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class="style16"> Up In 3D

Published : 27th July 2009


'Up' was the first movie I saw in 3D, and it was screened after all those 3d trailers, which, to me, looked like demos of all of the reasons you DON'T do 3d...all the exaggerated, stuff-thrust-to-the- camera look that has been effectively parodied as far back as SCTV's Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses.

'Up' was just lovely, a GREAT use of subtle depth and depth-of-field, and the color palette was so expertly worked, it was almost a character in and of itself.


Just wonderful, and the trailers for the other films confirmed I WON'T be going to see any of the upcoming crop...even Toy Story 3 or 4 or whatever looked 3d-pointless.
Pixar's only mistake was picking a movie title that's difficult to Google-distinguish.


J.C.Burns
designer/visual fx person



>> the trailers for the other films confirmed I WON'T be going to see any of the upcoming crop...even Toy >>Story 3 or 4 or whatever looked 3d-pointless.


Which other 3D trailers (aside from Toy Story) did you see?

Phil Streather
Stereo 3D Producer and Consultant
Principal Large Format
The Old Vicarage
Leigh on Mendip
Somerset
England BA3 5QG


I feel like I must be stupid but I thought the 3D in Up was fantastic, especially seeing all the flat out terrible Disney-talking-animal- celebrity-voice actor trash trailers that came before it. They threw right into the theatre and hyper depth images feel like my eyes were being assaulted. The thing that absolutely frustrates me is with extreme depth in an image you are forced to only look at what the convergence is set to by the stereographer. Besides excessive DoF there is so much in a frame that isn't just in the center focus and having very steep convergences make it nearly impossible to look to far back or too far forward without seeing doubles and making your head want to explode.


I felt the flatter images in Up let me take it all the frame and follow the action regardless of whether or not it was in the convergence. There was enough depth to still get a sense of distance in the framing. Half way through the movie I couldn't feel the 3D effect anymore and took my glasses off. My brain skipped a beat to see how much of a difference there was; it was simply so natural and un- obtrusive that it let me enjoy the movie.


I think it's easy to go overboard with the 3D effect because people feel the need to show off the effect as "HEY LOOK 3D!!!" instead of using it honestly as another aspect of the image. I think the extreme 3d effects will simply go to the sideline like hyper saturated color and sweeping CGI shots when the audience has matured and doesn't want to be bonked over the head.

To quote the great doctor Ian Malcolm:


"Yeah, but your [stereograpghers] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.


Tom C. Hall
Toronto ON



>>seeing all the flat out terrible Disney-talking-animal-celebrity-voice actor trash trailers that came before it


You got a problem with guinea pig secret agents?


Tim Sassoon
(hands up everyone who's worked for Hoyt)
Santa Monica, CA


class="style17"
>(hands up everyone who's worked for Hoyt)


That would be a long list that would include me.
Mighty Joe Young, Armageddon, and Alladin (the park ride).

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California




(hands up everyone who's worked for Hoyt)
Santa Monica, CA
Still rendering guinea pigs here!
Alan Chan
VFX/Dir
Los Angeles, CA



I bought tickets for Up went in and said where's the glasses.
You bought the 2D showing.
D'Oh
It's a 16 plex 2 Real D and 1 Imax.
Snuck into see to go see Hangeover instead.
I’ll to hit Up this weekend because Ice Age 3 will be pushing it out of the 3D theaters July 1.
There was no Up Imax. Must be too many Imax summer releases.
(Hands up everyone who's worked for Hoyt)
I love working with Hoyt!
I saw him at the Producers Guild event.
He said the reason he shot 2D instead of 3D for G-Force was he wanted fish-eye and wide angle lenses.
And he used some snorkel configurations not available on 3D rigs.
3 years at DQ and I still live in Simi Valley
Mighty Joe Young,- DQ
Armageddon (Paris Shot)-DQ
Underdog Music Video- CBS Digital
best,


Jeff Olm
Stereo Color and FX
LA, CA



I thought the 3D was fairly subtle, I couldn't say that I felt 3-D itself was supporting the narrative while watching. Maybe my eye isn't trained to notice yet.


One thing I noticed is that 3-D makes you very aware of the frame lines and at the end of the day it feels LESS immersive than 2D. It's like you're looking at a box and there is vivid lifelike 3-D within it. I felt it was harder to get lost in the story and characters and the 3D effect ultimately distracting.


