“3D film is better than 2D film, because it makes the experience more realistic” this is a statement I have heard too many times. Even, George Lucas, Hollywood director told short-list magazine that 3D is the “future” and “Watching a movie in 3D is simply a better way to watch a movie. It’s like black and white versus colour. Watching a movie in black and white is fine, however, colour makes it look more real” (Hilarious right? I may make a separate post to emphasise the absurdity of this quotation) My short answer: No, it doesn’t. However, seeing that an answer as blunt as that is not the best way to argue a point, I will elaborate.
A recent development that persuaded me to write this post (other than being invited to post on the Studio Film School word press) was the release of the film “Gravity“. This film was visually stunning and actually looked better in 3D. The reason for this? It was shot for 3D, this means special 3D cameras were used. The director knew he was making a 3D film and knew why he was making a 3D film and because of this the 3D worked. This is one example from an extremely small pool of films that look “better” in 3D.
If every 3D film was what “Gravity” was, maybe I would not feel the need to write this post, but they aren’t. The overwhelming majority of 3D films being released are shot on standard cameras and then converted to 3D( a process that only takes around 8 weeks) in post production. The result is a grotesque and horrific creature that has no place being shown in cinema.
My first criticism, is the question: why do we need 3D? A so called “2 dimensional film” does not appear to lack depth or a 3rd dimension. These 2D films are not alike to the arcade game Pac-Man in that there are only two planes for the characters to move along; the characters can move fluidly on three planes without the aid of the “3D movie” illusion.
Another big issue with 3D cinema is that it causes nausea and headaches for viewers with minor eye problems. These are often issues that are unnoticed in everyday life as the brain can easily adjust, but in 3D cinema a slight muscle imbalance in the eyes can lead to great discomfort during the film. In fact, Consumer Report says that 15% of cinema audience experiences headache and eye-strain during 3-D film. So George Lucas, you are proposing a future in which 15% of people cannot enjoy a film, due to them wanting to throw up everytime they put on 3D glasses.
On the matter of 3D glasses, is it not distracting to have to wear a hunky piece of plastic on your face, in addition to the large edges invading your field of vision? I prefer to view films without this cheap piece of flimsy plastic which actually ruins the immersion of the film.
Plus, 3D film also comes with a 30% colour loss due to the design of the glasses, meaning 2D films happen to be of a much sharper quality and are much brighter, which results in a much more fulfilling cinema experience
So, in the end, you may be asking: if 3D is so inferior to 2D film then why do Hollywood like it so much? The answer to this is money. With advertisements constantly rolling out phrases such as “Ultimate Immersion!” people are enticed into, not only paying extra to see the film in 3D, but also purchasing a pair of 3D glasses which are, of course, necessary for the screening.
Due to people buying into this scheme Hollywood make a greater deal more money than when people pay for a 2D viewing, especially seeing that 3D conversions cost hardly anything to make. Furthermore, what I am beginning to find now is that a film I wish to see may only be on in 3D at the time I wish to see it, and so I have no choice but to see the film in 3D or not at all. As a result of this, people are being inadvertently funneled through Hollywood’s deviously crafted tunnel which strips you of your money.
I eagerly await the day in which people realise that this abominable manifestation is a gimmick, that tricks people into throwing their money at promises made in “epic” advertising campaigns, leading to its, long-awaited demise and purge from existence on this planet.