3D by virtue of the style of the film. It just wasn't conducive to it. And that's perfectly fine, but it can't be seen as a fault of the technicals needing to 'slow themselves down' for the sake of it being in 3D.

Just the same way personal dramas may not benefit from 3D. There's no reason to stretch them to do so (or claim they do) just by virtue of the fact that the blanket consensus is 'Hey, 3D gives more immersion and depth and detail to things- that's look great anywhere! People just have to be more creative/more imaginative!'.

Well, I'll tell you: I may see the line between Sean Penn and the huge mass of policeman that pull him to the ground in Mystic River better in 3D; but to me that scene - an incredibly powerful and emotionally charged one - would've had the technology lost on it and be more of an inhibitor to the mood and tension of the film than anything else.

This isn't to say it might work for some people- it might. And I'm not saying 3D doesn't work for some films- it does. But it isn't the next generation of moviegoing just simply because it doesn't conform to all movies and all stories.

Ebert really says it best in noting that when technology arrives that benefits, unequivocally, all films made and all stories told (like the use of 35mm film itself brought)- we'll just know and it'll be something really special.

But 3D isn't it. Not for me. Not for Ebert. Not for a lot of people. And, more important than anything else, not for a lot of movies. Dramas won't be taken seriously in 3D. Not because of its inherently gimmicky nature, and not because of the clientel the technology currently attracts- but because it dillutes the very artform and response the medium is trying to project.

Like any good theatrical production/play, it is the genuine article in its truest form- and really damn good stage production and all the proper cylinders running- that gives a story and audience full effect. Dramas are no different. They work best, and leave us moved, when they are the most genuine. And 3D, to me at least, pulls you out of that artform authenticity.

But I dunno, maybe that's just me. I would hope not, but yeah.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:46pm

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Arktic

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

I feel bad for saying it, but if you can't see 3D then it does somewhat undermine any argument you have against it. A percentage of people are colour blind and so don't receive the full benefit of colour film either. 3D films will likely always have 2D versions.
I disagree - whilst colourblind people don't get the full effect of a colour film, they can still watch it without any problems. Someone who has monocular vision (our illustrious incumbent leader, Gordon Brown, for example) simply can't watch a 3D movie. There's a big difference between 'not getting the full effect' and 'being unable to watch it'.

At the moment, that's not really an issue - but it will be if the studios keep pushing 3D as "the only way" for film in the future. As an option for films that are suited to it, then yeah, that would be good - but if it becomes 'industry standard', then I think we're in a bad place.

I honestly feel that 3D could be something that remains cinema only creating extra incentive to see something at the box office.
Here, I agree - but I worry that studios are pushing for 3D-EVERYTHING, and that they see it ONLY as a way of making more money (Titans, anyone?).

Cheers,
Arktic,
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 8:58pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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ben3308 wrote:

Ebert clearly states his objections are not due to lack of imagination, but assumption of poor execution - and demonstrates, with evidence, where this has happened with good directors, such as Tim Burton.
To label my statement as ignorant whilst stating that Ebert made a massively ignorant assumption is perhaps a little counteractive to your defence of someone you clearly admire.

My statement wasn't necessarily meant to mean I believe creation and critique are completely separated. But to criticize a man who is damning the use of a technology on a genre wide basis, at a point where the technology has only been used properly on three films. I think it is simply too early to say and that any other perspective is in my opinion, to lack flexibility or imagination.

(Avatar, Coraline, The Glory Hole)

To use Clash and Alice as examples is particularly lazy, as neither were shot in 3D. They were converted, something I and most of the VFX industry is absolutely set against.

I completely agree that 3D is not a blanket use technology, Ebert hits the nail on his head in the summary. I just take objection to some of the points he made before that. I mirror Ebert's cynicism on studio motives to go 3D - but I also understand that new technology has always been seized upon simply to generate profit just as it has been used to create great works of art. Compare 2012 to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind's Visual Effects approach.

I'm also against 3DTV and "Everything in 3D!" both because of the tech not suiting everything and because I'm not comfortable with anybody being alienated from cinema. And I think/hope the craze will die down but retain 3D as a viable format in certain cases whilst keeping the majority of cinema in two dimensions.

It's difficult to cast off Ebert as past it given his clear understanding of this issue, but plenty of the points he made are plain wrong. The plus side is that they are less wrong than his ridiculous opinion on Gaming. I apologize if my opinion offends you on his behalf.

