Harry and all this hubbub regarding 3D!
Hey folks, Harry here in Austin to address all this hubbub about 3D filmmaking. Well - where to begin? Ok - I'll start here. Film is dying. And frankly, we're the reason. The internet. I love the internet, I've sunk untold thousands into AICN out of my inheritance, my book deal - I've written articles for foreign publications just to keep the lights on here at AICN, and I love all of you. However, online piracy is a very bitter reality. Having said that... this isn't the first threat to film. Radio pulled people out of theaters, the industry reacted with sound. At that time, sound scared filmmakers to death. I know it's hard to believe, but there was a great deal of resistance to it, the theaters had to get expensive equipment. It completely changed how movies were made. But soon there was no going back. Then there was television. Suddenly with visual entertainment in homes, audiences dropped off. The industry responded with many of their films coming in color. Television went that route too, then we got CINEMASCOPE. Theaters had to change the shape of their screens... hell, in many cases new theaters were built just for the format. Around this time, 3D came in too. However, the dual projectors was often times seen as too expensive to implement - so the RED & BLUE cheapo route came about - and it gave 3D a bad name.
Now - there's still a drawback with the Polarized 3D... and that is that the tint of the glasses due to the polarized lens makes for a slightly darker image. Good 3D theaters (like the Alamo Drafthouse) prepare by using more powerful bulbs and the silver screen. The result? Fucking incredible! If you've never seen great 3D, then you really should remain silent in this debate. Go find an IMAX 3D theater and see ANYTHING showing. Then you'll have a clue what the buzz is about.
3D has always been capable of looking this good. It's just been expensive. The greatest change that has occured recently is this camera that James Cameron had a hand in creating. I got to see it in use on Robert Rodriguez's SPY KIDS 3-D. Not only that... but I got a glimpse at an experimental monitor used to watch it being filmed. It was a rear-projection HD-3D screen about 60" in size. Now - I sat there with them cool glasses watching that screen for HOURS - zero eye-strain. So, what this means is - in addition to theaters having this capability - you'll eventually be able to have it at home. And folks... It is truly astonishing.
Now - with the capacity to render the 3D process upon vintage films... That raises all sorts of ethical questions. When Cinemascope came about - MGM cut the top and bottom off the prints of GONE WITH THE WING, Disney did the same with FANTASIA, SNOW WHITE, PINNOCHIO - and made these films "Now In Cinemascope". Frankly - this was wrong. Now - do I want to see all 6 STAR WARS movies in 3D? Yes. Is there a wild hair to see WIZARD OF OZ, GONE WITH THE WIND, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, CASABLANCA, KING KONG in 3D? Frankly, honestly? I kinda do, but that's not what was intended. BUT - we do have DVDs where the sound on these classics have been... 'dimensionalized' and even on the DVDs that offer the original Mono tracks... which version do you listen to?
I have to admit to wanting to see future films shot with 2 eyes for dimensional story-telling. One thing is certain... it will stop piracy - as long as there is no home delivery system for the format. It will stop video camera capturing of film images. I read an article the other day that said the Hong Kong film industry has nearly been destroyed by piracy. That budgets are shrinking as investors no longer see adequate profitability due to the vampiric piracy industry.
At Butt-Numb-A-Thon 6 last year, I screened Ms Sadie Thompson starring Rita Hayworth. The audience gasped at the beauty of the 3D. They watched with polarized glasses - and watched Rita intoxicate every man, woman and child in the theater. It was something to behold. With these new projectors that can from one projector send out two different images at the exact same time - for Polarized Lenses - at a brightness intensity double that of regular projection... with the ability to retrofit old films for Re-Run capabilities... - this could very well be the answer Hollywood needs. As a huge fan of 3D, I'm excited by this. I mean - haven't we all had that conversation about what will film entertainment be like in 300 years? Will it be what we've always seen - or will it have the seeming intimacy of live theater - with the grandeur and scope of film productions? Will we plug into complete reality emulators that fool our brain into TOTAL RECALL adventures? In the short term, I think Lucas, Cameron, Jackson, Rodriguez and Zemeckis have it right. I think 3D is the future - and the answer to many of the threats. Just think... no more celphone seizures, no more pat-downs before screenings. A perfect pirate-free entertainment system! Sounds good to me. Besides - nothing is geekier or cooler than making everyone where glasses. We'll turn everyone into a geek!