““We’re in the thick of this kind of 3-D craze, which I guess is all right if it’s necessary, and if it enhances the film in some way,” [Johnny] Depp said. “If it really adds something, then cool, but I thought it was beautiful that Gore resisted it for ‘Rango,’ it would have been the wrong choice for that movie. Gore did ‘Rango,’ watched and basically what he told me was, ‘I just didn’t think it needed 3-D.’ Not everyone is approaching it that way. I thought that was great. I’m sure studios are screaming for it but sometimes you need to resist that.”” – LA Times
Found this nice and insightful article and a radio segment from NPR: “3D Boot Camp: A New Dimension For Live-Action Film“
Agree with this totally, “No matter how many dimensions, if it is not entertaining, no one will watch it.“
Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada
“The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a beautifully designed cinematic iPad storytelling app published by Moving Tales. Make sure you check out the enclosed promotional clip of the Pedlar Lady app so you can see some samples of the beautifully rendered images/animations.
Apple iPad app: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross“
Price: US$ 4.99
Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
* Beautifully and cinematically 3D rendered moving images that go along well with an engaging story. Matthew Talbot-Kelly, producer and director of the iPad app, is also a very experienced animator and you can totally tell from the stunning animations. Even the “cover” of the story app contains a 3D fly through to the Pedlar Lady’s house. (see clip)
* Beautifully recorded sound effects and narration.
* Users can also select the Spanish text and Spanish narration option. And the Spanish narration also sounds great. Potentially a great tool to teach children Spanish.
* The narration can be turned off so the story can be read by a parent or grandparent out loud with the sound effects playing in the background.
I subtracted 0.5 star for the following:
* At the moment, the app doesn’t have interactive elements. Some of the pages (e.g. one page has many bottles hanging on the tree) are perfect candidates for adding interactive elements for user to touch/move and make sound or interact. (According to Moving Tales, this combination is technically not possible yet.)
* As part of this review, I discovered and reported a bug that stops the animations. Restarting the app may fix the problem, and rebooting the iPad should fix it. I’ve reported the conditions that can trigger this bug to Matthew, he has promised a bug fix and possibly some additional enhancements in the next update. (see my Skype video interview with Matthew).
[latest update from Matthew: a bug fixed version (v 1.01) was submitted to the app store last week, they are now waiting for Apple to approve it.]
[Aug 16, 2010 Update: version v 1.01 has been approved by Apple. The above identified bug has been fixed. Added new sound effects. Improved application stability.]
Highly recommended. Great experience for much less than the price of almost all children books. Moving Tales, a Gibson BC based Canadian company, has done a wonderful job in creating a Cinematic iPad storytelling app for all to enjoy. Of local interest, the iPad app programming for the Pedlar Lady is done by a Calgary based programmer.
The official site of Moving Tales says it well, “How does Moving Tales bring stories to life?
- sophisticated 3D animation on every page
- original music, voice over and sound effects
- animate the text using the iPad’s accelerometer
- Cover Flow-like navigation
- page swipe or tap for page turning
- auto page turning option
- sound effects only sound option
- compelling narrative
- randomly selected alternate views and extras to ensure no two viewings alike
- sophisticated and dynamic typographic layout
- evocative poetic language
- Spanish option—choose to hear and display the story in Spanish as well as English”
3D TVs related production gears are everywhere in the 2010 NAB Show. You can’t miss them even if you try.
Had a wonderful first day at NAB Show and I want to capture some of my thoughts about 3D before I head out to another exciting day at NAB.
3D & Money – Billions and hundreds of millions
Yes, we are talking about billions (Avatar, today’s figure: worldwide $2.7b) and hundreds of millions (Alice, as of today: 780m). And the millions of dollars spent by Sony, Panasonic, etc in R&D and making the production and consumer gears.
As a potential major new source of revenue for film studios, broadcasters, electronic gears makers, and others, I don’t fault them for wanting to backflip from a cliff in the dark of night into a rough sea that is also known for its golden opportunities like Avatar and Alice.
3D & Dramatic Content – The lessons from Avatar, Alice, and Titans
In contrast, Alice and Clash of the Titans were films originally shot in 2D and “up-converted” to 3D. Have a look of these two posts to see why I avoided them like the plague, “2D, 3D, IMAX fake 3D, and IMAX real 3D” and “Titans’ director underwhelmed by 3D conversion“.
3D & Sports/Live Content – The foreground trees, hands, and guitar headstock
I will check out more of the 3D sample footage in the NAB Show today, but from the footage I’ve seen so far, 3D’s strength is also its deadly weakness, I think.
It is human to pay attention to what is closest to us because it is in our gene to pay attention to things closer to us (is it a tiger?). But when watching 3D TV, tell me why I should care/pay more attention to the trees closest to the camera? Should I be distracted by that clipping hands in a concert just because it is closer to the camera? And in another concert footage, the guitar headstock happened to point at the camera, so it makes sense to have it become the focus?
My problem with the current iteration of the 3D technologies is that it seems to be too “distracting”. I am not sure will I articulate the following well, but step away from your computer later and try this. Look out into the distance. When we see things in the real world (our 4D world), we sort of “see everything and nothing at the same time“. We see everything but actually nothing until we focus our eyes onto something particular (like a building in the distance, an ad on the wall, or a pretty girl/guy in the crowd, etc). With the current iteration of 3D, the camera decided what our focuses are. And in the demo footage showcasing the best capabilities, unfortunately what stood out for me were the trees, the hands, and that stupid guitar headstock!
