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Why don't filmmakers take advantage of the 3D Process?


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#1 of 22 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 26 2011 - 03:23 AM

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This week, a co-worker and friend of mine bought his first
3D display.  It was a Samsung 51" that came packaged with

a starter kit.


I was very excited about his purchase and first foray into the

format within his home.  I gave hime a few 3D Blu-rays to spin

and enjoy.


The very first title I recommended that he put in his player was

Imax Under The Sea.  I told him to go to chapter 2 and sit and

watch for 5 minutes, particularly when the cod fish appears onscreen.


Just as I expected, he texted me shortly afterwards rejoicing
at how cool that sequence was where the codfish came within

inches of his face.


But here's the thing....


Sadly, I told him that is the best 3D of its kind that you will

experience from hereonin.


I say that, because I own a great deal of what exists on 3D
Blu-ray, and none of it is as impressive as that short sequence

that appears on the Imax disc.


What I don't understand is why filmmakers don't take more

advantage of having their action jump off the screen, coming

within inches of the viewer's nose.


It just doesn't seem to happen.


I am very much aware that there are those that don't like

excessive 3D gimmickry in their movies.   I can understand

and respect that attitude.  However, when it comes to the point

where filmmakers don't even consider exploiting the virtues of

the format itself and keeping everything mostly within the confines

of the screen, I begin to wonder where the WOW factor really lies?


Let's face it, back when you went to Disneyland and watched the

Michael Jackson or Muppet 3D show, the biggest "oohs" and "aaahs"

came from those moments when images leaped off the screen

and hurdled towards the audience.  It was amazing.


I don't see much of that in the home 3D format.  I don't blame the

format itself because I have seen its potential in the Imax disc I

mentioned above, but it just amazes me that filmmakers won't even

offer today's 3D audiences any real WOW moments that they will

be talking about long after the credits roll.


Just curious as to whether I am the only person that feels this way.


And, if I am missing some really great discs that disprove what I

have discussed above, I would really love to know about them.



Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 22 Johnny Angell

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Posted August 26 2011 - 03:45 AM

Let's face it, back when you went to Disneyland and watched the

Michael Jackson or Muppet 3D show, the biggest "oohs" and "aaahs"

came from those moments when images leaped off the screen

and hurdled towards the audience.  It was amazing.


I don't see much of that in the home 3D format.  I don't blame the

format itself because I have seen its potential in the Imax disc I

mentioned above, but it just amazes me that filmmakers won't even

offer today's 3D audiences any real WOW moments that they will

be talking about long after the credits roll.


Just curious as to whether I am the only person that feels this way.


And, if I am missing some really great discs that disprove what I

have discussed above, I would really love to know about them.


You're not the only one. I enjoy those "wow" or "in-your-face-moments", as long as they are not over done. I think I more often read that a director does not want to do 3D, then that they do want to do 3D. It's beneath them and if forced to used it, they are going to avoid the "wow" moment. Of course, I don't yet have a 3D system, so what does my opinion matter? BTW, I have gathered through my browsing here at HTF that the Panasonic system had the edge in quality. Combine that with their exclusive deal for Avatar, what pushed your friend to go with Samsung?
Johnny
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#3 of 22 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 26 2011 - 04:07 AM

Hi Johnny!


Sigh.  I really pushed Panasonic on my friend citing

if he really wanted to go with the best that was out there

that would be the brand to go with.


However, I think he was looking for something a little

more affordable, and it just so happens that Samsung is

running a promotion right now on a 51" display (that is

getting phenomenal reviews) along with a free Blu-ray

player and starter kit (2 glasses and movies) for $1600.


I could not hold him back from purchasing that system.

It's a very good deal, and as I said, the display is getting

excellent reviews which surprises me, because Samsung

usually is not my first choice for plasma.


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#4 of 22 Chuck Anstey

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Posted August 26 2011 - 04:44 AM

What I don't understand is why filmmakers don't take more advantage of having their action jump off the screen, coming within inches of the viewer's nose.

