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The Movie Studios' Big 3D Scam

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the say-it-ain't-so-joe dept.

Displays 532

An anonymous reader writes "There's a lot of things wrong with 3D movies. Avatar's 3D was well executed, but Alice's 3D was really bad, like all 2D-to-3D conversions. And yet, studios are reconverting 2D movies—including classics—into 3D to milk this fad. On top of that, the theaters are not prepared for 3D, with bad eyeglass optics and dark projections. In this article, a top CG supervisor in a prominent visual effects studio in Los Angeles calls it as it is: it's all a big scam by the movie studios."

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Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512104)

Imagine how I feel about all that hype with only one eye...

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (0)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512166)

Do what I do.

Go to the 2D showing and save some cash. Not only is it cheaper, but the color alignment is correct (each of the glasses lenses is a different color, and if you watch it without the glasses, it's blurry).

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (2, Informative)

Ailure (853833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512370)

3D glasses used in modern cinema is Polarized, not tinted with red/blue.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512512)

actually, there have been plenty of recent 3D kid's movies done with old school red/green and red/blue glasses.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512676)

They're still a minority. I've only seen polarized glasses now that these 3D movies came again.

But hell, when it was a new thing I even played Left4Dead in 3D with NVIDIA's 3D Vision [] . Expect that I went the cheap way and just used red-cyan (or maybe some else) glasses as the feature is build-in with normal nvidia drivers too. The experience is definitely more cool and works really well with some games. Those incoming hordes of zombies really do scare you. If I had more cash I would probably buy that set and some supported monitor, as it does make a difference in games.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (1)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512698)

actually, there have been plenty of recent 3D kid's movies done with old school red/green and red/blue glasses.

Probably because they want them to work for home viewing where the kid's movies are very popular, and the polarized glasses don't work with TVs.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (2, Informative)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512720)

Actually, no there haven't. They've all been polarized using Real D and passive stereo. If you went to a movie that used the different color glasses, well, I'm sorry you wasted your money because you got scammed.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (1, Informative)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512692)

3D glasses used in modern cinema is Polarized, not tinted with red/blue.

Actually, 3D glasses used in modern cinema is tinted magenta/cyan when being shown in a modern cinema that has not been cinematically retrofitted to show modern-day 3D cinema. Granted, they use technology to their advantage and display/filter the pictures (with $40 glasses that need anti-theft tags so people don't walk away with them) in such a way that there's not MUCH of a color issue, but they still use them.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512462)

...each of the glasses lenses is a different color....

Been a while since you saw a 3D movie, eh?

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (0)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512510)

First off, the alignment is correct in 3D: there's a different image for each eye. You should never watch 3D movies without the glasses, even if you only have one good eye. Well, I suppose it's okay if you're blind. If you're watching a 3D movie in 2D, you're probably just watching one eye's view.

Second, the glasses' lenses aren't different colors, at least for any decent 3D method. They filter out the light so that the correct image goes to each eye. Some do it using different polarizations of light. Some do it using color notch filters (they pass all 3 primary colors, but only at specific wavelengths). And some do it by using LCD shutters to block out the image completely as each eye's image is shown alternately.

If you watch a 3D movie without the glasses, not only do you see 2 slightly different images superimposed on each other, but it's also twice as bright as it should be.

Re:Bigger scam for 1-eyed viewers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512792)

The grandparent was suggesting seeing the 2D version of the movie, not going to the 3D version and leaving the glasses off.

Well, Yes (4, Insightful)

spribyl (175893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512108)

3D does not make a bad script/actor/director/... better.
Frankly, 3D has nothing to do with story telling.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

Sagelinka (1427313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512150)

Very well put. Its exactly how it seems. They want to capitalize on every little thing.

Re:Well, Yes (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512772)

Frankly, 3D does make a bad movie better. If I have to watch a bad movie (some of us on slashdot have girlfriends/wifes), I rather watch it in 3D so at least I get kick out of the 3D immersion.

Re:Well, Yes (5, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512244)

The point of 3D is to provide an experience you can't get at home. Nothing more, nothing less. Theaters have been dropping in popularity as DVD sales go up and home theater systems get better -- 3D is trying to pull viewers back to the theater.

Re:Well, Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512412)

The point of 3D is to provide an experience you can't get at home. Nothing more, nothing less. Theaters have been dropping in popularity as DVD sales go up and home theater systems get better -- 3D is trying to pull viewers back to the theater.

That must be why there's the big push this year by CE manufacturers to get 3D into the home...