This may seem unconventional and paradoxical, but can 3D actually reduce our entertainment experience? Can the foreground objects become too distracting?
3D & Your money
If you are a consumer:
Are 3DTVs ready for prime time yet? Should you rush to buy a brand new 3DTV to replace your newish HDTV? Well, unless you have lots of money and nowhere to spend it (and have given lots to charity already), then may be buy one and be prepare to buy a new new one soon.
For the general public and for me, I don’t see the need to have a 3D TV set at home yet. They still need to come out with engaging programs plus sort out a common standard first (side by side or up and down).
Hmmm, this just come to me: How do you watch sports in 3D in a large group in a pub or a friend’s home? Will it be BYO-3DG (Bring Your Own 3D Glasses)?
If you are a TV or film producer:
I want to spend a few more days at NAB first before I make a more informed call on this. My gut feeling is the current iteration of 3D cannot be applied like a magic bullet. A new set of considerations along the transitions like silent to sound, and B&W to colour may be needed to be carefully thought out first.
I will write more later.
The Canadian Quebec-based company Creform‘s 3D scanners are very cool and powerful. Here is an interesting tech details and video about the creation of the logo for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Now, I just need an excuse to find a scanner and try to use it for something.
I will be attending the NAB Show for the first time this year. Amongst the many things I know I will see, I am looking forward to this April 12th presentation.
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ – A Case Study” is set for Monday, April 12. [...]
In this comprehensive and revealing session, several of the filmmakers behind “How to Train Your Dragon” will detail how story, 3D imagery and sound were brought together to create the film that has since become the best-reviewed movie of the year. Members of the panel will include the following DreamWorks Animation filmmakers: writer-director Dean DeBlois; Academy Award-winning sound designer and mixer Randy Thom; production designer Kathy Altieri and head of layout Gil Zimmerman.
“3D filmmaking – and specifically 3D animation – are hugely relevant topics for NAB Show attendees this year,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president, conventions & business operations for the NAB Show. “It will be fantastic to have some of the key players behind the artistry of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ on our stage to present a case study for this wonderful and innovative adventure.””
After researching for “2D, 3D, IMAX fake 3D, and IMAX real 3D“, I know I need to understand 3D more. I’ve got my hunch for 3D animations but I want to be sure if my understanding/guesses are anywhere close.
Since I watched Avatar on IMAX 3D and following in love with the movie and IMAX 3D, I’ve been trying to learn more about IMAX 3D and IMAX fake 3D (IMAX has a process to turn 2D film into 3D). Setting my emotion aside, I need to read some solid and non-PR information to understand the process (and investment potentials of IMAX) better.
Well, I finally found some interesting info today in “The Movie Studios’ Big 3D Scam“, here is an excerpt,
“The problem with fake 3D
The process of making a movie 3D after it was shot is a complicated and time consuming process but can be somewhat convincing. The problem is it will never reflect the same results as if you were filming using two cameras, simultaneously, from slightly different perspectives. Endless rotoscoping provides layers that can be separated to fake a different perspective for the second eye, but that’s what it looks like, layers. So yes, you can push things away and pull things forward and enhance the depth, but the content within each layer has no depth. We use our eyes everyday and whether you know the geek stuff or not it’s just not what we are used to seeing. The stereo technicians involved in bringing the images to us in 3D in the best possible way have their hands tied in some ways, they’re not often working with two true perspectives.
The problem is it’s expensive and difficult to do it right. Double the camera gear means double the footage and often doubling the camera crew. It also doubles much of the visual effects work as you have to render everything twice. A lot of the old gags we once used to do our “movie magic” no longer work in stereo films.
But what you get is the real thing, a true stereo view of everything in the frame. Just like a director or cinematographer chooses to focus the camera to direct the viewers eye you must make the same decisions in 3D to direct the convergence of the two eyes. Not doing this right (or having to do it with a faked perspective in the second eye) is like overlooking composition or sound design, it’s crummy movie making.
Avatar hit this right. They shot it stereo and kept all the depth within screen like it was a window into another world and never tried to wow you with shoving stuff into the theater at you. When you bring elements of the image into the room you run into the problem of the edge of frame cropping the content. During the end titles for Alice In Wonderland they created a false black edge to the screen so that when content did break frame and bring things into the theater they weren’t cut off. But this isn’t an option for the duration of the movie unless you’re willing to give up valuable screen space. IMAX helps relieve this by filling your field of view but we are all far from having IMAX theaters at every cinema and you still have a limited view from within the frame of the glasses.”
Also read this review “Alice In Wonderland 3D Doesn’t Need the 3D“.
IMAX is a Canadian company, part of me wants it to do well financially, but at the same time, I am seriously doubting the IMAX engineers’ and executives’ wisdom in creating and providing a process to convert 2D films into 3D.
Sure, more money can be made in the short term if 2D films can be converted to 3D, but if it is a cheap fake and gives viewers horrible fake 3D experiences (and audiences are not told in advance if it is real 3D or fake 3D), then the “IMAX 3D” brand will ultimately be associated with cheap and horrible experiences.
As an aside, this is may be the first case where a company decided to provide a fake inferior experience using the identical brand name! May be it will be movie reviewers’ jobs to tell its readers if a movie is“IMAX 3D” (fake) or it is “IMAX 3D” (real)?!