One-Eyed 3D Movie Directors

This sounds like a joke, I know. Who the heck would hire a director for an expensive special effect who could not, himself, see the effect and judge its effectiveness?
But it happened. More than once.
The original 1953 House of Wax was the big-budget remake of The Mystery of the Wax Museum (Itself shot in expensive-at-the-time Technicolor back in the 1930s). The director, Andre de Toth only had vision in one eye. This case was somewhat famous.

I’ve just learned that Gog from 1954 was also shot by a director (Herbert L. Strock) with vision only in one eye.

Why the heck would they do this? And more than once!

We discussed de Toth and other one-eyed film directors here.

Also, I would add that, once the technology proved fairly consistent or reliable, most of the director’s work wouldn’t necessarily be oriented toward “judging the effectiveness” of a shot–he would just run the set with the understanding that certain angles, perspectives, set-ups, etc. would be favored because of the 3-D element (and most of this would have to go through the DP anyway).

Hmmm. You don’t mention Strock in that thread.

I don’t care what you say – judging good #D requires looking at it, the same way directors always line up shots with those apertures. If I were shooting a 3D flick, I’s want to see how it looks before filming.
Having two one-eyed 3D directors (I’ve checked, and so far haven’t found any others) just seems very weird.

Well, there’s no doubt that it’s a bit weird. And you’re right–we didn’t mention Strock (probably because your observation in the OP is the only thing that makes him marginally noteworthy, cinematically speaking).

You mean the process, or the movie you’re shooting? The latter, of course, wouldn’t be possible, because the 3D effect is lab-based and only viewable after you’ve shot your footage.

If you’re talking about the process in general, that I can understand–though, again, if you’ve seen many 3D movies from that time, you’ll note that there aren’t actually that many 3D effects in most of them. A couple money shots aside, they’re very conventionallly shot.

De toth was an underrated artist and probably the best director, after Hitchcock, to shoot in 3D, so he knew what he needed to do to make a good movie–and anyway, that’s what film directing is like anyway–you shoot things that (because of film stock, filters, grading, post-effects) look very different on the set than they will as a final product. It’s all about visualizing in the mind’s eye. Granted, being able to see the 3D effect in action would help, but it’s certainly not essential. I imagine finding a colorblind director would be much more difficult, since use of color (for mood, symbolism, composition, etc.) is much more critical.

Maybe your 3D viewing is lab-based, but I can see 3D perfectly well with my eyes. And looking along the line of sight gives me a view of the 3D effect my audience will be seeing. And, no, I don’t think storyboards or the like are an adequate substitute.

As far as the “3d movies being conventionally shot”, I think that’s the problem. I’ve long felt that 3D has been scandalously underutilized, and that one can come up with much more creative and involving shots using 3D without descending into gimmickry. It seems custom-made for closeness and intimacy, but hasn’t been used that way. But it will take a determined and sustained effort to make such a movie.

A lot of directors – one-eyed and two-eyed – left the cinematography to their cinematographers. Even Hitchcock said he didn’t bother to look through the camera lens.

But the 3D effect is exaggerated (intentionally, for effect) in the cinema, so ones real world line-of-sight does not accurately replicate what the effect will be in the theater (not to mention the whole red/blue business). I can look through a filter, but it’s not necessarily going to look the same as the way a camera lens will record the same information.

And storyboards, etc. may not be a comparable substitute, but they’ve certainly proven an adequate one. Things obviously get lost or changed in the photo-chemical translation, but that’s true with all non-video filmmaking, really.

You’ll get little argument from me here. 3D never really (despite some artist’s best efforts) went beyond the novelty phase. I think the technology (especially the early, clunky manifestations) were such that most audiences weren’t interested in sitting through films with little cardboard glasses hanging off their noses. So there was little point in investing extra resources into writing, acting, etc. for a film that was going to have a limited appeal (and in many cases, probably a harder sell, too).

Of course, now the technology is better, more seamless, less intrusive, and quite impressive–at least in its IMAX incarnations. I didn’t see the recent Robert Rodriguez 3d film, but his previous effort Spy Kids 3D was torturous (in more ways than one). Until filmmakers have a better sense of how to use the technology and the exhibitors discover a cost-effective way to implement that technology (those high-end 3D IMAX glasses aren’t as cheap as cardboard frames), 3D will still remain a marginalized “gimmick”. I know James Cameron is working on a fiction 3d project, and George Lucas has announced his plans to redistribute the Star Wars films in 3D, so that may revitalize interest enough to get over some of the economic hurdles that still exist.