Category Archives: 3D

Has 3D bubble burst?

Has 3D bubble burst? 3 reports slowing acceptance and ESPN 3D’s failure (so far). and the third link is

I remain a 3D skeptic. Undoubtedly when designed into an appropriate project and created in 3D it can enhance the experience. When it’s a 2D-to-3D conversion to “cash in” on the craze, the results don’t fool many people who won’t pay the premium for bad 3D, which then leads to a rejection of all 3D because the public aren’t expert enough to understand the difference. In other words, the 2D-3D scammers are ruining it for real 3D.

TVB Europe reports:

ESPN’s 3D channel is half way through a one year trial with which to prove a business case or it may be pulled from the air, writes Adrian Pennington. The network, which launched in June carrying 25 FIFA World Cup matches and plans to produce 94 live events in its first year, will have its future reviewed in early 2011.

The first link at Business Insider is really a rehash and pointer to the TVB article (third link) that has the real information.

The CrunchGear weighs in:

Is 3D already in trouble? Quite possibly, and there’s a few data points to back up that claim. As you know, Christopher Nolan has announced a few things pertaining to the next Batman movie, namely its name (the Dark Knight Rises), that The Riddler won’t be in it (much to fans’ chagrin), and that it won’t be filmed in 3D. I’m pretty sure the previous Batman movie, the Dark Knight, was a gigantic success, so to not film it in 3D is quite the snub. Sorry, 3D, but the prettiest girl at the dance wants nothing to do with you. (Stupid metaphors are stupid.)

3D isn’t nothing. It’s another tool in the visual storytelling toolbox, but not every tool should be used on every project.

Wasn’t 3-D supposed to be cooler than this?

Wasn’t 3-D supposed to be cooler than this?

While it seems the entire industry is rushing to 3D, perhaps it’s time to step back a little and see if it actually enhances the movie-going experience.

The author’s headings probably tell you all you need to know about the article with my summary of the intent:

Shoddy technical work insults audiences (Most 3D is not well done)

No one asked for a 3-D ‘My Soul To Take’ or ‘The Last Airbender’ (A lot of 3D adds nothing)

That’ll be one $16.50 ticket for ‘Alpha and Omega’ (3D is expensive even if it adds nothing)

Would you like an eye infection with that? (Recycling glasses isn’t always done with meticulous cleanliness.)

What do Cinerama and 3D have in common?


If you look very closely at the restoration credits box at the bottom, you can see my credit as "Post Production Restoration Consultant".


Was at the Cinerama Dome to view the restored print of Windjammer and it occurred to me that there’s a lot of commonality between Cinerama (the three camera/three projector widescreen of the late 50’s and early 60’s) and 3D.

But first, a little back story. I have been consulting on the restoration of Windjammer as a technical consultant: making sure that the maximum amount of quality we could get from the print was available for the restoration.

I also advised on tools for the job. The Foundry’s Furnace Core featured prominently as did Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro. I also helped set workflow and kept everything running smoothly.

Unfortunately the complete negatives for the three panels of Windjammer are not complete. In fact the only place the entire movie is available was in a badly faded composite 35mm Anamorphic print.

You can see the trailerremastering process and how we telecined (Oh look, it’s me in the telecine bay) online, but today was the only time it’s likely to be shown in a Cinerama Theater.

David Strohmaier and Greg Kimble did a great job on the restoration – all on Macs with Final Cut Pro and After Effects.

Now this wasn’t a full reconstruction so we worked in HD – 1080p24 – but used the full height during telecine and correction so we didn’t waste any signal area with black. For the DVD, due in early 2011, the aspect ratio is corrected and a “smile box” (TM) treatment to simulate the surround nature of Cinerama.

Because we were working in HD, I was pleasantly impressed by how great it looked at Cinerama size on the Arclight Theater’s Dome Cinema in Hollywood. (Trivia point: the Dome was built for Cinerama it never showed Cinerama until this decade.)

Another point of interest was that the whole show ran off an AJA KiPro as it did in Bradford earlier in the year, and Europe last month. Each Act of the 140+ minute show was contained on one drive pack. Can’t recommend the KiPro highly enough.

So, there we were enjoying the story (and restoration work) and it occurred to me that there were strong similarities in cinematic style between “made for 3D” 3D and Cinerama.


Before restoration, this composite image was washed out, lacking in saturation and very shifted toward red/magenta.
Before restoration, this shot was desaturated, shifted to red and blown out. (From the screening Sep 05, 2010.)


Cinerama seams together three projectors into a very wide screen view that was the precursor of modern widescreen. The very wide lens angles favor the big, panoramic shots and shots that are held rather than rapid cutting. Within this frame the viewer’s eyes are free to wander across multiple areas of interest within the frame.

Similarly, my experience of “made for 3D” 3D movies is that it is most successful when shots are held a little bit longer because each time a 3D movie makes a cut, it takes the audience out of the action for a moment while we re-orient ourselves in space. (Unfortunately there’s nothing analogous to that in the Human Visual System, unlike traditional 2D cutting, which mimics the Human Visual System – eyes and brain together .)

Both Cinerama and 3D work best (in my humble opinion) when the action is allowed to unfold within the frame, rather than the more fluid camera of less grand 2D formats or 3D.