-Matt

Last edited Wed, 5th May 2010, 9:39pm; edited 3 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 9:34pm

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Atom

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There's no use with you, you've clearly made up your mind. wink
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 9:54pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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Atom wrote:

There's no use with you, you've clearly made up your mind. wink
We don't entirely disagree, I think. Though it's a case of never say never. We're all agreed that 3D shouldn't be used on every production because what it brings to a cinematic experience wouldn't necessarily work for everything. I mostly want to see where this goes rather than condemn something that could be a stepping stone to something (even more) incredible.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 12:53am

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jawajohnny

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

I think that lack of imagination is what separates a critic from an author, director or artist.
At least in my case, that is exactly it. razz
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 1:13am

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videofxuniverse

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The 3D films i have seen really immerse you into the film and make it a much better experience. I don't care if its a high action film with fireballs, blood and nails shooting at your face or a boring drama, its the way forward and will definatly be the next big thing after the whole HD craze has its moment. Personally i think people always try to find faults with something just because the rest enjoy it.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 2:18am

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Aculag

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Atom wrote:

There's no use with you, you've clearly made up your mind. wink
So have you.

I think Ebert is right in a lot of ways, but I think he's really wrong if he thinks that everyone is trying to push this as the "future of cinema", as if it would be the ONLY method of making films. Obviously not every film benefits from 3D, but like Hybrid said, not every film benefits from being in color, either, or having dialogue, or special effects, and so on. It is annoying, however, that every big movie lately has slapped 3D on as a trend, and not as a stylistic choice. Avatar was entirely conceived as a 3D piece, so for me, it's the only one that has really worked so far. Ebert's argument that Precious and Hurt Locker wouldn't benefit from 3D is totally correct, because those films have absolutely no use for it, and it would just be a distraction. But to say that no adult drama would ever benefit from it is erroneous. We just haven't seen it happen yet.

I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D, and I really wished I hadn't, because it was a huge distraction a lot of the time. It added to the "wow factor" of the visuals, of course, but it seemed very tacked on, because it was. CG films like Up and Monsters vs. Aliens really work well with 3D because they can be rendered that way much easier than something like Alice in Wonderland or Clash of the Titans could be. And in the case of Avatar, it worked extremely well, because again, that was the intention all along, and it was filmed in 3D.

Ebert dismissing 3D cinema as an annoying trend sounds to me very similar to traditional film purists dismissing digital cinema cameras even as recently as five or ten years ago. The thought that 3D cinema will never work is simply incorrect. It can and will work for the things that it is meant to work well with. I do agree that it shouldn't be slapped on to everything and that there's no way that every film needs to be in 3D, but it can work for a lot of stuff. Even James Cameron agrees with this. Even though digital cinema is catching up to film in terms of resolution and feel very quickly, people will always shoot movies on film, and even though 3D is very popular now, and will no doubt be used much more frequently in the future, people will always film movies in 2D as well. It's just another method of artistic expression, and once the initial buzz over it dies, I think it will likely be viewed as such, instead of a trendy experiment.

Werner Herzog is making a documentary on prehistoric cave paintings and it is going to be shot in 3D. That may sound like a silly idea, and just following a stupid trend, but if you think about it, that is a great application of 3D in film. 99% of the population will never be able to see such cave paintings in person, and while seeing it projected on a 2D screen would still be cool, seeing it in 3D will allow us to see the detail in the cave walls, to perceive the depth that actually exists there, and it will allow us to actually experience those caves like we would never be able to do in 2D, and like we will absolutely never be able to do in real life.

So yes, he's right on some points, but just sounds like an old man complaining on others. And as much as I respect the guy, that's pretty much what he has sounded like to me lately. He wrote a whole essay about how video games will never be art because there is always a goal in video games, which is just absurd, and just Ebert being an old man not fully able, or willing, to appreciate a relatively new aspect of media.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 2:49am

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jawajohnny

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See, that's the perfect application for 3D. I think 3D should only be used to enhance films where the setting is the story, such as the caves, Pandora, and in my case, the moon. Whereas in a film like Precious, 3D would add absolutely nothing. A normal, everyday location would not benefit from 3D, simply because we see them that way in person every day.

