This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you."
11976 members | you are not logged in | 03 April 2020


August 03 2010

Resistance forms against Hollywood's 3-D Push. Joss and J.J. Abrams quoted from Comic-Con in the context of a larger discussion of Hollywood's 3-D phenomenon. Cabin in the Woods and Avengers mentioned.

3D adds nothing and I can't wait for the day it dies down.
Bad 3D adds nothing (in fact it takes away from a film), but good 3D, like in Avatar, adds plenty to the experience for me. Hollywood's in danger of killing it off, thanks to overkill and trying to do it on the cheap. Post-conversion is damaging so many people's opinions on 3D.
I'm still not sold on just puts me off to be honest. And I am in the .0000000001 percent of the world who hasn't seen Avatar!
I've seen Avatar in theater 3 times, once in 3D. It added nothing I could see. Sure, you could see the depth of a scene, but if that's all it does, I'm sticking to normal movies.

On a side note, here in Belgium they only showed Toy Story 3 in 3D (well, they did show the dubbed version normally. But it was dubbed! Horrible). I was forced to watch it like that. It was horrible. The entire movie was dark. It didn't help that Toy Story 3 takes place in the night half of the time.
The 3-D tech is one thing, but the movies they make in 3-D is another. That fact will make 3-D a little less popular: Step Up 3-D, Cats and Dogs 2, Piranha 3-D...need we say more?
I don't get the whole 3D thing. I'll see a 3D movie maybe once every 10 years just to see if things have changed, but every time I walk out with a headache. Then I'll see the 2D version and not see a difference. Maybe I'm just not programmed to enjoy 3D imaging. Quite possibly I may be seeing something different from everyone else, since I was the guy that stared at those wierd pictures for hours and could never see the bloody sailboat.
I personally can't stand the 3D trend. I get that when movies are made for 3D, they look really good because it's supposed to be in freekin 3D. Other movies that have been coming out recently, however, are simply converted after the fact for the sake of getting people to pay for a overpriced movie ticket. The last movie I saw in 3D was Despicable Me, and it was a good movie by itself, but I would've enjoyed it more if it hadn't been in 3D. the picture was too dark.
Interesting that a lot of people complain about the picture being dark. My understanding (and experience) has been that the projectors are brighter for that very reason. My guess then is that A) Not all projectors used for 3D have been swapped out for the brighter ones, or B) people are remembering how it looks darker when they put the glasses on, and not accounting for the fact their eyes adjust after a minute. (or if they are accounting for it, it's not a minute that is worth it) I suspect at least a little of both.

The only movie I have seen in 3D that seemed enhanced by the 3D was How to Train Your Dragon, and that was quite awesome indeed. I haven't seen it in 2d though, so who knows. I also haven't seen Avatar in 3D, only 2D. Avatar was damn pretty and still boring in 2D, so I saw no reason to pay for 3D to go again.

The projectors and glasses may be a big part of it. The glasses I had for How to Train Your Dragon were better (I'm told) than the cheap every day ones we usually get, and that's the only time I ever had those glasses. Still haven't used the super expensive ones that have shutters in them, I'm curious how those may differ.
the glasses are the turn off for me, im already wearing glasses, im not going pay another $5 to wear another set of paper ones. if hollywood comes out with a 3-D tech that doesnt require extra eyewear, then ill get excited
Imo right now 3D is to 2D as color was to B&W in the 1930s and 1940s - finally a workable strategy but not yet past the gimmick phase that affects every new form of technology (to further the analogy - the whole 2D to 3D conversion craze? Remember a trick called colorization?) Eventually things will calm down enough that the artistic class with vision will start to come up with ways in which to use 3D creatively and tastefully, and I wouldn't be surprised if 3D films soon become just as prevalent over 2D as color films have become vs B&W.

Speaking as someone who generally prefers b&w still and motion photography for its artistic properties, what's important to remember is that the one doesn't make the other obsolete. There are creative tricks you can do with b&w which you just can't effectively replicate in color, and vise-versa. 3d vs. 2D is the same way. Some things are just gonna work better one way or the other. Myself, so long as the filmmaker has chosen the best medium (whether that be b&w, color, 2D, 3D, 4D, etc.) to serve the needs of the project, I'll be a happy viewer.
Canis_Latrans, the 3D glasses they're handing out in theatres these days aren't made of paper, they're plastic. 3D that doesn't require special glasses is being done on the upcoming newest version of the handheld Nintendo DS ("Dual Screen"), I think due to how the two screens project the image (how it intersects from both screens), but I haven't read up on it enough or seen it in action yet, so I'm probably off. Not sure how practical or possible it is yet to do it on a large, movie theatre-sized scale.

