A future roadmap for 3DAuthor: will | Filed under: 2009, business, creativity, format, movie, photo, technology, television
Tony on TechTV101 complained that 3D in movies are currently a waste of time will never take off (see correction in the comments). I don’t think so.
Lets get the cynical bit out of the way first. Studios and cinemas love 3D as its impossible to do the “camera in the theatre” pirating trick with them. Just try watching a movie without the polarising glasses and you’ll see what I mean.
At the moment there are no movies that are greatly improved by the use of 3D. Just as the Jazz Singer was a gimmick where there was only 5 minutes of sound tacked in to a silent movie in 1927.
Try to imagine a modern movie done as a silent now? How much dialogue could be removed to work with those cards with the few lines? Exposition would need to be simpler in order to cope… etc.
Sound, widescreen and colour were all gimmicks once.
The entire production in photography would have to change in order to make the most of 3d. Since all movies have to be capable of being displayed on a 2d screen (DVD sales, Sales for tv broadcast, legal download) there isn’t going to be much use made of 3d, just as there isn’t much use made of IMAX.
So keeping that part of the market in mind, what is needed for 3d to take off?
The first big leap will be 3d home displays or 3D computer monitors. Then 3d still digital photography displayed on these home screens, and 3D games and interfaces on computers and consoles.
The still experiments will be what teaches the photographic and lighting requirements to the DPs (remember that lighting a black and white movie is a completely different technique to lighting a colour one. Something taken for granted today, but hard learned when it came in). The gaming and interface side will show what can be avoided an what people do and don’t notice.
Just place your bets on a 3D chess game being an early release… slow rendering is possible as most of the pieces can be pre-rendered. A slow moving game like this, well slow moving when compared to a first person shooter should be fairly easy… at most 2 pieces move at once. Then things can get faster.
Then, live action 3D comes to play… (at the moment it is limited to CG and stop motion animation).
Suddenly 3d editing becomes a desirable (and probably new found skill). Set budgets will soar (as the limited field of view is killed, as will be digital matt painting, unless they go 3d too.
Expect “AR” style commentaries on home released by that time too.
At the moment there are competing standards for home 3d, just as there were competing standards for sound in the 30s. And technicolor fought with de luxe for years. Give it time, and remember that the technical best does not always beat the good enough.
Tony points out that HD is still not ubiquitous. Well, the HD argument is flawed because of “good enough”. Few broadcasters use it, and its coming out at a time when the low definition YouTube channel is the most successful one at the moment. In other words its not being used. It may look great, but its not being used.
However, would one second of 3d and one second of HD have the same bandwidth/spectrum cost? The HD broadcast protocols might just be useful yet.