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Has Christopher Nolan Turned the 3D Argument?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the waiting-for-4d dept.

Movies 381

brumgrunt writes "Not only has Christopher Nolan resisted pressure to make his third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, in 3D, but his explanation is very much centered on it being the right decision to suit the film. With Harry Potter (temporarily) abandoning 3D too, has Hollywood's latest bandwagon hit the skids already?"

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Let's face it (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088100)

The reason the studios are pushing so hard on 3D is because there is a lot of money in it. They can charge a lot more for a 3D ticket. And once the overhead on the equipment is paid (the projector for the theater, the cameras for the production, the trivial costs of some cheap plastic glasses), all that extra money is almost pure profit. The reason that Nolan is able to resist their push is because he's already established himself with the franchise. If they were appointing a newbie to do it, you can bet they would be TELLING him to do Batman in 3D.

3D has always a been dubious contribution to the art. For every James Cameron who likes to see what he can do with it, there are dozens of filmmakers who have it foisted on them by the studio (many of them after-the-fact [yahoo.com] ). And while the big boys can resist [movieweb.com] , I doubt the pressure will let up anytime soon. As long as there is money to be made, the studios will ride this train. The only thing that will stop it would be if audiences starting to forgo the overpriced 3D versions for the 2D versions in droves, or if some kind of studio/theater price war started on 3D tickets (making it difficult for the studios to rape us so easily).

Is this a fad that probably SHOULD pass? Maybe. Is it being overused now? Definitely. Is it going anywhere, as long as the studios can reap big money off of it? Almost certainly not.

Re:Let's face it (5, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088174)

there isn't a lot of money in it. They think there might be a lot of money in it. There's an enormous difference between those statements.

The difference between speculation and reality is in the execution, something which 3D doesn't do well because it's gimmick.

There's infinite money to be made in selling air! Our profit margins are infinite! etc. This is what people tell themselves. And then comes the reality.

Re:Let's face it (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088228)

Like I said, if people realize it's a gimmick and start abandoning the 3D versions in favor of the 2D versions in droves, that could end it. But I don't see that happening so far.

Re:Let's face it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088352)

You'll notice there are 2D versions of 3D movies, simply because in order to have 3D you need 2D first (ala dual camera lenses, etc)
Let's not get all stupid and think "omg lolz fight da p0wAr!@!". I sure am glad people like you didn't exist back in the days of movies getting sound, color being added, new IMAX, technicolor, new computer generated scenery. We'd be stuck with sock puppets, still.

Re:Let's face it (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088456)

uh, what? People are totally up for moving forward in technology. It's just nobody gives a shit about 3d. It's neither significant nor a huge change.

Re:Let's face it (2, Interesting)

TiberiusMonkey (1603977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088740)

To be fair, if it was REAL 3D, with crap leaping out of the screen at me and I didn't have to sit with a pair of glasses that slowly start to annoy me (and after a while the 3D effect starts to fade on me), then I'd maybe give a shit.

Re:Let's face it (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088232)

There's infinite money to be made in selling air! Our profit margins are infinite! etc. This is what people tell themselves. And then comes the reality.

Well, we can still make it up on volume!

Re:Let's face it (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088744)

Theaters had their most profitable year ever last year, mostly on being able to jack up prices on 3D movie tickets.

Re:Let's face it (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088890)

There's infinite money to be made in selling air! Our profit margins are infinite! etc. This is what people tell themselves. And then comes the reality.

Perri-Air?

Re:Let's face it (3, Insightful)

onionman (975962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088212)

Is this a fad that probably SHOULD pass? Maybe. Is it being overused now? Definitely. Is it going anywhere, as long as the studios can reap big money off of it? Almost certainly not.

I hope that BAD 3D passes quickly. I find that imperfect 3D gives me a headache. Avatar was fine for me, but other 3D films that I've seen have me constantly squinting as my eyes try to resolve the slight blurs and imperfections in the image, so I often leave with a headache.

And, yes, I am aware that 3D viewing requires that one pay attention only to the main element of the scene (trying to look at the background when only the foreground is in focus will always result in blurring even with the best 3D).

Re:Let's face it (5, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088394)

And, yes, I am aware that 3D viewing requires that one pay attention only to the main element of the scene (trying to look at the background when only the foreground is in focus will always result in blurring even with the best 3D).

This to me is actually the biggest flaw of 3D. I love looking at the backgrounds of films - I like seeing all the effort and little details that have gone into them, even if the focus isn't on them. Which is why, despite seeing Avatar in 3D (because of the 3D and the "must see" that was going around) I was thoroughly disappointed in the technology: in a movie supposed to be all about the detail of the world, you spend a whole lot of time in scenes struggling to track the focus point because you WANT to look at the backgrounds when they're around.

Re:Let's face it (1)

Bolkar (939958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088792)

My point exactly! Can you imagine not getting a chance to see the amazing background which is the Coruscant in Starwars, or those amazing environments at The Lord of The Rings? I don't think so. Blurring everything other than whatever is the focus is a great idea for fascist film making, I suppose this was discovered in 1940s?

Re:Let's face it (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088400)

And, yes, I am aware that 3d viewing requires that one pay attention only to the main element of the scene (trying to look at the background when only the foreground is in focus will always result in blurring even with the best 3d).

