As wildly successful as Avatar was, many people still complained of eye fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms of what I call 3D sickness. (If you haven't yet taken our poll on whether or not you suffer from this malady, I invite you to do so here.) So director James Cameron plans to significantly improve the 3D experience of Avatar 2scheduled for release in December 2014as revealed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog.
This week's poll questionDo You Suffer From 3D Sickness?has yielded some interesting results. Of those who have voted so far, 38 percent say they never experience eye strain, headaches, nausea, etc. while watching stereoscopic content on 3D TVs or in 3D movie theaters, and 19 percent say they have never seen stereoscopic 3D. That leaves a whopping 43 percent who experience 3D sickness at least sometimes. Why?
The first thing you’ll need to bring 3D home is a 3DTV. While they’re outwardly similar to any HDTV and fully capable of 2D playback, 3DTVs can decode and display 3D from one of several standard 3D formats. In general, 3D sets also offer separate setup menus for 2D and 3D material, plus additional 3D controls that can help you get the best out of 3D sources.
Some of these sets, like LCD models from Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba, and some new Panasonic plasmas, include special processing that converts 2D sources into a semblance of 3D. Our limited experience with this feature so far suggests that it can be effective with some material, but it’s no substitute for the real thing.
It's nice to have connected friends. Last night, I got to attend a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) screening of Tron: Legacy, which opens in theatrical release tomorrow, as a guest of member Nina Goldin, a talented voice actress and singer/songwriter. The screening was held at the Main Theater on Disney Studios' backlot in Burbank, CA, where security was pretty tightmetal-detector wands to prevent any cell phones or cameras (or sound-level meters) in the theater.
Sony, Imax, and the Discovery Channel have announced new 3D programming for 2011, with three new series, two specials, and the broadcast debut of Open Season in 3D, the first feature-length animated movie from Sony Pictures Animation. The specials include Imax's Space Station narrated by Tom Cruise and a 3D episode of Discovery's Ghost Lab.
For those who think 3D on a flat screen is bogus, how about this? Swiss university École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is working on a camera that captures images in all directions at oncewell, to be precise, all directions within a hemispherical patternand processes the resulting data to calculate the distance from the camera to each object in its visual field.
Update: This story now includes video of the inventor explaining the technology!
Home theater using Force One by Sphere Custom Design, South Africa. Photo courtesy of Christaan Beukes.
Last April, I profiled the magnificent Force One 3-chip DLP projector from French maker Cineversum. Now, just in time for the holidays, the company has announced a new model, the Force Two, and 3D capabilities for both.
Panasonic's 103-inch plasma is nothing newwe first saw it at the 2006 CESand it's not even the largest plasma in production, an honor that goes to Panasonic's 152-inch behemoth. But last week, the company announced that it is taking pre-orders in Japan for an updated version of the 103-incher that now offers 3D capabilities.
On Tuesday evening, Tom Norton and I went to see Megamind in Imax 3D, and I have to say it's one of the best animated 3D movies I've seen to date. The delightful, touching, often hilarious story is an original and unexpected riff on good vs. eviland how the boundary between them is often not so clearand the voice acting by Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, and Brad Pitt is superb.
One of the criticisms aimed at 3D in the home is the dearth of available titles. Then there's all the exclusive deals that make many titles available only in bundles with 3D TVs and Blu-ray players from one manufacturer or another. But according to the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), a trade association representing the home-entertainment industry, these limitations are starting to ease as more titles are being released for the holiday buying season. In fact, 10 titles are being released todaywhich is being called Blu-ray 3D Dayin anticipation of Black Friday (November 26 this year).
3D at home can be fun, but in my reviews of 3D displays from most major manufacturers (Sony, Samsung, LG, Toshiba, and Panasonic), I've come across a problem that has been little noted. This problem is not with the displays themselves, all of which do a good job with the 3D effect, apart from occasional ghosting or crosstalk (double images when one eye sees the image meant for the other eye).
I'm not talking about those awful red-and-blue glasses or cheesy 3D movies from decades ago; I mean the current state of the art, including commercial cinema and 3D TVs and Blu-ray players (which can now be bought for as little as $120, less than a pair of active glasses!). Modern 3D is big news, but is it an important technological leap or merely hype to get consumers to spend more money?
Last week, I attended a meeting at Stewart Filmscreen, where I learned about a new screen material called Silver 5D. It's a clever name, since this material is designed to work well with both polarized 3D and 2D images (3D + 2D = 5D).
Once in a while, my job has some pretty nice perks. Last week, for example, I was invited to the Disney studios in Burbank, CA, for a preview screening of two movies coming out this holiday seasonTron: Legacy and Tangled, an animated telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale.