Stereoscopic 3-D DVDs of theatrical movies

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Joachim, May 29, 2003.

  1. Joachim

    Joachim Auditioning

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    Back in the 1980s, several Hollywood studios authorized release of the 3-D versions of their movies on VHD discs in Japan. (VHD discs were a format akin to laser discs that was sold in Japan only.) Among these movies were Warner Brothers' "House of Wax," Universal's "Jaws 3D," and Paramount's "Friday the Thirteenth Part III." The 3-D format was field-sequential, requiring the viewer to wear liquid crystal shutter glasses wired to the disc player. This is the ONLY format which can produce professional-quality playback of 3-D video on a television or computer monitor.

    To date, the only theatrical movies released in this format on commercial DVDs are several IMAX movies ("Encounter in the Third Dimension," etc.). None of the Hollywood studios have released field-sequential 3-D versions of their old movies, apparently believing that the market would be too small to justify the cost.

    Warner Brothers is about to release "House of Wax" on DVD. It would be easy for the studio to include a 3-D version of the movie on one side of a double-sided disc, but I would be very surprised if they do so, despite a stated interest by many 3-D enthusiasts. There is an on-line petition to Warner Brothers requesting this 3-D version, and it currently has 800 signatures --- probably too few to persuade the studio. However, pirated DVD-R copies of the old VHD disc 3-D version of "House of Wax" and other 3-D movies are being sold openly (but illegally) at a brisk pace. (I will not state where and DO NOT condone this practice.) So Warner Brothers may be wrong about the appeal of a high-quality 3-D version on their upcoming DVD.

    Are other members of this forum also interested in the prospect of high-quality stereoscopic versions of the old Hollywood 3-D classics for home theater use? If so, how can forum members use their influence to convince Warner Brothers and the other studios that this would be a viable market?
     
  2. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    In 1990 I bought several field-sequential 3-D movies on VHS at 50 bucks a pop. I quit buying them when I got into LDs, but I have bought all the Slingshot DVD titles out so far, with the exception of the "3-D-ized" public-domain movies they have out. It's sad that those titles are out, along with 3 amatuerish shot-on-video horror discs, but the major-studio titles are being released in 2-D.
    I recently bought a DVD of "Friday the 13th Part 3", made from a VHD disc- the quality is only fair (mostly due to overcompression) but much better than the 2-D versions I've seen, and I would buy a legitimate DVD of it from Paramount if they ever put one out! (I'd buy my own VHD player and discs too if I could ever find any in the US!)
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Don't waste money by including them on the normal releases.

    The right way to market this is to make it a special order. It doesn't make sense to make thousands of dual-sided DVDs just so a small percentage can have their field-sequential.

    Plus, it would allow for better quality and less complaing about the lack of disc art.
     
  4. Joachim

    Joachim Auditioning

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    Patrick, you're probably right that from a marketing standpoint, "It doesn't make sense to make thousands of dual-sided DVDs just so a small percentage can have their field-sequential." However, producing special order discs for a tiny handful of customers would require pricing those discs out of most home viewers' reach.

    I think the studios would be wise to license the rights for their 3-D movie versions to third parties like Razor3d (which sells the required shutter glasses along with terrible straight-to-video DVD movies like "Zombie Chronicles", and would love the chance to sell some decent 3-D titles). This way, the costs of production would be borne by the third party, and the studios would get a precentage of whatever profit might be made.
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    There'd be more than just a "small percentage" of people with field-sequential glasses if there was more stuff out there to WATCH with them! If they included 3-D versions on every release along with a 2-D version, then people could buy them knowing they'd have the 3-D version to watch later as soon as they got the glasses. Of course most 3-D titles aren't worth watching in 2-D anyways (Friday the 13th Part 3 is extremely pointless without the 3-D, which is why I was surprised Paramount put out a flat DVD of it!)
     
  6. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Kiss Me Kate and House of Wax should both have field sequential versions included in their release, but do not/will not. Warner's is a fantastic studio for DVD enthusiasts, but on two points (anamorphically enhancing 1.66:1 material, and, more importantly, providing 3D versions of 3D films) there is room for improvement -- I love WB product, and count many of their discs as among the best on the market. Their commitment to DVD has been strong and laudable from the dawn of the format. But 3D films should be presented in 3D for those who are willing to buy the glasses, which is to say those who wish to see the film with the aesthetic of depth intact -- as I've said elsewhere, it isn't the ability of a 3D film to "trick" me that I find most appealing, and therefore the "spoiling" effect of small screen sizes isn't an issue; what I love, and affirmed a love for in two recent viewings of Ghosts of the Abyss, is how unique a 3D film can be for the simple, yet marvelous, field of expression provided its filmmakers with the addition of depth to shot composition. A viewer's relationship to the film changes completely, and the impact of scenes right along with it. I don't have to feel that the film surrounds me, as on a large screen such as an IMAX screen, for the film to have its effect -- much like a big 70mm film reduced to a direct view 32" television, the essence of what makes the film a work of art can be captured in careful mastering, and that effect then passed on to viewers at any screen size. The same holds true for 3D.