Re:Well, Yes (1)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512496)

Theaters have been dropping in popularity as DVD sales go up and home theater systems get better -- 3D is trying to pull viewers back to the theater.

Theaters have been dropping in popularity due to ridiculous prices.

I used to see at least 1 movie a month, but when 2 tickets and a soda costs $30 I pick 1 movie a year to go see.

$12.75 for a movie is outrageous (I live in NYC) but at $15 I'll just stay home.

It's not the piracy that's killing movies, its the prices.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512646)

Is the notion of inflation new to you?

Re:Well, Yes (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512916)

Is the notion of adjusting for it new to you?

Re:Well, Yes (0, Offtopic)

Ozeroc (1146595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512668)

And all the other obnoxious a-holes in the theatre... I really hate going to the movies for just that reason.

Re:Well, Yes (2, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512746)

Wouw, here we pay 120DKR (just under $20) to see Alice in Wonderland.

but 3D home theater is next. (1, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512586)

It's a treadmill that the movie theaters can't get ahead on. Instead of trying to stay on the digital advancement treadmill, they should be marketing their tradition and atmosphere etc. I think it's funny that theaters are going to digital projection and touting this as if they were upgrading...even charging more, in Dallas theaters. They should be charging more for the film! It's their only niche. I think it's an obvious opportunity to market something different..."watch a 'real' film" etc...I mean if the movies come on hard drives and are played on digital projectors, then it's basically a badass home theater, with a lot annoying people. With your blu-ray and bigscreen and surround sound, why go to the theater? They tried to invent 3D to distinguish themselves, but now 3D is coming to home theater. Still, basically nobody has cans of film and a 35mm projector in their home theater.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512602)

I don't know which theaters you guys are going to, to think that they're dying. Every theater I've been to on a Friday or Saturday evening recently has been absolutely jammed, you can hardly walk through the lobby.

Reminds me of that old Yogi Berra quote: "Nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded."

Re:Well, Yes (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512622)

Yes, when all they really need to do is to skip the ads. It would work for me.

Re:Well, Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512784)

I've been doing stereo ("3D") photography for over 30 years. I have two stereo cameras and a stereo projector (all made in the 1950s) and lots of stereo Polaroid glasses. 3D is an experience you can get at home.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512788)

But you CAN get it at home, and probably easier than you can get it at the theater.

Best Buy is really pushing 3D TV. []

Much of this stuff is not yet ready for mass appeal. [] But that fact is changing daily.

In a few years 3D source media will be much more prevalent.

This will lead to more demand for 3D programming, and probably more horrid 2D to 3D conversions.

I would be willing to bet that 2D-3D conversion could be done by in-set software on the fly from visual cues as actors and objects move on the screen relative to each other on consecutive frames.

Even today, TV can provide made for 3D content EASIER than theaters, because you can always add another channel to a TV broadcast to carry the other "eye". Right eye image could be carried on normal TV, and left eye could be broadcast on a companion channel and only used on 3D capable sets.

But Movie theaters have to have a special 3D separated film, and colored or polarized glasses, and occasionally special projectors. And the damned throw-away Glasses for every patron.

Re:Well, Yes (3, Funny)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512440)

3D does not make a bad script/actor/director/... better.

For example: Jaws 3 or Friday the 13th: Part 3

Re:Well, Yes (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512540)

Frankly, 3D has nothing to do with story telling.

That's essentially true, but I don't think movies are simply about story telling -- movies are more about story immersion. You aren't just being told a story, you are experiencing the story through sight, sound (including the associated physical vibration), dialog, etc. In this way I think that 3D can be more than just a scam. As the summary said, Avatar's 3D really was incredibly well done. It could have been better; I read that Cameron originally wanted to film at about 60 fps but Fox shot him down, but this would have helped with both brightness and strobing issues. Once you become accustomed to the 3D picture, it really was a more immersive experience.

Of course, I think it makes no sense at all to go and "convert" older standard films into 3D, especially because what you get isn't even really 3D. You just can't present more information to the audience than you started with. Avatar was filmed with multiple cameras and therefore had the information needed to present a real 3D stereoscopic image. The Wizard of Oz wasn't.

Personally I think that well-executed 3D is a great boon to theaters because it provides (at least currently) a much needed physical reason for people to go to the theater to see a movie instead of just waiting to watch it at home. Hopefully they don't kill off this opportunity for themselves by overdoing or abusing it.

Re:Well, Yes (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512850)

But Avatar was designed, from the ground up, for 3D. I've read bits about the problems with 3D before. Besides the pseudo 3D problem mentioned, there is the fact no one really knows how to use the extra space yet, or the loss of focus it can cause.

