Ebert says the debate is over, 3D lost

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sam Posten, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    20,836
    Likes Received:
    1,866
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/01/post_4.html


    I don't expect this to end the debate of course but, so far I think, 3D is solidly losing consumer appeal and is viewed at best as a gimmick.


    Sam


    PS and I still think Ebert is wrong about video games, they CAN be art.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,647
    Likes Received:
    418
    Bah, vote with your dollars.

    If you like 3D movies, go and enjoy them.

    If you don't like 3D, either seek out the 2D version, or if there's no 2D option, at least take a quick moment to let your nearby theatre know that you would have watched the 2D version at their theater, but since it's being offered in 3D, you're passing on the movie.
     
  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    5,970
    Likes Received:
    282
    The column is a screed on the technical limitations of "3D". I don't see it making a case either for or against consumer adoption of "3D". There was a thread started earlier in the Hi Def forums about Ebert's column.
     
  4. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    2,033
    Likes Received:
    486
    Real Name:
    Bill
    I still recall Ebert's psuedo-scientific argument against digital projection. No surprise he's not a 3D fan.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    Most of that essay came across as pointless to me. First, I was somewhat lost by a sound engineer arguing visual science; didn't seem the right expert for the case.


    And then the first half is filled with handwavium pseudoscience:

    "[FONT= 'trebuchet ms']Somehow the glasses "gather in" the image"[/FONT]

    "[FONT= 'trebuchet ms']something to do with the amount of brain power"[/FONT]


    Then there's an explanation of the focus-convergence problem that about makes the case against movies as a whole: looking at the illustrations of the salt shaker and mountain vista, I found that I was having a hard time processing the image. The in focus aspect forces me to look at it, so I can't see the out of focus part. And when I deliberately gaze on the out-of-focus portion, it makes my eyes swim because I want to focus, and I can't.


    600 Million Years of evolution did not prepare Neandertal Man to deal with intentionally blurred images.


    Ah yes, then it truly goes out to lunch with pop-science nonsense about how we're evolved to not watch 3D movies. Oddly, he doesn't consider that man also did not evolve to look at a 40-foot screen about 30 feet away an perceive 10,000-feet tall mountains 20 miles away. Nor did we evolve to watch the world in Black and White. But somehow we've had a century of such unnatural artistry.


    I'm also pretty sure that hunting the Savannah didn't prepare us to view each other as oddly colored, mis-shapen polyhedrons, but Ebert doesn't rail against Picasso's offense to evolution.



    Yes, some people get headaches watching 3D movies. That's unfortunate. But 3D filmmakers seem to be getting better at mitigating those problems. Maybe it's a fad, maybe not. For the rest of us who can enjoy 3D, I hope it sticks around; it's quite fun.

    So why does Ebert have to view this not as a personal preference--, but as an offense to nature and perversion of humanity? For someone who rails against fundamentalist dogma, Ebert gets awfully fundamentalist-dogmatic about 3D.
     
  6. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,513
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    First, he's right, it's a gimmick

    Second, so what, sometimes I want gimmicks. Gimmicks can be fun, they might be why I go.. I mean, I went to go see "Jurassic Park" for the gimmick of seeing "the most realistic looking dinosaurs ever!" In fact, a lot of popcorn films depend on a gimmick.


    Third, there will be completely crap 3D films, and some good ones.


    Fourth, I will pay to watch good ones, I will pass on otherwise.

    The only part I 100% agree with is that "converting" a movie that was designed to be in regular film to 3D is a sham, and should not happen. It screws up the work of set designers, DP's and others who put their heart into making an outstanding product.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    Have you seen Coraline? That wasn't a gimmick, that was a wholly integrated aspect of the movie's art, just as its color, sound, and character design.



    3D is a "gimmick" the way "motion picture" is a gimmick (or "color" or "talkies" or any other aspect of this technological artform).
     
  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1997
    Messages:
    10,392
    Likes Received:
    606
    To be fair, Walter's a sound engineer and a film editor (Ebert claims "the most respected...in modern cinema" but I wouldn't know about that). So I do think he knows a bit about of what he speaks (or writes, in this case).


    As someone who does suffer occasionally from headaches while watching 3D (or if I don't develop one I have trouble focusing sometimes and watching 3D requires more effort from my eyes/brain than a traditional movie), a lot of his argument makes sense.


    Whether this really does signal the end for 3D, I don't know. I think the additional price point will keep it from becoming mainstream, something reserved for event-type movies like Avatar. Ticket prices are already inflated and to have to pay $2-4 more per ticket (especially for the animated ones which are targeted for families who often are on a budget) makes it an unattractive option for all movies.


    And I fully agree with the disdain of 3D conversion. Only things shot natively on 3D should be shown on 3D.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    People disliking 3D is reasonable.


    Ebert's crusade to make us accept that 3D is an abomination to all of human evolution is unreasonable.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,811
    Likes Received:
    204
    Real Name:
    John

    Dave, I see your hyperbole hasn't slowed down. The article simply explains why 3D movies expect our eyes to work in an unnatural way.
     
