After having seen Avatar, How to train your dragon, some Imax movies and a 3D TV producing 3D imagery, i asked myself whether or not 3D really is the future of movies.
The number of movies that is being made in 3D or is being converted to 3D is steadily rising and the number of directors that is thinking about shooting in 3D is increasing. Is it something you have to look forward to as a moviegoer? The number of 3D movies i have seen may be low, but it definitely has shown me the pros and cons of this technique.
First the pros of the technique, which of course is the feeling of being somewhere. This feeling was the strongest when watching Avatar.
As this movie has been made with 3D in mind it has been shot for the format. The sets look fantastic and the camera movements keep in mind that you can’t make quick movements, because they do not work in 3D.
Another effect which is used a lot in kids movies is to have something appear really close before your eyes to scare you, something that can work great. I think that summarises the pros of 3D movies.
When watching How to train your dragon i took off my glasses. What i noticed is how much brighter the image was and how much you lose when wearing the glasses. If i would have to guess i would say it’s about 50%. I think that’s way too much. When this would happen to you in real life, you definitely would get your eyes checked as you would be scared of going blind.
So the 3D glasses are a real restriction in watching the movie properly. Besides this not everyone reacts the same to the glasses. I went to How to train your dragon with four people and half of them complained about a slight headache afterwards. Another problem when you compare 3D movies to real things is that in real life you can decide where to focus. In 3D this has been decided for you. This is probably the cause of the headaches as you are tricking your brain.
As stated earlier fast movements do not work as well in 3D. Your eyes and brain have to do a bit more work compared to a normal movie. Prices of 3D movies are higher as well.
The question that needs to be answered is whether the pros outweigh the cons. I don’t think this is the case. I could have watched both movies in 2D and not missed a thing. To me movies are about an interesting story. Of course it’s important that this happens in a visually pleasing way as well, but that’s possible in 2D. During the movies i was constantly thinking “this is 3D, this is 3D”. I liked both movies and would have without the extra dimension. Hollywood has tried to introduce 3D as the next step in the movie going experience since 1890.
They have not managed to do it. The question remains if they will manage to do it now. As there are already 3D TV’s in the stores the push seems to be succesful, but Hollywood has to make sure the quality remains fine. I’ve heard very bad stories about Clash of the Titans. If those type of movies will be released again and again 3D will die a slow death. The movie going audience will not see the added value. Personally I’d rather see my movies in 2D and i do not think i will change my opinion about that soon. So for me 3D is a gimmick.