Right now, a director can focus my attention on something with focus, but in 3D that doesn't quite work. Either the whole scene is blurry except what they want me to look at (which can be confusing when your eyes can't pull something you look at into focus), or everything is in focus, so I can get easily distracted looking at neat thing X in the background, and not the plot point I am supposed to be focusing on.

We're still at gimmick stage. It's going to take some time before there are many movies where the 3D is actually worth something.

But the whole "take a 2D movie and fake process it into 3D" thing is nearly a scam. I understand if you want to update Gone with the Wind in 3D, you don't have an option (short of a complete reshoot). But when you are starting filming this year, buy the second camera. Either you care about making a 3D movie or not.

Re:Well, Yes (1, Interesting)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512618)

And neither did adding sound, then stereo sound, then 4 channel sound, then 6+ channel sound, adding color, changing the aspect ratio from 1.33:1 to 1.85:1 and wider, going from 16fps to 24fps nor having bigger screens. According to this logic we should just go back to the silent film era with 1:33:1 aspect ratios, no color, 16 fps frame rates, and tiny screens because all the previously listed enhancements clearly don't make the movies better.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512884)

You're a special kind of crazy.

Re:Well, Yes (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512898)

Agreed. I went and saw Avatar in 3D in February, and while the 3D effects were cool, they were only cool for the first 5 minutes. After that the story took over. The only time I noticed the 3D after that was when it was done badly - fuzzy objects close by when the focus is further back.

As an aside, I felt Avatar was an OK popcorn movie, although the joke/point that "we saw it back in the 90s and was called Fern Gully" was accurate. I was happy Hurt Locker won Best Picture over it, although I feel Hurt Locker's script wasn't all that great strictly due to the non-ending.

This was obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512118)


Plus, even if it does take off, there are too many standards (or lack thereof) right now to allow for 3D to work for the home consumer.

Well, duh (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512126)

They get to charge more per ticket for delivering the exact same product. What's not to love? (if you're a studio.)

I'd pay for 3D for a movie that's supposed to be all amazing all the time like Avatar. But even for an enjoyable movie like Dark Knight, which scenes really require 3D? It's better in 2D on a digital screen.

And let's not even get started on the whole liemax thing where we're told it's an imax theater but it's really just a barely adapted standard theater charging imax prices.

Re:Well, duh (1)

WeatherServo9 (1393327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512324)

And let's not even get started on the whole liemax thing where we're told it's an imax theater but it's really just a barely adapted standard theater charging imax prices.

That, in my opinion, is by far the bigger scam! Really I'd be ok with those Imax lite theaters if they were branded differently; could still even contain Imax in the name somehow. But that Imax is trying to get away with not making a distinction between the full blown and lite versions is aggravating. As for the fake 3D? I don't find that much of a scam more than bad special effects; many movies just don't look very good, and 3D hasn't changed that!

Re:Well, duh (2, Interesting)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512578)

I'll pay more to see a movie in true IMAX (and there are a few theaters in my area that do that), but the regular movie theater charges extra for the 3D glasses but doesn't list what the surcharge is. Last I asked, the surcharge was $5, or an increase of almost 50%. Not worth it for a pair of glasses.


Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512128)

What's the difference between a nigger and a pile of dogshit? Eventually the dogshit will turn white and stop stinking.

NO WAY! (1)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512152)

Say it can't be true! Converting 2D movies doesn't really render them in true 3D! Omg!

On a serious note, aren't most major (American) sports going to this as well? Which is where I really care about picture/3D aspect & quality.. I hope that it applies better there.

Re:NO WAY! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512432)

Does 3D matter much for sports? Football/Soccer are recorded from a big distance a lot of the time. So the amount of 3dness doesn't matter a whole lot. Really, fake 3d might work there, pop the players and ball a little bit. You don't really need a huge amount of depth. How much immersion do you need to watch a game? Surround sound with the crowd noise pumped up a little should be enough.

Uber high budget TV shows like Lost/Heroes w/e would probably be helped by 3d. More immersive. And movies of course could benefit. LOTR type things, they are mostly CG anyways.

Avatar pains (5, Informative)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512172)

I don't know about anyone else but I've seen a lot of 3d movies before, but Avatar gave me a splitting headache at the end of it. I don't know quite what it is about it, but watching it was painful (not being sarcastic BTW.).

Re:Avatar pains (1)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512226)

Oh, well you have to actually put the glasses on to watch the movie.