Seconding bobw1o's praise of How to Train Your Dragon. The flying scenes were flat-out beautiful (and damn does Dreamworks do some pretty skies in almost all their films) and I think it's the best-utilized 3D I've seen so far. It's not all about the visuals though, the film had heart, was funny, well voice-acted, and well-written (my only issue was with the maybe somewhat standard last act/final obstacle/antagonist-reveal, but oh well). It's still in some theatres, even in 3D, and I think way too many folks missed it.

Avatar looked beautiful when I saw it in theatres in 3D, but since I haven't seen it in 2D, I'm not sure what portion of the credit for the alien world/creatures/people looking so believable goes to it being three dimensional. More inclined to believe it was due to some stellar CG work/motion capture and imaginitive design (yes, the usual blah blah blah, the story was Pocahontas crossed with Ferngully and I said so to my buddy during post-movie discussion and found many reviews and online commentators had said the same thing, but I didn't expect anything mindblowing in the story department. I was more than happy with the performances, at least. In particular, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Worthington made it all work--this made me a believer in him big time, after I suspected some chops when he was the best thing about mostly shitty Terminator: Salvation, though he couldn't do a thing for the Clash of the Titans remake--the epitome of useless 2010 post-conversion 3D films).

Also, what brinderwalt said.
Am I right in thinking 10% of the population can't see 3D properly?
I like 3D as an option for filmmakers, just another tool to use. Unfortunately currently the technology isn't really used as an option for filmmakers but as a marketing strategy for the studios. Most movies in 3D were never intended to be 3D and it shows.

Kris, the Nintendo 3DS technology won't work in theaters because the viewer needs to be in a specific position to the screen for the effect to work.
Simon, I don't know the numbers, but there certainly is an amount. Anyone who can see clearly out of only 1 eye for example, or is blind, has cataracts, basically anyone with minimal to no depth perception. Also, any 3D that uses colored lenses (I know the glasses on my Monsters Vs Aliens viewing were colored) can be a problem for color blind people, though likely only red/green (the most common) color blind peeps.

I don't fit any of those, but I never have anything come out of the screen anymore. You know, the stuff kids reach for to touch, cause it appears to be right in front of your face? I saw people do that during Monsters Vs. Aliens and at the end-of-credits logo on Coraline, but nothing popped out for me. I distinctly remember the little flying hamster alien in Captain Eo when I was 6 flying right in front of my face. I reached for it so much my mom had to hold my arms down so I wouldn't disturb the people behind me.
Current 3D technology in cinema uses polarised lenses, not red-green, I believe, so is suitable for colour-blind people.
I thought Cabin in the Woods was going to be converted to 3D, but the article implies that decision is up in the air.

Release the film already!

I'll take it 2D, 3D, whatever. I'd prefer it in 2D since it wasn't made for 3D and the gimmick won't add anything. I enjoyed Avatar in 3D but had honestly forgotten until just now I saw it in that format. The rush to convert a zillion films is more annoying than the format itself.
Think Joss said in one of the Comic-con interviews that it hasn't been converted and MGM currently can't afford to tie their shoelaces let alone have movies turned into 3D so i'd say it's unlikely to happen.

Current 3D technology in cinema uses polarised lenses, not red-green, I believe, so is suitable for colour-blind people.

Indeed, the images are polarised differently for each eye (IIRC some systems use circularly polarised light and some linearly polarised).

Saw 'Avatar' in 3D and thought it worked really well, I did find myself having to deliberately NOT reach out to touch some objects (weird because clearly I knew they weren't really there) with the world being really beautifully realised (though the film itself was far from flawless). Saw 'Clash of the Titans' and thought it was a) one of the more cynical tent-pole movies i'd seen in a while and b) a really good argument against converting non-3D movies - it gained nothing and lost clarity in fast moving scenes across the screen (though I haven't seen it in 2D to compare and likely never will).

Haven't noticed the darkness that others report, didn't get headaches, didn't notice much blurring (except when I took the specs off to have a look at the screen) and with 'Avatar' at least got quite a pronounced 3D effect (I don't wear glasses though and am lucky enough to have two pretty much fully functional eyes complete with depth perception, colour vision etc.).

It's one tool in a film-maker's box IMO (like fast-cuts, crane shots, oners etc.) and like any tool it can be overused or misused. Once the "craze" calms down a bit that's what it'll become. Added to that, I haven't seen a 3D film released yet that wasn't also released in 2D so no-one is suffering because 3D is an option. Can't understand people being against it on principle to be honest, sometimes it smacks slightly of luddism. It's going to be a good while and require different/improved technology before there's any danger at all of ALL films being made in 3D, of it being the only option. Until then, if you don't like it then don't watch films in 3D, simple.