And sorry, but Roger Ebert is slipping. One minute he's dead-on, and the next he's completely off-base. This can pretty much be summed up in his Star Trek review. One valid point right off the bat... and then the rest of the review is just "wrong" for lack of a better word.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 3:36am

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Serpent

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If Hurt Locker were shot in 3D and done tastefully, that would have been awesome.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 3:42am

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Aculag

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Serpent wrote:

If Hurt Locker were shot in 3D and done tastefully, that would have been awesome.
The slow-mo explosion would have been anyway.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 3:49am

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Evman

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Wouldn't have gotten that absolutely outstanding 16mm grain though.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 7:54am

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Joshua Davies

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Meh, I think the Ebert article was pretty short sighted really. While the implementation of 3D is far from perfect I still love the innovation of the new/updated techniques. While it may not have a great benefit to some films I really don't see it taking away from the experience. Furthermore, it's not like 2D will disappear anyway. 3D might have a long way to go but I'm very glad for it and I expect I'll get a 3DTV.
Posted: Thu, 6th May 2010, 8:06am

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Simon K Jones

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Ebert increasingly comes across as a reactionary old man, which is a real shame given some of the progressive films he's championed in his time.

This combined with his bizarre, needless and vitriolic attacks on the gaming industry have sucked away any respect I might have had for the man.

As schwar says, 3D has a long way to go, but that's the case of any new technology. When it comes to inherently technological arts such as film, there's always a technical boundary to get past before the tech can be used artistically. That's been the case from the very first time someone ran film past a lens. Visual effects techniques pioneered in big blockbusters like Star Wars now benefit small indie movies, for example.

To dismiss 3D just because it hasn't been used particularly well yet is no different to dismissing the entire gaming medium just because it hasn't produced much in the way of artistically satisfying products. These things have to be given time to develop their own language.

If there had been too many people like Ebert around in the 1800s, cinema would never have happened as it would have been dismissed before it had a chance to establish itself.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 1:18am

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Struker

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I think Ebert's primary contention is that 3D is simply not necessary.

And I agree. Because, despite the hype, it doesn't really do what it claims to do. Some people seem to believe that, because the film frame appears to have real-life Depth of Field, (Perspective, I should say), they are getting to see more - more of what's on the screen and more of what was in the original set.

But of course they're not. They're still only seeing what was in the camera's viewfinder when the camera was running. The illusion that they could, if they could just move a little to one side, see behind that character in the foreground, is... illusory. I think ultimately, that illusion, and not the 3D illusion, will turn out to be the single most frustrating element in 3D movies, and that is what will kill it.

As Ebert pointed out, the grandfathers of modern filmmakers knew all about 3D, and they tired of it fairly quickly. The old stereoscopes were popular for a while, but today you'll only find one in an antique store or a museum. People simply got over them. There's only so much "extra experience" to be had from looking at a flat image that looks like it's not flat. It becomes mundane, and even boring, because it's no different, ho-hum, than how we see in daily life. I know that's supposed to be the appeal of 3D, but it's also its limitation.

If 3D movies are a so-much-better experience, why don't more people go to live theatre? And how did movies ever become such an astonishing success and so overwhelmingly popular in the first place, when they were only flat images? You'd think that 2D would be a major turnoff. But as we all know, it wasn't.

Yeah, filmmakers will probably jump on the bandwagon and start making a lot of 3D movies. For a while. But as with all "new innovations", in a very short time it will become as banal as "glorious technicolour, breathtaking Cinemascope and stereophonic sound"... biggrin

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Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 7:02am

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Serpent

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You do see more, instead of a one eyed camera projection, you are seeing a two eyed camera projection merged with the glasses to create an immersive experience (depth of field has nothing to do with it). "Not necessary" is such a poor way of putting things. Most things aren't necessary, by definition.

Your illusion point is really irrelevant, does it matter if what we're seeing is real or not? Magic is illusion, special effects are illusion, etc. I really don't see your point in any of that. Knowing about the concept of primitive 3D, and having experienced quality 3D are two completely different things. Which makes your next couple sentences pretty much void.

The differences between theater and cinematic experience are RIDICULOUS. Watch a multi-camera filmed 3-walled play, and come tell us that again. It blows my mind that you are on a filmmaking forum and are comparing film and theater in such a way.

And the 3D experience has been around for ages, and now it's improving and becoming ridiculously mainstream. It's not going away. Technically, this is my opinion, but seriously, think about it. Why would it phase out now, after all the years it has existed? Sound didn't phase out when it was introduced. Neither was color.


