Monday, 21 February 2011

3D this, 3D that - why I am yet to be convinced

I was the BVExpo last week, which was held at Earl's Court, London. The place was packed full with the latest technology and equipment for the broadcast world.

I had no intention of going there to listen to any 3D talk; I wanted to go there all serious-like, telling myself I must go and check out any equipment for my DLSR.

Needless to say, my colleague and I ended up outside the 3D Theatre and walked into a talk about 3D in the home. It started with a intro to 3D by showing the Royal Gala at the Albert Hall - all in 3D. Not bad, though hardly amazing, apart from some wide shots that actually made you feel as if you are in the crowd, or in the arena at least, though this would have been helped by the huge theatrical screen.

Then the speakers yakked on about 3D of course and one woman was particularly adamant that 3D was set to overtake all formats of broadcast and all appeared to agree that it was consumers who were demanding this surge in 3D products.

Ok, so that might put in the minority here, but I am yet to be convinced by 3D. Here's why:

1. Our own eyes do the job when it comes to perspective and depth. Why do I need the 'illusion' of the pole hanging in the foreground for me to feel as if it is the foreground? Which leads me on to...

2. 3D does not generate a more 'real' visual experience - it's hyper realism in a way because your brain very well knows this is some optical illusion and has to adjust accordingly. 

3. The woman on the panel of speakers - I forget her name - she mentioned how it creates another experience than what you generally see on TV - it's not the same kind of ball game, even the shots picked are different. Fair enough but I wasn't convinced that 3D gave me another kind of experience - I was still staring up at a screen and this time wearing glasses over my glasses. It certainly didn't immerse me into the events on screen more.

4. It really is a big con that has made people think they MUST have this new experience rather than whether they should. How much value is it really adding to your experience when watching something? Which leads on to -

5.  I always thought the whole point or allure of 3D is the fact that stuff flies out at you, hence making the other dimension worth it. If you're not going to have that (what the lady called Disney theme park approach) and the mind just adjusts to the 3D output after 10 mins, then what is the point? It just melts away (as  it did for 'Avatar' which perhaps had 5% 3D worth material). Then the price of a ticket for a 3D movie is a colossal waste and con.

Where do I think 3D can really take off? - VIDEO GAMES. That's right - this industry has always looked at ways to immerse the user/player into the games more and we've always had this notion that virtual reality will come about sooner rather than later. So I believe investment for 3D should occur in video gaming - you are more inclined to wear some goggles and go with it, swinging a remote around to create the motion of a sword or bat. That makes *more* sense for me.

So I won't be heaving a collective sigh when video 'geeks' can wire in and 'walk' around the worlds of Warcraft etc. I will be heaving a great sigh when film producers and other people even contemplate shooting 'The Great Gatsby' in 3D, for then the art of film will be lost.

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