3-Defense, by Daniel Bergamini
Being lucky enough to have never had to sit through a film with the old, paper 3D glasses, my view of the new 3D technology is fairly positive. Of course, I accept the fact that studios are not pushing it because they feel it is a new, integral part of filmmaking, but rather they see it as a way to raise ticket prices. I accept this, and I ignore the badly post-converted films that are currently keeping the technology from being widely accepted as having artistic merit. While many still see this as a cheap way for studios and theatre owners to make more money, the fact that high calibre filmmakers are using the technology to improve their films shows that this is not simply the gimmick that it is so often written off as.
It is unfortunate, and often hard to defend, as the use of the technology has not improved since its inception several years ago. Even with films using the technology to great effect, like in Coraline and Avatar, most audiences associate the technology with films like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender. These are films that were hastily post-converted, and because of this do not represent the technologies full capabilities.
That being said, this is not a matter of 3D being used properly, it is more about when it is appropriate to use it. 3D is not a gimmick, rather it is a tool for filmmakers to use. It is a tool like sound, colour and aspect ratio. It is something that filmmakers must decide upon, and choose how to use it to improve their films. It is not something that studios should be forcing on filmmakers, as that just leads to badly shot films that have no reason to be in 3D except the higher ticket price.
At times, James Cameron’s comments about the use of his technology may come off as over-the-top, yet it makes sense why he is so defensive. He spent years not only developing the technology, but selling it to studios and theatre owners. It is something that he spearheaded as he sees it as the future of cinema, something which it has yet to live up to. However, it is not his fault. It is the fault of the studios and their willingness to release insufficient quality 3D. With more and more talented and respected filmmakers taking up the technology for artistic reasons, we may see this technology finally be accepted as a tool rather than a gimmick.
In the next year alone, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Jackson will be using the format voluntarily to the benefit of their films. And if these filmmakers are unable to prove that the format is more than simply a money grabbing scheme, then I am unsure who can. If used correctly, it is not distracting, but engaging. In Cameron’s Avatar, the 3D was not used to throw things at the audience, it was used to immerse the audience in the world that he was trying to create. In the stop motion fairy tale, Coraline, the 3D was used to add a depth to the screen that allowed the film to feel like a puppet show. If this is the goal that other filmmakers have when using the technology, we may finally see it reach its potential.
This is a technology that should not be used on all films but rather something to be decided upon by the filmmaker and his team. The technology is in its early stages, and because of that, it has yet to be perfected. I doubt that the technology will just wither and die as so many have predicted. But I do hope that studios will realize that audiences don’t want 3D, they want films that use it well.