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Last night I attended my first ever 3D screening in "RealD 3D" I had no idea that the screening was going to be in 3D as there was no indication of this in the description on the website:

 

https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=whitehairedwitchoflunarkingdom

 

When I arrived they handed me the glasses and I was like "Oh I must be at the wrong screening and I showed them my ticket (which also said nothing about 3D on it) but it turned out that it was indeed the right screening. Having got inside I sat down and suddenly realised that not only was it in 3D but of course it was a subtitled film. Normally I have no problem with subtitles but this film featured tiny little subtitles that floated in front of the movie. It took me about 15 minutes to get the hang of reading the subtitles in 3D although it was still hard to see the movie and the subtitles at the same time as it required more concentration on the floating text. By this point I had kind of missed a lot of the dialogue which was annoying because it was quite a convoluted movie anyway.

 

Having got the hang of it I was very unimpressed with the images which just looked like viewmaster stuff in motion and seemed pointless and annoying. It just seemed like a silly effect like when people get too carried away with photoshop or something. It was at it's best when the effect was very mild.

 

Oddly I found that sometimes the movie looked better with the glasses off obviously for a lot of scenes it was blurred in a nasty way and you couldn't read the subtitles without the glassed.

 

About half way into the movie there was some strange fight scene that was very fast and it had a very strange effect because I felt instantly nauseous and had to claw the glasses off my face as fast as I could. It was very odd as the effect was almost instant and very sudden unlike "The Blair Witch Project" thing where you slowly get sick from the shaking camera work. I'd not experienced anything like it. Once that scene was over I was able to wear the glasses again without problems beyond the more general pain of doing the 3D thing. It was beyond unpleasant for the few seconds it lasted.

 

Oddly once it was all over and I got up to leave I felt really, really dizzy and once I stepped outside it was a very strange experience because everything seemed suddenly hyper real and magical. The only thing I can compare it to was a very mild version of when you have been through some kind of traumatic event and you are out the other end and you have that feeling for a while like you are going to make an effort to enjoy your life and make the most of your future. It was kind of like that on a small scale.

 

The movie wasn't great but the whole 3D thing was a really unpleasant experience. Thankfully it was my first 3D movie so at least I feel like I know what everyone is talking about with it all now, so I got something out of it for my pain.

 

I can't believe that 3D tickets attract a premium. It was quite horrible and I will be sure to try and avoid the experience again.

 

Freya

 

 

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...and another thing. People go on about high definition and 4K and all this stuff but I was wondering what the resolution of those funny plastic glasses were. They seemed mostly only "sharp" at the centre and they made the movie look standard def at best and that was before the glasses attracted fingers marks on them etc.

 

Just cheap plastic which also seemed bad for the environment.

Is there anything else that you can use the lenses from these glasses for in order to try and re-cycle them?

 

Freya

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Yes, it is, isn't it!

 

Subtitles in 3D are quite an interesting topic. The digital cinema package that is sent to exhibitors has provision for conventional subtitles. It does not have any provision, however, for 3D subtitles with any sort of depth control. Normal subtitles can be used, but of course sit at screen-apparent distance. Depending on the scene this may appear to be physically within or behind objects in the scene, which is very uncomfortable. For this reason, subtitled 3D DCPs have the subtitles "stuck down" in the image data. Deluxe in London (where I learned about this) has in-house software to allow the apparent position of 3D subtitles to be controlled and rendered appropriately into the image.

 

Actually mastering films like this is not an exact science. Having subtitles that jump in apparent distance between cuts, or subtitles that need to actually move around to avoid seeming to intersect with onscreen objects, are difficult issues.

 

 

 

just looked like viewmaster stuff in motion

 

Er, yup, that's pretty much what it is.

 

 

I felt instantly nauseous

 

There are a few ways to provoke that. I've been in demos at places like NAB where they demostrate "wrong" and it is, as you say, immediately and quite literally sickening (I find even "right" is eventually sickening, but that's another moan).

 

This is one of the many reasons why it's so hard to make it comfortable: getting it wrong is so very, very uncomfortable that even slight degrees of wrong are a real problem.

 

 

 

If the glasses are passive, they're polarized filters and, if they're active, they're shutters, right? Why would they cause softness?

 

No intrinsic reason, but practically, because they're optically imperfect. That cheap plastic has (inevitably) a slight diffusion effect, even when clean and new. Because it's cheap. RealD uses circular polarisation. The most common alternative at the moment uses two sets of slightly different primary colours. The latter requires quite careful thin-film coatings (as a lens coating) and is more or less technically required to be somewhat better optically, but it's still not great.

