Friday, 22 July 2011

The Emperor's new 3D clothes 'Is 3D worth all the fuss?'

3D mania is upon us, I've heard of some production companies offering corporate videos in 3D and I recently saw a question on a forum asking if anyone knew any hire houses doing 3D pro-sumer cameras. The person in question had a documentary to shoot and wanted to do it in 3D, my immediate question was; why? Even if your viewers on the film festival circuit could view your documentary about lesbian tramps in Poland in 3D, why would they want to?

For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would want to shoot a documentary or short film or anything else for that matter, in 3D. If your documentary makes it on TV, then about 0.001% of your viewing audience will be able to watch it in 3D, that's if of course you sell it to one of the stations with a 3D channel and the program controller is deranged enough to put it on there, which of course he won't be.

If it does make it onto main stream cinema screens, then you can bet every last penny you have that no cinema chain in their right mind would screen a documentary in 3D, when there's an endless stream of crapulent action-packed guff out there to satiate the masses.

So the only way to find out about the plight of homeless, Polish lesbians will be online where nobody will be able to view it in 3D. So again, I ask the question; why? Needless to say the forum poster wasn't too enamoured with me and my trusty old cynicism and promptly stopped talking to me.

It's nothing new for available camera technology to be ahead of available screen tech, HD cameras were around long before HD TV and computer screens became standard. But what chance 3D screens becoming standard?

The way I see it 3D has got a long way to go before it becomes the accepted standard, even if the current wave of 3D TVs hitting the market crest's in a couple of years and a fair percentage of the viewing public have them, by that time the technology would have moved on. You only have to look at the first LCD HD TVs and gas plasmas, to see that the current 3D TVs will most likely be obsolete in less than a few years.

As for 3D capable computer screens, it'll be years, before there are 3D laptop or desktop screens, in fact in its current format, I don't think it'll ever happen; and here's why.

In that oft quoted experiment, if you put glasses on that skew the world and turn everything upside down, after around 10 minutes or so, your brain will flip everything the right way up and adjust so totally, that when you take the glasses off, you'll see everything upside down.

The same can be said for 3D glasses, anyone who has gone to the cinema to see a 3D film, would have noticed that after a while, you stop noticing the 3D. Unless something flies towards the camera, or there is a slow pan on a big group scene, with people standing at different distances from the camera; you simply stop noticing you're watching in 3D.

The reason for this is, you're watching a 3D film on a 2D screen and your brain is used to the image looking a certain way, it's used to filling in the gaps when you watch 2D TV and giving you a feeling of depth even though it's not really there. It is rather like driving very fast on a motorway or race track, you're going too fast to actually see everything flying past in your peripheral vision, but your brain just fills in the gaps. Those people whose brain lack the ability to do this, get tunnel vision, a greying out of the vision at the sides.

Rather like the Emperor's new clothes, nobody actually wants to admit this fact, 3D TVs are no doubt selling just as well as the first HD TVs and 3D films such as the steaming pile of dung that is Transformers 3D are packed to the rafters for every performance.

But like the little boy in the story who shout's 'the Emperor's naked!' I to will shout, 3D's crap! It's not worth it yet! Don't waste your time or money!

Until I can get 3D TV that wraps around my vision, akin to some kind of iMax on steroids, or actual holographic type 3D or at the very least a version where I don't have to suffer those bloody glasses, a real pain in the glasses if you're already part of the spectacle wearing generation; there'll be no point, as my brain will just normalise what I'm viewing and I might as well have saved my money and watched the normal version of Tron.

Why do you think 3D didn't stick the first time around? For all the same reasons it won't stick this time around, until I can get R2D2 quality and I can walk around the picture, then the Real 3D plastic specs are going the same way as the red and blue paper ones of old.

Whilst 3D TV might help gain a little more perspective for certain scenes or certain scenarios (I've heard golf looks pretty good in 3D) for the most part it doesn't enhance viewing enough to warrant the extra expense, especially when it comes to buying camera equipment. In other words it makes about as much sense as Mel Gibson would after a stag weekend in Ibiza organised by Charlie Sheen, personally I'm waiting till the Emperor gets dressed in some clothes I can actually see.

Double R Productions