During the PEVE conference in London, Danny Kaye, executive vice president, Global Research and Technology Strategy at Twentieth Century Fox, said that glasses-free 3D TV technology and lame real-time 2D to 3D conversions are doing more harm that good to the emerging 3D industry, showing the negative side of what 3D imaging has to offer. What viewers need to do is see the movies, TV shows and images as they were originally created, and not filtered through sub-par technology.
"As long as a film is made in high-quality, you may never tell the difference between a true 3D movie and a post-converted one," Kaye said. "But, what is harming the idea of 3D [for consumers] is real-time conversion. Whether it is 2D to 3D conversion in real time on a TV set or versions of no-glasses 3D TVs… we do not need [these technologies] yet as they cannot match the quality of professional conversion services or the filmmaker shooting it in 3D to begin with."
He pointed out that 3D is a very complicated technology to get right, yet it's not so hard to get wrong. Glasses-free 3D and real-time conversion are seemingly "getting it wrong," casting the new technology in a negative light. As it stands now, the glasses free aspect can only be viewed correctly in nine different position -- anywhere else, and the effect is disrupted.
Kaye's comments arrive after Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace returned to theaters in full-blown 3D. There's probably studio-wide fear at Fox that viewing this movie in any other way outside Lucas' intention will push the lackluster film into deeper depths of negativity. A lot of money is probably riding on this particular film given that the studio plans to re-release the other five in 3D. Still, Lucasfilm will launch them anyway despite feedback because Lucas does what Lucas wants as we've seen with the Special Editions, DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Is 3D really here to stay? After an appearance in the 1950s, the tech lingered around in the 1980s for a couple of years, piggybacking films like Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th Part 3, Amityville 3D and a few others. Captain EO was probably one of the better 3D flicks at the time, a joint project between George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Jackson that was only seen at Disney parks worldwide. Wikipedia lists a whole crop of 3D films that were produced from 1990 and on, but 3D was seemingly out of the consumer's general view until this latest surge launched by James Cameron's Avatar.
There's no question that Hollywood is pushing 3D into our homes. But is 3D over-hyped? Do we really need 3D version of all six Star Wars films? Despite what Fox believes, glasses-free technology is easier to deal with -- some of us would rather figure out one of the nine correct positions than have to wear a special set of goofy-looking glasses.