 

P

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So not the crock it used to be in the 50s,, but still a crock?

I quite liked 'Captain Eo' at Disneyland in '92. Is modern digital 3D really worse than that?

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I would generally agree with you Freya most films screened in 3D are visually not worth the effort they put in.

There are exceptions though and when It's done well with the right story and director, makes for a fun couple of hours!

Transformers "Dark of the Moon" was jaw dropping good in the Cinema! For me it was a "ok now I get it" moment.

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The funiest 3-D experience I've ever had was for a showing of Andy Warhol's "Flesh for Frankenstein"(1973)... in 3-D... where one of the audience was taking snap shots (back in the days before handi-video-cams...) with a flash...

 

I could imagine him wondering why was the screen all 'white'...

 

I've not been impressed with 3-D ever... ok... I do have a fetish for images using lenticular materals... aka 'winkies'... so I will by a 3-D Bluray... to get the Winkie cover art...

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LOVE the new 3D. See everything I can in it. Would love it if ALL movies were filmed in it. (I can see me being the "Bad Cop" around here) Maybe I'm wrong but I always felt the biggest reason movies used "moving pictures" was to present us with experience close to our reality and about it, so we can relate and enjoy the presentation before us? A visual theater of sites and sounds we recognize and relate to in our real world... thus the FILMING part as opposed to hand drawn or computer cartoons.... that experience, TO ME, is getting better and better with more detailed, realistic pictures, higher frames rates, and the new 3D. For me, the 3D is not about sticking swords in my face - I don't even bother with those - but it is about expanding the immersion into a "real world" and living there with those people on the screen. 3D is just another step closer. Some day, virtual reality will be the new theater, and the masses will be all over that, why not enjoy the 3D experience now if you can?

I will admit, I am not one with vision problems where the 3D causes headaches etc and I TOTALLY understand it doesn't work out well for them... I doubt they will ever stop making 2D versions because of the huge market space for that... but, for me, I really enjoy 3D simply for the increased depth, realism and immersion into the STORY. If the story sucks, 3D won't help it.

 

PS Hated Avatar. Only watched it once, just can't sit through it again. It is a great achievment, looks great and all, was nice 3D to a point, but the story was so lacking for me... the STORY actually made the 3D forgettable to me. NEVER have I want to go back to "that place" again. Man, I wish it had a story because I've enjoyed most of Cameron's stuff.

Edited by GregBest

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IMO How to Train Your Dragon is so far the only movie where the 3D was an asset. 99% of the time it's just a distraction.

Edited by Dan Dorland

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I think the philosophical question for me is do i want to go to the movies for an escape into what I know is fake, or an experience. Personally, I'll take my experiences with real people (or a holodeck) and keep my movies an escape into a"moving story."

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I will admit, I am not one with vision problems where the 3D causes headaches etc and I TOTALLY understand it doesn't work out well for them... I doubt they will ever stop making 2D versions because of the huge market space for that... but, for me, I really enjoy 3D simply for the increased depth, realism and immersion into the STORY. If the story sucks, 3D won't help it.

 

I don't have vision problems that cause me to have headaches either.

 

You bring up a really good point about reality however. We all have our own ways of perceiving reality and for me reality looks nothing like a viewmaster reel. So for me there was no realism. Also in an unrelated thing I found that the 3D made me less immersed in the movie because of all the silly looking 3D going on and because of the 3D subtitles.

 

However I was thinking the other day that what might really work in 3D is a Terry Gilliam animation, Monty Python style! That could be interesting.

 

Freya

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LOVE the new 3D. See everything I can in it. Would love it if ALL movies were filmed in it. (I can see me being the "Bad Cop" around here) Maybe I'm wrong but I always felt the biggest reason movies used "moving pictures" was to present us with experience close to our reality and about it, so we can relate and enjoy the presentation before us? A visual theater of sites and sounds we recognize and relate to in our real world... thus the FILMING part as opposed to hand drawn or computer cartoons.... that experience, TO ME, is getting better and better with more detailed, realistic pictures, higher frames rates, and the new 3D. For me, the 3D is not about sticking swords in my face - I don't even bother with those - but it is about expanding the immersion into a "real world" and living there with those people on the screen. 3D is just another step closer. Some day, virtual reality will be the new theater, and the masses will be all over that, why not enjoy the 3D experience now if you can?

