The 3D experience. So much things to say about it. Let’s start fresh about it: it’s not something new. Do you remember in the end of the 70’s that your parents went to the theaters with his hippie wearing style and came with those extravagant lenses with gel filters? Well, I don’t remember it, because I wasn’t born, but I do remember finding those lenses years after in an old stuff box in a closet, and my parents telling me about how cool it was. Later on, after I studied, I saw the first 3d movie with new technology. It was James Cameron’s Avatar. It looked really nice and the experience was pretty cool, because of the colors and the little contrast that the movie handles. It was amazed about how it looked, and about all the technology that was used to make such movie. This is my opinion as a normal guy from the audience.
The inner cinematographer that lives inside me (something like “my inner kid”, haha), started to get really pissed off. It was unreal the way the movie lost light. It was like having a ND9 filter (if not a ND12). And for me (I wear eyeglasses) was a really annoying to put other glasses after the normal ones. Still, Avatar was watchable, because the movies was extremely well developed in all the processes which involved the stereoscopic 3D, I mean, come on, Cameron invented technology that wasn’t even conceived before, he made a Revolution in the film industry. His movie handled really good the high contrast scenes, so you can see with detail every scene without any problem.
Yesterday, I saw the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. And I won’t speak about anything else that it’s not cinematography, so don’t worry about spoilers. To be clear: I feel like I watch only the 50% of the movie. Eduardo Serra A.S.C. is such a great cinematographer, that’s why he got a nomination from the academy last year. But it’s a pity that his work can’t be appreciated by the poor 3D experience. He has an extremely good taste in lighting. He has soft lights and extremely high contrast in the scenes he lit. All of this, can’t be appreciated in 3D because of the loss of light. You can’t appreciate the detail in the shadows, the highlights are blown up (like if he had used a Silver Retain process), and in the end the depth of field of the 3D it’s not something that we don’t know it’s there, I mean, everybody can notice a rack focus in the movies without 3D. There is only one scene in the whole movie which is worth watching in 3D, it’s at the end of the movie, so you’ll have to see it for yourselves. Although, I won’t suggest you to watch it on 3D, I think you’ll enjoy it more in 2D because you will be able to see it with all of it’s light. Thus, it doesn’t have a lot of 3D scenes that worth watching it, like in “The Green Hornet” or “The Last Air Bender”.
As a Cinematographer, I think that with 3D you can’t lit scenes in high contrast. Because you’ll end up losing detail and getting mad about how the movie you made, in the end lose information. Maybe it was the 3D projectors in Mexico theaters, maybe it was the copy… the are a lot of possibilities. But, I’m sure that it wasn’t because the last movie was also made in this high contrast profile, and it looked extremely good in 2D, and it goes perfectly with the mood of the movie.
Giving more depth of field with the 3D it’s not a good justification for any movie. Film has depth of field by it’s nature, and the 3D experience has more problems than benefits of watching it – and in a production scheme, it’s more complex and expensive. I’ll have to watch the movie in 2D to make a final statement. But after watching a lot of movies in 3D I can conclude that it’s the more that you lose, rather than giving a experience far beyond than the one that the cinema has being giving us for decades.
– I wrote all of this on July 15, and I think this post needed to be completed.
My final statement about the cinema event of a generation, and the final movie of the decade, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (haha, just kidding), after watching it in 2D is that it’s way much better. You’ll enjoy it more and you’ll save money while doing it. I want to complete this post with a part of a 3D article published by the ICG (International Cinematographer’s Guild Magazine), which is an interview to Pierre Routhier, one of the vice president and 3D product strategy and development of Technicolor. The article has 15 basic points which you need to take care while doing 3D, also this 15 points will make know when you’re seeing a good cinematography job of a 3D movie. I will enlist the basic points and leave you with a photo of the article. Sorry if it’s a little blurry, I don’t have an scanner and just take a picture quickly of it.
1) Alignment/Geometry: It’s when there is an improper alignment of left and right images. It’s caused by camera/lens not matched properly in production. It can be fixed by geometry alignment.