  11. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,723
    Likes Received:
    632
    Real Name:
    Nick Dobbs

    Personally, I'd compare it to surround sound. Some people find it's presence much more involving and immersive, but it doesn't really affect the storytelling in any way.
     
  12. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,513
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt

    Yes, and I enjoyed Coraline. And yes, I'd still argue it's a "gimmick". I also pointed out that in a lot of films, I expect them to live or die based on gimmicks, it's part of why I watch. I doubt I'd find Star Wars as interesting without special effect gimmicks.


    Gimmicks and film making go hand in hand. A gimmick isn't a bad thing, it's just a "this is what is different that makes us different" that sits outside of the story. Coraline could have been filmed with 3D as a "gimmick" but it was the storyline that determined whether it was good or not. (Frankly, I hated Coraline and found it to be a bitter, meanspirited kind of film, so there the 3D effect didn't help it).
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,811
    Likes Received:
    204
    Real Name:
    John
    If you actually read the article (and, I admit Ebert does go overboard) the fundamental problem is our eyes are not intended (or, trained) to focus at one point and converge at a different point. That is required for 3D movies to work. Our eyes ARE intended to see in color and see motion and our ears are specifically designed to discern sounds from multiple directions. So the comparison to color, moving pictures and surround sound is a little absurd. Excessive surround is a fault in execution, not the basic concept.


    Possibly our eyes can be re-trained to focus and converge at different points, but until that, there is a fundamental problem with 3D. This article was very informative, since it explains something I never ever realized was going on. I knew there was a lot of eye strain, I just didn't know specifically why.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer

    Yes, and I enjoyed Coraline. And yes, I'd still argue it's a "gimmick". I also pointed out that in a lot of films, I expect them to live or die based on gimmicks, it's part of why I watch. I doubt I'd find Star Wars as interesting without special effect gimmicks.


    Gimmicks and film making go hand in hand. A gimmick isn't a bad thing, it's just a "this is what is different that makes us different" that sits outside of the story. Coraline could have been filmed with 3D as a "gimmick" but it was the storyline that determined whether it was good or not. (Frankly, I hated Coraline and found it to be a bitter, meanspirited kind of film, so there the 3D effect didn't help it).

    Fair enough on "gimmick". To me, "gimmick" has connotations of trickery or worthless, misleading features. (I think of def'ns 2&3, but you go with #1: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gimmick). And to put too fine a point on it: I thought Monsters vs Aliens and Partly Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs used 3D as "gimmicks": they were poor movies that tried to mask their inadequacies with 3D. Coraline, Toy Story 3, Avatar I thought used 3D as part of the artistry. As movies they stand on their own, but their excellent use of 3D (like color, sound design, and scoring) makes them even stronger. To watch them without 3D is to remove an important part of the creative intent (but of course doesn't ruin the movie; I still enjoy Coraline on Blu-ray).


    While not crucial to the conversation, you lost me here:
    "Yes, and I enjoyed Coraline"

    "Frankly, I hated Coraline"


    So you liked the viewing experience, but didn't like the story?


    Ebert may be right about 3D ultimately failing to be anything more than a recurring fad. I don't know. And he only needs to state: For physiological reasons, that we currently estimate to be caused by mental confusion between disagreement of focus and convergence points, some people get headaches watching 3D video and since this seems insurmountable 3D video will ultimately fail to catch on.
     
  15. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've not read the article, just what's been discussed about it. The title of the article itself is so arrogant that I was too put off to bother reading it. His opinion is fact because he says it is...right.
     
  16. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,513
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    I enjoyed the look and style of Coraline. I really didn't like the storyline, which I thought was really not to my liking. I don't take a gimmick as being a bad thing, I think everything has some sort of gimmick as a way to get us to enjoy it. I guess I just think of most things as a bit of gimmickery to make a product stand apart. It's not good or bad, unless the gimmick itself is bad. Jaws 3D was a gimmick that sucked. Avatar was a gimmick that worked. Final Fantasy the movie was a CGI gimmick that didn't work. The Polar Express was a CGI gimmick that did.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,374
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    Matt, we just don't see eye-to-eye on animated movies. I loved Final Fantasy, but can't bear to watch Polar Express.


    But I understand your point.
     
  18. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,681
    Likes Received:
    676
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam
    Electronic House had a rebuttle to Ebert's article:


    Here is a link to the entire piece
     
  19. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,647
    Likes Received:
    418
    Yeah, for those complaining about our brains not being able to 'keep up" with the various focus points demanded by 3D, has anyone ever watched a subtitled movie with lots of subtitled dialogue? It's a skill (to keep up) you can develop if you enjoy foreign language subtitled films, and the same goes with watching 3D films. Geez. Ebert has been going off the deep end trying to get people to see things his way, and his way only, and I just don't care for his opinions on a lot of things lately, and his campaign against 3D is one of them.
     
  20. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    0
    The payoff for being able to easily read subtitles is that you're able to watch and understand movies that you otherwise would not be able to.


    For me, the payoff for developing the "skill" to watch 3D films is pretty unsubstantial. I personally don't percieve having to work any harder to watch a 3D film, and even then I don't see the payoff of 3D. It's akin to reading subtitles on a film that's already in English.
     

Share This Page