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Author Topic: 3D Films: On The Decline, Or Stronger Than Ever?
System Notices
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 - posted 07-27-2011 11:46 AM      Profile for System Notices         Edit/Delete Post 
3D Films: On The Decline, Or Stronger Than Ever?

Source: huffingtonpost.com

quote:
At a Comic-Con panel last week for the upcoming big-budget sci-fi caper "Prometheus," director Ridley Scott made a bold statement.

Scott, who has given us some of the biggest hits of the past thirty years, announced that he would never work without 3D technology again, "even for small dialogue scenes," for the remainder of his career.

Though we all know small dialogue scenes are made better when things are flying at our faces at 100 miles per hour, Scott is not alone in his embracing of the technology. Other beloved directors have made similar statements recently. Just last year, Martin Scorsese said that his next film, "The Adventures of Hugo Cabret," would be shot in 3D, and around the same time, he also suggested that smaller, more dramatic films should be shot using the now-ubiquitous technology. Because, why not?

"We see in depth, for the most part," Scorsese said in 2010. "We go to the theater -- it's in depth. Why couldn't a film like Precious be in 3D? It should be."

As the number of 3D-capable theaters rises exponentially year after year, ticket prices increase as well, and more and more 3D films are going into production. Since 2008, the number of 3D films being put out has more than doubled each year. But at what cost? And are the studios actually benefiting?

Director James Cameron -- whose "Avatar" is the highest-grossing film of all time and who many blame/credit with the onslaught of 3D films in recent years -- has warned against using 3D technology in the wrong ways. That extra D, he said, should be used sparingly -- not as a last ditch effort to drum up extra studio cash.

"You've got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did," he told Deadline last year. "They're expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they'll be putting out an inferior product."

And, indeed, American audiences are turning away. BTIG Research reported that only 45 percent of ticket sales for the recent "Kung Fu Panda 2" came from the 3D presentation. This is the lowest 3D box office share since "Despicable Me" in summer 2010, which showed on fewer 3D screens than "Panda 2."

The 3D box office for the newest "Pirates of the Caribbean" film also fell week-to week, from 46 percent in its opening week, to 44 percent the second week. Entertainment Weekly noted that these returns mark a dramatically sharp percentage drop from other "3-D event films" like Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and last winter's "Tron: Legacy."

And for the newest "Harry Potter" film? Only 34 percent of ticket buyers chose to go the 3D route, BTIG reported, with the rest opting for the good ol' fashioned 2D.

"The audience has spoken, and they have spoken really loudly," Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told the Hollywood Reporter. Whereas a year and a half ago, there was "genuine excitement" about the new 3D films, he said, the technology is in the midst of its "terrible twos." The newest batch of lazily slapped together presentations, he said, have undermined audience expectations, and represent squandered opportunities for Hollywood.

Roger Ebert has also repeatedly knocked 3D technology, even titling one of his articles for Newsweek: "Why I Hate 3D (And You Should Too)." He wrote that 3D tends to add nothing to the movie-going experience aside from "nausea and headaches" and usually serves as more of a distraction than anything else.

"I'm not opposed to 3-D as an option," Ebert wrote. "I'm opposed to it as a way of life for Hollywood."

Actor Will Arnett went a step further in a live episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast a couple weeks ago. "Is it just me," he asked, "Or does 3-D suck?"

"Yeah, what's the best thing that happens?" Maron replied. "You go, woah! And lean back a little bit. That's all."

Perhaps Hollywood could take a cue from the famed German director, Werner Herzog, whose recent exploration of the Chauvet Cave in France, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," used the technology for something other than explosions or talking owls.

Writing for the Atlantic, Leah Carroll called Herzog's use of 3D to illuminate the secrets of the cave "a stroke of genius" and the finest alternative to the big budget 3D fare she had grown to despise.

Newer films should learn how to use the technology sparingly, rather than consisting trying to overwhelm the audience. If Hollywood isn't careful, 2D might just remain in business a little while longer.


