3D TV effects are wasted on a portion of the population, about 4 percent to 10 percent of us. When shown 3D content, some people in this group see double or blurry images, or suffer from eyestrain or headaches that makes the content unenjoyable, to say the least.
If you're in this group, as I am, there is a solution: You can turn off the 3D feature on your TV, and watch the content "flat." If it's a movie you're interested in, find a theater that's showing it in the cheaper non-3D version. Nvidia'… Read more
When it comes to 3D television, I don't see it. Literally. The technology that's supposed to convince me that a 3D image exists when I look at a 2D screen doesn't work for me. Nor does it work for a small but significant percentage of the population--4 percent to 10 percent, depending on which expert you ask. Millions of people like me are being left behind by content and hardware companies as they move to 3D.
I don't mean to complain. It's not the end of the world. Flat-viewers, like me, can watch 2D versions of 3D content. I saw "Avatar" in the non-3D version. As a bonus, the theater was nearly empty--the 3D showing down the hall was more crowded. Plus, we didn't have to wear those dorky glasses.
Of course, we are social beings, and not being able to view 3D means that group or family outings to 3D showings are awkward for the flat viewers, who may have to sit through a showing that will cause headaches or just look bad to them. But the flat-viewer's experience with 3D imagery can vary. While I find viewing 3D imagery uncomfortable, Daniel Terdiman, another person at CNET who can't see 3D, saw the 3D version of Avatar and wore the 3D glasses. It looked fine to him, just not 3D.
Manufacturers are mute At CES this year, the trend toward 3D in home television sets was unmissable, but there was no mention by the manufacturers of how this move would affect flat viewers. I was curious how the hardware companies, which fight for every point of market share jealously, could cavalierly ignore the large number of us who won't like this new direction. It's a lot of market. How are they planning to deal with losing it?
The rise of 3D technology for movies and television will force a change in how directors tell stories.
Say good-bye to gut-wrenching drops off cliffs and swoops through asteroid fields to call attention to 3D effects. Be prepared for directors to use slower pans, less cutting, and more deliberate camera moves to blend the technology into the story. These new 3D movies may look boring in 2D, but they'll end up feeling more engaging when seen in three dimensions.
"Unfortunately, the history of 3D is bad 3D," says Sandy Climan, CEO of 3ality, a company that makes, as he calls it, "end-to-end technologies from image capture to processing" for three-dimensional entertainment. The technology hasn't been up to snuff until recently, he says. He claims his company's tech is leagues better, naturally. But the art hasn't advanced, either, and no amount of technology can fix that. Directors need new rules.
I talked with Climan about the changes coming to cinematography and television in the move to 3D, as well as to Didier Debons and Isabelle de Montagu, CEO and business development manager of 3DTV Solutions, which makes 3D video recording products, and Tuyen Pham, CEO of A-volute, a 3D audio encoding company. The short takeaway: if you're in the video or entertainment business, forget what you know about directing and editing. 3D changes everything.
Think 3D is a gimmick and that professional cinematographers and television directors don't take it seriously? Financials, Climan says, dispute this. 3D films in 3D theaters gross two to five times what the 2D versions of those films do. Commercials in 3D yield better recall rates. And it's not just the novelty factor, Climan says. If so, the trend would have faded. Grosses for 3D films are growing.
"The family movie business has largely moved to 3D," Climan continues, pointing to films like "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Coraline," and "Up"--the last two having being taken far more seriously than standard 3D matinee fare. On the grownup front, Climan says that for sports and concerts, there's nothing like the 3D movie or TV experience. The upcoming James Cameron film, "Avatar" is a 3D production and is expected to be a watershed for mainstream 3D entertainment.
For now, the growth of 3D looks inevitable. The next step for the medium, after family films and fantastic blockbusters, is for 3D to move into independent and artisan films. Climan thinks the technology is becoming straightforward enough to make that likely.