Not sure how practical or possible it is yet to do it on a large, movie theatre-sized scale.

Not really at all (it's to do with resolution since you're effectively cutting the screen in half by projecting two images simultaneously - current systems project the different images alternately). Slashdot had a couple of interesting links about 3D recently (related to a course Sony is currently running in the UK for aspiring 3D filmmakers, highlighting the pitfalls, techniques etc.) - one about the actual causes of headaches with 3D viewing and one about why glasses are likely to be with us for a while.
If The Avengers is going to be about how strange it is for these different characters to all be in the same room, it would be kind of awesome to see them occupying the same three-dimensional space. I keep seeing Bruce Banner sharing an awkward elevator ride with Thor.
Thanks for the links. Educational. Don't know anyone personally who's gotten a headache from 3D, but know a couple who get motion sickness from the shaky/handheld look in stuff like Cloverfield.
Well I wear glasses and I gotta say 3d is awkward! So i'm counting down until it just stops. 2 pairs of glasses to watch an overpriced film? No thanks! Clash of the Titans(terrible film to start with) had the worst 3d in the history of the world ever!(exaggeration? I think not!) So if this is what they're peddling, I'm not buying.
Interesting stat in that article where it says "industry executives roughly estimate that 3-D pictures average an extra 20 percent at the box office." Taking my local Vue cinema as an example (I'm uncertain how representative of the whole that is, so take this with a pinch of salt if you must,) the cost of 2D ticket is 6.50 and the cost of a 3D ticket 9.30. That is an increase of 43%. That would indicate that the number of tickets sold is less on 3D films by a fair margin.

Of course, the takings are still higher, but it does give an interesting view of the actual popularity of 3D films.
I'm no expert, but I think 3D is ultimately as inevitable as color. It certainly will have growing pains and be misused (as color was, as brinderwalt points out) but it's a natural progression, as were "movies", and "talkies", before color. I think the technology is being given a bad name by some of the bad conversions, but there's nothing wrong with the principle and the right use of the technology as of 2010 (Avatar).

TV manufacturers seem to be investing in it quite a bit. If I'm not mistaken, it's supposed to be very effective for sporting events. I think we're best off embracing it, or at least clamoring for studios to use it right.
Current 3D for me is just too much like fireworks, visually sure it's stunning and an awesome spectacle, but that's not what moves me or inspires me. It reminds me of how years ago when people use to say to me to see a movie even if the story is terrible but for the special effects alone, and I would always respond then what's the point? Maybe someday I'll come round as it grows and gets better and used more tactfully, I admit I can be rather stubborn about these things and have eaten my words many times. Atm though 3D doesn't move me to see a movie or light my fire, strong story with fleshed out characters does!
I've enjoyed the 3D films I've seen (Avatar, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3) but I do find I feel more tired than usual after watching a 3D film versus a 2D film.

Here are some musings I have about the 3D I've seen.

It took me a while to realize even when things are in 3D they can't be all in focus at once - unlike in the real world only what the camera is focused on is sharp - and I found this jarring in the first half of both Avatar and Alice until I got used to it.

Most scenes in Avatar and Alice used the 3D to have things going out of the screen, where as in Toy Story the effect was much more depth of the scene into the screen (at least for me). I definitely found the latter, into the screen, more immersive and enjoyable to watch, but I don't know how much of that was the fact Toy Story didn't have to have any part of the scene out of focus since it's all CG. I do remember one of my favourite experiences when watching Avatar was when a bunch of the main cast were sitting in a small room, and you got this real sense of depth.

So I wonder if as people get used to filming in 3D they'll get better at realizing what works, and using it with more subtlety, and the result will be better films.

I also think they need to invent a kind of glasses that fit comfortably over another pair of glasses - I have good but not great long-distance vision so I would usually wear my glasses at a film, but ended up not doing so for the 3D films because it was too uncomfortable trying to wear both.
I wear glasses and usually the 3D glasses start hurting my nose about halfway through the movie. Other than that, though, I like what I've seen of 3D (Coraline and How to Train Your Dragon, as well as a couple IMAX educational thingys at the planetarium. Oh, and Harry Potter 5, but that was just certain scenes).

I still feel like it's just a fad, though. When you can get nearly the same experience from 2D - and a better experience for some people - I don't see it becoming the norm. There are plenty of compelling arguments in this thread for why it might stick around, and I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong, but as of now it seems to me that 2D is going to win out. Maybe new technology would make the difference.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home