I have been arguing that since 3D made its return. I don't understand how having everything behind the screen, making it like you are looking at everything through a framed window adds anything to the movie experience and why so many people prefer it. If you are going to use 3D, the movie should be built from the ground up around 3D because 3D is not like simply going from black and white to color. 3D is an effect that has guidelines and limitations if it is going to enhance rather than detract from the viewing experience. My thought that the reason so little jumps off the screen is for that illusion of "in your face" to work convincingly, the screen has to be huge and cover most of your FOV or things in front of the screen "appear" tiny relative to background objects. A shark in front of the screen, which should appear bigger because it is closer, actually appears smaller than the fish in the background. It is an illusion but your brain can have difficultly reconciling how a 20' shark appears to only be 6 inches long 24 inches from your face. Also objects in front of the screen can get unnaturally cut off by the screen border and makes it obvious it is a trick. For anything behind the screen, they are cut off by the natural window frame of the screen border and the relative size illusion isn't as obvious. Since most theaters don't have large screens and certainly at home 3D TVs cover relatively little of a viewer's FOV at normal viewing distances, the filmmakers take the safe way out. IMAX movies were built for huge screens so they don't have to worry about it being shown on a small screen.

#5 of 22 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 26 2011 - 05:13 AM

Chuck,


The only counter-argument I would have to what you posted is that the

"leap out of the screen" process does work well on the small screen.


The Imax: Under The Sea disc proves that quite well.


However, I absolutely agree that any 3D Blu-ray presentation that

introduce black bars into the image ratio definately mar the overall effect.

The black bars make the the presentation far less immersive as those

bars become introduced into your field of vision.




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#6 of 22 Chuck Anstey

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Posted August 26 2011 - 06:23 AM

You are preaching to the choir. I do like 3D when well done and built specifically for the 3D effect. That knocks out nearly every 3D movie though. I would like Hollywood to change their attitude about 3D and instead of thinking of it like shooting in color, they think about it as something special that has a real impact on how a movie is shot. Drop down to 5 to 6 movies a year in 3D with each one made specifically for 3D. Not the usual "Hey, wouldn't this movie be cool in 3D? Sure let's just do it." and instead "We need 2 3D movies this summer. What movies in the cue would be greatly enhanced if they were made around the 3D effect and that means people/objects in front of the screen?" And absolutely no "conversions to 3D". Let that BS be done by the display device (available now) if the viewer is dying for a 3D version of a movie shot in 2D.

#7 of 22 SD_Brian

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Posted August 26 2011 - 06:25 AM

One thing to remember is the fact that most directors and cinematographers are new to 3-D. Not only that but many of them are also new to shooting Digital Cinema. They are having to learn to use a lot of new toys all at once and to control the visuals of their movies so they aren't "ugly." Similar technical learning curves occurred with the advent of "talkies," Technicolor and Cinemascope and 3-D is arguably more complicated than any of those. Also, as was stated earlier, a lot of directors do not want to be making 3-D movies but studios are forcing them to do so. What this leads to is a lot of attempts to make 3-D movies that don't look like 3-D movies. In interviews directors will go out of their way to talk about how their 3-D isn't about things jumping off the screen but rather to add depth to the image. It's like when "respectable" directors stoop to making genre (read: horror) pictures and they always go out of their way to say the movie isn't really a horror movie, "it's a really beautiful love story!" The flaw with the "depth to the image" argument, of course, is that it completely misses the reason why people go to 3-D movies in the first place: to see things fly off the screen. All that said, it will be interesting to see what Martin Scorsese does with 3-D in "Hugo."

#8 of 22 Johnny Angell

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Posted August 26 2011 - 02:01 PM

Hi Johnny!


Sigh.  I really pushed Panasonic on my friend citing

if he really wanted to go with the best that was out there

that would be the brand to go with.


However, I think he was looking for something a little

more affordable, and it just so happens that Samsung is

running a promotion right now on a 51" display (that is

getting phenomenal reviews) along with a free Blu-ray

player and starter kit (2 glasses and movies) for $1600.


I could not hold him back from purchasing that system.

It's a very good deal, and as I said, the display is getting

excellent reviews which surprises me, because Samsung

usually is not my first choice for plasma.

A 51" display, BR player, 2 glasses, and movies for $1600? That's a great price. Makes me wish I had a tax refund coming right now.:)
Johnny
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#9 of 22 Chad R

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Posted August 28 2011 - 12:32 AM


Michael Jackson or Muppet 3D show, the biggest "oohs" and "aaahs"

came from those moments when images leaped off the screen

and hurdled towards the audience.  It was amazing.

