3D Miniaturization (a bit long, sorry)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by ijthompson, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. ijthompson

    ijthompson Stunt Coordinator

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    [Disclaimer: This post is written by a complete 3D-in-the-home newb. I'm not trying to agitate anyone with my observations, but rather, looking forward to hearing the wisdom of the more seasoned 3DBD enthusiasts!] I really enjoy 3D in the cinema. I don't necessarily feel one way or another about the extreme 'pop-outs', but I love the way that 3D can open up so much depth and space and make a good-looking movie even more immersive than it would have been, otherwise (recent favourites, for reference: Prometheus, Tron, and The Hobbit). So, I went downtown yesterday intending to buy a 55" Samsung 3D display. After shaking a Future Shop salesman out of his bored stupor, I convinced him to fetch a pair of [active-shutter] glasses and give me a demo (this was no easy task - I'm a middle-aged man with long hair, so salesmen often think I'm just bumming around). So he suits me up with specs and pops in (ugh...) one of the Transformers movies (this might have been my first mistake: not bringing along a 3D copy of a film I'm already familiar with and fond of, like Prometheus, Tron, or Titanic). He jumps to a chapter where some characters are talking around a table, and I'm thinking, "Yes, leave it right here, please!", but no... I've forced him to give me a demo, so he's gonna give me a demo, by god. He fast-forwards to a spot where the robots are bashing the bajeebus out of each other on some freeway. Adding insult to injury, he cranks up the sound system, and now a crowd is gathering, with another guy already pawing for the second set of glasses. Meanwhile, I'm sinking into the floor in embarrassment. But, you can be sure I'm watching the scene! And here's what I'm seeing: the 3D is deep, and immersive, sure. But what I'm noticing most is that, on a 'small' screen, the additional dimension is only serving to remind me how small everything is. Like, I'm looking at soccer ball-sized robots smacking wee little toy cars all over the place, with a wee tiny Shia Lebeouf running around hollering. The presentation I'm seeing is the precise opposite of the immersion I (think I) would be experiencing in the cinema (though again, I've never seen this film). In fact, the 3D and the 'smallness' of it all only combined to make me feel like I was watching, well... a puppet show. Crestfallen, I hand my glasses back to the salesman and say, "thank you very much for the demonstration, but I don't think we're there yet", and I can swear I glimpse a cynical smirk that says, "I knew this ol' longhair wasn't gonna buy nothin'!" End result: me and my money went home. So, I'm asking you fine folks: am I asking too much? I'm not foolish enough to think that the addition of a third dimension is going to make the image area of my display seem larger than it actually is, but again, the 3D I saw in that (one) scene in Transformers-Whichever made it look like I was watching a stop-motion movie starring toys (of course I know that the Transformers were toys, so maybe that's part of the 'look' of the film? I can't really believe that, in this day and age). Or does this particular film just look very chintzy in 3D? Anyway, if you've read this far, I owe you a beer. And in closing, here are my questions:
    [*] Do all 3D films in the home look to you like a parade of little toys?
    [*] And if they do, does this effect wear off after the first five minutes, as you sink in, or does it continue throughout?
    [/list] Thank you for your time and patience, and I look forward to reading your thoughts. :)
     
  2. fxrh

    fxrh Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 73" HDTV and a projection system with a 96" screen. When I have friends over for a football game, I have both sets going. A standing joke is that I might as well turn off the 73" set because the eye naturally gravitates to the larger image. Both systems support 3D Blu-ray, but for all practical purposes, I only use the projector for 3D. The bigger the screen, the more immersive the experience. If you can, go for a projector. If that won't work for you, get the biggest screen you can. Like many others, I have come to prefer the 3D experience at home where I have control of the display -- and, far more importantly, the audience!
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    I find 3D as immersive at home as it is in the theater, although I grant you that a 40-50 foot screen is in a class by itself when compared to a 73-inch screen like I have at home. Best movies at home include Avatar and Hugo. I saw Avatar twice in theaters, and the home 3D version is equal to the theatrical version. I saw Transformers Dark of the Moon in the theater in 3D and was only impressed with one scene in 3D, where the skydivers are launched out of helicopters in Chicago. i have the 3D blu-ray but have not watched it yet. I think that with the proper software, you would enjoy 3D in the home.
     
  4. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    As much as I enjoy 3D, for some reason it does tend to make things appear smaller - people especially. But I also notice that to a similar, although lesser extent, when viewing a 3D film theatrically.
     
  5. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    I turn off the lights, and all of a sudden, I lose the context of my screen vs. the room. That makes it more like the small cineplex screening-room at the shopping mall. :cool: That said, I have better stuff to watch IN 3-D than John Malkovich and Deep Wang, but it's the experience that counts.
     
