Thursday, December 24, 2009

3D vs 2D cinema

I haven't come to a conclusion on 3D vs 2D, but following a trip to see Avatar 3D, I do have some thoughts:

1) Wasn't cinema 3D already? I never sat there looking at the screen aware that I was seeing something one dimension short of reality.

2) I hate having to wear the glasses over my own glasses. Perhaps a real myopic 3D lover would get a prescription set made up.

3) Cinema images tell us what to look at by putting some things into focus and some things out of focus. While watching this in 3D, I found my eye jumping around to things at different depths and being confused that they were out of focus. Perhaps I need to learn how to watch a 3D movie.

4) As Rhys Davies pointed out to me yesterday, 2D cinema has depth behind the screen. 3D cinema has depth in front of the screen. These are quite different from each other.

5)Whilst awareness of the glasses does take me out of the film from time to time, there is something intensely immersive about the 3D experience. I suspect I was pulled deeper into the 'reality' of the world I was seeing in Avatar because of it.

6) It is a long time since I have felt a lurch of vertigo at the cinema. But I most certainly did with the 3D of Avatar. That was a really good experience. The weightless scene at the beginning was also particularly effective.

7) There were moments in Avatar where the 3D was breathtakingly beautiful. Particularly the floating, luminous seeds in the forest.

8) I can't help feeling that 3D is being pushed by the studios as a means of fighting back against piracy rather than it being motivated by a desire to expand the scope of the art form. But perhaps it can expand the art form anyway. I am undecided.

9) Silent movies were extended by the introduction of sound. Black and white was extended by the introduction of colour. But it seems to me that in each case it took time for artists to understand how to use the new capacity. Why should it be different in this case?

10) Perhaps when we start getting low budget, indi-produced 3D movies, we will start to see people being brave enough with this new dimension to discover its true capacities.

I'm undecided and with a lot to learn. Your thoughts and comments would be particularly welcome on this.

UPDATE - new article on 2D vs 3D cinema here.


Mosher said...

3D to me is about immersion. The single best experience is 3D at IMAX. It really is utterly flabbergasting. I've not generally been impressed with the recent "normal" cinema efforts but the opening 15 mins of the last Harry Potter film on IMAX were absolutely, completely brilliant.

I can only imagine what Batman would have been like. I saw it on IMAX but not in 3D. The scened swooping over buildings were vertigo-inducing enough without silly glasses.

You're right, 3D is a novelty at the moment. For it to really work, the film-maker has to take it into account. Forcing it onto a "normal" film just doesn't work too well.

Paul Lamb said...

Warm wishes and best regards coming your way today, Rod!

kiamo said...

I agree, 3D is an new step that is still very immature, but with time I'm sure we will start to see directors learning/discovering the potential available with the technology. At the moment it seems like most 3d films are 3d because its cool and hip. A lot more thought could go into how when and why use 3d to bring out the best levels of immersion the experience can offer. Not used effectively, 3D can break the immersion, and become jarring. It's nessesary to blend the 2d-3d moments. Maybe we just need to get used to it?

I doubt 3d being pushed has anything to do with fighting piracy. If youv saved the cash on buying dvds/blurays and can afford a £100ish unit from nvidia, have one of their more recent graphics card, and a 120Hz display, then 3d is already available to you in your home. Playstation are releasing a patch and hardware upgrade for their ps3s to enable 3d gaming and movie watching, and expect to see 3d branded tvs by summer time.

Elia said...

The problem here is that the producers think about making money and don't want to pay attention to the fact that the language for 3D cinema has to be different from 2D language, and they keep doing movies for 3D that have a 2D language.

Probably all of that happends because right know there are not to many houses that have 3D capable TVs so if the producers decide to make a 3D movie (not making it in 2D) with a cinematographic language adapted to it they know that they'll not make that much money on the "second market" (DVDs and Blurays).

If in the future the 3D TVs expand their way into the particular houses, this may change, and the 2D movies will be done only in 2D and the 3D ones only in 3D. That's my personal reflexion.