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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 07-27-2011 12:43 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Y'know I just thought about another motive Hollywood studios have for doing more and more stuff in 3D, either native photographed 3D or labor intensive conversions from 2D to 3D: it's still somewhat out of reach to low budget, independent productions.

With 2D, it's not very difficult for someone to produce HD-quality footage with professional looking results. It can be done with at little as a good D-SLR camera and computer setup. This is especially true if the person creating the footage knows his stuff regarding lighting and treating color in post production.

3D isn't so easy for amateurs to do, despite the existence of some affordable 3D capable cameras and new applications that can edit 3D footage. The latest version of Adobe After Effects can do some stereoscopic work. That hardware and software isn't in the same league as the gear being used by major Hollywood productions. 2D/3D conversion work requires the combination of expensive custom software and a lot of time consuming image editing. That's something a low budget production with an equally limited production schedule isn't going to accommodate very easily.

With so many movie theater screens getting converted to 3D, the movie theaters are going to want as much 3D showing on those screens as possible. It's difficult enough as it is for any indie productions to snag mainstream theater screens. If their content is 2D only the booking problem will get worse. In the end the major studios keep even more of the theater screens to themselves so they can bring us more sequels, remakes, TV-series blow-ups, super hero movies, etc.

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Justin Hamaker
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 - posted 07-27-2011 05:08 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
With so many movie theater screens getting converted to 3D, the movie theaters are going to want as much 3D showing on those screens as possible.
Bobby, I disagree with this statement. In the short term, theatres may want to stick with 3D content with the logic of paying for their investment. However, as 3D films begin to lose favor with the public, theatres are going to want to play whatever puts butts in the seats. And the studios are going to find it rather difficult to demand 3D when it's accounting for less than 40% of ticket sales.

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Louis Bornwasser
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 - posted 07-27-2011 06:19 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Supply-side economics has never worked in any industry. Louis

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Frank Angel
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 - posted 07-27-2011 07:24 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Justin Hamaker
However, as 3D films begin to lose favor with the public, theatres are going to want to play whatever puts butts in the seats.
Justin, that's just speculation, and I disagree that the public has lost favor with the 3D process. If you are going to speculate, then it is just as reasonable to posit that the public has lost its appetite for the 3D surcharge, not the process. In hard times such as these, consider if there were a surcharge for scope format pictures, whether or not people would choose to see the same film in flat if it were offered without the surcharge. If you found lots of people choosing to see the same film in its flat version, would you say it was scope that was loosing favor with the public or the public was simply choosing forego scope in the interest of saving some money?

Seeing a theatre filled to near capacity at a late show Sunday night for HARRY POTTER in 3D, and IMAX 3D at that ($16 bucks a head, mind you), tells me there's quite a bit of enthusiasm for 3D when right next door it was playing in 2D to a half empty house at $8 a head.

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Justin Hamaker
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 - posted 07-27-2011 07:55 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Regardless of the reason, the public is not as interested in 3D as they were a year ago. This is seen if the fact that 3D grosses are making up 40%, or less, of the total gross this summer. Where last year, 3D was accounting for 60% or better. Many people have reported 2D out selling 3D when the two are offered side by side.

In talking with customers, I find the main complaint is not the 3D premium, it's that they just don't enjoy watching 3D movies.

That's not to say there aren't people who enjoy 3D. That's not to say there are not people who will still choose 3D when given the choice. Just that more and more people are choosing 2D when offered a choice.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with the "decline" of 3D is the number of movies being released in 3D. It is no longer the new toy to check out and it is often being used on movies where it doesn't really add anything to the visual of the story. Movies like Avatar, Up, and How to Train Your Dragon were enhanced by 3D. Not just because it was done well, but because it enhanced the story.