Except, you've just described my biggest peeve about 3d movies - I don't consider that a minor nuissance, but an outright show-stopper.

In an action scene (main elements moving around rapidly) or a landscape (panfocal background shot), it doesn't so much matter; Put two people talking in a room for more than five seconds, though, and I start looking at the scenery rather than the talking heads. A little bit of blur in that, I can accept; Making my eyes hurt when I dare to focus on something other than what the director wants me to, total BS.


3d will always remain a cute gimmick until we have a truly immersive environment like a holodeck. Some films can use it well, but the other 99.5% of movies should stick with 2d.

Re:Let's face it (3, Insightful)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088290)

And the fact that some have to do it after the fact just goes to show (once again) the misnomer of calling these films3D. Unless you can walk around the display and see the back of Batman's head - it ain't 3D. The bandwagon is called stereoscopic projection.

Re:Let's face it (1)

jtdennis (77869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088466)

I'm one of the people that get headaches trying to watch this current run of 3D tech. Until we get actual 3D holographic projections, you can count me out.

Re:Let's face it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088470)

Until you can lie on the floor and look up Emma Watson's skirt you mean.

Re:Let's face it (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088396)

it's not the studios, it's the theaters that love it. a new revenue source other than popcorn and soda pop at 1000% mark up because they have to turn all the ticket revenue to the studios. you have to pay the $2.50 or whatever it is to rent the glasses

It Went Away Before, It Will Do So Again (4, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088472)

A friend of mine who is among the thousands of "Vice Presidents" in one of the big studio's TV sections suggested to me that most filmmakers hate 3D, however, TV manufacturers are having a hard time convincing households that they need a second flatscreen television. Large CRTs are being moved into master bedrooms as big flatscreens take their place in living rooms, but while market penetration of HDTV is finally significant (at least in the U.S.) people aren't buying two.

The market idea is that purchase of a large new 3D TV will drive the old HDTV into bedrooms, ideally creating a keep-up-with-the-Joneses mentality regarding bigscreen flat HDTVs in bedrooms.

He acknowledged that this is only one of many forces in the current push to 3D, but his perception was that the studios were under industry pressure to generate content for this new push (especially at Sony, where the consumer electronics department often dictates strategy in other areas). He expressed a mixture of hope and expectation that the current 3D fad would fade, too; your argument about "making extra money" only applies to blockbusters. Many movies don't make money at all, and I'm not just talking Hollyood accounting here--which means you want to produce them as cheaply as possible, to the extent it is possible to do so without completely alienating your audience.

Re:It Went Away Before, It Will Do So Again (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088542)

The cinemas too are demanding 3d (Not that they have a huge amount of pull any more), as they see it as the only thing they can offer right now that can't be had by just waiting for the blu-ray.

Re:Let's face it (4, Informative)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088502)

RTFA

3-D is waning. It's not they money maker they thought it was. People are not paying for the 3-D movie, they are opting for the 2-D movie instead.

Again RTFA, because Warner Bros. got their ass handed to them for Clash Of The Titans and The Last Airbender, they were not eager to push 3-D.

So yes 3-D is a fad. When DIRECTORS WANT 3-D, 3-D will take over, NOT when STUDIOS WANT 3-D.

Re:Let's face it (5, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088512)

I think 3D is more about providing an experience that can't (yet) be pirated successfully. I have seen damn good CAMs where they have used the Hard of hearing accessibilty device to rip the sound straight from the equipment, recorded in a dark empty theater on a tripod on an HD camera (this is done by theater employees).

with a telesync that good, or a screener dvd rip, lots of people have projectors or nice big TVs in their house and there really is no reason to go to some crappy theater where people will be hollering and the floor is sticky.
3D and IMAX movies are the only movie theater experiences that are significantly better than pirating (or waiting for DVD) for me nowadays.

I still go to other movies sometimes, but I really make time for decent 3d releases that I (or my kids) want to see.

I think the pirating problem is not as big as the film industry thinks it is, but I think anti-pirating is no small part of their push for 3D.

Re:Let's face it (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088588)

My assumption has been that there's been a push to 3D in movies because it's an experience that's harder, effectively, to bootleg/pirate.

We're at a point where anyone with a little bit of knowledge who really wants to can download any new movie the weekend it's released and often even before. How do you fight that if you're a smart movie studio? You need to offer something as part of the theatre viewing experience that isn't easily replicated at home -- so you push big effects movies that more people will want to see on a giant screen, and you push things like 3D. Most people don't yet have 3D TVs, so (assuming you buy into the value of 3D), by offering a movie in 3D you're offering something that for most people can't be pirated.

Re:Let's face it (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088828)

Not 100% true. he reason they are pushing it hard is that they convinced the theaters that it's the best thing to make money so please buy this overpriced 3d equipment....

If they drop it because it's not really that impressive, they will have a HUGE number of theaters screaming at them for talking them into buying overpriced crap for 3d that got used for 2-3 films only.

Re:Let's face it (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088906)

The other significant factor here is that 3D movies really have to be watched in a theater, as opposed to Netflix or illegal download.

Let me say: (5, Funny)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088104)

has Hollywood's latest bandwagon hit the skids already?

I sure as hell hope so.

hit the skids already? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088126)

We can only hope.

After seeing Avatar and Alice in Wonderland in 3D I can honestly say I don't think it gets much more hokey than that.

Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088140)

In most cases they won't. They will still push 3D. And as more consumers buy 3D enabled BluRay players and TVs, they will demand content to justify the purchase.

3D isn't right for every movie, and it certainly doesn't turn out well as a forced post-production conversion. But isn't exactly the devil either, so I don't understand this massive backlash either.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (5, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088236)

I put "3d movies are" into the google searchbar, and it autofilled:

"3d movies are a gimmick
3d movies are overrated
3d movies are bullshit
3d movies are crap
3d movies are annoying"

as the first 5 options.

I think the massive backlash is because many people view 3d as the first result, a gimmick to pass off lower quality films while trying to keep the same revenue. After all, the hollywood revenue stream has two factors. One being ticket prices, which can be boosted for the gimmick, and the other being production costs which can be reduced if the film expectations are lowered.

My $0.02

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088450)

I put "3d movies are" into the google searchbar, and it autofilled:

"3d movies are a gimmick
3d movies are overrated
3d movies are bullshit
3d movies are crap
3d movies are annoying"

as the first 5 options.

Google bomb?

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088562)

More than two. The ticket sales arn't even the most significent income now - that honor goes to selling discs, DVD and blu-ray.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088272)

The backlash in the industry is mostly inertia, people are either afraid of change and rationalize their fear with bullshit arguments or they don't want the skill they have build up making the best of the old medium become useless ... the same reason we still have 24 juddery frames per second (tripple flashed so it doesn't flicker any more, but judders all the same). Another thing Cameron wants to get rid of.

Cameron is simply adventurous, where Nolan is conservative ... when making what will be a sure fire hit any way being conservative is economically optimal. Cowardly, but optimal.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088358)

I wouldn't say Nolan is conservative. He did push to film large sequences with IMAX cameras. I also think he has tried to reinvent the summer blockbuster as something with mass appeal, but also features an impressive cast of actors and has an intelligent script.

For far too long the assumption was that you could make a popcorn flick like Michael Bay, or you could make a film for the critics, but you couldn't do both.

3D did make sense for Avatar in that Cameron wanted the audience to sympathize with the Na'vi by selling them on Pandora. Immersion in the environment was key to the success of the film.

3D doesn't work well with fast-moving action, and can be a gimmick that detracts from other elements of the film. I think Nolan is correct in that it wouldn't benefit his Batman films. He doesn't want people staring off into the scenery when he wants his audience grounded in the familiar.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (3, Interesting)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088642)

Action works just fine in stereoscopic view. Quick cuts and shaky cam not so much ... which is the greatest reason I like it, even more than the effect itself. Nothing lazier than turning the screen into one gigantic 24 Hz clusterfuck of juddering unrecognisable crap to imply action. Anything that reduces shaky cam is okay in my book.

PS. Nolan's love of shaky cam is probably part of the reason for remaining 2D ...

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (2, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088278)

I think the best thing 3D could have done was not "advertise" and push it in your face. You get a stupid feeling when something comes flying off the screen. I would have liked to see movies push less of the "in your face" 3D and use it to help see depth in the movie. I think too many movies are trying to break that screen barrier and they are doing it in cheesy ways.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088518)

I remember using one of the first 3D shutter-glasses system with an old 3Dfx graphic card. One of the demo had that "out of the screen" effect and not only did it look like crap, trying to focus on objects in front of my screen just gave me a headache pretty fast.

The demos that tried to add depth to my screen, however, were really amazing. I seem to recall playing Quake 1 in 3D with only in-screen depth and it completely changed the game (in a good way).

When you go see a movie, the action takes places on the damn screen. If things start coming out of it, it's just stupid. You can't have the movie happening inside the theater. But if you use 3D to make the screen have depth, there is still that needed disconnection with the movie vs the theater yet you gain a perceived dimension for the movie itself.

As soon as they stop doing "out-of-screen 3D", we'll be better off.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088312)

My backlash stems from two facts: 1.) 3D as currently executed gives me a major headache, even when it's done well. 2.) The theaters near me show only the 3d version - usually for the entire first run. Sometimes they will move to the 2D version if the film is still making money when a new 3D blockbuster comes out. But they're converting more individual theaters to 3D, so even that respite is fading. Several features I wanted to see ran for two months in 3D only.

Re:Is Hollywood leaving money on the table? (1)

minogully (1855264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088594)

3D isn't right for every movie

To me this is similar to how great color photos are, and yet there are some amazing things that can still only be done with a black and white shot.

Both the industry and the consumers need to figure out which medium is best for each type of film. I'd say that in general, if viewing it in HD makes a difference, than stereoscopic will add that much more. On the other hand if, say, you're renting a romantic comedy, you'll probably skip the HD and thus probably wouldn't need 3D either.

Here's to hoping (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088146)

3D is great, so long as a movie is made from the very beginning with it in mind, isn't used in a gimmicky sort of way, and isn't thrown in "just because".

I've only seen three movies that meet those requirements: Avatar, UP, and Coraline.

Re:Here's to hoping (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088238)

I disagree. I believe the only way for 3D to become the standard is for it to be used on film that don't call for it and not be exploited. In other words, it needs to be used largely nonexploitively. When it's used for run-of-the-mill comedies and melodramas, it will truly have arrived. I personally hope that doesn't happen.

