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3-D is coming

I came across last night two articles on the Time website about how 3-D might revolutionize the entertainment industry.

There is some talk about 3-D history, but if you’re really interested in the origins of 3-D movies, I suggest you check out this book.

The two articles were interesting reads, especially since they basically said the exact same things I blogged about last November (“the third sea change to affect movies after sound and color”).
As Nikki Finke would say: TOLDJA!

More to the point, the first linked article talks about limits of 3-D technology that I consider currently ridiculous, and most likely will become completely preposterous limitations a few years down the line (and since we’re talking about the future here…).

Let’s take a look at the first “problem”: glasses.

Imagine the popular resistance to the first talkies if audiences had to don headsets to hear Al Jolson sing “Swanee.” What would the odds on the success of three-strip Technicolor have been if people had to wear specs to see Gone With the Wind or The Wizard of Oz, or the 99% of movies now shown in color?

The similes are completely wrong here.
The correct comparison would be saying people had to put on headsets not only the talkie part of the movie, but sound itself ; or put more speakers for a clearer, more immersive, sound experience.
Guess what, people are doing that.
Putting specs to see color is equally as ridiculous of a question.

Regardless, saying the current glasses limit this barrier between the screen is false as current technology reduces loss of colors.
Everyone would be wearing contact lenses if glasses were that annoying to go see a movie.

Glasses will get better, thinner, until they’re gone completely.
3-D TVs already exist without the need for glasses.

Now, about the genre thingy.

Paul Blart, or the kids from Slumdog Millionaire, would not have benefitted from the in-your-lap urgency of 3-D.

This comes down to one word: gimmick.
Like I pointed out in my TOLDJA! moment back in November, a technological revolution is not one until it transcends that “gimmick” barrier.
Cellphones were considered only gimmicks a few years ago.
The same can be said about sound and color. None of them were believed to be true advancements back in the days (technology already existed before their official introductions).
We’re talking about a shift in the use of 3-D technology.
Black and white movies are still being made, yet how does “Paul Blart” benefit from being in color?
3-D hasn’t for now surpassed the gimmick stage.
I believe Avatar will change that.
In a few years, the technology will not be a novelty item anymore.

Moving on to the home entertainment business:

Even Jeffrey Katzenberg acknowledges that 3-D won’t be a major factor in home viewing for quite some time. And he’s talking only about DVDs. What about pay-cable? How would HBO show the 3-D version of Monsters vs Aliens — on a separate, 3-D-only channel, with glasses that came with your cable bill?

That sound you hear is my head bashing against the wall.
First things first. There is no special equipment needed to show 3-D, case in point with Chuck.
All you need at best are glasses. Not only is that solely on the viewer’s side of things, but technology already exist to suppress the need for glasses in 3-D TV.

And if you still think glasses = automatic failure, the 3-D home version of Journey to the Center of the Earth was quite a success last year, even though 3-D was mostly still a gimmick effect there, and you needed basic anaglyph glasses.
Once this stage is passed, home entertainment will catch up.
Hell, it’s already starting to as a matter of fact, thanks to 3-D sport.

And in conclusion:

As a rabid movie watcher, I’m not immune to the pleasures 3-D can bring to certain genres. It’s an advance in visual appeal similar to, but not greater than, Blu-ray. Which is to say, a difference in degree, not in kind. And with Blu-ray, you don’t need the damn glasses.

The hole in my wall is getting bigger.
DVDs are doomed, and so is Blu-Ray for that matter.
Also, comparing 3-D to HD is ludicrous at best.
Of course you don’t need glasses to see HD, that would be like you saying you needed special glasses to see colors or headphones to hear the “talkie” part of a movie.
Oh, wait. You did say that.
Please keep your metaphors straight next time.

Given the fact that you have most likely seen only gimmicky 3-D movies, including every single 3-D movie ever, you haven’t seen the barrier being breached yet.
3-D is not the same kind of advancement as High Def.
3-D is a major technological shift in the entertainment industry similar to, if not greater than, sound or color.

One Comment

  1. bobthecob

    I was going to comment but it would of been to long so I replied via blog post.

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