Re:Avatar pains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512230)

I had to take my glasses off during it because I was getting a headache too.

Re:Avatar pains (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512272)

This article saved me from getting an Avatar headache and made the 3D experience more enjoyable:

Re:Avatar pains (4, Interesting)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512320)

I've seen Avatar twice (both times were because someone else wanted me to accompany them when they went to see it). Once in a regular theatre, and the second time in an Imax theatre.

I got headaches only with the Imax version because of the linear polarization which meant if my head was tilted even slightly to the side, there would be ghosting. The cheapo cinema used circular polarization, which was more comfortable and caused me no eye strain at all. Perhaps something similar happened to you?

Re:Avatar pains (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512506)

well I definitely saw it on an I-Max screen, but I've seen a lot of movies in that theater and even Polar express (which made my eyes water like all hell) didn't give me such a headache. Maybe it's just far more forced focusing in Avatar to cause that.

Re:Avatar pains (3, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512644)

I got headaches only with the Imax version because of the linear polarization which meant if my head was tilted even slightly to the side, there would be ghosting.

Actually, IMAX 3D uses circular polarization [] .

I saw the film both at a normal theater (polarized) and IMAX 3D and found the IMAX version to be much more enjoyable. The bigger screen made the entire think much more enveloping: It was more like being in the middle of the action instead of looking through a window into the 3D world.

That's my biggest beef with 3D, actually. Many theaters just aren't built with it in mind. If there is anything in your field of vision that is either illuminated or obstructing the screen, it will completely destroy the illusion of depth and drive your eyes and mind nuts. Even just the black border of the theater wall against the screen was enough to distract at times (as I said above, the "through a window" effect).

Re:Avatar pains (1)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512868)

I got headaches only with the Imax version because of the linear polarization which meant if my head was tilted even slightly to the side, there would be ghosting.

It's meant to keep you awake during boring movies by keeping your head up.

Re:Avatar pains (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512458)

Didn't exactly give me a headache, but it did screw with my eyes. Not an experience I want to repeat (I went into the theater hoping it would be better than the 3D lenses I'd played with before. No such luck.)

Re:Avatar pains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512564)

I think it might be related to the fact that your eyes are trying to focus on things that won't focus. I got a headache pretty fast when I noticed I was looking at lots of things that were blurry. Once I started trying to look directly at where the picture was focused and avoided things that were out of focus it got a little better.

Re:Avatar pains (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512680)

Avatar was the only one I didn't* get a headache in. My SO loves 3d movies, so I have to see. . pretty much all of them. I remember my eyeballs actually hurting after Coraline. In addition to the problems listed in the article, 3d shooting requires the director to really think about the human eye. Cameron got it pretty close to right in Avatar, because he picked what we were supposed to be focusing on, and made everything else slightly out of focus. Coraline made everything, no matter how far away, in focus, and so the eye couldn't figure out what to do. It knew stuff was 3d because it was layered over other things, but it couldn't judge distance accurately because everything had the same focus.

And they want to do this to our TV's as well! (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512192)

And they want to do this to our TV's as well!

Own them all! (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512224)

Blade Runner U.S. theatrical version
Blade Runner Criterion Edition
Blade Runner U.S. broadcast version
Blade Runner Director's Cut
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary Edition
Blade Runner Ultimate Collector's Edition
Blade Runner 3D
Blade Runner 3D BluRay
Blade Runner 3D Enhanced Sensory Edition
Blade Runner 3D Olifactory Special Release
Blade Runner Ridley Scott Memorial Edition

Re:Own them all! (3, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512418)

Blade Runner The Unicorn was a Replicant Edition

Re:Own them all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512588)

So, tell me, what did you feel when you found out?

Re:Own them all! (2, Funny)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512642)

How about a spoiler warning, ass.


Re:Own them all! (1)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512750)


Blade Runner U.S. theatrical version 3D
Blade Runner Criterion Edition 3D
Blade Runner U.S. broadcast version 3D
Blade Runner Director's Cut 3D
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary Edition 3D
Blade Runner Ultimate Collector's Edition 3D

Because everyone has a preference...

Re:Own them all! (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512914)

Blade Runner 3D Olifactory Special Release

Director's commentary:

"I guess I should warn the audience now that the caterers served nothing but beans for the majority of the shoot. Enjoy the show!"

More headaches? (1)

butabozuhi (1036396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512254)

My wife and friends got terrible headaches/motion sickness in Avatar. If this is supposed to make marginal movies more watchable, count many people out.

