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Ebert says the debate is over, 3D lost


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#1 of 30 ONLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted January 24 2011 - 05:51 AM

http://blogs.suntime.../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.


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#2 of 30 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted January 24 2011 - 06:14 AM

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.



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#3 of 30 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted January 24 2011 - 06:21 AM

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.

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#4 of 30 OFFLINE   SilverWook

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Posted January 25 2011 - 09:48 AM

I still recall Ebert's psuedo-scientific argument against digital projection. No surprise he's not a 3D fan.



#5 of 30 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted January 25 2011 - 10:06 AM

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:

"Somehow the glasses "gather in" the image"

"something to do with the amount of brain power"


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 of 30 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 25 2011 - 10:11 AM

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.


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#7 of 30 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted January 25 2011 - 10:15 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattCR 

First, he's right, it's a gimmick

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 of 30 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted January 25 2011 - 11:20 AM

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.


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#9 of 30 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted January 25 2011 - 01:12 PM

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 of 30 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted January 26 2011 - 01:07 PM



Originally Posted by DaveF 

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


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.



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#11 of 30 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted January 27 2011 - 04:54 AM



Originally Posted by DaveF 

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


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.


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#12 of 30 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 27 2011 - 05:10 AM



Originally Posted by DaveF 


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattCR 

First, he's right, it's a gimmick

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).


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).

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#13 of 30 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted January 27 2011 - 05:10 AM

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.


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#14 of 30 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted January 27 2011 - 07:31 AM



Originally Posted by mattCR 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveF 


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattCR 

First, he's right, it's a gimmick

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).


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.re.../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 of 30 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted January 27 2011 - 11:51 AM

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 of 30 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 27 2011 - 12:21 PM

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.





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#17 of 30 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted January 27 2011 - 12:43 PM

Matt, we just don't see eye-to-eye on animated movies. I loved Final Fantasy, but can't bear to watch Polar Express. Posted Image


But I understand your point.


#18 of 30 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 29 2011 - 08:41 AM

Electronic House had a rebuttle to Ebert's article:


  Ebert received (and reproduced) a letter from Murch that begins with an assessment of the theatrical experience of 3D in “The Green Hornet”—a movie that was not shot in 3D. The Green Hornet was converted to 3D in post production, a trick at best that’s less effective that the virtual surround sound modes most soundbars try to pull off.

The problem with 3D, explains Murch, is that it requires our eyes to focus on one spot while converging (aiming) at another. Essentially, when we look at an object, our eyes converge on it (aim, tilt) and focus (sharpen) on the object at one distance, the distance the object is from our eyes. 3D, on the other hand, because it creates an illusion in space, asks us to converge on the screen, but focus on the 3D vision that may be anywhere.  OK, I’m with him there, but so what? My eyes apparently can do it. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. This is essentially the same thing those optical illusion books (and maybe Where’s Waldo?) ask us to do, but in a 3D theater, because our eyes are being forced into action by the act of the glasses (active or passive) the processes is a lot easier.

Murch is suggesting that this task, if not impossible,  is at least really hard and will cause an instant aneurism.  He also suggests that the process of making our eyes do things that weren’t in our original owner’s manual requires that 3D films not use fast editing techniques because our eyes can’t keep up.

Did he not see “Avatar?”

 Here is a link to the entire piece



#19 of 30 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted January 29 2011 - 09:37 AM

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.


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#20 of 30 OFFLINE   Ben Osborne

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Posted February 01 2011 - 09:04 AM

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.




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