James Cameron's focus has been entirely on the Avatar Sequels 2-5 lately. It was reported he just finished writing the script for 5 so these are very much an arch or series like LOTR and the Hobbit. Avatar 2 will be released in 2018 (unless it gets pushed back again), with 3, 4 and 5 to follow over the next few years. This is something I miss lately. I haven't gone to the theater in awhile but back when The Hobbit movies were out it was nice to have one to go and see each year. Avatar 2-5 will be like that again.
Cameron is still optimistic about 3D and HFR, this was according to articles from late 2016 even indicating a desire to show them in glasses free 3D in the theater. So how will that happen?
One promising article by MIT News
is reporting a team of researchers have come up with something called "Cinema 3D" (yeah not exactly unique, would think they'd call it something that said it was glasses free) which uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable everyone in the theater to see the image in 3D. More on that at that link.
The question of course is when
this happen in theaters? With 3D right now there are the complaints of a darker image and wearing the glasses and 3D manufacturers are dumping 3D for the home. But will it happen for Avatar 2? I can't see it happening that soon (2018). Cameron is very optimistic but to get theaters to upgrade to this just for 3D, especially with 3D interest waning, hard to see theaters upgrading just for Avatar.
However, Peter Jackson has been quote as saying that HFR and 3D would someday be the norm. I've had my doubts on HFR myself, especially for movies (and maybe I was right, I don't know, there certainly hasn't been much talk about it lately, other than Cameron and Ang Lee's movie). Mainly because you're so used to viewing movies with 24 fps anything else just looks odd, but the extra frames do improve the image so it's definitely a new experience. My rational thought is that if it was really that important, more directors would want it, but we've only seen one movie I think since The Hobbit. Avatar 2-5 could
I think we're at the point with 4K resolution where they are going to need to look at other areas to increase picture quality and the overall "immersive effect". I don't see 8K as the next best thing or the natural progression from 4K. The fact is 4K is generally enough resolution to fill the average living room with what your eyes can distinguish.
3D has been around a long time, but it comes and goes for various reasons, usually technical shortcomings from displaying the images. But with the dawn of glasses free cinema, could this be the next phase? I don't just mean the next phase for 3D, I mean cinema in general? The majority of movies are shown flat with the exception of 3D films, but really, with conversion and glasses free, anything could be 3D. Right now, there are only commercial glasses free displays and no cinema glasses free theaters.
I'm predicting it here first, I know this is very speculative given the current state of 3D but glasses free 3D could be the next phase of flat panels. The idea of making the displays more immersive could only mean adding depth and that means 3D after you work out all the color improvements and black level improvements. What could be better than looking through an outside window and honestly not knowing it was actually your TV? To be fooled in ways you never thought possible?
For whatever reasons you hate 3D, glasses free 3D solves all of those issues. Whether or not it will happen, no one knows or when. In 3 years? Five? 10?
The current phase of 3D is nearly over as it is right now. Manufacturers are abandoning 3D for home theater products and focusing on 4K and 2D. I still wouldn't call it dead until there is no more content to buy on Blu ray 3D or a cinema to see a 3D film which could linger on for years, who knows.
So are you ready for Avatar 2 and will glasses free 3D be the next phase?