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3D cinema

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Will Gompertz | 08:48 UK time, Tuesday, 5 April 2011

3D is a naff cinematic gimmick right? The toy du jour for dollar-eyed film execs and publicity hungry arts companies: "the first ever 3D sculpture show" and so on. It's been used, abused and discredited, a flash-in-the-pan fad like Cuban heels: enough already.

Audience watch through 3D glasses

Or, maybe, it's the most artistically important development in film since Technicolor? Could it be that 3D technology will be for filmmakers, what the discovery of perspective was for the great artists of the renaissance? That is, understanding that depth of depiction opens up new possibilities for depth of expression.

Two new films, by two great German auteurs show what can be achieved with this much-maligned technology. Werner Herzog's documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the Chauvet cave paintings in the South of France and Wim Wenders's Pina, his tribute to the choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch, has changed the view of many 3D sceptics who can now see the point.


  • Comment number 1.

    Personally speaking, I find the cinema scary, disturbing and emotionally affecting enough in 2 dimensions. I do not feel psychologically ready, at the present time, for 3D cinema.

  • Comment number 2.

    Gomps wrote:...maybe, it's the most artistically important development in film since Technicolor?

    Have you forgotten:

    Westrex Recording System (6 tracks on 70mm)
    Dolby Stereo
    Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
    Dolby Digital
    Digital projection

    Some are forgotten but all were used to artistic advantage.

    Stereoscopic cinema is here to stay (as long as studios stop debasing the experience by artificially creating 3D content from flat originals - an appalling process that is on a par with colourisation of black and white films).

  • Comment number 3.

    I have recently succumbed to the dubious "benefits" of HDTV. To paraphrase Sir Steve Redgrave, If anyone sees me going near a 3DTV, they have my permission to shoot me.

  • Comment number 4.

    #2. Kit Green

    "Gomps wrote:...maybe, it's the most artistically important development in film since Technicolor?

    Have you forgotten: ....."

    Of course he has! Journalists write stories.

    Personally: IMax was fun and no glasses (I recall - but I may be wrong) but one sat alarmingly close to the screen.

    You also write that these were used to 'artistic advantage' - no, I disagree they were mainly gimmicks - and remember the pictures on radio are better.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that 3D is much harder to pirate than 2D.
    This is nothing more than a marketing gimmick designed by those in the know to make more money out of customers who'll like whatever they're told to like

  • Comment number 6.

    Sadly, this new baby will be short-lived. On the horizon is the holograph TV which will bring the actors live into your living room where you will be able to touch and smell them and, soon thereafter, interact with them. Even without the interaction Odicean will need to book a shrink after the first Holohorror - of course, the shrink too may be summoned holographically so may advise before movie ends. Ah, this brave new world!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    I recently saw a concert by the Australian Pink Floyd at Hammersmith Apollo and they used 3D stereophonic graphics in the show. It was amazing too see a pig flying above the crowd and clocks flying around the stage during the song "Time". It bought a whole new dimension to the stage and I can see this working in other concerts too.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm one of the unfortunate 10% whose eyes cannot process the new 3D. I went to see Avatar and at best it looks like a bad pop-up book with really weak colours. At worst it just gives me a headache.

  • Comment number 9.

    I can't believe how negative people are to 3D and the development of new technology. I think it's great that directors and writers are now being given the opportunity to create movies that are in 3D. People who are classing 3D as a gimmick clearly aren't paying any attention to how fast 3D has grown in popularity in the last 3 or 4 years. Even the gaming industry is now developing stereoscopic 3D games such as Killzone 3 to give people a more interactive experience.
    As a screenwriter & director myself, 3D gives film makers the opportunity to show you things that you haven't seen before. Take for example the lush Pandoran paradise in Avatar or the breathtaking visuals of Pixar and Dreamworks animated features. Yes the visual effects are stounding in themselves, but throwing 3D into the picture give unbelievable depth to the imagery and sucks you into the world that has been created.
    Even Martin Scorsese is now developing a 3D movie, a director that is renowned for his very basic (but brilliant) techniques that don't use many effects. If 3D is getting the thumbs up for Scorsese, I think we should all be giving it a serious look.
    I think that 3D technology in film and gaming is only going to increase and I urge people to stop being pretentious and snobby... Embrace it and give it a go, you're only cutting your nose off to spite your face if you don't!


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