But those were basically amusement park rides. Those attractions are about visceral thrills more so than storytelling. They just make you aware of the "ride" and in a storytelling environment it risks pulling you out of the story. I think it's akin to how sound diesigners have learned in the last decade or so to refrain from too many "fly over" effects that similarly yanked right out of the experience. In film, every aspect has to service the story. Anything that doesn't, or gets in the way of that, usually has to go. The images in a 3D film should pull you in, which is why most filmmakes have opted for depth in an image rather than "pop-out" effects. I could see an argument that there are different types of films and therefore some should have the pop-outs. I haven't seen it, but I would imagine that "Transformers 3" would be an excellent candidate for the WOW effects, but unfortuneately Michael Bay still fancies himself a real filmmaker, so he too probably went for depth. And I think that's the attitude of most in the industry.

#10 of 22 Chad R

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Posted August 28 2011 - 12:33 AM

Double post, sorry.

#11 of 22 Ethan Riley

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Posted August 28 2011 - 05:46 AM

Well I have a weird story. I used to love to watch "Kiss Me Kate" when it was released on vhs some 25 or so years ago. At the time, I had no idea that KMK had originally been a 3-D movie. And I was always weirded out by the fact that the actors were repeatedly throwing things at the screen. At least every five minutes someone throws something at your face. I just assumed that all the actors in that movie hated the cameraman and were trying to take his eyes out or something. Although I've never seen KMK in its 3D version, I imagine it will someday be put out on 3D blu-ray. And all those flying props will constitute the gimmicky "wows" that you mentioned. But that's what the filmmakers were trying to do at the time. Nowadays, they do not seem to be recreating that gimmick factor; they're just going about the usual business of storytelling (usually). And it's almost like there's no point to the 3D process if they're not wholly exploiting it. So they get into this gray area: do we go for the gimmicks and throw stuff at the audience? Or do we just stick to the storytelling aspects of this movie and use 3D as an incidental part of the movie-making process? And I think a lot of current filmmakers can't really answer those questions. And you are quite right, Ronald--if they don't go for the gimmicks, there's pretty much no point in making a movie 3D in the first place!
 

 


#12 of 22 Chuck Anstey

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Posted August 28 2011 - 06:15 AM

But those were basically amusement park rides. Those attractions are about visceral thrills more so than storytelling. They just make you aware of the "ride" and in a storytelling environment it risks pulling you out of the story. I think it's akin to how sound diesigners have learned in the last decade or so to refrain from too many "fly over" effects that similarly yanked right out of the experience. In film, every aspect has to service the story. Anything that doesn't, or gets in the way of that, usually has to go. The images in a 3D film should pull you in, which is why most filmmakes have opted for depth in an image rather than "pop-out" effects. I could see an argument that there are different types of films and therefore some should have the pop-outs. I haven't seen it, but I would imagine that "Transformers 3" would be an excellent candidate for the WOW effects, but unfortuneately Michael Bay still fancies himself a real filmmaker, so he too probably went for depth. And I think that's the attitude of most in the industry.

Continuing Ethan's point above. Yes sound designers have stopped using 5.1+ surround sound so aggressively but the difference is that they can effectively create a 3.1 sound mix or mono mix without any impact to the viewer using the installed 5.1 system. That is not the case with 3D. You cannot create a 2D movie using 3D without significant impact to the viewer having to wear glasses, crosstalk, a much dimmer image, and a dang huge up-charge. Shooting a 2D movie in 3D with the simple depth of looking out a window frame is nothing like shooting in color vs B/W or creating a mono sound mix instead of an aggressive surround mix. The mistake is thinking that since every theater has 3D equipment, every movie should be in 3D. Just like your point above when sound designers thought that since every theater had 5.1 speakers, all sound mixes should use all 5.1 speakers all the time. Eventually when they design a totally passive 3D system, filmmakers will be able to choose when during a movie they want depth and when they want 2D and can shoot appropriately for the scene instead of having to choose 2D or 3D for the entire movie, Tron Legacy not withstanding because that still had all the negatives of a 3D movie even when in 2D mode.