    I'd strongly encourage Warner's to either a) support the Slingshot 3D viewing system out there now or b) offer their own field sequential system, which would then, hopefully, be supported by other studios with 3D product. Whichever the case, 3D versions of films designed for 3D should be made available as the de facto (i.e. first) choice for both the collector/enthusiast and those who fondly recall seeing the film in theaters, and wish to recreate that experience as closely as possible at home (two groups most likely to buy an older film in the first place). Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder is reportedly headin' our way in 2004 -- but if it lacks depth, it isn't the picture Hitchcock and his crew shot, and that will be a shame (Grace Kelley in 3D! Could anyone ask for more? [​IMG]). The Software forum has an extensive thread for Kiss Me Kate and the troubles with the current release, which extend beyond lack of 3D; I've made some of these comments there as well, but I do hope that WB will choose to lead the way for major studio 3D support (just as they seem, thank Heaven, to be doing for silent films at the end of this year, if current reports hold true) and reissue 3D versions of Kiss Me Kate and House of Wax (the upcoming DVD of that picture also contains Mystery of the Wax Museum, though, so while House is 2D, the disc should still be well worth owning -- I'm very eager to see it), perhaps in 3D only editions for collectors, or perhaps in dual 3D/2D releases on the same disc to please all audiences. If Dial M for Murder comes and goes in 2D only, it will be a third wonderful opportunity missed for this studio to do what no other major studio is yet doing and offer fans these lovely pictures in the visual realm they were intended to occupy -- one composed of three, not two, dimensions.

    These criticisms offered, I'd like to reiterate my great admiration for Warner Bros. and all they've accomplished on DVD -- the studio is wonderful both for the quality of their films and the quality of the presentations of same on disc, and has both my thanks and congratulations on a job so very well done again and again. [​IMG] Their upcoming silents line is a marvel that cannot arrive soon enough, and their classic film releases continue to set standards against which most other studios pale (their upcoming Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca: 60th Anniversary Edition, and others will undoubtedly continue this run of tremendous, and well-deserved, successes). A studio with such respect for the classic film fan must, I hope, come to see the market for, and indeed the artistic necessity of, presenting films intended for 3D exhibition in 3D form for home viewing.

    As a post script, allow me to say that, in watching Disney's Ghosts of the Abyss twice on a small screen in a local cineplex which has never before in its history shown a 3D film, and watching that small screen through cheap, plastic glasses ... I was overwhelmed by the experience. The aesthetic of depth, not the size of a screen or the precision of the glasses, is the key, and that aesthetic came across beautifully, sans head aches or any other of the troubles reportedly weighing down this form of filmmaking. I found it delightful, and have every reason to believe that a properly transfered 3D film, utilizing field sequential glasses on an NTSC or PAL television, and certainly on a large screen or projection set up, could produce a similarly satisfying experience at home.
     
  7. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    I'd love to see it happen, but I don't think the studios will license these titles out.

    Maybe after HD-DVD is available, they might consider some type of a 3-D DVD, but right now, they just don't think the quality of field sequential is good enough.

    Still, why are they doing stupid things like putting out flat only DVDs of movies like JAWS 3-D? First, they've already put it out in 3-D in Japan before, and second, the film is utterly pointless without the gimmick, so why bother? Does anyone really want to sit through JAWS 3-D in 2-D?

    Also, over 600,000 pairs of field sequential 3-D glasses have been sold so far, as many PC and on-line games use them as well as the 3-D VHS and DVDs SlingShot and others sell. Surely this is a number which should be getting someone's attention.

    Paramount should seriously consider putting the 3-D version of FRIDAY THE 13TH Part 3 in the box set (or special edition series re-issues of the series) they have just announced they are considering for 2004.
     
  8. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    If Paramount does a second DVD release of the Friday the 13th Part III, a special edition no less, without it's original 3-D version.... Hold on.. I'm trying to think of a better word than "stupid".
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I just bought "SOS Planet" in 3D; I would've bought Jaws 3 if it was in 3-D.
     
  10. ChrisMohrSr

    ChrisMohrSr Auditioning

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    Joachim:

    I have had shutter glasses for a few years now and from the day I got them I have been e-mailing anyone and everyone I could think of that may know when films such as "Kiss Me Kate" and "Hondo" are going to be released on 3D DVDs. Some told me that it all comes down to money. The studios want too much for the rights.

    I have signed that petition to Warner Brothers, but what good it will do is anyone's guess. I do have one of those Japanese DVDs of "The House of Wax". Someone gave it to me as a present. I know it is one of those Japanese discs because it has Japanese sub-titles. The quality leaves something to be desired, but it is not really terrible. I do have the IMAX films as well as "The Creeps".

    I don't know how we can influence the studios, but count me in on anything you come up with. Let me know any way that I can help.

    Chris Mohr
     
  11. mike kaminski

    mike kaminski Second Unit

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    The climax of Freddy's Dead (Nightmare on Elm Street 6) is in 3d on the DVD I believe, but i think its only the box set version as an extra.
     
  12. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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