3D.  I remember the 1D headaches from watching some older 3D movies.  Yet the entertainment industry thinks 3D is the new tech that will help sales.  Not only is it coming to a theater near you, it’s coming to computer games and some TVs that are already set up for 3D movies.  Or will this newest effort end up in the warehouse with the massive unsold collection of 10,000 Segways?

The Potential of 3D:
Anyone remember trying to sit through a 3D movie with those totally dorky cardboard “glasses?”  Do you also remember the massive eye-ripping 1D headache that came from using those things, or was that just me?  I remember the headache because I just got it again after watching the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D movie trailer commercial that came in after the 2nd quarter of Super Bowl XLIII.

Yet 3D does have its fans.  That is if you look at some ticket sales.  3D is considered to be a success because 3D versions of movies like Meet the Robinsons and Beowulf sold twice as many 3D version tickets than their 2D version counterpart.

On a scary note, they also tout the success of the 3D flick, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. The Disney 3D film shattered records for a limited release movie.  Groan.

Are There Enough Theaters?
As studios start to pump out 3D products, theaters are starting to add the necessary projectors for the approximately 40 upcoming film projects coming down the pipe.  But will there be enough theaters for this big plan?

It was estimated that there would be around 5,000 theaters with the proper technology installed when Monsters vs. Aliens comes out, but the true estimate is that there are only 1,500 theaters ready to show the movie in 3D.  That’s a sobering number for the hopes Dreamworks had, considering that making a 3D movie costs much more to make than a regular film.

Then again, is this an example of studios pushing their own schedules on everyone before they’re ready?  And I presume that the costs to upgrade are on the theater chains who are already struggling with the finance balances of showing a film.

Some 3D Projects Noted:
Of the 40 planned 3D projects, a few of them you may have already heard of:

There’s already been Journey to the Center of the Earth, the previously mentioned Dreamworks’ computer-animated film Monsters vs. Aliens which is due out next March and James Cameron’s Avatar.

Journey to the Center of the Earth was the first ever live-action film that’s been shot entirely in 3D, but it also had a 2D version out.  Pixar studio is now making all of its computer-animated films in 3D.

On top of that, in the “Is Nothing Sacred” category, Disney’s Pixar is redoing Toy Story (I & II) in 3D, and George Lucas is hoping to keep his Star Wars franchise alive by redoing that in 3D.

The Home Viewing Industry:
With the home viewing industry being a nearly $36 billion industry, some big names are looking at how to get 3D into your home.  Some of the companies include Disney, Universal, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Thomson and IMAX.

Some sports telecasts have already taken place in 3D and there’s a push to develop TVs where you won’t need glasses at all.  (That confuses all three of me.)

The idea is that since Hi-Def made such an impact, 3D HD will be even bigger.  Right now we already have some 3D products in the home.  An estimated 1 million 3D-ready HDTVs made by Mitsubishi and Samsung are already in U.S. homes.  The basic concept from the Philips brand is to place a lens over the screen to create the effect.

Even The Computer Is Not Immune:
Madden NFL, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and FIFA Soccer are coming to the 3D world, and Bioshock can now be transformed into 3D via a package from DDD (Dynamic Digital Depth) and their TriDef 3D Experience.

Do I even want to touch on the process being pitched to make Blu-Ray discs viewable in 3D?  Nah, not right now.

What do I think?
3D needs to be watchable.  It needs to be able to be experienced without the headaches, or more precisely, without the glasses.  It needs to not be a distraction.

What does a 3D platform add to a story?  Most 3D scenes seem to be extraneously injected camera angles to take advantage of a spear being thrust in your face and other such moments where scenes, people or objects are filmed.

Pointing to the successes of 3D sales from a teenage pack of swarming Miley Cyrus fans or Meet the Robinsons and Beowulf may be giving these movies more credit than they deserve and sending a lot of serious funds down the wrong entertainment avenue.  Or are they?  Is this where they think the fan base is really heading?  Yeesh.

As far as that 3D trailer during the Super Bowl, I was impressed… NOT!  There were maybe two moments that looked cool.  The very opening with the paddle ball moment, and then later on in the SoBe commercial that followed it up, when a lizard smacked the screen.  OK, those did look cool, but the rest of the air-time just seemed dark, fuzzy and confusing to me.

A closing note on a very scary development that most of us probably didn’t see coming:  The Huffington Post reports that a Hong Kong “production” company is looking to create the first ever 3D porn movie.  Oh my, the possibilities are just way too frightening to even try to consider.

Back To You:
So is it me, or are you feeling the same, underwhelming emotions about this potential process?

Sources: USA Today, Portfolio.com, Telegraph.co.uk, Huffington Post, /Film,