  6. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    I think what you observed is from directors' inexperience with 3D rather than from actual screen size. The issue that 3D movie makers seem to fail to understand is that depth must be consistent with apparent size or it looks like you are looking at miniatures. For example: The big multi-story robots are fighting and apparent size is only half-height on the screen. With that apparent size, they should appear to be very far behind the screen because in the real world, that is how far away you would be for them to have that apparent size. The problem is they are only slightly behind the screen plane giving you the impression that the camera is very close. The only way for them to have that apparent size (half screen height) from the apparent distance (rather close) is for them to be miniatures. The effect can be caused when shooting with real 3D cameras but moving the lenses very far apart, which increases the distance at which we see depth but greatly compresses the apparent depth over "normal" range. We have a lifetime's experience with parallax 3D with our eyes only inches apart. Presenting us with a parallax image feet apart will look very unnatural. This is the reason I don't really like Hugo as a 3D movie. It used extreme parallax over long distances so far too many scenes have a miniature look to them. Another issue is for something to appear significantly out in front of the screen and not cut off by the screen edge (killing the natural 3D impression), it has to be small. But something that is coming closer to you should be getting larger, not smaller or staying the same size, which makes it appear that it is getting smaller the closer it gets to you. There are some movies that appear to get the distance/size correct for most of the image (Tron Legacy, Prometheus, Madagascar 3) and some that don't (Hugo, Avengers (3D conversion), Dredd). I can't say for sure if there is a trend towards getting it right or trending towards the artificial 3D look.
     
  7. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    This effect I've noticed on every 3-D screen from IMAX down to home viewings. It's just an aspect of the process like misaligned 3 strip technicolor will have color fringes. Wenders plays with this effect in his 3-D Pina to wonderful results. I'd suggest you err towards getting a slightly larger screen than you might otherwise do because the effect is reduced the larger your screen size.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    That's OK; reading the phrase "a wee tiny Shia Lebeouf running around hollering" was payment enough. :) Interesting points to ponder, at any rate. I have yet to take the home 3D plunge, myself, although it looks like I might be soon as my DLP chip appears to be near death.
     
  9. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    Chuck nailed it: What type of interaxial used (spacing between the two lenses) determines how much miniaturization in wideshots occurs. If the stereo I/A is kept minimal or even to standard human eye spacing, things so far back will flatten out. Just as they do with our own human vision. The "problem" can occur when there's a wideshot with nothing close to the camera and someone in the production team .. or sadly sometimes the stereo consultant, says "Hey... there's no real depth in this shot" ... And besides being placed behind the stereo window / being behind the screen.. they are right. Often the perceived "fix" for them is to widen the stereo base until true depth can be seen again. But when the stereo interaxial is closer to that of a giant overlooking the city, miniaturization often occurs. Production teams who know 3-D will avoid this: Jim Camon's wide shots in AVATAR are essentially flat (the ship in space etc), except when something is close to the screen. Guillermo del Toro has specified the 2D to 3D conversion of PACIFIC RIM should not have wider than human IAs, as that would cause miniaturization of his monsters.
     
  10. Ruthalas

    Ruthalas New User

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    Joined the forum to add a tidbit of information to this post.


    Another factor that can make a significant difference is your interpupillary Distance, or IPD.

    This is the distance between the centers of your eyes. Your perception of the world in three dimensions relies on this difference and your brain combining the stereo images.

    Your brain judges the size of objects in part by how much your eyes must turn inward to focus on them...


    As GregK and Chuck pointed out, 3D media has a preset interaxial distance..

    That can be exaggerated or very similar to the human average IPD (~65mm, slightly lower for females).


    When the interaxial distance of the recorded media is significantly different than your own IPD, it will make the 3D objects appear larger or smaller to your brain, regardless of their actual dimension on the screen.

    This determines whether you see the 3D content as a larger object 'far away', or a smaller object 'close up'.


    If you are having this issue with most 3D content, I suspect that you have a smaller than average IPD, and therefore the interaxial distances of the movies are too wide, giving you the sensation of being a giant looking at miniaturized figures.


    This website allows you to measure your IPD with a webcam.

    It would be interesting to see whether yours fell within the standard deviation!


    My IPD (62mm) is a bit below mean (64.7mm) for a male.


    Sources:

    Average IPD


    Edit: I have an interest in this because it is a very important metric in head mounted displays for virtual reality. If the scene is rendered at the wrong IPD, the entire world around the player is either scaled up or down accordingly. A very interesting phenomenon!
     
    Brent Reid likes this.
  11. ijthompson

    ijthompson Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, blast from the past!


    So much great info here from you all. And Ruthalas, that IPD stuff is really interesting, and totally makes sense. I don't have a webcam to test mine, but I know that I have a comparatively thin face, so you could be right. Hopefully I don't have to spend the rest of my life stressing over 'Small IPD Anxiety'! :D


    Interestingly, I still haven't taken the plunge into 3DBD in the home. The good news is, the larger displays will be much more affordable than they were two years ago! :)
     
  12. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Just another example of why current filmmakers don't "get" how to do 3D.
     
  13. StephenDH

    StephenDH Second Unit

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    This miniaturising effect is why most field sport events shown in 3D makes the players look like they came from a Subbuteo box.
     

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