2) Luminance/Colorimetry: It’s when left image is brighter, darker or of a different hue than right image. It’s caused by cameras not matched and/or beam splitter diffraction. It can be fixed by color adjustment.
3) Depth of Field: It’s when focus not match in the left and right eye. It’s caused by different aperture settings/non-matching lens focus values. It cannot be fixed without significant post-production work or blurring the focused image to match.
4) Reflections, Polarization, Flares: It’s when reflections on shiny objects not match the left and right image. It’s caused by beam splitter polarization, and camera angles. It cannot be fixed without significant post-production work.
5) Contamination: It’s when dust, water, dirt or other particles is in one of the images. It’s caused by Challenging environment, lenses/mirror not cleaned throughly. It can be fixed by dust removal techniques.
6) Sync/Genlock: It’s when left and right images are not time accurate. It’s caused by non-genlocked cameras or editing error. It can be fixed by Sync: Re-edit. Genlock issues cannot be fixed without significant post-production work.
7) Full Reverse Stereo: It’s when left and right images are swapped. It’s caused by data management or editing error. It can be fixed by swap left and right image.
8) Hyperconvergence: It’s when objects are too close to the viewer’s eye to be viewed comfortably. It’s caused by improper camera settings or object going beyond the safe 3D zone. It can be fixed by push convergence back, or compress the 3D space.
9) Hyperdivergence: It’s when objects are too far back to be viewed comfortably. It’s caused by improper camera settings or objects going beyond the safe 3D zone. It can be fixed by pulling convergence forward or compress the 3D space.
10) Edge mismatch: It’s caused by left and right eye side edges not matching, either due to the addition of “floating” windows or beam splitter box. It can be fixed by removing floating windows or match edge.
11) Partial Reverse Stereo:It’s when some of the layers in a 3D Composition are reversed left and right. It’s caused by 3D compositing error. It can be corrected by swap incorrect layers in compositing. Cannot be fixed on the final image without significant post-production work.
12) Depth Mismatch: It’s when elements within a 3D composition are not in the correct depth to the scene. It’s cause by 3D compositing error. It can be corrected by fixing the composition. Cannot be fixed on the final image without significant post-production work.
13) Visual Mismatch: It’s when elements within a 3D composition do not match left and right. It’s caused by 3D compositing error. Can be fixed by fixing the composition. Cannot be fixed on the final image without significant post-production work.
14) 2D to 3D Ratio: It’s when too many shots in 2D to qualify the show as genuine 3D. It’s caused by lack of 3D content. Can be fixed by replacing non-stereo content with stereo content.
15) High Contrast: It’s when an element deep inside or far out of the window in high contrast with it’s environment, creating a double image on the display. It’s caused by refresh rate of the display device/partial separation of the left and right images by the 3D glasses. It can be fixed by reducing contrast, change convergence or compress the 3D space.
There is the image in which the explanation could be clearer for you. As I told you it’s from the International Cinematographer’s Guild Magazine, from the 3D Issue of March 2011. If you can have a suscription to the magazine you’ll be doing a great investment in knowledge, trust me, it’s a really good magazine.
One other thing, after reading a post from the http://www.elpais.com about the film and cinema theaters industry in Austing, I found that mostly all the cinema theaters don’t project their movies at 100% of it’s light power, it’s at 50%, which is a really good explanation why the 3D look really bad. However you still wear glasses which will make you have less light as I wrote previously. In Austin there is one theater which projects it’s movies at 100% of power, I’ll have to see that in order to do a final statement. Until that, here is the link to the article: http://www.elpais.com/articulo/revista/agosto/Austin/meca/cine/elpten/20110716elpepirdv_1/Tes
Thanks to Fernando Moreno (El More) for the link, you can follow his twitter, he is a really passionate man about film, a really good teacher and a nice guy. You could find useful information in his account: @elmoremoreno.
Sorry guys, it’s in spanish, :/, you can always learn spanish at anytime, hehe ;)