Florian Stadler, D.P., L.A
www.florianstadler.com



Florian Stadler wrote:


>>One thing I noticed is that 3-D makes you very aware of the frame lines and at the end of the day it feels >>LESS immersive than 2D.
>>It's like you're looking at a box and there is vivid lifelike 3-D within it. I felt it was harder to get lost in the >>story and characters and the 3D effect ultimately distracting.


Without wanting to be confrontational, as I know there are many "true believers" here, you have perfectly encapsulated my feelings about 3D for dramatic narrative.


I really get a kick out of 3D. I perceive it strongly, enjoy it for its own effect, and even annoy my friends and family by taking 3D photos of them with my funky Russian stereoscopic camera. I have authored 3D for extended sequences in two films that had the burden of being presented anaglyphically. But I don't want it anywhere near my narrative cinema.


Stu Maschwitz
http://prolost.com



Florian Stadler writes:


>>3-D makes you very aware of the frame lines and at the end of the day it feels LESS immersive than 2D. >>It's like you're looking at a box and there is vivid lifelike 3-D within it.


Giant-screen IMAX 3D pretty much solves this problem.
Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA



Hi Florian,


>>One thing I noticed is that 3-D makes you very aware of the frame lines and at the end of the day it feels >>LESS immersive than 2D.
>>It's like you're looking at a box and there is vivid lifelike 3-D within it.


I haven't seen UP yet, but I find this a particularly interesting issue to discuss. Isn't 2D cinema well and truly constrained within a box too, or even worse... a rectangle?

I think there are many psychological parallels between the roll out of 2D cinema 100 or so years ago, and modern 3D cinema.

Audiences have largely gotten familiar with the strange world we step into when we watch film or TV, like why am I teleported around the place (cuts), why does his nose look so flat (telephoto lens), why does the image distort when I sit at the front of the cinema, why are the close and far things all so blurry, what's with the flickering, how come that person looks like a giant now when they were tiny before, wtf is a zoom, why don't I feel like I'm really inside that car as it turns the corners, why didn't I get run over by that train that came straight at me, why can I stare straight at the sun, how does the reflection of my lounge room fit within the image I'm trying to watch on TV, etc etc ...I could go on, but the relevant issue here is "why is my vision restricted to this boxy shape with square corners?"
If given modern technology, I wonder how audiences would have reacted 100 years ago if they had the choice of 2D or 3D cinema?
Anyone care to speculate on that???
2D cinema certainly has its own share of unusual phenomena, probably more than 3D cinema, so I'd be inclined to think such an audience would readily see more abnormalities with 2D than 3D cinema.

As Tim Sassoon pointed out, the window issue isn't much of a problem for [Classic] IMAX, but it is something that we will have to continue working within for mainstream cinema, so I reckon it is worth talking about at length.


Tim Baier
Supervising TD - Stereoscopics
Animal Logic



Tim Baier writes:


>> I haven't seen UP yet >>


I just saw it in 3D, and after a while simply forgot that it *was* 3-D. Probably because the story and characters were so engaging, and the stereoscopic effect wasn't overused or gimmicky. I can't imagine enjoying it any less in 2-D. IMHO it sets a new standard for sheer creative silliness -- in the best sense.
<< Isn't 2D cinema well and truly constrained within a box too, or even worse... a rectangle? >>
Yes, but since the 2-D frame and its contents are always the same distance from the viewer, and since we're accustomed to seeing 2-D images framed and composed in boxes and rectangles, it's a non-issue. The moment the contents and the frame diverge along the Z axis, the brain is burdened with additional spatial information to compute, which on the one hand mimics natural vision and on the other hand is constrained by the unnatural "tunnel vision" effect of the frame... so a certain amount of cognitive dissonance and brain-fatigue is to be expected. (I wonder whether a less brutally sharp frame would help minimize this problem. Has anyone tried a soft-edged frame?)
I thought UP's relatively naturalistic use of 3-D at least minimized the brain burden, and didn't seem to detract from the enjoyment of the movie. By contrast, the Disney "Fantasyland" logo, with its gratuitously aggressive in-front-of-the-screen text, and some of the 3-D trailers they ran up front, seemed really gimmicky and annoying.
The last 3-D movie I saw was "Spy Kids - 3D" which was (apart from its general cheesiness) about as headache-inducing as it gets and turned me off 3-D for a long time. Glad to now see it used in a good way, and it's great to know that the technology and the glasses have improved so radically. The glasses aren't insanely great, but are certainly more tolerable than the old cardboard ones, and they fit well enough over regular glasses.
I saw UP in Real-D, but have forgotten what its technology is based on. Seemed like high frame-rate projection using alternating left-right images with alternating polarization. (Or maybe not so high frame-rate -- fast panning motion sometimes had some annoying judder). Saw it at the Corte Madera Cinema in Marin -- one of the few large, single-screen theatres left in the SF Bay Area, and my local favorite.


Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



Thanks for your thoughts Dan.


>> I wonder whether a less brutally sharp frame would help minimize this problem. Has anyone tried a >>soft-edged frame?


The bounds of the cinema screen (or floating window if used) can be thought of as a black wall in-front of the camera with a window cut in it.


You could imagine shooting with a very wide angle lens and then a matching lens used for projection (perhaps projecting well beyond the width of the front wall of the cinema), and then restricting the field of view by placing a black wall at the desired distance from the camera and with a window cut in it of the desired size (imagine you had fantastically low black levels)... in any-case, this "stereo window" is perceived as an object in your shot that might, in some scenarios, be less obtrusive if the hard edges are feathered to match the DOF of everything else at the same distance.
I think mono could be thought of as some sort of tunnel, the difference with stereo is that the audience can triangulate the position of the vertical edges of frame (unless it is bad stereo with window violations etc, and there is a lot of that about).

class="style17"
>> The last 3-D movie I saw was "Spy Kids - 3D" which was (apart from its general cheesiness) about as >>headache-inducing as it gets and


My girlfriend dragged me out of that one, she was getting a head-ache, so I've got first hand experience of how a fleeced cinema-goer reacts. But obviously we wouldn't have binocular vision if it wasn't worth having, cinema has just been waiting for the right technology (and technique).
It is a reassuring sign that you forgot you were watching Up in stereo. Congrats to Bob and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the list here.


>>The glasses aren't insanely great, but are certainly more tolerable than the old cardboard ones, and >>they fit well enough over regular glasses.


I actually prefer cardboard glasses, the filters in them are of pretty high quality, and they are practically weightless. The Dolby glasses are a little on the heavy side, not much to complain about with the Real-D specs though.

class="style17" >> I saw UP in Real-D, but have forgotten what its technology is based on.


Real-D is circular polarized, which requires a silver screen but doesn't suffer from ghosting when you tilt your head like linear polarized glasses do.


Tim Baier
Supervising TD - Stereoscopics
Animal Logic



>>>Real-D is circular polarized, which requires a silver screen but doesn't suffer from ghosting when you >>tilt your head like linear polarized glasses do.


Up is certainly the best 3D presentation I have seen to date and while I can't say I liked it any better than the 2D presentation, I definitely appreciated the work and technology that went in to producing it.
What struck me most was that, at the end, I didn't have the tension headache that I usually have to some degree after watching most 3D presentations of significant length. I also appreciated the dramatic reduction of ghosting which I have always found distracting on linear polarized systems. This is the first time that I've been able to become immersed in a film and forget that I'm watching it in 3D.
(I have nothing scientific with which to backup the following comment but I have always suspected that my adverse reaction to previous 3D technologies was due to the fact that I am strongly left eye dominant and have been since birth. My visual acuity on the Haplan is actually better than 20/20 in my left eye (20/14) and about 20/23 in my right eye, corrected, but the dominance factor is the main consideration.)


Tom
L.A. 3D Convert



Regarding immersion in the film experience, or lack thereof in 3D efforts.

Tim Sassoon wrote:


>>Giant-screen IMAX 3D pretty much solves this problem.


Too bad there's so many... uh... "not so giant" IMAX screens popping up everywhere.
--

John McDaniel
Audio Post Facility Owner
Sonic Arts Digital Audio Services, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH USA



Dan,


Dan, I saw UP this weekend at the Corte Madera Cinema, too. My 13-year-old daughter and I really enjoyed it. I agree with everything you said about the 3D in UP. It was really well done, and after the first few minutes, I didn't think about the 3D any more than I thought about the color or the sound. But I came out feeling like I was "engaged" with the story... perhaps more than if it was just 2D. That is as it should be. Kudos to the East Bay team at Pixar!


This is also my favorite theatre in the area, except that the snack bar selections are not that great... bad coffee, no tea. But at least there's real butter on the popcorn!


I once heard that this theatre was used by Lucas/THX for the first THX test installations, as well as screenings of the early Star Wars films and other movies that they wanted to see on the "big screen." After all, it is almost right across the freeway from Kerner Blvd. Any truth to those rumors?