Re:More headaches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512706)

Fuck her. The other 99% of us non-hypochondriacs thoroughly enjoyed it.

Re:More headaches? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512714)

Profitable, not watchable.

Perish the thought? (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512264)

Hollywood pursing a fad for money?!?!?

But seriously, Avatar is the only movie I've seen in modern 3D. It added slightly to the movie. A few scenes stood out for some pretty cool 3D effects, but most of the time I was thinking "This just looks like flat 2D layers set slightly above one another." But I don't see it as anything more than a novelty. Hollywood is jumping on it because it's a way to get away with charging $15 for a ticket instead of the usual $9. But it won't make a bad script better. It won't make a bad actor deliver a better performance. It won't make Michael Bay any less an annoying hack. And it won't get me into the theater to see a movie that I normally wouldn't have wanted to see in regular 2D.

Cool shades, though.

Hollywood needs time for the new tech. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512778)

3D is new tech and hollywood still needs to be get accustomed for this. But movies don't have the time to thinker for a few years with new tech. As Soon as the millions on fliming the movie are spent it needs to go to the theathre as soon as possible. Thinkering arround a 6 months/years in post-production just to get the 3d correct is not acceptable, a lot of people will get broke in that period.

The 3d is just the thing movie theathres need as a gimmick, as there is no home replacement for this (YET). They want it NOW.

Movies needed ajustment for sound (bad sounding actor lost a job)
Movies needed ajustment for color (backgrounds needed more substance)
Movies needed ajustmnet for IMAX
Movies will need adjustment for 3d.

Just like coloring in BW movies will seem different, 3d added afterwards will look different.

Re:Perish the thought? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512808)

I found the way Cameron used 3D quite well executed, actually. Not many "jump you in the face" effects, rather giving it a slight bit of depth all the time. There were some conflicts with the 3D effect and depth perception for me, though - objects in a deeper 3D layer that were filmed slightly out of focus, while my eyes tried in vain to focus on them. I think directors really have some learning to do regarding how to work with the effect. It is a useful effect that can be used to enhance movies. For now, some producers will probably try to milk it and make 3D films for the sake of it. Once that wears off, it will be integrated in the cinematic toolkit like everything else.

I am an audience member. (4, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512268)

I go to the cinema a lot. I watch pretty much all the new releases. I always have. I don't agree that all 2D-to-3D releases are bad. I've rather enjoyed them. Ok, Avatar's 3D effect was better than Alice's. Nevermind, I paid my money and I walked away at the end of it feeling I'd had a good time nonetheless.

I certainly wasn't under the impression anyone had scammed me. I've read the article. I'm still not. I got what I paid for.

The glasses suck terribly (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512288)

I have yet to go to a 3D movie where I didn't leave with a headache from the glasses themselves. I wear prescription eyeglasses, and without fail before the movie is over I am sore from the poor fit of the 3D glasses. Some of them fit so poorly that they end up putting all their weight on the end of my nose to make life even more interesting.

I think next time I'll save the $3 and see the movies in 2D instead. The theaters should be able to provide us with more comfortable glasses by now...

Re:The glasses suck terribly (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512796)

I was thinking of a pair of these [] . But I don't expect another movie to motivate me to the cinema now that I've seen Avatar.

3D is stupid anyway (2, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512298)

Nothing wrong with 2D. Our brain fills in the depth. Been doing it for eons with other types of pictures.

There is an entire art of photographic/cinematographic composition that relates to how lines, shapes and form relate to the frame. What does that mean where the 'frame' is all fucked up on the edges from the lameass "3D" effect? Better just put everything in the middle. OOh, that shark looked like he was coming right at me!!!1111

What people really want is honest-to-god VR. The full immersion kind with goggles with eye-tracking and head tracking, soundstage-shifting binaural sound. Come up with something like that and I'll take interest, but the 3D fad is just stupid, stop it please.

Can't afford it? (1)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512592)

I see you rationalizing it by wanting the futuristic version. Got news--you can't afford it then either.

Binocular Impaired (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512302)

3D be damned. I have amblyopia. All 3D movies give me a headache. Me and 3 million other people in the US.

In a nutshell (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512306)

From TFA in a nutshell: studios *could* do it well, like Avatar, which costs really big bucks and is time consuming, but they're more likely to do it on the cheap just to get a few more bucks out of the consumer.

I suppose its' a scam only if they do it on the cheap. The headline's a bit more sensationalist than the article, which is more measured in its position.