For the record, I am a supporter of 3D for certain films used tastefully.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 7:09am

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Atom

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Mehhh, that first part of your post is debatable. Struker has a completely valid point and perspective, and basically one that I share.

To each his own with the current technology that is called '3D', I think is where it all has to be left. At least for the moment.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 7:20am

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Struker

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Well, Serpent.... thanks for your thoughts.... unsure

I guess time will be the best judge.

PS: I should have said "Perspective", rather than "Depth of field".
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 8:14am

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Simon K Jones

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I'm actually with Struker, in a way, on one of his points.

Being a regular gamer, I find a properly 3D game, even if shown in 2D on a standard TV, much more effective than the restricted 3D in 3D movies. The 3D in movies works, but its effect isn't as great as some would make it out to be.

The benefits of '3D' to me would be the ability to move the camera around and compose your own shots while the action plays out around you. But, then, that would be an entirely other medium.

The main difference between 2D and 3D movies, unfortunately, is the price of the ticket, so for now I prefer 2D still. smile
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 11:15am

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pixelboy

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I am (perhaps selfishly) hoping that 3D dies out shortly, due to my own monocular vision. I know that if the technology continues to do well, it will likely become a moviegoing "option", while 2D projections will continue to be offered. However, like most people, I rarely go to the cinema alone. I'd rather not try and convince a group of friends with proper binocular vision to limit their own experience to 2D so that I don't have to put up with a dim, nauseating image.

Mind, if there is eventually to be some massive, film-industry-funded breakthrough in the field of optometry that allows such vision problems as mine to be corrected, long live 3D. smile
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 12:06pm

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pdrg

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Every iteration of technology brings us more opportunities and distractions, it is up to the directors and the audience to decide if it's worth it.

Ebert seems to represent a sector of audience (which includes me) who is unimpressed with 3D as a compensation for unexciting storytelling. Avatar is not a great story - it's perfectly decent but not //all that// in my opinion. 250-ish Million bucks - or 25 $10M films. Is it 25 x better than a $10M film?

Personally I'd rather watch Amelie (€11M) than Avatar ($234M), I prefer the styling, characterisation, story, just about everything about it. Look at Hitchcock's storytelling - superb and compelling, but without colour. Watching it, you don't think 'I wish I was watching this in colour' or 'I wish I was watching this in 3D'.

I'm sure it'll march on, and that we'll soon enough see posts here desperate to make 3D videos for that 'film look' in exactly the same way as we've seen HD/24fps/shallow DOF/etc touted when the fundamentals of filmmaking - script/acting/direction/composition/lighting/sound - are neglected in favour of gimmicky 3D cameras.

Done well, 3D, yeah ok if it is a good film. If it's an excuse to not make a good film, that's a very different thing, and I expect we'll see it being used as a gimmick to fill screens instead of spending the budget on performance and scripting. And that does nobody any favours...
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 12:45pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, I think Avatar is a bit of a dubious example due to it not being particularly good, except in the technical aspects.

The only other 3D film I've seen is Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. I saw it in 3D at the cinema, and then again on a small laptop screen, using crappy laptop speakers, while on holiday.

It was just as good in both cases, because it's a genuinely good movie. I'm not sure whether the 3D was relevant.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 1:14pm

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Joshua Davies

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I'm yet to play a 3D game using some kind of 3D glasses - how does that hold up?
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 1:16pm

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Simon K Jones

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I've only played some using crappy anaglyph glasses, which was fairly rubbish, as you'd expect.

I've been told by a few people that using nVidia's more expensive shutter glasses is pretty excellent, though. That combination 3D display AND 3D control over the game camera appeals to me a lot more than the 'pre-baked' nature of 3D movies, I have to say.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 1:27pm

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Fxhome Dude

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I don't care if I'm wasting my money, if the screen is dimmer, or if I get a headache. I like 3D...
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 2:34pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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pdrg wrote:

Every iteration of technology brings us more opportunities and distractions, it is up to the directors and the audience to decide if it's worth it.
Bang on. It annoys me slightly when people say things like 3D has been used in the past and the directors got tired of it relatively quickly. Because it's so heinously wrong. Before it, nothing did 3D like Avatar did because the technology to shoot, work upon and then project it properly didn't exist. I think to argue otherwise is as bogus as writing off modern day Visual Effects based on tools available 50 years ago.

