“Should I see it in 2D or pay the extra cost for 3D?”
It’s a question that’s being asked with increased frequency these days, as audiences are becoming more savvy about the 3D moviegoing experience. We’ve all been burned (one time or another) by a subpar post-conversion, distracting pop-out gimmicks, or underwhelming return on a pricey 3D investment. For this reason, it’s easy to understand why so many film fans (and now, TV viewers) actively dismiss 3D as a shameful fad that handcuffs filmmakers – and subsequently, ruins most moviegoing experiences.
Yet, over the last five years we’ve also seen a number of captivating and memorable implementations of the format, including Avatar, Hugo, and Life of Pi, among others. Quality 3D wasn’t limited to sci-fi or adventure films either – as Final Destination 5 and Dredd both delivered memorable (albeit tongue-in-cheek) use of 3D.
Of course, for every movie that is celebrated for its use of 3D, there’s a vocal group of dissenters who disagree – for entirely valid reasons: uncomfortable eyewear, strained or disorienting visuals, and questions of creative control, among countless others. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of misinformation still out there about the format. 3D technology is evolving rapidly – and while we entirely support a viewer’s right to boycott 3D (and sympathize with the estimated 10 percent of our population that can’t even see 3D films), it’s time to set the record straight by addressing what we believe are the 5 biggest misconceptions about 3D.
1. 3D Is Just A “Fad”
For years, 3D has been referred to as a “fad,” but year after year we’ve seen an increasing number of 3D films in production – and behind-the-scenes technology is the biggest indicator that 3D filmmaking is here to stay. Gone are the days of Anaglyph 3D – when filmmakers rarely fine-tuned stereoscopic images before sending them off to blue-and-red glasses-wearing viewers.
These days 3D is an enormous industry – with countless companies dedicated to the format at every stage of development. Engineers push innovation in a number of areas: increasingly smaller and more user-friendly 3D cameras for filming; upcoming laser projectors capable of a brighter image and longer bulb-life in theaters; 4K TV sets that do away with battery-powered “active” shutter glasses and only require inexpensive “passive” 3D eyewear for home use.
Many of these technologies were extremely expensive one year ago and are significantly less expensive today – meaning that two years from now they’ll be relatively inexpensive (a blink of the eye for hundred-year-old movie studios). Not to mention, non-entertainment-related 3D is a rapidly growing business – especially in the medical field where, for example, three-dimensional displays are already being used to save lives in operating rooms around the world.
As movie fans, we bounce around week-to-week from one film to the next – debating the quality of 3D. Yet, even when 3D has a bad week or month in theaters, the industry is designed for longterm viability. If cinephiles intend to boycott studios and wait for the “fad” to pass, they may never get off the sidelines.