Mostly hype, but can be done effectively (2, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512312)

Yeah, Avatar was made made in 3D and it shows, it was very watchable even with the glasses (dunno what the article's author Alexander Murphy was going on about, his eyesight must be ruined already). Didn't notice any problems but it didn't redefine my life.

Converting 2D films into 3D is just not going to be the same. Even if you can extract objects from scenes into an accurate 3D space, you're going to have to generate content that is obscured in the 2D original, and this is surely going to be noticeable?! The article suggests it would look layered, like an old 80s arcade game with parallax scrolling.

Maybe 3D scenes could be re-rendered, an option for Titanic 3D surely, but you're not going to get any better 3D depth when Kate Winslet is posing for the painting, only the CG parts (and reworking them is probably a good idea anyway).

At least the 3D sports broadcasts are being done with proper 3D cameras.

desperation? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512366)

Maybe they think that 3d is their ticket to get people back into the theatre, having been losing their ability to pull people into movies for quite some time. Wishful thinking. They are just accelerating their decline as far as I'm concerned.

Some implementations are better than others (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512392)

I first watched Avatar on a theatre equipped with XpanD 3D. I don't know if it was the projector, the glasses, or a combination, but the colors with the glasses on looked like those produced by a really bad LCD monitor, only less bright. Everything was greenish, blacks were badly crushed, and the heavy shutter glasses really hurt the immersion. I kept taking them off in some scenes in order to be able to see darker areas!

I rewatched it on a theatre that used RealD 3D, and the experience was much better. It wasn't perfect (some judder), but at least it wasn't worse than consumer gear. If there's one thing I expect when going to the cinema it's at least reasonable display standards and calibration - otherwise I'd much rather just torrent it and watch it in the comfort of my house.

But it is +1 better (3, Funny)

gregg (42218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512414)

3 > 2 so 3D must be better than 2D. Personally, I waiting until they 'turn it up' to 11D.


wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512534)

Think of the advantages: With 4D movies, if the movie sucks, you'll be able to get the three hours of your life back that you just wasted.

Re:But it is +1 better (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512728)

We could call it StringVision (since on of the more popular constructs of string theory has 11 dimensions).

Re:But it is +1 better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512818)

3 > 2 so 3D must be better than 2D. Personally, I waiting until they 'turn it up' to 11D.

I'm waiting for 4D. I can't wait until they add the dimension of time to movies.

The hidden perk of 3D... (3, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512456)

People might think 3D sucks or isn't ready, but if anything gets movies to be shot with two cameras then I hugely support it. While I agree that today, right now, we lack the technology to display 3D well, we might have that technology soon and if we haven't shot our stuff correctly we won't be able to enjoy it that way.

Plus we might get digital media that allows us to "look around" during a live movie. Can you imagine watching Lord of The Rings about being able to turn your head to get an entirely new perspective of what is going on? Plus the cameras can be stitched together to get EVEN HIGHER resolution than HD.

Re:The hidden perk of 3D... (1)

hawaiian717 (559933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512726)

Plus we might get digital media that allows us to "look around" during a live movie.

You mean kind of like Disney's Circle-Vision 360 [] ?

Already being done, but not by hollywood (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512754)

I have no idea why movies; games are going after lameass 3D and ignoring head-tracking. They also ignore binaural sound as if it wasn't the fucking coolest thing in the universe.

Re:The hidden perk of 3D... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512780)

Who cares? I can't tell HD vs D, BlueRay vs DVD, or 80 fps vs 180 fps. The only reason you can tell the resolution is because your TV is 40 inches in diameter, but my laptop has a perfectly fine DVD player - so get off my lawn!

Re:The hidden perk of 3D... (2, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512782)

Bah humbug. Most HD stuff is indistinguishable from DVD stuff, at least for normal people at normal viewing distances on normal equipment.

I don't see a movie shown in a "holotank" or whatever Heinlein called it. You'd have to have cameras all around, and then stitch them together.

I abhor the current fixation in Hollywood on big-bang graphics and effects at the expense of any real plots or enticing characters.

Heck, get a copy of Metropolis; shot in 1927 without any fancy technology, it still leaves you deeply disturbed and affected, far more than most of the hi-tech hi-def crap that rolls out of Hollywood today.

At least they're trying to compete with piracy... (1)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512468)

Whenever I see ads for 3D films (especially re-releases of 2d films), I do shake my head a little, but I also like the fact that the industry are finding some way to provide something that can't be found at home. And also I noticed a recent film ad (Nanny McPhee, I think) mentioned that the film will be launched in 15 countries simultaneously, which is one of the reasons people prefer to just pirate. Problem is, however, we will all have our own stereoscopic television sets soon enough..