I don't see the connection between 3D and whether a film is a good film or not. And I mean this in the sense that 3D does not need to exist to serve the art form any more than Visual Effects do. We seem to forget that Computer Graphics have long been used as an excuse to create bad films and yet we allow it because of the wealth of incredible things that have also been achieved with it.

3D IS a Visual Effect. And there will always be films that will benefit from it simply due to the nature of the cinema experience the film was designed to be. Transformers, 2012 - Any VFX centric Blockbuster is likely to benefit from being in 3D. This doesn't mean the films will be better, or any good at all. But there's a place in cinema for ridiculously over the top Visual Effects action epics, and 3D fits in with that quite smugly.

Away from that, I think it's too early to say that 3D won't be used to create something absolutely artistically brilliant from both a visual and a directorial standpoint. It's early days and I like to think of any modern technology as a stepping stone to something greater.

-Matt

Last edited Thu, 13th May 2010, 7:48pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 4:17pm

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pdrg

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

I think it's too early to say that 3D won't be used to create something absolutely artistically brilliant from both a visual and a directorial standpoint.
Agreed - I'm looking forward to seeing it, when somebody understands it enough to make it contribute to the film (in the same way a good grade can make you appreciate colour in films).
Posted: Fri, 14th May 2010, 3:30am

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Struker

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

Bang on. It annoys me slightly when people say things like 3D has been used in the past and the directors got tired of it relatively quickly. Because it's so heinously wrong.
Actually, it's not wrong, Matt. It's quite true. You might be surprised at the determined efforts that many people have made over the decades to sell flat images as three-dimensional images. People have been trying to get it right forever. But none of the methods they used survive today. Why? Because even though some of them produced a fairly adequate illusion of depth for most people, they simply couldn't retain their novelty value after a couple of viewings.

I mean, think about it. If 3D was considered so desirable and indispensible to movie-watching, the efforts to perfect it would have been continuous and unceasing. But instead they have been ad hoc, with sudden bursts of enthusiasm arising, and then falling, from decade to decade. By contrast, the struggle to perfect colour film, for example, was relentless from its first introduction. Why? Because the real world is in colour. Yes, the real world is in 3D, too, but nobody ever thinks about it! Human beings are perfectly happy to sit and stare at a flat wall indefinitely if it has a good painting hanging on it. We don't feel an overwhelming urge to raise our hands in front of our faces just to reassure ourselves that everything in our world is still in 3D.

Before it, nothing did 3D like Avatar did because the technology to shoot, work upon and then project it properly didn't exist. I think to argue otherwise is as bogus as writing off modern day Visual Effects based on tools available 50 years ago.
I don't think anyone is doing that, Matt...?

I don't see the connection between 3D and whether a film is a good film or not. And I mean this in the sense that 3D does not need to exist to serve the art form any more than Visual Effects do. We seem to forget that Computer Graphics have long been used as an excuse to create bad films and yet we allow it because of the wealth of incredible things that have also been achieved with it.
Not sure what you mean when you say that CGI has been used an "excuse" to make bad films? Nobody ever sets out to make a bad film.

3D IS a Visual Effect. And there will always be films that will benefit from it simply due to the nature of the cinema experience the film was designed to be. Transformers, 2012 - Any VFX centric Blockbuster is likely to benefit from being in 3D. This doesn't mean the films will be better, or any good at all. But there's a place in cinema for ridiculously over the top Visual Effects action epics, and 3D fits in with that quite smugly.
Hmmm, that one confused me too... do you think 3D is a good thing, or a ridiculous thing?

Away from that, I think it's too early to say that 3D won't be used to create something absolutely artistically brilliant from both a visual and a directorial standpoint. It's early days and I like to think of any modern technology as a stepping stone to something greater.

-Matt
Personally, I think I'll skip 3D and wait for holographic movies.
.
Posted: Fri, 14th May 2010, 2:18pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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Until the last 3 years, tools haven't existed to capture a movie 3D image correctly. Sure, you could use two cameras - but acquiring a true 3D image is far more complicated than having two cameras spaces a certain distance apart. It is a very difficult process even with the most modern digital cameras.

Due to frame rates, camera distortions, any type of rolling shutter, object displacement, different colour's being picked up - the footage for left and right eyes would differ significantly and cause headaches/viewing focal problems. Then when it came to projection, there simply hasn't been a way to project alternating flames at high speed effectively until realD created the spinning projector head. So whilst yes, 3D has been attempted in the past they are a far, far cry from the tools available today and to devalue today's technology on the successes or failures of technology decades of years old is comparable as writing off the potential of modern day visual effects based on tools half a decade old.

