Still in its infancy, many people are wondering about the future of 3D. Is it really viable for films and TV? What about other venues? It most definitely is, but it has to be done in a way that takes the best advantage of the new tools and technology.
3D, as it was explained to me, is not so much a way of filming, but a tool used to tell a story in a certain way and not all stories need it or want it.
As I watched the Katie Perry concert shot in 3D on the set in front of us, I could feel not only the energy but I could really feel as if I was there in the audience.
At the recent seminar at 3ALITY Technica, I learned a lot about 3D productions that I had not before known. The panel consisting of David Cohen of Daily Variety (moderator) Steve Schklair (CEO of 3ality Technica); John Rubey (President of AEG Network LIVE); Ted Kenney (Director of Production for 3ality Technica); and George Bellias (Owner Jade Productions) enlightened us on the history and uses of 3D for now and the future.
One of the problems for people who have purchased 3D televisions or attend 3D movies is that many producers and studios have jumped on the band wagon, but don't really know how to work with 3D. Having shot in 2D, they will add a few effects in conversion and hype the 3D to justify the extra ticket price. It's easy to see when a film has been poorly converted. The images still remain flat. Hybrid films are possible, but the 3D has to be shot in the way to take the best advantage of it. Men In Black 3 is a perfect example of a film shot to be seen in 2D. It was badly converted to 3D to maximize revenue for the producers. This is not to say conversions are all bad. Lion King and Titanic are examples of conversions done right. When watching Titanic in 3D, it's like seeing the movie anew.
Good content for 3D (in films) is hard to find, but some of the biggest directors in Hollywood are doing it. The panel citied two as being among the best - Hugo, which was shot in 3D and intended for it from the beginning and Prometheus. Indeed, seeing a clip in 2D and then experiencing the same clip in 3D is a world of difference. The emersion into the story and the identification with the characters is amazing.
Shooting for 3D requires a different mind set than most directors and producers have. For one, the 3D shot lingers longer on the frame and you can have two people talking and feel like you are there with them. There is less panning and fewer cuts. The camera is participating in the scene.
Currently, the best use of 3D is in sports and the live concert arena. Less cameras are used because they are positioned and shoot differently. For instance, when Ted Kenney did the Black Eyed Peas at the Super Bowl, he only used five cameras and not the 21 cameras that might have been used if he'd shot in 2D.
Providing the raw material of the 3D is easier and less costly than one might think. They have simplified the use of 3D cameras through its proprietary software and so with very little training normal crews can use the equipment. "It's the signal that matters," said Steven Schklair. Then the material can be processed by IMAX, Disney, Panasonic or any of the other 3D systems.
For more information about 3D call 3ality Technica at 818 333 3000