Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3D or not 3D

There has been an interesting discussion following a blog post by Phil Rice: 3D is (Very Nearly) Here
It had an interesting comment by our respected anymation artist Tom Jantol who is still very sceptic about the current 3D evolution.
"But really, I don't get it. This 3D path. If someone is willing to explain, I am ready to listen. I mean, this is not new element of film grammar, new way of telling stories, even new tool of author's visualization toolbox.... "
Guess I'll have to add my 5c here now. I have to commit I'm a bit biased when it comes to (stereoscopic) 3D. Many years ago I worked a lot with 3D (mainly work on Virtual Reality, although mostly the audio part) and my first steps into 'Machinima' was indeed a S3D project (fully immersive with those uncomfortable head mounted displays). And as a reply to one of Tom's comments:
"But wait, in next scene a hero's leg is so real that I can smell it? But I can't, and it feels real because of the reason why it is in front of the camera, not because of third dimension".
In that particular project we indeed had added 'smell'. When the bed of roses was approched by the viewer he actually could smell them. That was in 2000. Guess it will need some time for me to get that 'immersive' with Machinima again.

Judging the value of S3D at it's current state is not easy, besides the hype and the technology get's pushed a lot by companies to sell new products. If I remeber right there just have been
2 movies (Coraline and Avatar) who have been produced for 3D from the beginning. I have to commit that Avatar was a huge disappointment to me, not only when it comes to 3D. I had some expectations about what Cameron was to come up with. I have learned a lot from him and his films. But the 3D in Avatar didn't catch me at all. I hadn't the chance to watch it on IMAX, that could change my view a bit, but mostly he seemed to got more wrong on 3D than I had expected. Nevertheless I believe in the added value of 3D. I was impressed by a lot of the 3D IMAX films I've seen. And some scenes in other 3D films including Coraline and Avatar give me the impression that in the right hands it could lead to some new breathtaking experiences.
I fully agree with Phil "What most interests me about 3D is what someone like YOU (Tom) or m dot Strange could do with it, because you'd not be the least bit concerned about how it's "supposed to be" used, you'd use it in some way people weren't expecting, in such a way that it WOULD serve as a powerful adjective to your film language rather that just an amusement park gimmick."
The best comparison about the switch from 2D to 3D is the switch from black and white film to colored film. Not the whole film language had to be revised and it could be debated as well on what color could add to a story and the movie itself. But now many years after that transition has made, it is clear to us that indeed color added something to the films we watch every day. And in the right hands it indeed makes a difference. More difference than just by making it look to more realistic.
I don't believe right now that in the near future we will have almost all movies in 3D with some 2D exceptions (like with b/w movies today), but for me it is an interesting area to research and explore. And I already know it will take a decent amount of time and a lot of hard work until I will release my first 3D movie.


  1. Your comparison is very good, of course, there is no doubt that the first viewers of color were so dazzled of the palette that they forgot about the picture, so, if this is the state of 3D today, it needs to lose its novelty before we are able to judge it for what it is.
    I am not convinced for now, and, quite frankly, beside eating popcorn and yell "God, this is so fun", I don't know what to do with it. But I am a person who don't know what to do with Facebook either, so...
    Thing is, after I eat popcorn as a viewer and take keyboard as a author, guy who yell "God, this is so fun" is last on my list to please. First eat your popcorn, turn off the cell phone and girlfriend, go to circus if you want fun, but now open your brain, shut up everything you saw, and maybe I can show you that 2 dimensions of film making are full of unexplored wonders.
    Well, all I want to say is: Will see. :)