Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Initial Thoughts on 3D

April 11, 2010 by · 5 Comments 


I admit being caught a little by surprise with the seeming explosion of 3D – movies, sports, games, blue-ray players and televisions. MI recently read that movie studios are spending $50,000 to $100,000 to convert each minute of traditionally-filmed 2D movies into 3D after-the-fact.
A few thoughts on the 3D experience.

Is 3D a more immersive media experience? Absolutely. This is the Grand Promise of 3D. Just like surround sound added aural dimensions to movies, 3D offers to do the same visually. Avatar is a great early example that goes well beyond “throw something at the audience” gimmicks. I’m sure we’ll soon see ‘the classics’ retro-converted to 3D. The Matrix in 3D would be cool, I have to say. “Neo almost did a back-bend into my seat!”

Glasses: A necessary evil I suppose, until we can get selective 3D contact lenses or holographic 3D. Or are glasses the achilles heel of 3D if it tries to move beyond the movie theater? Knowing how much I multitask while watching TV and movies at home, I can’t say for certain that I’d throw on 3D glasses – unless my laptop, cell phone, refrigerator and bathroom were all converted to 3D as well. (I’m joking about the fridge and bathroom but you get the point about not sitting still when at home). God forbid you want to flip channels during commercial breaks from a 3D show to a 2D show.

This limitation will persist as 3D moves into consumer devices such as TVs. It would be a downer to pop over to a friend’s place to catch your favorite shows only to find out he’s only got one pair of 3D glasses – or you’ve got to bring your own with you everywhere you go. It’s a little ironic that the moment TV’s become super-thin, visual media ceases being two dimensional.

Advertising: Aside from embedding logos in movies and shows as is done today, advertisers could ghost in advertising messages in the 3D space. A logo or ad could appear in the foreground while a scene plays in the background. Think of it like another track on an audio recording.

Bandwidth: Will 3D streaming media increase demands for internet infrastructure?

Creative expression: Think of what artists, directors, and performers will do with a third dimension. The first ancient sculptor must have felt huge freedom from no longer being constrained to 2D expression. Some day we’ll all need to bring our 3D glasses to the MOMA.

Health concerns: There are already concerns that 3D could cause problems such as headaches and nausea with personal and home use (i.e. not movie theaters) due to what is apparently attributed largely to the vergence-accommodation conflict. If technological solutions become necessary, a lag in development and adoption could inhibit the wider adoption of 3D.

I’m excited to watch the evolution of 3D – both as a technological advancement and as an artistic opportunity. Bring it on!

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