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088300)

That's precisely my point...it's hard for a movie to truly NEED 3D, and as I said in my OP, I've only come across three such movies. I'd put Coraline at the top of the list, though...basically, it made it look like you were observing what was happening, right where it was happening, rather than looking at a flat screen. The visual depth it added was nothing short of amazing.

If more films utilized 3D the way Coraline did, then I'd want to see EVERYTHING in 3D, even run-of-the-mill comedies (and thus violating one of my own rules.) Still, I hope it stays big enough for movies that can use it right, yet retreats enough that it doesn't show up everywhere.

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088316)

I would add Jaws 3D [imdb.com] to that fine list.

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088372)

So basically, you've seen ONE movie where it wasn't thrown in "just because". UP and Coraline were entirely computer-generated video, and re-rendering with the "camera" in a different position is a matter of tweaking a couple of settings. They could re-make ANY all-CGI film (Ice Age, Wall-E, etc) as 3D if they still had the original files and rendering programs. And probably make money on them.

(Note: Avatar used lots of computer-generated imagery...but not exclusively, and did a lot more with motion capture than is normal.)

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088432)

Having seen both Up and Coraline in 3D and 2D in the theaters, I can say that 3D definitely added to the experience.

It made Up better because of the immense size of some of the set pieces. It helped Coraline because it made it feel like you were looking through a window, rather than looking at a flat surface.

As I said in another post in this thread, if all movies used 3D the way Coraline did, I'd want to see everything in 3D.

Re:Here's to hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088636)

You are incorrect. Coraline was stop-motion, shot on a dual-camera 3D stop motion rig. It was planned and designed from the very beginning to be in 3D. Had it been shot in 2D originally, to "re-render" it in 3D would have taken hundreds of skilled animators years to re-do.

Your other point, that any CGI film can just be quickly re-rendered in 3D is only half correct. Yes, you have the files and can just sub in a 3D camera. However, it's still common to render certain parts separately, then add them together in compositing in post. There are also rules that have to followed for 3D about how shots look so you don't make the audience sick. Visual tricks that work in 2D have to be redseigned to work in 3D (things like forced perspective, some flat background mats, etc.). Remaking a 2D CGI movie in 3D is a bit more work than it seems. Which is why we haven't seen Ice Age or Shrek re-released in 3D. Considering how they've run Shrek into the ground since, and if all it took was changing one asset in the files, hitting the render button, and waiting a couple months, we should have already seen Shrek 1-3 re-released in 3D. It'd be free money for dreamworks, basically. But we haven't. Because it's a lot harder to do than it seems at first glance.

Re:Here's to hoping (3, Informative)

Tony (765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088668)

So basically, you've seen ONE movie where it wasn't thrown in "just because". UP and Coraline were entirely computer-generated video, and re-rendering with the "camera" in a different position is a matter of tweaking a couple of settings. They could re-make ANY all-CGI film (Ice Age, Wall-E, etc) as 3D if they still had the original files and rendering programs. And probably make money on them.

(Note: Avatar used lots of computer-generated imagery...but not exclusively, and did a lot more with motion capture than is normal.)

Have you even seen Coraline [wikipedia.org] ? It was produced via stop-motion, using 3D cameras. There were some digital effects, but not many. So, no. For Coraline, it wasn't thrown in "just because."

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088804)

So basically, you've seen ONE movie where it wasn't thrown in "just because". UP and Coraline were entirely computer-generated video, and re-rendering with the "camera" in a different position is a matter of tweaking a couple of settings. They could re-make ANY all-CGI film (Ice Age, Wall-E, etc) as 3D if they still had the original files and rendering programs. And probably make money on them.

(Note: Avatar used lots of computer-generated imagery...but not exclusively, and did a lot more with motion capture than is normal.)

When a new technology of this kind hits the market you always get what we used to call ""shovelware" [wikipedia.org] back in the day. IMHO the 3D did actually add to the experience in Avatar, I know that because I went and saw Avatar in 2D just because I wanted to compare the experiences. James Cameron and his crew really did succeed in giving one a taste of the feeling that one was looking through a window into another world which is IMHO what 3D should do. I have seen a number of other 3D movies that simply did not succed in creating this impression... in other words shovelware. Eventually, the wave of shovel ware will dissipate, and what the makers of Avatar did in terms of image capture etc. will become the norm as directors and film industry professionals become used to the technology and learn how it is most effectively used. I'm not going to judge 3D by what the movies I have seen so far which are mostly shovelware with a few notable exceptions and I am not going to judge it solely on the basis of what a few naysayer are preaching. Give it 5-10 years and then condemn 3D movies, in the long run I think 3D will dominate just like talkies exterminated silent movies.

Re:Here's to hoping (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088444)

3D is great, so long as a movie is made from the very beginning with it in mind, isn't used in a gimmicky sort of way, and isn't thrown in "just because".

I've only seen three movies that meet those requirements: Avatar, UP, and Coraline.

To me, 3D isn't worth the resulting headache. Just not a fan of it for what it's supposed to bring to the table.

Saw Avatar twice in 3D, both times I had eye strain and a headache for a couple of hours after. My copy of Coraline came with 3D glasses -- 20 minutes into the movie, I took off the glasses, flipped the disk back to the 2D side, and never thought of it again.