Converting old movies to 3D is... (0, Redundant)

BergZ (1680594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512488)

just a ploy to get you to buy the same movie one more time.

Bad summary. (2, Interesting)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512494)

The summary overlooks some important points in the article, thereby giving a completely different take-home message. For example: "The good Avatar 3D experience happened because James Cameron is a technically savvy director, and thus the 3D aspect of Avatar was technically well executed. When done right it allows the viewer to more seamlessly enjoy a 3D film."

The author is not arguing that 3D is a scam. The author is arguing that people are jumping on the 3D bandwagon because they smell money while not always delivering a good product. Specifically:

* Retrofitting 2D movies for 3D does not work. You can fake it, but the result is crappy if you didn't actually shoot it for 3D.
* There's no point to using 3D if you're not going to use it creatively. The result will be worse than if you just kept your mediocre movie in 2D.
* The quality of the result is strongly affected by the quality of the 3D implementation.

And that's all, folks. It's a good article to read if you're not familiar with the issues.

Bad? What about it was bad? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512530)

I didn't think the 3D version of Alice was fact, I saw the 3D version by myself while my fiancee was gone, and then saw it in 2D when she was back in town. I definitely enjoyed the 3D version a lot more...the added depth it gave to everything really made the world pop off the screen more (literally and figuratively), and I found myself drawn into it a lot more.

Plus, let's not forget that a 3D movie is a movie that is shown digitally. It could just be me adjusting to more digital content, but film seems to be looking worse and worse nowadays in the theater, no matter which one I go to. There is still a "warmth" to it that digital doesn't have, but when I pay 10-12 dollars to see a movie on a big screen, I don't want parts of the movie to look blurry and parts of it look good...I want the whole thing to look good.

And, just to piss off the people that I piss off every time I do this, my review of Alice: []

Re:Bad? What about it was bad? (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512700)

I totally agree about Alice's 3D. Honestly, I thought it added more to the film than Avatar's did.

Re:Bad? What about it was bad? (2, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512702)

I have to agree with the summary; I thought that Avatar's 3D was well done and unobtrusive, but I saw Alice in Wonderland this weekend & the 3D was really annoying to me. It's hard to describe but it seems like moving objects in the foreground get kind of transparent. I had noticed it during the 3D ad before Avatar, and it made me think that Avatar would be the same, but since Avatar was ok I figured maybe they'd just overdone it a bit for the trailer. I liked Alice, but I was wishing I was in the 2D version for most of the movie. The rest of my family, however, had no complaints, so I'm probably just weird.

Re:Bad? What about it was bad? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512820)

Websites for Small Businesses in the DC Metro Area []

Nice! I'm in Montgomery County :-) If I know anyone around here looking for services like yours, I'll point them your way.

Where 3D works (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512550)

3D works for computer graphic animation, given twice the rendering capacity you would otherwise have. It's pretty simple to move the "camera" point and render again. There will be some tuning of textures, etc., to look right when viewed simultaneously from two camera points. So, given sufficient computer capacity you can get a 3D movie without significant additional labor, and it's the labor that is really expensive.

3D works for new live action, given proper cinematography.

Conversion of existing 2D film to 3D is garbage, and should rightly be called a scam. Remember colorization? It was mostly done because the tax write-offs on "new" film were more lucrative to the film company than on legacy film. It wasn't that the audience experience would be enhanced by fake color. When the tax law changed, colorization mostly went away.

It's not an experience you can't have in your home. Samsung has a "3D ready" 55 inch TV on the market now, for $2300. The price will fall quickly enough.

Re:Where 3D works (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512902)

It makes me wonder if the existing CGI movies (e.g. Shrek, Cars, etc.) will be re-rendered into 3D - I would *hope* they saved all the data that drove the render (motion scripts, audio tracks, etc.).

Any insights?

Not all films can even convert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31512632)

To get the effect you need contrast. Look at Avatar. They nursed every shot and still some shots were flat. For me the most effective were the early stuff of him floating around in the space ship. The shots of haze or clouds had zero 3D effect and this was the most effective film ever made. If the film is hazy or muddy, it's done for style reasons, there won't be any 3D effect. 9 times out of 10 I final 3D films annoying and I'm a film fan. Avatar in 3D Imax inspite of the flickering was amazing. Alice in Wonderland was annoying. It made the film dark and the 3D effect was lame through most of it. Saying it'll save film is like saying whit wall ties will save gas guzzlers when gas hits $5 a gallon. Keep the cost down and quality up and there's a market out there. 3D has always and will always be a fad.