Since 3D had its last heyday around the same time as Cinerama, maybe everything old is new again? Digital Cinerama anyone? (How will we sync three KiPros?)

And one little vanity shot since today was the first (and likely last) time I’ve had my credit up on the big screen in a real cinema:


My first (and likely last) big screen credit moment. 9/5/10
My first, and likely last, big screen projected credit.



Is 3-D Dead in the Water?

Is 3-D Dead in the Water? 

Not a lot of commentary from me on this one. I’ve remained a skeptic about 3D production and it’s ubiquitous future. The graph in the center of the article tells the story.

According to Daniel Frankel of, who published a version of the graph late last month, “no matter how it’s spun, the data on the expected 3-D explosion just isn’t going in the right direction.” Hollywood isn’t ready to give up, he reports, but there’s serious concern over the downward slope. As one theater-chain executive told Frankel, “the truth is probably that not everything should be in 3-D.”

3-D filmmaking’s radical, revolutionary potential

3-D filmmaking’s radical, revolutionary potential

I’m not a huge fan of 3D – I don’t mind it but I don’t generally seek out 3D versions of a film because:

  • The glasses keep me aware that there’s a frame around my movie;
  • 3D is darker than 2D; and
  • Every time there’s a cut – and a jump in 3D space – I have to take a moment out of the story to work out where I am in space.

This Salon article considers what we could do with 3D other than what people are doing with 3D.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s think about what might happen if 3-D movies embraced only the first or the second parts of that description — if they became more intimate and character driven, or if they went in the other direction and became more structurally and stylistically abstract, even trippy.

The result could be genuinely revolutionary. It could let us experience movie storytelling — and movies, period — in a new way. It might even give rise to a new art form, one that’s related to its ancestor, cinema, but that takes off in new directions and does things we can’t even imagine yet because so few people in the entertainment industry have been willing to look beyond entertainment as they’ve always known it.


New technology allows users to “feel” 3D images.

New technology allows users to literally “feel” 3D images

Quite possibly the early days of the Star Trek ‘holodeck’:

The key piece of technology is a special touch sensor that emits feedback to the user’s hand and is able to manipulate it into feeling like the actual object that is being displayed. The 3D images themselves, though, can be projected on something as ordinary as a Samsung 3D TV.

It’s still a long way from visible light beings that have solid form, but I imagine the sensation is more real – even with goggles – than regular 3D.

Still, I have to contemplate the thought that the most likely initial use of this technology will be for more baser pursuits.

Consumers Put 3D TV to the Test

I’m somewhat of a 3D skeptic, particularly when it comes to 3D Television in the home.  I’m fairly comfortable with the cinema experience (although the darker images, awareness of the glasses framing the screen and directors throwing things at me all the time are negatives in my opinion), but I just don’t see how the 3D experience will work with the way we view Television.

In the current issue of DV Magazine, editor David Williams asks why anyone wouldn’t want 3D in the home. My response is that, with glasses, it fundamentally does not fit with the way we watch TV. We don’t just watch TV silently. If I wanted that I’d watch on my laptop, and work on email or Twitter or curating my photo library or something else.

In both cases, glasses would get in the way. It can take us 3 hours to watch a 1 hour (44 min) TV show because we’ll stop and discuss something that the show triggered or we remembered. Glass off, back to TV, glasses on. Or Greg will be cooking while watching TV. Again glasses are incompatible.
The same limitations do not apply to color, stereo sound or HD.
It basically comes down to: TV watching is not a monotasking activity. It’s not sufficiently compelling to do that, so we multi-task with conversations, or while working on another screen.
And I see 3D being incredibly difficult in that situation, even without glasses.
OTOH, I see it working for those who are dedicated sports folk who don’t interact much with other people while watching sports (there goes the Superbowl party).
3D gaming, definitely killer. 3D cinema, bound to be good when done well, but 3D TV in the home. I remain skeptical.
Similarly the folk who viewed 3D for the Technologizer article seems interested but not enough to want to spend money:

Glasses, in fact, were the biggest obstacle. “You’re going to ask friends and family to spend $150-$200 on a pair of glasses?” Tom asked. The cost would be prohibitive if he wanted to invite friends over for a football game or a movie. The group was simply incredulous when I explained that glasses from one manufacturer wouldn’t work with TVs from another. Third-party universal models are coming out, however; and Samsung has vaguely promised future interoperable models.

Reactions were the same at the World Cup screening. While I was watching, a family came up to look at the TV. I offered the boy, about 4, my pair of glasses. He tried them for about a second, then pulled them off. His dad, probably in his 40s, was about as enthusiastic. “I like the TV, but will probably never buy the glasses,” he said, adding, “Only one percent of the programming is in 3D. And then you gotta buy the $500 player.” (Samsung’s BD-C6900 actually lists for $400.)

My new German friends felt the same. “We would pay a little more,” said Astrid, “because we’re technology freaks.” But she felt the premium was too much today. “We just bought our first flat screen in the fall,” she added,” saying it would be a while before they got another TV.

Tom, from the first group, may have summed up everyone’s opinion when he said “I could see buying this in maybe five years, when there’s more content and cheaper glasses”