Let’s talk 3D. Because we have to.

3D has been labelled all sorts of things in it’s relatively brief stint at the forefront of cinema. But is it groundbreaking, futuristic, or just a gimmick? Well, I couldn’t possibly answer that in such simplistic terms. But here’s the thing:

In a recent article about Clash of the Titans 2 (I didn’t dig it out, just stumbled upon it while browsing – in fact, I still haven’t seen the first one), I read that theĀ  studios approach to the film would be to make 3D integral, “rather than just slapping it on at the end”. This set off alarm bells.

It’s one thing to offer an alternative viewing solution for audiences in the form of 3D, but there are a great many people, perhaps even a majority, who actually still prefer watching films in their original 2D aspect. Are those people to be spurned in favour of 3D exclusivity?

No doubt studios and directors will deny the suggestion, but if 3D is described as “integral” to the film, doesn’t that by definition mean that to watch it in 2D would be equivalent to somehow watching a lesser product?

There are numerous issues I have with 3D. Not least, I fail to understand why the technology is possible without glasses and yet cinemas still require them. Further, that cinemas charge more for a 3D film and in some venues additionally charge for the glasses to then view that film (Shrewsbury Cineworld for example). Finally, personally I’ve found focusing in 3D to be really difficult with blurring seemingly unavoidable. And it’s been known to give me a headache too.

Given that there has been so much emphasis on crisp, true HD recently one would think that a clear image would be a minimum requirement in a cinema. In fact, while I’m on the topic, is ordinary 2D cinema really showing as pristine an image as could be achieved? I feel sure that in a world where the illusion of another dimension can be created, at least some of the fuzziness could be cleaned up.

Plus, is 3D really 3D or are you essentially just watching layers of 2D with subtle image alterations? ie. Flat images aligned to give the impression of perspective.

Surely somebody else has noticed that while you’re focussing on the objects trying to appear nearby, objects in the distance are out of focus. When I watch a film I want to be able to observe what is going on in the background just as clearly as what is going on in the foreground – it all helps draw me in to the fictional world I’m watching. 3D denies me that option, and if films begin being created with 3D “integral” to their production and viewing, it’s not long before audiences and films will be split in to factions. Those that watch anything, and those that won’t watch 3D. Do studios really want to slim the already dwindling cinema market even more?

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