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What is your opinion on “3D” films and television?

This post was written by a subscriber to my film ezine The Director’s Chair.

Hello Peter,

This isn’t about the workshop but an entirely different question for you!

3D – well I just don’t like it. I came out of watching Train Your Dragon, with eye strain, massive nausea and I’m still a bit baffled that this kids film had only 1.5 laughs in it.

However, I’m now seriously concerned about film as a format medium. 3D films will become more like computer games because using 3D as ‘film’ just doesn’t work. For example, and I’m comparing with Avatar here.

– Fast cutting – NO
– Complex backgrounds – NO
– Multiple people/creations on a front level camera position – NO
– Complex colour palettes – NO
– Jumping focus point between cuts – BIG NO and so frequently done in 3D

Equally the story must be SIMPLE because we can’t absorb complex info on top of the vision fest.
The pace must be SLOW in order for the eye to register the ‘3D’ world. Welcome back the long one shot.
The soundscape must be simplified.
Lighting must be different etc

Blue is an eye soother (Cameron was very clever in his choice, I actually think that all 3D worlds need to be blue in order to smooth the image transference into the eye in this format’). For such a simple story it was 162 mins – whopping. this was to allow for very slow sections and pacing in order to allow the images to be processed by the viewer. A complex plot may run to a day!!

So story, performance, camera, lighting, sound and design (and never ending post production with sfx gurus). All different.

Personally, I actually find it not only worrying but sad:

No more Bourne Trilogy. Too fast and too much cutting. No more Shawshank Redemption. Not enough flying around on mythical creatures in wild costumes. What’s gonna fly at ya, someone’s pudding?

However I’ve been looking around and I’ve found that you can have 3D imaging as seen on a standard 2D screen. Now this is actually FANTASTIC. It is effectively like full depth of field in total focus through the full shot. This is amazing. No glasses!!

The basic difference I can see is:

– 3D (glasses version – glasses must be worn) the image comes out from the screen towards you. The front of the image (requiring eye focus) then varies in location depending on the shot. The rear parts of the image are blurred.

– 3D (no glasses version – you can view this on a standard screen) the image goes behind the screen so you end with a static interface and the rear of the shot is where you get the depth. All parts of the image (as far as I can tell) are not blurred.

However I’m strugging to find information on this 3D/2D screen version. Does it have a name? Is anyone persuing it? Why is it not getting some fantastic hype? What cameras and software is required? What resources are out there to learn about this. This is the holy grail for DOP’s since the 30’s and 40’s and Gregg Toland (DoP on Citizen Kane) was working on trying to create this effect with one camera however you actually need two.

I’m so disillusioned after my latest 3D (jump out at ya) trip that if I didn’t know how just wonderful films can be and how amazing they can make you feel, i would not give them the time of day.

ANY help, any help at all on this would be so much appreciated.”


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