I'm sure people will continue to spend the money to see 3D. Me, I'll studiously avoid it -- it's a gimmick, and it detracts from my viewing experience rather than adding to it.

On a slightly related note, I watched a Vincent Price movie last night from 1953 -- it was filmed for 3D, but broadcast on TV so not in 3D. You could see the parts of the movie that were quite obviously intended to milk the 3D effect. Quite cheesy -- and just as much of a gimmick then as now.

Re:Here's to hoping (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088486)

I caught this (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/10/29/2369649/sneak-peek-tron-sequels-legacy.html) in the news the other day. I can only hope they are not over hyping it for clicks. I'd love for Tron to join that list.

Re:Here's to hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089014)

I'd add "How to Train Your Dragon". The flight scenes were awesome in 3D. Even so, there were noticeable "shutter" effects when motion was quick or close to the viewer (framerate limitations?), and when I watched it at home in plain-old 2D it was more detailed. Would I see a 3D movie again? Probably not if 2D were available. Not for the extra price.

We only see the 2D version (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088162)

We've skipped movies because the theater was only showing 3D. After the novelty wore off (took about two films) the greater expense and poor user experience killed it for us. If producers try to force 3D on us in theaters, I'll wait for the video release.

Re:We only see the 2D version (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088422)

If the movie looks like it'll be enhanced by 3D... that is, it's clear that it was designed with 3D in mind and will tell the story in a "3D way," I'll pay for the 3D experience. Coraline? Sure. Avatar? Sure. Johnny Depp Does Another Freaky Makeup Job? Not really. I'm sure other people decided Coraline wasn't worth it, or Alice would have been good if they didn't use crappy 3D post-conversion. I really don't care about seeing things on the first day, so I can usually hear from other people whether it overwhelmingly stank or totally rocked. I have no problem paying the ticket and supporting a theater or a director who makes a good movie. It's entertainment, not an investment.

I'm glad (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088164)

As someone who doesn't really see in 3D anyway, the 3D effect has zero appeal to me. Even Avatar, which I thought was a great movie, didn't have any additional "depth" as far as I could tell.

Re:I'm glad (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088606)

As someone who can see 3D, I'd say that 3D added immensely to the immersion in "Avatar". It doesn't really improve the movie, but it certainly enhances the way we experience it.

Don't ask the monkey, ask the organ grinder (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088188)

Just because WB won't pay to shoot in stereo doesn't mean they won't then get some Korean sweatshop to post-processed the movies. Why invest more than they need to, when they already know that audiences paid a premium to watch Alice and Titans in "3D"?

So, no, I don't think we're seeing the end of "3D", I just think we're seeing the end of pretending to care about the quality of it.

Re:Don't ask the monkey, ask the organ grinder (2, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088532)

It's much much cheaper to shoot in 3D than to do it in post-processing. I honestly don't know why he cares - you can always shoot the film in 3D and show it in 2D if you like.

Re:Don't ask the monkey, ask the organ grinder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089024)

I honestly don't know why he cares - you can always shoot the film in 3D and show it in 2D if you like.

Yeah, I can't possibly imagine why a director cares what his movie looks like...

Re:Don't ask the monkey, ask the organ grinder (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088602)

I watched Alice in 3D with the g/f.

I won't be needing the glasses again.

We'd have to reinvent drama for 3-D (5, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088196)

Most of the action/epic movie genre shot in real life, rather than on a green screen heavily uses perspective effects to achieve drama.

Something like the famous contra-zoom [wikipedia.org] would be a complete failure in 3-D. The entire sequence in LoTR where Gandalf and Frodo are in the same shot would just not work in 3-D unless you went in and fixed the perspective for every frame.

Half of the hollywood real-life special effects would need to be re-invented for 3-D to work right. Or the CGI versions need to catch up to the old-school effects.

And then there are people like me who accidentally distracted by the background. I take a look at it and then my eyes sort of complain about not being able to bring a backdrop object into focus. Totally kills the immersion for me. I want 3-D movies, but not this polarized lenses in each eye monstrosity (I wonder if I could get contacts with those).

Re:We'd have to reinvent drama for 3-D (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088428)

I'm actually not so sure the contra zoom wouldn't work in stereoscopic video ... have you tried it?

Re:We'd have to reinvent drama for 3-D (3, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088950)

And then there are people like me who accidentally distracted by the background. I take a look at it and then my eyes sort of complain about not being able to bring a backdrop object into focus. Totally kills the immersion for me.

That's a bigger problem than you make it out to be, and it affects everyone, from the directors to the viewers. Use of selective focus for dramatic purposes is an incredibly widespread and effective tool in film. However, it just doesn't work at all in 3-d. The 3-d director must make a choice between two bad options: 1) use normal selective focus, eliminating the point of a 3-d scene and going 3/4 of the way toward collapsing the illusion, or 2) allow the eye to focus anywhere, giving up the most successful technique in the artform for drawing the eye to a particular point. Even Avatar had this problem, and it's the main reason it was better in 2-d.

I hope not, 3d is saving me money (3, Funny)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088208)

I refuse to see any movie in 3d, because it's hard on my eyes and most of the conversions are terrible. As a result with some movies being hard to find in 2d, I spend $0 on them. Hollywood is doing a good job of saving me money, and I hope they convert everything in sight so I have no reason to ever visit a movie theatre again.