I think to say "Nobody ever sets out to make a bad film" is a little untrue. Many directors know what they are creating is far from a masterpiece and many producers have created films knowing that they relied entirely on Visual Effects to be a success and this is what I infer by "excuse".

To clarify, I think 3D is a great thing - but the nature of the film is something that needs to be assessed before the decision on whether to make it in 3D or not is made. As I've said before, it should not become a standardised method of film making - but an extra for certain films to create an additional impact upon viewing. The easiest genre to say that easily fits into the category of always benefiting from 3D are VFX reliant films such as 2012, Transformers, Star Wars and Speed Racer - the latter two being genuinely brilliant in 2D.

And on the same hand, I acknowledge that 3D can be used to achieve more than a wow novelty factor. Coraline is an excellent example of correctly used 3D.

And also, I'm awaiting Virtual Reality drama constructs where you plug in and actively participate.

-Matt
Posted: Sat, 15th May 2010, 2:20am

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Struker

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Hybrid-Halo wrote:

So whilst yes, 3D has been attempted in the past they are a far, far cry from the tools available today and to devalue today's technology on the successes or failures of technology decades of years old is comparable as writing off the potential of modern day visual effects based on tools half a decade old.
Oh, no, I don't devalue today's 3D technology a bit, Matt! I certainly acknowledge that the technology that created Avatar is an impressive tool, to say the least. What I'm saying is, the results on the screen are still basically the same old thing, despite being created by improved methods.

I'm old enough to have seen 3D movies made in many of the technologies you mentioned. When I went to see Avatar, I was expecting a 3D experience that blew me out of my seat. I expected an "omigod" moment. But it didn't happen. Sure, it looked like it had perspective, and I was glad there were no red/blue double images to interfere with the illusion, and that I didn't have to squint to see the things that were in shadow. But apart from that, it was simply good old fashioned 3D. Kinda like my old toy "3D Viewer", only in motion. (And benefiting greatly from a lot of colour grading, I might add.) But no matter how a 3D effect is achieved, it's still just an effect, which you said yourself.

To be perfectly honest, I was more impressed by the realistic motion capture technology and those vivid fluorescent alien-deep-forest colours than by the 3D.

I think to say "Nobody ever sets out to make a bad film" is a little untrue. Many directors know what they are creating is far from a masterpiece and many producers have created films knowing that they relied entirely on Visual Effects to be a success and this is what I infer by "excuse".
Too true. But there's a difference between "knowing you're making a bad film but not minding", and "setting out to make a bad film".

Personally, I have to say I think Cameron was definitely in the first camp when he made Avatar. And I think his having access to the technology to create better 3D was partly to blame for the movie being as "average" as it was.
.
Posted: Sat, 15th May 2010, 2:59pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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I saw Avatar both in 3D and 2D on the big screen and I've got to say, the experience was far superior in 3D. And in the case of Avatar, to create additional visual impact was the sole function it served. My jaw hit the floor at the beauty at some of the visuals, and part of those visuals included the stereoscopic depth.

It's an interesting point you make about the access to the new technologies which prevented Cameron from making something beyond an average film though. And whilst I didn't feel Avatar was average, I would say it's one of the better films of its genre - it does make me wonder if films I would have thought to benefit from 3D - Speed Racer, Star Wars, 2012 etc would also have been restricted by having too much technology available.

Being optimistic, the stereo camera technology is still in early days with I think either Sony or Panasonic having developed a single lens camera capable of stereoscopic imagery as well as talk of 3D tech which doesn't require an audience to wear glasses. I do think the 3D craze will die down, but I think when it does we'll still see 3D movies as an established method of film making.

It's early days, and whilst I still don't want 3D to be the standard method of filming (How an artist makes a film should forever be up to the artist) I think there's plenty of room for a seamless, easy to use tech as well as a genuine filmic 3D masterpiece.

-Matt
Posted: Wed, 26th May 2010, 7:17am

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Pooky

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I just saw Shrek Forever After, and I thought you guys might like to know that it's probably the highest quality 3D I've seen yet. Everything was super crisp, moved smoothly, looked fantastic and rounded. Avatar is still the best live 3D, but I think Shrek beats it at general 3D experience.

Movie's not very good, though, unfortunately razz