New tech (2, Insightful)

Sitnalta (1051230) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512654)

3D isn't inherently bad, but it's still in the gimmick phase. The simple fact is it's a new technology (anaglyphic doesn't count) and filmmakers aren't that familiar with it (or hate it just as much as you do.) So you're going to see several movies crash head-first into that learning curve.

And, hey, if 3D makes you sick or hurts, watch the 2D version. It's cheaper.

Alice (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512664)

Can anyone tell me what was wrong with Alice's 3D exactly? I saw both versions and the 3D one was far, far better. I'm intrigued to know what the issues with it were.

I don't like the fact they encourage you to leave the glasses in a recycling bin then try and charge you for a new pair each time now. I also don't like how much more 3D films cost, but personally, 3D is about the only thing I applaud Hollywood for- all 3D films I've seen so far have been stunning, and finally, they're actually doing something to give me a reason to go to the cinema again, rather than just trying to sue pirates into giving them money without actually innovating, or trying to sell me HD copies that don't look that much better than the upscaled DVD copies of films I have already, only for twice the price.

I actually dislike this article, it's exactly what gives ammunition against the internet movement for changes to copyright because it feeds the idea that Hollywood can't win either way- they get told off for trying to protect a dated business model in the harshest way possible, and now it seems if they do something fresh to earn their money like so many people, they get slagged of for it too.

I feel dirty defending Hollywood, but is it so bad that they've decided to offer a new way of viewing movies, that for many people, like me, does in fact make the films that much more fun and enjoyable to watch, without getting rid of the classic 2D versions for those who prefer to keep watching it in 2D?

Depends on Which 3D Tech... (4, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512730)

There are three main 3D formats out there, IMAX 3D, RealD, and Dolby 3D. IMAX 3D uses linear polarization, RealD uses circular polarization, and Dolby 3D uses the Red/Blue color separation. In the first two, the glasses appear light gray, while the last has obviously colored lenses. I saw Avatar in the first two and Alice in the third.

My personal preference is for the polarized techniques. The IMAX was definitely the most immersive. The Dolby 3D seemed too dark and sometimes lighting made me aware of reflections on the inside of the lenses. Additionally, in the Dolby 3D, some of the colors, particularly greens, just seemed off.

It's early in the industry, consistency will come. (3, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512836)

A former vfx animator here and cinema fan. I watched the three hour spectacle that is avatar in RealD with the circular polarized glasses and came away with no ill effects. The brightness was adequate, the new glasses let through more light than the old horizontally polarized glasses, if I remember the older IMAX experience correctly. I also thought the 3D in alice was fine, they did not go with the temptation to put the Cheshire Cat in the forward plane, which they could have because he is a floating entity that can be shown off without touching the sides of the screen, like the bird critter from Captain EO that made you cross-eyed. (with the re-release coming up you can do go to Disneyland and see what I am talking about)

I do agree that 2D -> 3D conversions of older films are the equivalent of colorizing a black and white film ted turner style, it shouldn't be done out of respect for the original film. But the industry will always exploit their properties as much as they can. If you don't like it, don't watch it. And I also agree that movies intended for stereo showings should be shot with two lenses, not converted later. Both processes bring up multiple difficulties in post production, in different ways. With true stereo shooting you can't fake nearly as much stuff, you have to map it in 3D space rather than faking comps in 2D post. With fake 3D you can do more VFX compositing in 2D, but then a thousand monkeys will spend a thousand hours rotoing into 3D.

Last year at NAB I saw some incredible demos of 30" - 50" polarized plasma sets. Every other horizontal line was polarized opposite, and with 1080 lines there was not an appreciable degradation of resolution per eye and it looked amazing. The brightness was there too since LCDs and plasmas can put out a lot of light. The first models were selling for $10,000 etc. but the price will come way down as they figure out how to manufacture it more inexpensively. As a long time fan of stereo imaging, I am looking forward to the new stereo blu ray format. It uses the same RealD circularly polarized glasses. In fact I used the RealD glasses I got from the RealD demo theater earlier in the day. The RealD theaters are powered by the Sony CineAlta 4K projectors...really nice stuff and affordable compared to what digital projection used to cost.

Serves you right (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512864)

If you're douchey enough to go see the movies that get 3d-ified, and they suck, you only have yourself to blame.

What? (1, Interesting)

jasno (124830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31512870)

I thought Avatar's 3D was a stupid gimmick. The parts I remember being in 3D were the ashes and the credits. Did I miss something?

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