I don't know anything about Harry Potter, but... (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088234)

I did see a couple of the films (not sure which ones - there are a lot!) and there's some stuff that's obvious for 3D - such as the Quidditch (sp?) games. That's the problem, though - Quidditch seems made for 3D, but that makes it into a pure gimmick once it's in 3D!

Reminds me of the Muppets 3D (Disneyland) joke - Kermit says they aren't going to pull any cheap 3D tricks, and then something pops out right in your face. That's what the whole 3D thing has felt like so far - they say it's not a gimmick, but then it turns out it is.

To be fair I haven't seen Avatar (3D in movies usually doesn't work for me so why waste the price of an overpriced ticket for a movie I know I'll dislike), where apparently the 3D was used effectively and not as a gimmick.

3D (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088240)

3D has come and gone in just about every decade for the last 5-6 decades.

It's pretty but there are a number of things that have never been solved:

- it doesn't work AT ALL for a percentage of people. If they don't go, your audience is lessened by their numbers plus a bit more (to account for those groups who say "Yeah, but John can't see it - let's go watch something 2D instead").
- it can induce headaches, motion sickness and all sorts of problems in others.
- it's not "true" 3D, I can't get out of my seat and look at the film from the side. I also can't "stick my head inside" an object that's coming out the screen towards me. It's usually only ever "2D plus depth tricks" which isn't the same.
- it's more expensive than 2D
- it requires more specialist hardware than 2D (and often requires people to don some sort of equipment THEMSELVES to do that)
- it's used as nothing more than a gimmick rather than an actual way to put the viewer "on-stage".

Even a simple theatre is more "3D" than "3D TV" and they can do all sorts of tricks that makes you think an elephant has disappeared, that actors are smaller than they actually are, and that there's a ghost hovering mid-stage. I can't name a single work of art that uses "3D technology" to its advantage and yet an awful lot of art is designed to be 3D (e.g. every statue).

I have at least three games on my hard drive that use "3D" technology if my display supports it - some of them go back decades. Trackmania can do the red/blue glasses thing and, way back when, you could do it in Fractint too. I have "3D" pictures collected from comics when I was young. I played on a "3D" holographic game in the arcades before I was young enough to even work out what buttons I was supposed to be pressing (which, incidentally, was infinitely more impressive than anything you can get on a 3DTV). Nintendo have a console that FLOPPED despite being years ahead of its time because it relied on the "3D" gimmick. I have regularly dug out a pair of red/blue glasses from my childhood days to amuse myself with things that come in boxes of cereal. Even in my parent's day you could go watch a 3D movie at a cinema without having to track one down.

But still, the above problems are always there with any type of "3D". When you *solve* them, come back and we'll take a look. Otherwise, it's a faddy gimmick that'll disappear and be revived next decade too.

Re:3D (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088852)

- it's used as nothing more than a gimmick rather than an actual way to put the viewer "on-stage

In the case of Avatar, I beg to differ. But that is the only movie I know of that has done 3d well, as a way to add immersion instead of adding gimmicks (like that stupid in-your-face spinning spear in Titans, come on...)

A few things are different in this round of the 3d fad. The hardware to deliver 3d in cinemas has gotten a lot cheaper and better. Extensive use of CGI (especially in movies where doing 3d also makes sense) makes adding 3d throughout relatively cheap. And perhaps more importantly, for the 1st time, 3d technology good enough to watch entire movies in is now coming to the home theater, at affordable prices. Other 3d applications such as sports coverage are on the rise, and from what I hear 3d does add something to that experience as well.

I have a feeling that if enough people buy into the fad and invest in 3d home cinema setups, there might be enough demand for content... the fad may not blow over this time round.

Re:3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088854)

- it can induce headaches, motion sickness and all sorts of problems in others.

Yeah I can attest to this, I can play any sort of video game I like and do a fair amount of aerobatics up to 5G but I just can't sit through a 3D film for more than 10 minutes without my eyes aching and a dull headache with a vague sense of upcoming nausea. Many other people I know usually just get eye ache too. Watching a movie shouldn't be painful.

HP (4, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088252)

The only reason that Harry Potter has "abandoned" 3D is because they couldn't retro-fit it into the latest instalment in time for the planned release date. They're still fully intending to go back and 3D all the old films plus this latest one and re-release them to cash in.

4D, the next big thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088254)

I recommend the marketing guys start promoting 4D and patent time.

Too much is too much (2, Interesting)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088258)

They picked the wrong time to make their 3D push. The economy just tanked and movie ticket prices are already ridiculous. So why the hell would we want to pay an additional $5 to see a movie that may or may not look better. I understand slapping down $5 when it can get you something extra, but with the way 3D has been that is not always the case.

Ahhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088280)

Who's going to let the only guy to buy a 3D TV that its probably not going to work out for him?

"The right decision to suit the film" (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088308)

This *should* be the reason you use any technology.

Unfortunately, it usually becomes "the right decision to maximize profit."

Good, I-don't-realize-its-there-because-it-seems-so-natural 3D would enhance almost any film by making them more realistic, just as realistic color and life-like sound did in years past.

Jarring, "it's obviously an effect" 3D also works well for some films, just like not-quite-realistic colors and unrealistic use of sound is the right decision for some films.