Regarding 3D... we were instrumental in the camera technology used by PACE for Jim Cameron's upcoming live action/CGI 3D epic "Avatar," which is to be released this winter (Christmas "tentpole" megapic). We'll see if he can resist the urge to overuse the stereoscopic effect and simply use it to help tell the story, which I understand is a compelling one).


Apparently there was a surprise screening of some scenes in Amsterdam last week. Though the audience was "sworn to secrecy," apparently some had their fingers crossed. See
http://www.comingsoon.net/news/avatarnews.php?id=56535.
It sounds pretty good so far!

Jim Hurwitz
Product Manager, Camera Systems
Manager, Western U.S.
Telecast Fiber Systems, Inc.
415-383-5388
www.telecast-fiber.com
(Mill Valley)



<< Real-D is circular polarized >>


Just did some boning up on Real-D. The circular polarization is certainly an advance. Can anyone here say how that's accomplished (and switched every 1/24 sec)?
The panning judder I noticed is evidently an unavoidable artifact of the sequential right-left switching.


Jim Hurwitz writes:


>>I once heard that this theatre [The Corte madera Cinema] was used by Lucas/THX for the first THX test >>installations, as well as screenings of the early Star Wars films and other movies that they wanted to see >>on the "big screen." After all, it is almost right across the freeway from Kerner Blvd. Any truth to those >>rumors?


I don't know. The big screening room at Kerner (now called the "George Lucas Theatre") has a huge screen itself, relative to the size of the house. It was the original mixing theatre for Star Wars and the original test bed for THX. I rented it back in January to screen a docco in progress, and must say the sound reproduction and acoustics are phenomenally 'flat' (uncolored)... and their 2K Panasonic projector does a smashing uprez from standard-def. (They also have a 4K Christie or Barco).


It wouldn't surprise me if Lucas had rented the CM Cinema for test screenings. The only thing that makes it less than a 'reference' house is that the huge screen is curved, which you don't see much anymore. There were some noises being made a while back about its being converted into a fourplex, but evidently that plan died a merciful death.


>>Regarding 3D... we were instrumental in the camera technology used by PACE for Jim Cameron's >>upcoming live action/CGI 3D epic "Avatar," which is to be released this winter (Christmas "tentpole" >>megapic). We'll see if he can resist the urge to overuse the stereoscopic effect and simply use it to help >>tell the story, which I understand is a compelling one).


I look forward to seeing it!


Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


Daniel Drasin writes:


>>Can anyone here say how that's accomplished (and switched every 1/24 sec)


Real-D is actually triple-flashed, so for L&R, 144 Hz, using their proprietary Z-Screen electronic polarizer. There's also a mechanical wheel circular polarized system (I forget the name), as well as several LCD shutter glass systems, plus Dolby's dichroic and spinning filter system, which is kind of "super-anaglyph". Or, one can use two projectors, which most exhibitors are loath to do.


The challenge for Real-D is solving the "ghosting" problem (of bright images leaking from one eye to the other because polarized systems can't be 100% efficient), which is now being burned into the master (so one needs multiple masters, which producers and distributors hate), but should be done in each theater. But to do so, the "ghostbusting" needs to happen in the media block of the projector, because the images are encrypted until then.


Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA



Daniel Drasin wrote:


>> Just did some boning up on Real-D. The circular polarization is certainly an advance. Can anyone here >>say how that's accomplished (and switched every 1/24 sec)


The man who invented it is a good place to start.
www.lennylipton.com


Mike Most
Technologist
Woodland Hills, CA.



Tim,


>> There's also a mechanical wheel circular polarized system (I forget the name)


MasterImage I guess:


http://www.masterimage.co.kr/new_eng/product/system_01.htm?pos=21


Olivier Amato
IT Broadcast and Digital Cinema
www.itbroadcastanddigitalcinema.com



Tim Sassoon writes:


>>Real-D is actually triple-flashed, so for L&R, 144 Hz, using their proprietary Z-Screen electronic >>polarizer.


As I read it, each eye-exposure is triple-flashed, but there are only 24 frame-changes per second per eye. In other words, every second each eye sees 24 distinct frames, each of them triple-flashed.


>>The challenge for Real-D is solving the "ghosting" problem (of bright images >>leaking from one eye to >>the other because polarized systems can't be 100% efficient)


This didn't seem to be a problem, with UP... or maybe I was too engrossed in the exquisitely goofy story to notice it.


Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA