2D movies vs. 3D

As a spinoff from the Avatar thread here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=542152

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Do you mean 3D projection, in theaters? I like it, but I don’t like having to pay extra for it.

I watched one of the Harry Potter movies in 3D (20 minutes of it was in 3D) and it was interesting but I don’t want it to become the predominant aspect of the movie.

My take on 3-D movies is: it makes a bad movie better, but makes a good movie worse. That is, it’s a gimmick, and it reduces a good movie to the level of a gimmick movie. But it elevates a crap movie to the level of a gimmick movie, which is slightly better than a crap movie.

I like this, but I’m not so sure I agree with it. While the 3-D can be just a gimmick, and potentially a cheesy one at that (“Would you like some more… pancakes?”), it can (literally) add depth to a movie, particularly in the case of an animated/CGI movie (and being computer animated could be a gimmick itself, but as Pixar has proved, it can also be a legitimate storytelling/filmmaking technique). I saw the 3-D Christmas Carol and enjoyed it, and I think it was a decent movie that was made better by seeing it in 3-D.

I think it’s possible, though not inevitable, for 3-D in the future to become as ubiquitous as stereo sound is today. But I suppose for that to happen, they’d have to improve the 3-D technology (and/or eye surgery) so that it would “work” for, or at least not futz up, any substantial portion of the moviegoing public.

I’ll repost something I said from another thread:

Now of course, there is an argument to be made that the technology has improved so dramatically at this point that the potential for genuine artistic integration of 3-D into a larger aesthetic schema is there. But the jury is still decidedly out on that point thus far, IMHO.

And I saw the 15-minute theatrical sneak peek of Avatar (not a trailer, but an assortment of whole, completed scenes), and just that short exposure to that 3-D widescreen experience was enough to persuade me that there was no way I was going to sit through 2.5 hours of it. The action sequences in particular were distractingly blurry and chaotic with the glasses on, so I’ll definitely be seeing it only in 2-D when it opens.

My biggest problem with 3d is that I expect advertising to be that much more intrusive. I probably sound paranoid but I don’t like the idea of advertisers gaining a wider entry into my brain.

Isn’t this precisely what one should expect for a technology maturing out of the gimmick phase? OK, so there was no specific compelling artistic reason for Up to be in 3D. But what was the specific compelling artistic reason for it to be in color, or in stereo? I’m sure it would have still been a perfectly fine movie in monaural black and white. But color is the default now, and I expect that 3D will become the default soon as well, at least for certain types of movie, so that within a decade, when an action movie or a cartoon isn’t in 3D, people will be asking why not.

I hope it doesn’t become the only choice on the menu - because it doesn’t work for me - I have a lazy left eye and I can only see the 3D illusion for short periods if I concentrate, quite uncomfortably.

I think it’s a neat idea but I’ve never seen it work very well. I haven’t had a chance to see Coraline so maybe they did it better, but in most 3d movies it seems like there’s long stretches without any really good 3d effects with a flurry of 3d thrown in here and there. This makes the 3d parts stick out so much that it breaks up the overall feel of the movie for me. I have a ‘Wow!’ moment when it’s happening but then I just sort of keep waiting for the next one and it seems like I’m anticipating the effect more than I’m following the story.

Minor hijack, if I may - is there some way of figuring out if you’d be able to see a 3d movie properly with modern technology without actually going to one and trying it? I was thinking of trying to catch the 3d avatar, but due to some visual issues I had when I was younger I suspect it wouldn’t work for me.

I think both Coraline and Up are good examples of effective use of 3D.

The 3D effect in Coraline was more “obvious” but it served the story well. It seemed to be used more intensively in the “other” world and that made it all the more different from the normal world–just as a 2D movie would might use a different color pallete and different lighting to indicate the “otherness” of that world (both of which techniques were also used in Coraline). But even in the normal world, the 3D effect was there, so you weren’t constantly thinking, “Ok, this isn’t in 3D, when is the next 3D shot going to happen?” or anything like that. It was pretty seamless.

In Up, as others have mentioned, the 3D was purposely quite unobtrusive. But it did create enough sense of depth and added a richness to the visuals so that it was a different viewing experience in 3D than in 2D.

The way I’ve heard it described is that the movies who rely on the gimmicky, coming-out-of-the-screen-at-your-face 3D shots are “convex.” They largely create 3D effects “in front of” the screen. The movies (like Coraline and Up) that create their depth less obtrusively behind the screen are “concave.”

I think as filmmakers become more experienced with 3D techniques and as 3D movies become more and more common, we will see less use of the gimmicky stuff and more thoughtful use of 3D as another element of the visual composition of a film, no more or less important than lighting, framing, depth-of-field (focus), and camera movement.

The only way I’d know is to get your vision tested by a doctor.

Not a fan. I hate wearing bulky glasses just to see a movie, and I get motion sickness extremely easily in 3D films (not to mention some 2D ones that have a lot of “shakycam” shots), so I might well have to spend the whole movie with my eyes closed.

I’m not crazy about 3D in movies because it generally means spending a couple of extra dollars for something distracting. I find myself thinking wow, that was cool looking" or why did they bother with 3D for this? Either way, I’m being pulled out of the story. I suppose it could have been the same for sound and color though, and I’ll probably get used to it if it become the norm.

Questions for people who can’t see the 3D in 3D movies in a 3D movie: Does it look like a regular movie, or do you see a double image, or… something else? Is it a matter of not getting extra bang for the buck, or does it degrade the film experience, or make it completely unwatchable?

I understand there may be at least two categories of “3D blindness,” (1) those who are completely or partially blind in one way, and (2) those whose brains receive input from both eyes but are somehow unable to resolve them into a 3D image. Is that right?

Remember those pictures that looked like random patterns of colors but if you stared long enough you could see three-dimensional dolphins or something? I never could see the damned dolphins, but I can watch 3D movies jut fine.

I find 3D really tiring. You know how they had a 3D episode of Chuck last year? I could only sit through 20 minutes of it at a time before my eyes begged for a break. No way would I ever pay to watch a movie that way when odds are good I couldn’t make it through 2 or more hours of that.

Do you (or your kids, or friends’ kids, or whatever) have a ViewMaster lying around the house? If one of those works for you, then 3D movies should, too.

But the current 3D theater technology uses polarized lenses and is MUCH, MUCH easier on the eyes, IMO, than those awful colored filters you have to use for 3D on television. If 3D movies in theaters were using those colored lenses, I wouldn’t want to watch them. You really can’t judge the 3D theatrical experience based on watching Chuck or those Superbowl commercials in 3D on television.

Why not skip right over that to Holographic Movies? Eliminate the prosthesis… and the middle man… complete submersion.

Maybe, I’ll still be around in 2050

Maybe there will be a HIM (Holographic Immersive Movie) or a HIE (Holographic Immersive Experience) format by 2050. Maybe in cooperation with Disney and IMAX?

HIE thee to HIM.