We don't have "I-don't-realize-its-there-because-it-seems-so-natural 3D" yet. Until we do, directors must make a conscious decision "does the current technology add or detract from my artistic intentions." When realistic 3D does arrive, then directors will be able to ask "is there any artistic benefit to NOT using this technology?"

Re:"The right decision to suit the film" (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088618)

Unfortunately, it usually becomes "the right decision to maximize profit."

If people weren't such sheep, the two things would coincide.

3D Movies will work. (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088344)

When I can walk in to the scene, look at objects, pick them up, manipulate them, and put them back while having the characters react to that manipulation.

Re:3D Movies will work. (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088440)

We have that already, it's called "life". Pretty interesting concept, but it contains no pause and rewind buttons.

Re:3D Movies will work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088708)

We have that already, it's called "life". Pretty interesting concept, but it contains no pause and rewind buttons.

It is called Theater

Re:3D Movies will work. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088834)

It is called Theater

So when you go to a broadway show the people on stage don't mind when you walk into the scene on stage, look at objects, pick them up, manipulate them, and put them back while having the characters react to that manipulation? Neato...

Re:3D Movies will work. (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088572)

I challenge you to try that at a theatre production of a Shakespeare play. It would be interesting to hear back the reaction the characters have to your manipulation of the props.

Re:3D Movies will work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088648)

You're talking about breasts, aren't you? ...

Ok, now I want real 3D too. Damn you.

Re:3D Movies will work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088892)

Thats a simulation, not a movie

3D is lame (3, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088380)

I think this 3D fad is one of the most poorly-executed technologies that will end up with an impact like the original laser disc or divx players. First, Avatar has been the only real 3D movie.. and it was awesome. Then, Alice in Wonderland came around and claimed 3D and it looked like a hackjob.

Every part of this '3D' technology is executed badly.
1. The content.. There is a lot of talk about content yet very little available. Where is my ESPN 3D sports channel? Where are all the 3D movies?

2. The home theater.. '3D capable' does not seem to mean shit since even techno-geeks like me don't know what exactly you need to watch 3D. I know the technology requires 120hz+ refresh rates and a 3d-capable player and glasses.. but are all brands interchangeable? If I have a 240hz TV, is that good enough or do I need to blow money a '3D' tv?

3. The glasses.. lol.. Charge me $99/pair? WTF.. Why can't we just use the cheap ones you get in the theatres at home? But seriously.. $99/pair? They're the cheapest plasticky things you can get at the electronics shop and they're $99/each? Freaking joke.. They can't cost more than $3 to make.

The technology looks impressive when watching Avatar at a good theater.. or watching the demos at the Sony store.. But getting that into the home looks like an exercise in frustration even to the most geeky of consumers.

Re:3D is lame (3, Informative)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088654)

There are three ways to do 3D. In each case you give up something in order to add a second picture on top of the first. The most basic is the red-blue version, where you give up color and wear glasses with red and blue lenses. The version currently popular in theaters is polarization, where you give up the polarization of light (which you don't notice in any case) and wear glasses with lenses polarized in two different directions. The third version is one in which you flip back and forth between two different pictures, giving up half your refresh rate and wearing glasses with shutters that block light to one eye at a time, at your refresh rate.

You seem to be conflating options two and three. Theaters can use cheap polarized glasses that indeed cost a couple of dollars at most. But the type of 3D where refresh rate matters requires glasses that can switch between black and clear perfectly in sync with your television, which as you say must be 120hz or more. THAT hardware isn't going to be cheap. (And to use the polarization-type 3D at home you'd need a special screen that I don't think you can buy at this point.)

Re:3D is lame (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088858)

with regards to point #3...

Movies at the theater - even 3D ones - are shown on film. Essentially, two images are displayed, and the polarization of the glasses are designed to isolate one image from the other. The film is designed to use the same polarity as the glasses, and all is well.

3D televisions still rely on refresh rates. They may not use interlacing as the old NTSC/PAL systems did, but it still requires refreshing at a rate and starting point that isn't necessarily a given. If you fast forward five seconds and three frames, you may end up on a "left frame" or a "right frame". the active shutter glasses are designed to essentially "genlock" [wikipedia.org] the picture with the polarity of the glasses. As such, the movie theater glasses are plastic lenses, while the ones you get with a 3D TV have additional circuitry for timing and polarization.

That's my understanding of it, anyway.

Active vs. Passive 3D glasses (1)

SkimTony (245337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088994)

In clarification of points 2&3 (which I agree are major hurdles):

The problem with home 3D is that it doesn't use the same equipment as theater 3D technology. In a theater, there's a shutter in front of the lens that polarizes the alternating frames, to fool your eyes, and all you need are the cheap plastic glasses to see the effect. For home use, they build the shutter into the glasses, which have to then synchronize with the player so that your shutter switches at the same time your player does; that's what costs $99/pair (a year or so ago, it was about $200/pair). I'm not sure why these glasses are still so expensive; SGI has been using them for 3D imaging with a CRT monitor since at least 1990. They do kind of make it impossible to have 3D movie night at home with more than two or three people.

Re:3D is lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089032)

...or divx players

Wait... DivX players? They're fairly popular down where I am in Australia.

The content.. There is a lot of talk about content yet very little available. Where is my ESPN 3D sports channel? Where are all the 3D movies?

http://www.google.com/search?q=3D+Channels [google.com]

Don't get me wrong, I think 3D is a gimmick too but it's not for a lack of trying.