I believe 3D has a real place in marketplace and can remain a viable movie option as long as Hollywood contains it's self and saves 3D for just those movies that are actually enhanced by the format.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 07-27-2011 08:11 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah. Like the next Spider-Man -- that trailer looks really cool in 3-D. I think (and wish) that each studio would limit itself to one "event" 3-D movie a year.

The post above about theatre owners wanting 3-D content to fill those 3-D screens...I disagree with that. I would much rather play a good 2-D movie than a bad 3-D one. It doesn't hurt the 3-D machine to sit idle for a few weeks. I'd rather save it for when it really adds to the experience, rather than shoving 3-D down everyone's throats for everything.

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Mark Lensenmayer
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 - posted 07-28-2011 09:44 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree on the new SPIDERMAN trailer...that Point of View shot flying around New York is awesome.

On the matter of 2D vs. 3D, one local theatre is running 1 3D show and 4 2D shows of both HARRY POTTER and CAPTAIN AMERICA starting 7/29.

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Frank Angel
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 - posted 08-07-2011 07:32 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
NATO sez: The number of wide 3D releases this summer (at 10) has doubled from the first weekend in May through Sony's "The Smurfs," which bowed Friday.

This year's highest-grossing U.S. release so far, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" with $337.9 million, opened with 60% from 3D.


That doesn't sound like 3D is gasping its last death rattle.

There is no question that 3D isn't a process that lends itself to every movie genre. In fact it is quite limited to action, sci-fi, horror and the perhaps some of the big blockbusters. More cerebral films well stay 2D -- that's the majority of films, in fact. Which begs the question, why do the 3D-haters seen to be terrified that 3D films will continue to be part of the exhibition landscape? They aren't threatening 2D releases. I would even guess that the studios' 3D output will level itself out to a more reasonable output (not EVERY animated release needs the 3D treatment) and only the films types most suited to the process are given a 3D release.

But that said, 3D can no longer be called a "fad," as that in itself has become a cliché of the 3Dhaters. 3D in its latest IMAX and digital incarnation has lasted longer than the 50s and 80s "fads" combined, so a "fad" it certainly is not, no matter how hard its detractors wish it would just go away.

Fact is, there is too much economics invested in it both on the studios' and exhibitors' end not to mention too many top level directors and producers who believe in it as a valid way of telling a story; that given, it is NOT going to just disappear. The gloom-and-doom 3D nay-sayers might as well just put on the damn 3D glasses [Cool] and get used to it.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 08-07-2011 08:02 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank

Transformers 3D doing 60% of the business is actually a REALLY bad sign for 3D. It shows a mere 10% preference over a statistical random average.

This from a movie that was shot in 3D and targeted from a 3D audience. This should have been a landslide much like Avatar did before it.

Why do many of us hate 3D as a mainstream medium? Because
  • By and large it detracts from the story by putting the technology in in your face rather than letting the movie do that.
  • It is fake 3D and presents the image in an un-natural way
  • When 2D movies are shown in that theatre, more often than not it is shown in a compromised fashion due to the screen, lamp, and even the lens
  • It IS a fad and is dying...yet again. It is taking longer this time but then again, the digital conversion is taking longer than many expected too...3D and the digital conversion are undeniably tied...now that digital conversion is on a bit of a perpetual motion, 3D isn't required anymore.

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Frank Angel
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 - posted 08-07-2011 08:42 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know how much I value your opinion, Steve, but on this one, while I will defere to your assesment, I think only time will tell, mainly because there is so much invested in it. As you pointed out in another post, these are alot more sophistocated systems than the 50s 3D systems. Then again, there was an awful lot of expensive hardware invested in Sensurround too, and we know how long that survived.

I certainly agree with your point #2 about 2D screenings in a 3D outfitted room. Compromising 2D, which we assume will always be the majority of cinema content, makes no sense. But again, that is not the fault of the 3D process.

One thing I will add to your list and what could be a huge negative for 3D and which I have lamented before, is that 3D in MANY of the installs in which I have seen 3D presentations, the image is woefully under-lit. Three of these were RealD installations. Even the directors who are 3D advocates complain about dim 3D presentation.