 

Movies by definition have moving images, otherwise it is photography which many people still practice and consider valid in itself.

 

What you describe about presenting reality before us seems to be something like actualities or possibly documentaries which are not really what movies are most associated with. Obviously for a documentary getting closer to reality would be considered a good thing.

 

Freya

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I think the philosophical question for me is do i want to go to the movies for an escape into what I know is fake, or an experience.

 

This is incredibly spot on.

 

One of the things I really like about movies tends to be their honesty, that it's made clear from the outset that it is all make-believe. There is no pretense about it being reality or real. I think that is a great tradition.

 

Freya

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No intrinsic reason, but practically, because they're optically imperfect. That cheap plastic has (inevitably) a slight diffusion effect, even when clean and new. Because it's cheap. RealD uses circular polarisation. The most common alternative at the moment uses two sets of slightly different primary colours. The latter requires quite careful thin-film coatings (as a lens coating) and is more or less technically required to be somewhat better optically, but it's still not great.

 

P

 

Exactly.

 

Even if it was really high quality glass, you are putting another layer of filtering in the optical path, and these RealD glasses are clearly not made to the highest quality and seem to vary in sharpness across the filter.

 

Freya

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Oh god Freya; don't say such things about Monty Python or else they may remaster Holy Grail or something like that for "3d" just to make more money off of it. Personally I'd love to see a Terrence Malick 3d movie-- which he shoots 3d from the get go. That would pique my interest a little bit.

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Oh god Freya; don't say such things about Monty Python or else they may remaster Holy Grail or something like that for "3d" just to make more money off of it. Personally I'd love to see a Terrence Malick 3d movie-- which he shoots 3d from the get go. That would pique my interest a little bit.

 

No I just mean the cardboard cut out animation that Terry Gilliam used to do not any other nonsense!

Cardboard cutouts seem perfect for 3D.

 

storytime.jpg

 

anfscd-animation1.png

 

I had a Paddington Bear viewmaster reel as a child and it worked really well:

 

paddington-on-station.jpg

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Aye it would be interesting-- like a living diorama, almost. Though I am not 100% certain it's a 3d I'd pay to see for long periods of time. 3D, for me, should be stuff like Nature does on PBS, or some space documentary, perhaps, concerts or the like. that "works" for me, at least in theory.

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Aye it would be interesting-- like a living diorama, almost. Though I am not 100% certain it's a 3d I'd pay to see for long periods of time. 3D, for me, should be stuff like Nature does on PBS, or some space documentary, perhaps, concerts or the like. that "works" for me, at least in theory.

 

I agree it would work much better for short films or as I've said before it would be great for art installations.

Too long wearing the silly glasses is just torture.

 

Freya

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The problem with space documentaries is that almost everything is going to be more than thirty virtual feet away. OK, if you simulate a shot from the cabin of a space shuttle looking back into the payload area, then some of that is going to be inside stereoscopy range, but mostly it won't be.

 

Which is one reason it doesn't really work very well.

 

P

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Quiet Phil; you are destroying my hopes and dreams :P

Plus I would be ok with in a space documentary some level of "fakeness" just to get people to go oooohhh ahhhh.

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The problem with fakeness particularly with regard to the maximum-stereoscopy-range problem is that the solution is to move the cameras further apart. But then that just effectively miniaturises the scene, by altering the ratio between the eye separation and the size of the objects.

 

I once saw a beautifully-done shot of the golden gate bridge with breathtaking depth and separation all the way across, but which made it look about four feet long. I understand the real bridge is slightly larger than that.

 

P

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Everyone enjoys movies in their own way and there's nothing wrong with that. 2D has been around since its inception, and, for the most part, that is how it has always been because there was nothing else. THAT was all there was. Yes, they messed with Red/Blue 3D, and although it messed up colors something fierce, you gotta admit, that must have been an interesting technology to people in theaters back then. The newer 3D colors and brightness are compensated for and it works well. James Cameron did his part to get people back into the theaters by updating and bringing us something amazing. Many 3D and their 2D versions are released every year. A lot of people don't care for 3D but there must be enough to hog screens, take in money, and keep more movies coming out.

