It's the End of the 3D Movie Projection Era, but Do You Care?

No, this article doesn't have anything to do with the current situation in the economy. The decline of 3D movie production and projection started about 10 years ago, and in this documentary, you will learn how history repeats itself over and over again.

Yes, 3D is not anything new. The technology gimmick rose and fell twice in the last century. We are witnesses of the decline of its third golden era. The first 3D projection happened in 1922, when the film "The Power of Love" was on display using two projectors. That event occurred only twice, and several decades later, 3D was reborn again, until it died and was recently brought up from the ashes. The main difference between now and then is that today 3D can be faked in post as opposed to shooting with two cameras. Although we don't have a clear answer to why there are fewer and fewer films in 3D in the last decade, it seems that the audience doesn't care about that visual effect. I do not care. 3D glasses never gave me any physical indisposition, but watching a movie with them always felt a bit strange. Good old 2D films are here to stay and are cheaper to produce, which, on the other hand, raises the profits of the film studios. In my opinion, that's a good reason why that technology started to decline.

What is your opinion on 3D? Do you care about it?

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Matt Williams's picture

Nope, I don't. I never see 3D screenings as the picture is always inferior. Only exceptions have been Avatar, Life of Pi, and Gravity. Gravity was absolutely stunning in 3D and the only film I've seen that made perfect use of the medium (Life of Pi was good too - Avatar was just as mediocre in 2D, though it was cool for the time).

After Gravity, 3D screening attendance declined steeply and audiences seemed to reject it. Fine by me. I've never watched a regular movie and thought "man, I wish there was another dimension here, this a really lacking experience" in the same way that I've never looked at a photo and wished it was in 3D.

Joe Redski's picture

Lets face it, the tech needs to get better. No more glasses to be worn and the picture quality as good, or even better than non 3D. Only then 3D movies might make a resurgence. Unless, of course, James Cameron has something up his sleeve for Avatar 2...

Matt Williams's picture

You mean when it's released in 2079, of course.

Paul Scharff's picture

I love 3D films and would be sorry to see them go.

Iván Fuentes Hagar's picture

To me, the issue lies in considering it an effect, when we shouldn't. And it's not the audience's fault, but rather the authors'. Because they used mostly as nothing more than an effect, and as such, I don't care for it either.
But had it being considered as a narrative tool, everything would be different. I'll never forget the feeling of loneliness I got when watching UP, when Carl got home for the first time after Ellie died. 3D gave such strength to that emptiness, that lonely, dim place... that's how it should have always been used; as a tool to convey a message, a feeling.

Matt Williams's picture

Yup. Pretty much every movie shot in 2D and digitally converted to 3D does so for shock effect / some attempt at awe - and also higher ticket prices.

Actual 3D shot films can be very very good. Life of Pi and especially Gravity I thought were wonderful. Gravity used 3D exactly the way it should be used; not as an effect every now and then, but by being fully transparent and immersive.

Spy Black's picture

Only if a movie can benefit from 3D would it matter. The industry of course only cared about the extra fee they could charge for seeing X movie in 3D. That's really what killed 3D.

Roger Moffatt's picture

I think the fundamental point is that for us humans, observing the world in 2D is 99% the same as observing it in 3D. I don't have binocular vision and see the world in 2D as a result. The impact on my life is zero, I never declare it as a disability and I think people would find it strange if I did. With so little to gain from 3D, other than inflated ticket prices, I'm not surprised to see audiences voting for common sense.

Seyit Tahir Özüölmez's picture

To be gently. For a stereoblind person "you know noting john snow"

Torv Carlsen's picture

Couldn’t possibly care less. I would specifically go out of my way to avoid any 3D release. Sometimes though, I had no real choice and I usually found the experience extremely annoying. There was only one 3D film I saw in the last few years that was enjoyable and that was Scorsese’s Hugo. Of course, we’re talking Scorsese here and as a master film maker, he knew what he was doing, the rest of the 3D releases were crap and much better when viewed with normal projection.

Charles Clark's picture

just as important as loss of public interest is the fact that the 3D effect in a 2D conversion is NEVER any good. and whether the average person has the words to explain why or not , they are displeased with the experience. The ONLY reason the movie makers do conversion is to save money. True thee D requires more resources and thus more money. Cheaping out is what ruined three d. Also believe it or not most folks will choose the less expensive option when going to see a movie. Especially when the choice is a good two d movie or a more expensive crappy three d conversion.

Rhonald Rose's picture

Never cared and I am glad to see it go. I have always bought tickets to the 2D, avoiding 3D like a plague.

John Rupkalvis's picture

Everyone should care. Normal human vision is in stereoscopic 3D. Monoscopic 2D images with everything from the closest object to infinity squashed down to a single flat plane are all extreme distortions. To look realistic, all photographs and movies should be in stereoscopic 3D. If they are not, they are distorted.

Iván Fuentes Hagar's picture

Who says cinema needs to be always realistic, though? Let's not forget about the long time 24fps debate.

Seyit Tahir Özüölmez's picture

hi i am working on 3d films about ten years at the Mersin University cinema departmant. The digital projection system is not properly capable of showing 3d movies. it is to dark to solve stereoscopic image details for our brain. Laser projection and led cinema walls solves it. But 3d films performs maximum at VR headsets expecialy amoled ones. You'll need to see how goergous 'kiss me kate 1954' looks in for example occulus quest vr cinema.