27 December 2011 by Paul Dempsey
As 2011 comes to a close and the 2012 CES looms, I actually don't think that slinging a bit more mud at 3D is a bad thing, partly because it's a good technology that is being allowed to persist in bad variants. And, unlike other such offerings, one of the biggest problems with 3D is that there's very little 'try-before-you-buy' available.
Let's remember that there are basically three types of 3D today. Movies that are shot in 3D; animated movies that are created inside computer environments in 3D; and 'flat-shot' movies that are converted to 3D.
Great filmmakers working in 3D from the ground up are achieving remarkable results. Martin Scorsese's Hugo is a superb film in every respect. The visuals work with top-notch storytelling and characterisation to deliver an extraordinary experience. And much the same is achieved by Werner Herzog in the 'simpler' documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams which takes us inside the Chauvet Cave to view the prehistoric art within. Artists working with and applying new technology to give us new (or otherwise impossible) experiences. No complaints. Indeed, breathtaking stuff.
Nor will I carp about the 3D animations being produced by Pixar or Aardman or many, many others. They are mostly extending the form and are not simply theme park rides. To find oneself forced to admit that even a Smurfs movie can be made that is not entirely without value is remarkable.
However, there is then this post-converted dreck. I am frankly depressed to hear that George Lucas and James Cameron are to deliver 3D versions of Star Wars and Titanic early next year. Until now, both filmmakers have argued against conversion and in favour of digital technologies throughout the production flow. And while I know that they will be more attentive to the process than others have been to date, I'd rather they simply hadn't done it at all.
When it comes to conversion, Marvel has been a particular offender. In the last week, the Disney subsidiary announced that it would be converting next Summer's The Avengers to 3D for release, the film having been already shot flat. Last year it did the same to (and ruined) both Thor and Captain America.
Indeed, I'd recommend that you try and see Captain America in particular on a flat Blu-ray disc. Stripped of the murkiness imposed by viewing it through a pair of sunglasses, the film proves to have a very distinctive colour palette intended to reflect, would you believe, comic art of the 40s, 50s and 60s. It's a very good film but only when not viewed through a glass, darkly.
I actually cannot think of one successful 2D-to-3D conversion to date. The process has been used to give mediocre films a supposed fillip or to blot out the original intentions of the director for the sake of a couple of extra quid per ticket.
And getting back to our bailiwick, let's not forget that this is largely the content that will be driving 3D out of theatres into the home as we get display and glasses prices down to more acceptable levels. Except that it won't be doing that - it will just leave the public wondering what all the fuss is about.
Because at the movies, they already are with ticket sales generally trending downwards and not even getting a much of a holiday boost as has been traditional, regardless of any recession.
Posted By: Paul Dempsey @ 27 December 2011 04:25 PM General
FuseTalk Standard Edition - © 1999-2013 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.
"Africa is abundant with engineering opportunity. We look at some of the projects and the problems."
- Greenpeace frowns at Centrica's getting a shale-gas venture stake
- HMS Queen Elizabeth nears completion
- Scientist to benefit from exascale supercomputer deal
- World’s most advanced comms satellite shipped to launch site
- Chinese space capsule reaches its ‘Heavenly Palace’
- Dinosaurs’ app uses augmented reality
- E&T magazine - Debate - HS2, the need for speed [01:33 pm 18/06/13]
- Creating an Iphone App [05:50 pm 17/06/13]
- CO2 is good [07:29 pm 16/06/13]
- DECC-EDF makes yet another attempt to fund 3rd Generation Nuclear at any cost [05:02 pm 15/06/13]
- Transformers Vector Group [09:46 am 15/06/13]
Tune into our latest podcast