#13 of 22 Brianruns10

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Posted August 28 2011 - 07:10 AM

I wish more filmmakers would take advantage of the REAL, TRULY IMMERSIVE 3D format: 5 and 15-per 65mm!!! :)

#14 of 22 Brendon

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Posted August 29 2011 - 09:28 PM

Let's face it, back when you went to Disneyland and watched the

Michael Jackson or Muppet 3D show, the biggest "oohs" and "aaahs"

came from those moments when images leaped off the screen

and hurdled towards the audience.  It was amazing.


I don't see much of that in the home 3D format.  I don't blame the

format itself because I have seen its potential in the Imax disc I

mentioned above, but it just amazes me that filmmakers won't even

offer today's 3D audiences any real WOW moments that they will

be talking about long after the credits roll.


Just curious as to whether I am the only person that feels this way.


And, if I am missing some really great discs that disprove what I

have discussed above, I would really love to know about them.


Disclaimer: 3D doesn't work too well for me, having a prism in my glasses for one eye. The effect works but induces a headache when viewed for any length of time, The technology however intrigues me as does the uses (Avatar, many IMAX documentaries) and abuses (cheap, hurried post conversion of 2D films). Despite my own discomfort with the technique, I do look forward to the uses a Scorsece, Spielberg, Del Toro might put it to. The following http://www.disneyani...DConversion.pdf is a paper discussing the considerations and process for the 3d conversion of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Specifically it addresses the 'downside' of in your face, mere inches from your eyes WOW moments in a feature length film:

Be Compelling. The second set of principles for appealing stereoscopic conversion are the same as for good stereo composition in modern CG or live-action productions, namely compelling 3D creative direction and audience comfort. Rather than the more gimmicky 3D effects exploited in ride films and the 1950’s 3D fad, films released in recent years have utilized stereo 3D primarily as if looking into a window of depth. This approach maximizes the immersion of the viewer and minimizes discomfort and was the model for Beauty and the Beast 3D. The first guideline for this approach is to manage the Depth Budget of each shot. The Depth Budget refers to the distribution of depth layers in an image and particularly the closest and furthest objects. In most modern productions shots are not given extreme depth ranges by placing, in the same shot, an object far in front of the screen and an object far behind the screen. In addition, effort is made to avoid excessive “convergence”, or turning in of the eyes, to resolve an object far in front of the screen, and “divergence”, or turning out of the eyes beyond parallel, to resolve an object far behind the screen. The budget is generally predefined and monitored throughout a production by the stereographer. In the case of 2D to 3D conversion, the Depth Budget should mimic the depth of the original scene but can be scaled for comfort and storytelling and may include subtle adjustments to “rein in” the adverse affects of extreme compositions.

I remember seeing B&TB in IMAX during the short lived vogue for upconverting Disney animated films for IMAX presentation. Any static or slow panned scenes with infrequent cuts looked marvelous and being able to see into the corners of the artwork was fabulous, immersive and all those good things. The issue came with any scenes with rapid editing, name the beast battling the wolves. The rapid editing on such a large screen filling ones entire field of vision meant it was very difficult to follow quite what was happening, where and to whom during the scene (I think of this as the Bourne effect). I'd expect the constant having to refocus the eye from shot to shot in 3D for your average contemporary hyperkinetically edited action movie together with extreme 3D 'WOW' moments might well render many films unwatchable.

#15 of 22 Worth

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Posted August 31 2011 - 02:58 PM

I'm not really a fan of 3D, but something like this makes more sense to me than 3D televisions.

Sony says it will start selling a head mounted display that provides a 3D theater of music videos, movies and games, targeting people who prefer solitary entertainment rather than sitting in front of a TV with family or friends. Sony officials said the gadget delivers the immersive experience of a home-theatre, or the equivalent of sitting in one of the best seats of a movie theatre. HMZ uses Sony’s own OLED screen, a relatively new kind of display that relays superb image quality and color, compared to the more prevalent liquid crystal and plasma displays used in laptops and flat-panel TVs. Mr. Kato said the major challenge had been making a very small display without compromising image quality.


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#16 of 22 RobertR

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Posted August 31 2011 - 03:06 PM

But those were basically amusement park rides. Those attractions are about visceral thrills more so than storytelling. They just make you aware of the "ride" and in a storytelling environment it risks pulling you out of the story. I think it's akin to how sound diesigners have learned in the last decade or so to refrain from too many "fly over" effects that similarly yanked right out of the experience. In film, every aspect has to service the story. Anything that doesn't, or gets in the way of that, usually has to go. The images in a 3D film should pull you in, which is why most filmmakes have opted for depth in an image rather than "pop-out" effects. I could see an argument that there are different types of films and therefore some should have the pop-outs. I haven't seen it, but I would imagine that "Transformers 3" would be an excellent candidate for the WOW effects, but unfortuneately Michael Bay still fancies himself a real filmmaker, so he too probably went for depth. And I think that's the attitude of most in the industry.

