A Look at the Big Names Behind the 3D Revolution
We’re all excited about the developments in 3D we’ve seen over the last two years. Audiences have poured into cinemas to see the new 3D effects that have come into our biggest blockbusters and we’re all waiting with baited breath to see how well the new technology adapts to the home cinema environment. It isn’t the audiences, however, that have made 3D push into the mainstream. The demand is there, of course, but the truth is that powerful names in the industries of movies, games, television and digital technology have been making great efforts to bring forward what they feel is the future of video entertainment.
One of the biggest reasons for a strong push towards 3D in the movie industry has been as a way of combating the pull of the home cinema. While audiences can gain access to films earlier in the theatre, it has become more of a trend to make the home cinema experience as higher quality as possible and wait for the DVD release. The advent of modern mainstream 3D technology has, at least for now, given the cinema a unique selling point that audiences can only find in the cinema. Naturally this has been something that many movie makers have been keen to pursue.
The Defender of 3D Integrity
One of the most zealous and long serving advocates of 3D has been the veteran film maker James Cameron. Cameron has been a master of many genres of film but he has demonstrated continued success in the action field. His films Aliens and Terminator have gone down as cult classics, engrained in the cinematic history as some of the best action films ever made.
Cameron’s success transferred into the 90s during which he would release True Lies and Titanic, the latter of which would go on to be the biggest box office success for over a decade, only surpassed by Cameron’s most recent success- Avatar. Cameron has demonstrated an interest in 3D technology for a long time, long before the current revolution.
In 1996 Cameron released a short 3D continuation of the Terminator story with T2 3-D: Battle Across Time. This featured the cast of Terminator 2 and was presented as an attraction at Universal Studios parks meeting great success. Cameron wouldn’t stop there though, after the success of Titanic he would wait, patiently, for the technology to be available for his next project.
Developing his next film for over a decade, Cameron would watch the technology of 3D advance to a point where he felt it was ready for use in his long prepared movie- Avatar. Punctuating the rise of 3D in the mainstream cinema, Avatar was a massive success and it smashed all box office records. With CGI and 3D expertly combined, Avatar put Cameron back on the map, and he had no intention of disappearing again.
Since the release of Avatar Cameron has been a fierce defender of the integrity of 3D cinema. Disliking the use of 3D as a gimmick and fearing that this kind of use will change audience perceptions, Cameron has made considerable efforts to keep the idea of 3D as the future of mainstream cinema alive.
In doing so Cameron has ruffled a few feathers. He publicly attacked Clash of the Titans 3D for its post-production application of the 3D effect. More recently the director has come out against Piranha 3D, saying that the film is “exactly what we should not be doing in 3D” and that it “cheapens the medium”. However you feel about the film or the use of 3D in modern mainstream cinema, it’s clear that Cameron cares deeply about the renewal of 3D technology in the theatres.
A Directorial Pledge
Another successful director who has contributed to the modern 3D revival is Peter Jackson. While he can’t claim to have the same history alongside the technology that Cameron does, Jackson has been quick to join the fight to make 3D the next big step for cinema and push the technology forward.
Peter Jackson has made it his goal to film all of his future projects in 3D. This bold statement has raised a few eyebrows and some have noted that despite this commitment, the prequel to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, is still not confirmed to be in 3D. Jackson was producing the film but has recently become a potential candidate for director.
Jackson has expressed a desire to film another one of his future projects in 3D; The Dam Busters. Jackson has said that he feels the World War Two bombing raid would benefit from 3D visuals. He has also said that he wants the film to be as authentic and as true to the spirit of the original film as possible. It will be interesting to see how he merges the new technology with his goal of keeping the feel of the original.
Finally, Jackson is co-producing a 3D film based on the The Adventures of Tintin. The film was set for a 2011 release and was directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. With two cinematic giants at the helm, this film demonstrates how far Hollywood is moving into the 3D arena. A sequel is planned to be directed by Peter Jackson and the two directors intend to work on a third film together.
Outside of the cinematic industry there is still a great deal of support for the advent of mainstream 3D. Sky has been one of the first television companies to get involved, putting out 3D sports in over a thousand pubs across the UK and preparing their own home 3D offering for late this year. Collectively this has made Sky a big supporter of the new technology, hoping to incorporate it into their services as people buy 3DTVs for their homes.
Sony has also been heavily involved in developing 3D technology and in helping it gain popularity. 3D has been a key part of the company’s plans recently and as such they have developed a 3D Technology Centre at Sony Pictures Studios. The company doesn’t plan to hoard their new advancements though and claims that the centre will be available to game developers to help create 3D games. CEO Kaz Hirai says that Sony intends to “share the expertise we have developed over the years. This is to ensure we are playing our part to drive the mass adoption of 3D, not just for Sony but as an industry”.
Sony certainly has good reason to invest in the growing popularity of 3D due to their pervasive involvement in the video entertainment industry. Sony is manufacturing 3D televisions and has already distributed software and firmware updates for the PS3 to enable 3D gaming. Naturally a 3D television is needed for this and games need to be programmed for 3D capability. That said, it is likely that existing titles can be patched to facilitate 3D effects. Naturally all of this adds up to a large investment for Sony, one they don’t intend to let slip away on a “fad”.
The other big names in gaming aren’t slacking while Sony jumps on the band wagon. Nintendo have the 3DS in development, their 3D update to the successful DS line. A little friction has emerged around the device with Sony calling it “a bit of a stretch”. Sounds like someone is a getting a little jealous of Nintendo’s quick thinking!
3D is moving quickly and there is a storm circling as it grows in popularity and more industry leaders get involved. From the movies to TV to gaming, everyone wants a piece of 3D for themselves. The good news for us is that everyone in the industries is struggling to make the next big breakthrough and that means more fantastic gadgets like the 3DS and more high quality 3D films by well versed and talented directors.