Fighting Avatar With 3D

by Irma ARkus

It is obvious that 3D technology has captured the imaginations of many theatre viewers. But recent announcements indicate that the success of Avatar in 3D is about to quickly translate to numerous productions offering their films in the three-dimensional format.

From the ticket sales viewpoint, selling $15 dollar tickets instead of $12 tickets may be enough of a differential to gain an edge in the market and introduce something novel to the audiences.

Avatar’s ticket-box success also translates to lower, or inconsequential rates of piracy, as most flock to see Avatar in 3D rather than in conventional 2D mode.

But latest announcements, such as the recent question on IMDB “Right at this moment, Warner Bros. is considering whether to release the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake in 3D; do you think they should do so?” implies that many films are not offering the same kind of experience that James Cameron has provided for his fans.

Or for that matter, what does releasing a film in 3D mean anyways?

For one, Cameron invested in CG that would make the use of the technology highly sophisticated and realistic, resulting in some remarkable after-effects, including recently reported creation of false memories, and in some cases even depression on the part of the viewers who suffer after the realization that the world of Pandora is but a fantasy.

In a thorough examination of Avatar’s production, Cameron admits to millions of dollars spent in preparation specifically for this
unique, and novel format.

In an interview with Popular Mechanics, for example, Cameron admits to delaying the release of the film, awaiting for more theaters to install 3D equipment. Moreover, Vince Pace and James Cameron experimented with 3D relatively recently when capturing “Ghosts of Abyss” in 2003, and their experimentation with the format led to a creation of a specialty High-Definition 3D camera system, that allowed for multiple cameras to be fused 2 1/2″ apart in order to create an image that would be captured by our two eyes.

The very definition of a 3D movie is “a motion picture that provides the illusion of depth perception. Derived from stereoscopic photography, a special motion picture camera is used to record the images as seen from two perspectives” [wikipedia: 3D films].

In Avatar’s case, the 2D releases of the film would simply eliminate the second “eye,” but that begs the question: are all films shot in 3D technology and we simply never get to see them?