3D everything

Apropos of my post from the other day responding to Tony Lewis’ article about 3D filmmaking, Maureen Dowd’s column today tells us that the 3D technology showcased in “Avatar” will have serious consequences, not just for the future of cinema but for the future of all media. She visited with DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and attributes the following quote to him:

If you look at the history of film, there have now been three great revolutions. The first was silent to talkies. The second was black-and-white to color, 70 years ago. And this is the third great revolution, a quantum leap. We’re at the top of the waterfall with 3-D. And this is going to cascade down into virtually every facet of our lives where we are encountering video imagery or even photography.

Hmmm… I hate to be a stickler when it comes to film history, but wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that cinema’s earliest revolutions were effected by figures like Edwin Porter (pioneering narration), D.W. Griffith (developing analytical editing), Georges Méliès (mastering the trick-shot) or even the Lumières (taking the camera out of the studio and into factories, courtyards and train stations)? What about the Soviets? Silent Hollywood? Nothin’?

The column goes on:

Katzenberg envisions a world where you can process so many pixels into space that we’ll all be watching 3-D TVs (without glasses in 10 to 20 years) and seeing every big-scale movie — not to mention every poster or painting you walk by on a wall — in 3-D.

Even Sandra Bullock comedies or dramas like “The Godfather”?

“Absolutely,” he replied.

The prospects of 3D photography and video art are obviously quite interesting—imagine the installations—but I’m not convinced that 3D lends itself to all flavors of cinema. Not all films seek to play with the presentation of pictorial space (that of the shot) and the construction of phantasmagorical space (that of the sequence) like “Avatar” does during its most interesting moments; this, like so many facts, is neither a good nor a bad thing.

But can you imagine something like “The Hurt Locker” in 3D? I wonder what James Agee, who wrote in praise of WWII-era documentaries on the experiences of American troops fighting in the two theaters, would say if he knew that we’ll soon be able to experience simulated warfare from the point of view of a participant as well as that of an observer.



2 Responses to “3D everything”

  1. Anthony Says:

    I read the column and was actually going to bring up to you that 3d filmmaking didn’t seem like Maureen Dowd material (I guess no one was having a scandal).

    But speaking of 3d, check this out:


    Also, shouldn’t it be 4d? It’s not like movies eliminate the time component of experience, maybe I’m nitpicking.

    • Dan Sullivan Says:

      Yeah, I read that article as well. What a strange experience that show/exhibit/performance/installation/THING must be. It must be even stranger to be one of the guides.

      Re: 4D vs. 3D: You’re probably right, but who am I to question the status quo? After all, I’m not a scientist.

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