 

Where I am going is: people have escaped into a "movie" as a fantasy fictional escapism but GENEREALLY, what they watch are pictures of a reality they can relate to: people, trees, birds, cars, etc --- in the past "That's the way we have always done things" means movies with soft focus, grain, flickery 24fps, color skewing and fading, wear and tare... that way it's always been. Future generations will most likely embrace all these changes for the extra bling it provides: sweet color, smooth action, clearer detail, maybe even 3D or Virtual Reality -- and THAT will become the norm. Then, making a 2D movie will be cool for its unique factor like vinyl albums. Or Nolan going out of his way to create an alternative presentation - that (in the future) will no longer make any sense, having to dig out old old projectors just to watch it.

Right now, droves of tribes are being reconditioned into enjoying High Frame Rates by their new television's "Motion Correction" systems that are on by default when they opened the box. They won't think twice when movies cross into HFR territory. Current generations don't enjoy it.

 

Recently watched TOP GUN in 3D and, to me, it just bad a decent film all the more indepth. You could FEEL the distance of the 5 planes circling and chasing ICEMAN down! It was epic thrilling.

 

I'd still love to see every movie in 3D - even Romance flicks - TITANIC looked amazing. My next TV will definitely be curved 4k or 8k with 3D and HFR motion correction. Can't wait to experience what the future brings!!

Edited by GregBest

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The problem with fakeness particularly with regard to the maximum-stereoscopy-range problem is that the solution is to move the cameras further apart. But then that just effectively miniaturises the scene, by altering the ratio between the eye separation and the size of the objects.

 

I once saw a beautifully-done shot of the golden gate bridge with breathtaking depth and separation all the way across, but which made it look about four feet long. I understand the real bridge is slightly larger than that.

 

P

 

Yes, indeed it is a bit longer than 4 feet... however, if we are talking about 'realism' vs. 'film'... and the 'willing suspension of disbelief'...

 

I'm not a fan of 3-D as it is implemented today... it does not really add more information to the scene, other than some limited representation of 'near depth'...

 

On the other hand a holographic moving pictures representation would present more information, and actual 'different' views for viewers seated in different locations of the presentation room.

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I'd still love to see every movie in 3D - even Romance flicks - TITANIC looked amazing. My next TV will definitely be curved 4k or 8k with 3D and HFR motion correction. Can't wait to experience what the future brings!!

 

The Future is already past...

 

---

The Stewardesses is a 1969 softcore, later R-rated, theatrical 3D film produced, directed and written by Allan Silliphant and starring Christina Hart, Monica Gayle, Paula Erickson, and Donna Stanley.

Produced on a budget of just over $100,000, the film grossed $25 million in 1970,[2] becoming the most profitable 3-D film ever released. In budget-relative terms, it remains among the most profitable theatrical movies ever made. Originally, self rated "X," the film was largely re-shot and re-edited to receive an MPAA "R" rating to qualify for a wide general release. At the same time, the technology of the projection print was enhanced by means of anamorphic 3D to a larger image. This later version appeared in final form in 1971.

---

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Good 3D is great fun but it does tend to wear off. You've seen it before. It becomes familiar. And you no longer feel excited by it. To such an extent you'd rather see a 2D version of some reasonably good film shot in 3D, if only to get your head back into a space where you can read the work more comfortably - to feel less trapped - to get a better appreciation of the the non 3D attributes of the film. Of course, for films which have nothing else to show off other than their ridiculous attempts at 3D shock and awe effects, there won't be anything else to see.

 

Another problem with 3D is the "reality effect" for want of a better phrase. Indeed I'd rather call it the "illusory effect" - that sense in which the image appears as if it's there in front of you rather than elsewhere. That sense of the image being present.

 

The power of 2D images is that sense in which, while the image starts off as being understood (or misunderstood) as in the present (on the screen) becomes elsewhere - and that you too (as the audience) become elsewhere. The immediate present (so called "reality") ebbs away. The 3D image (or perhaps the way it is staged) tends to hold you in the present. In the moment. For some works that can be quite appropriate. But for works which work outside the immediate present - particularly works in which a complex narrative might be involved - you need the oportunity to move outside the immediate moment and pull togther memories from other scenes. In a whodunnit for example, part of the experience is in recalling certain clues and putting together theories about what is going on. The present moment is not as important as the cumulative effect of different shots and scenes over time. Some of the best films will be watched over and over again because they don't operate entirely in the present. They operate in time, making connections between quite distant scenes.

 

Those films in which editing plays more than a decisive role would have problems working in 3D. For example, Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" would cause untold nausea in 3D. If everything was in 3D we'd never be able to appreciate that film. I'd argue. Of course some might not appreciate that film anyway.

 

Carl

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