I am only guessing here, but I would bet that those were booths that existed as 2D digital installs where the system was designed to get a decent light on the given screen size, but no more, i.e., without any headroom -- resulting in NO lumnen headroom to compensate for the the 3D add-on with its filters and glasses and the additional light it all demands. Just a guess.

I would imagine if a new digital 3D install is being designed, the light required to make 3D look presentable would be speced into system/hardware. The fact that there are so many 3D add-ons without the capability to add light-sucking 3D is very unfortunate for the reputation of 3D. But it is not the inherent fault 3D, just the under spec-ed delivery systems. You could get the same poor presentation with a film run on a projector with a badly focused lamphouse.

I have only gone to maybe 5 RealD 3D rooms and found 3 of them presenting images way too under-lit compared to IMAX dual 3D which I consider the benchmark; these RealDs were way below anything anyone would tolerate in 2D. That soured me (me who loves 3D) and now I won't bother with 3D presentation except for IMAX.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 08-07-2011 10:18 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank...I never said you or anyone should not like 3D. I also would never ban 3D. I'm glad it exists for those movies/people that appreciate it. I don't like it in the mainstream because it has and will continue to be done poorly and it will beget poor excuses for 3D content.

I'm not sure what you refer to in my previous posts regarding the sophistication of the modern 3D...in fact, I've stated just the opposite, most of the time...that film 3D of the 50s was every bit as good as today...about the only improvement being circular polarization compared to linear.

As to light...you are mistaken about how things are designed today...and I have finally been told of chains that are blanketly changing from 4K lamps to 3K lamps for money reasons (cheaper lamps and last at least 50% longer). This has no technical qualification.

I think there is a general misunderstanding on how light should be qualified on various screen gains/shapes and that is contributing to the light issue. However, there is no way around the fact that one is putting something in front of the light (polarizer, filter...something except XpanD) and a thing in front of your eyes that inherently remove light. It starts with one foot in the light grave. One issue with filtered systems is that there is some amount of crosstalk there...the brighter you make the system, the greater the likelihood of showing up the problem. If we tomorrow raised the 3D light standard to 14fL...you'd be amazed at how many Real-D theatres would have ghosting issues even if they could it that light level. Dolby probably wouldn't have the ghosting issues but hitting the light level would be VERY difficult and expensive. People's tendency to go to gain screens and leave them flat does not necessarily raise the light level other than in the middle of the screen. The ANSI/SMPTE specs for light levels are NOT just for the center of the screen...the sides and corners are to be at least 85% of center...high gain screens can't do that unless they are curved (which begets geometric distortions that some find distracting). You can't use just a portion of the spec that is convenient and disregard the other qualifications.

I have designed the 3D in some new DCinema installations (retro from film theatres) and despite using things like Real-D...nobody is complaining about light (or ghosting). As I posted elsewhere...I have a curved silver screen whose side light readings are within 1/2 fL of Center.

The lack of understanding of light is shown in the recent Transformers movie where they had "special" 6fL versions for Real-D only (thereby discounting it as a technical achievement but a marketing ploy...or why discount the other 3D systems that also meet spec?). For Real-D...since it is a silver screen system...it shouldn't be targeting 6fL at all unless the screen is well curved. 6fL will still look dark on a Real-D system (or any high-gain screen).

IMAX has always done 3D better than most...but make no mistake...even IMAX 15/70 3D is/was always notably darker than the 2D set ups. And, since the IMAX screen is not curved well for a silver screen, it ruins 2D shows, light wise.

-Steve

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Louis Bornwasser
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 - posted 08-07-2011 12:14 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The real problem here is that people like Steve are no longer valued by management. They are literally not consulted or listened to by anyone in authority.

Authority is its own "end." No need for quality. Louis

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
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 - posted 08-07-2011 12:27 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not by "some" management...but definitely by others.

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