I guess I am alone in really not liking this release... to me this defined a 2D product shot in 3D...
One of the biggest problems inherent with translationg Cirque to video is the nature of cirque... it's huge with lots going on and the environment melds with the choreography in so many important ways to make the show what it is.
It's a daunting task to transalte this to a video for sure - you simply can't get the actual experience of being there, but that's what I had hoped the 3D would bring to it... but that is not what I experienced at all.
I am surprised this got such a warm welcome by viewers here becuase my number one take away from this viewing experience was "How many angle cuts can we cram into this video?" It literally felt like a cut a secid for most of the action parts (the segway parts were nicely done though). They rapid cuts didn't cause too much eye strain due to change in depth fortunately, but they totally removed me from the beauty and continuity of the choreography. You just didn't get the feeling of how it all tied in together and while it was coold seeing all the angles and close ups, I think they would have been best suited for a seperate highlights clip or maybe some kind of picture in picture deal occasionally.
At the end I felt like what I had wanted was a panorama of the San Francisco skyline and bridges and I got hundreds of closeup pictures of buildings and parks in a rapid slideshow...
The worst part for me was that a lot of the magic of what they were doing was lost due to the camera angles! They would take the incredible stunts running up a wall and rotate the camera to shoot with the actors "standing up" in frame... then this just looks like some cheesy movie action scene... in fact that's what I felt through much of the presentation - this lost the magic of Cirque and just felt like a mix between an average movie and an MTV music video with all it's rapid cuts and wild angles. I fully understand that just a shot of the wall from the front as the action happened would miss out on a lot of detail but surely something like a slow rotation around the wall with the camera would have done a better job than what there was.
And as I mentioned I found this all compounded by myriad of rapid cuts. It's like they wanted to make sure you never miss any detail and in doing so basically took the magic out of all the details. It felt as if everytime someone made a face, looked a different direction, flicked a flag or jumped they cut to that person...
I love Cirque and part of the experience is that the surroundings are impressive but they are still surroundings. You know you are missing a lot of details because you have to choose which thing to look at and whatever you look at is amazing... again a hard one to transfer to video but honestly the option they went with, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut was jarring and I found very dissapointing.
I may be the only one who feels this way but I would personally have loved to just have a 3D shot panorama of the stage, pulled back the whole time. Maybe with slow camera movement/panning to give you a better feeling of depth (even with the 3D) and then some picture in picture shots or something of particularly impressive action.
There were a few moments during the trampoline scene where there was a full stage shot for a whole 2 seconds or something and I found myself desperately hoping they would just hold that angle a little longer... and they never did.
Really this felt like an hour and a half TV commercial for a circuis.. you know how they compile a clip of all the fast in your face action as clowns fly at tigers roar etc? It was that for most of the 90 minutes and that's a lot of rapid action to take in for that long... and again I feel that spoiled the very graceful yet huge nature of cirque...
Another thing that got me was the use of slow motion... while it's nice to get the details that a high speed camera shows on a slow motion closeup, really it's not important to the action. You KNOW the guy is spinning around, you know the girl is flipping, is it neat to see every ruffle in her dress? Sure... but not that neat and not that many times and then you know it's not matching up with the musical score like it should becuase obviously it's not slo mo in real life. Every time I saw the slow motion I felt like something was being changed about the experience for the benefit of a slo mo shot that would have been well served at the ending credits or something.
Lastly the zooming in... I admit it's great to see the close up of actors makeup and outfits occasionally as they truly are spectacular, but it's a great HD shot already and you don't really need to be that cloes to appreciate it. After all IRL you aren't close up (unless you bring theater glasses or something and who really does that?) and actaully being close up destroys some of the illusion sometimes.
These guys are all wearing stage makeup designed to exagerate every feature so it can be seen from afar... and that usually looks wrong closeup. Painted on shadows look obviously fake and painted and dramatic face makeup looks less real and more like painted on faces from too near. Also the costumes are fantastic and do a great job of hiding the fact they are costumes - from afar. But up close you see all the shoe lines, hem lines, gear hooks etc. In the swinging ship scene I felt it really damaged the effect whent hey zoomed in on a guy and literally have the scene was cables and hooks... it looked more like gear than guy in that shot.
Overall I was quite dissapointed. It didn't make me feel at all like I did while I was at Cirque and while it's been quite a while since I watched the 2D video's I don't recall these being issues to that extent with them... even if they were I feel this was a hugely missed opportunity to use 3D to bring the cirque experience home.
Everything about this felt like it was shot for small screen, 2D promo material, not big screen 3D ambience transferal it should have been. I understand that even on a 50 ish inch screen that might have lost a lot of detail, but I think it would have been an acceptable trade and for those watching on the big screens it would have been perfect.
Again, maybe it's just me, but I really wish that about 70 minutes of it had been more or less static panoramic stage wide shots... in 3D I think that could have given a good feeling of the effect of Cirque and on a big enough screen really been an experience. Also it would have let me do the thing I always wish I could with cirque (and can't afford to) which is see the whole thing over and over, focusing on different spots each time... with all the choreographed action I always watch something crazy awesome but know I missed 3 other awesome things at the same time. I would have loved the opportunity to rewatch and look at different spots each time - quick cuts and closeups do not allow for that.