Good post. Demanding that 3D effects be "in your face" is like demanding that stereo audio use the kind of ping pong effects that were popular in its early days. It's not realistic.

#17 of 22 Ron-P

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Posted August 31 2011 - 04:03 PM

I for one see things that "jump off the screen" as a 3D gimmick. I don't like it. I love the depth of field and all that 3D brings to the screen but leave the pop-outs and things jumping off the screen for those cheesy 3D films.

Avatar was, and still is, the perfect 3D film. I have yet to see better as it did not employ that gimmick that made 3D so popular decades ago.



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#18 of 22 Ricardo C

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Posted August 31 2011 - 04:13 PM

Other than Avatar, I have yet to see a 3D film that is genuinely more enjoyable than its 2D counterpart. And home 3D technology just doesn't satisfy me. I feel like I'm experiencing a drop in resolution whenever I view a 3D BluRay movie. It feels like I'm watching a scan-line display. I don't want 3D to go away, because when done right it can be sublime, but I don't want it to become the norm, since it's so easily misused and abused, and I don't want it in my home theater in its current state.
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#19 of 22 Bob Furmanek

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Posted August 31 2011 - 06:23 PM

Discussions like this really make me wish more people could see just how well photographed the 3-D films were in the 1950's. Don't get me wrong, they weren't all stereoscopic gems. But of the 50 features produced in 1953/54, more than two thirds were exceptionally well photographed by terrific cinematographers who not only knew their craft, but the complicated aesthetics of stereoscopic composition as well. Perhaps I'm biased, but most of what I've seen today doesn't hold a candle to what they achieved with those twin 35mm camera rigs 58 years ago! Bob Furmanek Vice President 3-D Film Preservation Fund http://www.3dfilmpf.org/

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#20 of 22 Richard--W

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Posted August 31 2011 - 06:50 PM

Other than Avatar, I have yet to see a 3D film that is genuinely more enjoyable than its 2D counterpart. And home 3D technology just doesn't satisfy me. I feel like I'm experiencing a drop in resolution whenever I view a 3D BluRay movie. It feels like I'm watching a scan-line display.

That's because you are in fact experiencing a drop in resolution and because you are watching a line scan. Or a clock scan. All the 3-D blu-rays are sourced from digital captures and digital scans. I wasn't that impressed with Avatar. It is ambitious in its scope, which is commendable, but it has basic, fundamental stereoscopic photography defects that it should not have. It is also a digital capture, so it looks soft, dim and muted. The luminosity of a monitor helps to some extent, but nothing can rescue Avatar from its soft, dim and muted source. It is what it is. Repeat after me: digital capture is soft, dim and muted. 35mm film is richer, deeper, sharper, more expansive in its range of color, in its range of monochrome, in its range of contrast and tonalities, and infinitely superior in quality to HD and all other digital capture. For films shot on 35mm, the use of a digital intermediate facilitates editing and saves a lot of money. I don't dispute that. But 2K and 4K scanning "sees" film in the wrong way and brings the vast range of film down to the same soft, dim and muted level of digital capture. Scanning also drains aesthetic choices in gels and filters out of true cinematography. Scanning renders the contours of light and dark within a scene into the same exposure. It's a peculiar thing, like walking into a dark room but seeing the dark as if it were painted over daylight. A kind of pentimento effect. There are no true shadows or contrast in digital scanning; it's all the same. Compared to digital capture, 35mm film looks stunning on the big screen and on the smaller monitor. It follows them, that stereoscopic 35mm films are not soft or dim or muted. Properly projected and properly transferred they are are bright and clear and sharp. I wish the industry would progress by reverting back to photochemical processes. It is possible to transfer photochemistry to Blu-ray, although I'm not sure how exactly. In any case, do not judge the quality of 35mm stereoscopic films by digitally captured films like Avatar. Avatar is not a barometer by which 35mm stereoscopic films are to be judged..