Save money (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088404)

Go to any 2D screen and put your shades on. You get almost the same 3D effect without the nose pain from wearing the cinema's diseased glasses.

I have seen some great 3D films in the Imax about 13 years ago. The current tech implementation is awful - active shutter glasses are needed to keep the picture vibrant.


Can't make it good, make it 3D.

Let it die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088424)

Let it die, let it die, let it die. When you can do 3D that doesn't require special glasses (often $100 plus) and that doesn't induce headaches in a fair part of the population than revisit the technology.

At a minimum 3D requires specialized filming from the start, it simply cannot be done post filming and look at all decent. Seriously, can any person here name a single film that was converted to 3D in post processing that didn't look like crap?

Feel Around (2, Interesting)

kdogg73 (771674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088476)

3D: old and busted. Feel Around [youtube.com] : new and hotness.

3D is a fad (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088496)

3D is a fad that will always come and go, but it is a fad. Fact is, a large part of the public has _zero_ depth perception. A larger part of the public has a very rudimentary depth perception. The total customer base for long-term 3D movies isn't any better than the 50's. People will go and see if it makes any difference, and the vast majority will quickly realise that to them it doesn't. This recent revisiting of 3D will soon be passe.

Christopher Nolan... (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088536)

You are automatically my favorite person in Hollywood.

Why do it anyway? (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088540)

The whole 3d push doesn't make much sense to me. Here, tickets cost $2.50 more. They're giving away a pair of glasses with each movie. Half of the cost of those glasses HAS to be paying their workers to deal with them. The projectors are expensive. The cameras are expensive. Editing MUST be more expensive. And no one really feels 3d adds much value. The movie industry is 100% saturated and not going to grow. The extra profit margin in 3d has to be minimal at best, and the increased risk isn't negligible.

Why, again, are they pushing 3d?

Re:Why do it anyway? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088992)

Why, again, are they pushing 3d?

No more "telesyncs" ? It's got to be harder to record bootleg copies of these 3D flicks in theaters, right ?

Re:Why do it anyway? (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089026)

1.) My guess is that your cocktail napkin math and the number crunchers' copies of Excel yield two different sets of numbers.
2.) Because $12.50/ticket for a family of four grosses $50, while a first-run DVD release of a movie will gross $20, tops - and the studios net more from the theaters than the disc release. The trick is getting people to opt for the theatrical release rather than a Netflix rental.

No, it hasn't (1)

omnibit (1737004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088576)

Nolan is one of many directors working for one of many studios. His decision, while interesting, does not mean the industry will be so stunned, so shaken, that they would suddenly stop charging an extra $3-5 because the movie is 3D, no matter how good or bad it was executed.

There is money in offering 3D movies hence 3D movies will be made.

To think otherwise is naive.

Why do I have pay $15 a movie and rent 3d glasses? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088578)

Why do I have pay $15 a movie? and rent 3d glasses? Why can't I buy then and save the $3+ rent fee? What happens if I just keep them and not put them in that box when they just get reused and maybe not even cleaned.

The Last Harry Potter's "3D" (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088614)

Okay, everyone, here's the symbol on the screen, put on your 3D glasses! Now take them off! Put them on again! Now that the opening sequence is over, take them off and forget about them for the rest of the movie, which is 2D.

Really? I paid extra for that? Not again.

Unfortunately the answer is "No" (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088640)

Nolan is able to pass on 3D because he ultimately drives the Batman saga at the moment. The studio knows the potential backlash of Nolan not directing the third film could kill it before it even starts production.

99% of directors don't have that kind of clout, though; if the studio says jump on 3D, those guys/gals will be forced to say "How high?" with no room for challenging the judgment of the studio.

good riddance. (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088734)

Good. Get rid of them. I'm sick to death of trying to find a theater playing movies in 2D - the annoyances associated with the fight between my glasses and the stereoscopic ones and the nausea induced by the movie essentially forcing me to look at it cross-eyed to figure it out completely destroy any immersion I may have experienced. I want my suspension of disbelief back.

Went to the movies last night (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088776)

we chose to go to the movies rather than watch something on Netflix not because of wanting to see a film in 3D, but because there is a new theatre in town - Cinebistro [cobbcinebistro.com] You have to be over 21 to buy a ticket, they serve food and alcohol at your seat in the theatre and they treat you like adults. *That* is an experience that will bring me back to going to theatres, not some 3D gimmick.

Do not want (1)

Clomer (644284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34088778)

I rarely watch movies in the theater. The last one was Toy Story 3, which I saw with my wife. We were rather annoyed with the fact that we had to go out of our way to find a screen showing it in 2D, as it seemed everyone just wanted to show it in 3D.

Even if it was cheaper, I wouldn't want to watch it in 3D. It's a gimmick, and one that gives me headaches at that. If there were no screens showing it in 2D, we would have skipped it and waited for it to come out on video. This will forever be true for me - if moviemakers decide that every movie should be 3D, then my days of going to the theater are done. Now that I have a nice HDTV at home, the desire to go to the theater is lessened, anyway.

I hope more producers take the stance against it that Christopher Nolan has - then maybe we'll see some sanity in the industry about it. Maybe that's a tall order, but I hope not.

One Word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34088786)

SMELL-O-VISON!!

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