It was a cold December evening in 2009 as I walked in with a few friends to see the new James Cameron film, Avatar. As I looked over I notice a large group of people walking into “Avatar 3D”. The crowd was almost larger than the regular version. I remember thinking to myself what a fad this stupid 3D craze is going to be. Well to my surprise nearly a year later its increasingly apparent that 3D is here to stay. But wait a second… Why did the 3D crazy die off so many times in the past? What makes it different now? Trust me I asked the same questions… So lets take a look into 3D and why it has a fighting chance now.
Lets take it back to the 1950s. Everyone remembers the iconic images of black and white when hundreds of people crammed into a small theater with huge honkin 3D Buddy Holly glasses on. This is referred to the “golden era” of 3D cinema. One of the main reasons that 3D movies were so few and far in between is the fact of difficulty and price. Old school systems sometimes included, shooting with multiple cameras, color corrections etc.
Now in 2010, things are a little different. Well actually I should say a lot different. We now have something that saves time, money, and man power. Its the little personal box that people also thought was a fad when it first came out. Computers. With new technology we are seeing a HUGE jump in 3D movie production. I mean massive. Movie companies can now film a movie and generate it in 3D. TVs are now coming standard in 3D. Broadcasting channels such as ESPN, are switching to 3D. The World Cup was filmed in 3D.
Lets not even mention how much Hollywood really wants to see this succeed. Here in 2010, we are going to see at least 25 3D movies this year in cinema’s nationwide, this will be more 3D movies than the last 6 years combined. The deal breaker. Nintendo is coming out with the 3DS. A hand held 3D game system that doesn’t require one bit of headwear or glasses. That is right. It’s a LCD screen that doesn’t need those annoying glasses to enjoy 3D gaming.
And finely, what are others saying about 3D? James Cameron (Avatar 2009) said it best on his thoughts of 3D and how it will effect the future of cinema in an interview with a local radio station here in St. Paul, Minnesota. James likened it to when color first came out in the early 20th century. He said, “many people didn’t like color film when it first arrived. Actually they thought it was going to be a fad and some directors didn’t even use it when they could have. It slowly became a standard. And I really think 3D is going to be the same way…”
Okay, okay so 3D is going to stay around. My personal opinion on 3D is this. 3D is a great experience, and it keeps your attention, but original cinema isn’t going anywhere. Technology wont be able to kill the old fashion feeling of looking at a 2D silver screen. It feels more like objective, like a window looking out. Where 3D feels more subjective and you feel more in the experience. Either way, filmmakers and people alike will always look for new ways to tell a story. And in the end, that is what story telling is about.