What went wrong with 3D?

By News on May 20, 2017

What went wrong with 3D?

You'd go to the cinema, or put on a Blu-ray and after the film was finished you'd sigh and in most cases swear to never watch a movie in the format ever again. It was not a product that sold itself at all well. Especially not when Avatar, a movie which a film student would get a D- for, was held up as the crowning glory of the medium.

TV manufacturers screwed the pooch too. They went, largely, down the route of charging loads more for a 3D TV.

The reality was though that adding 3D to a TV was as cheap as chips.

You needed a panel that could run at double the framerate of cinema and TV. That equates to 60 frames per second. Most TVs were easily capable of that, and then all that was needed was a way to sync that to some glasses via Bluetooth or infrared.

To most of us, 3D just seemed like a way to charge more for TVs that cost the same as their non-3D brothers.

It's only now, with new technologies like LG's UHD OLED, that 3D in TVs is starting to actually look good. Too little, too late...

What went wrong with 3D?

Movies in 3D are barely even 3D

The problem with 3D in films is that you're still looking at it on a flat screen of a certain size. When you're watching a 3D move the illusion of depth only works if things happen within that window. So as impressive as things flying out of the screen are, they eventually have no move scope within the frame, and that destroys the illusion.

Also, when it comes to destroying the illusion, bear in mind that in 3D when something comes toward you, your eyes attempt to focus on it. But because its distance to you hasn't changed, your eyes can't focus properly and the whole thing turns into a mess.

3D video usually ends up looking like two layers, which doesn't really impress all that much.

You'll usually find a foreground and background in 3D, which is fine but it doesn't really represent what we see in the real world.

Perhaps in the future there will be a way - through VR - to track your eyes so that the image can be dynamically refocused in front of you. So, while there will still be "layers" in a 3D movie, they could be dynamically shifted in and out of focus as you look around the frame. That would give you a truly immersive experience.

Although it might also make you vomit on yourself - only time will tell if your local cinemas are ready for that.