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Discussion Starter #1
I doubt if many of you 'youngsters' saw the original 3D movies in theaters in the 1950s. I was a theater projectionist back then when 3D movies were made for the intimate thrill of objects jutting out from the screen right into your face!! Unfortunately theater owners started re-using the disposed 3D glasses to save money, and infectious eye diseases stared soaring, so Hollywood stopped making 3D. Imagine where movies would be technically today if 3D had continued to evolve for the past 60 years.


The biggest issue I have with today's 3D is that the 3D effects are no longer able to break the focal plane of the screen. so all the 3D effects lie behind the screen rather than in front of it, leaving the viewer with less of a feeling of intimacy and more of a feeling of viewing the movie through a window where all the action takes place on the other side. It would be great of some technical Hollywood guru could figure out how to make today's 3D break the screen focal plane again!!
 

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There are some movies with pop out effects, but the big issue is the safe area gets chopped down again, especially when you consider a lot of movies hit home release. Back in the old days, movies rarely, if ever, were released for home (the VCR basically created the prerecorded video market), but now practically all go to home distribution (it is as big as, if not bigger than the theatrical release).

Filming is more complex when you have to take into account the home release as well as theatrical, and pop outs are especially nasty because no one wants to see half an animal because it reached the edge of the screen.

My first 3d demo was at the Sony store, they showed some animal movie and I saw a polar bear walk across the screen with pop out. Except the bear walked to the edge of the screen and I was seeing a decapitated bear because the head was off screen and the body was still popped out.
 

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First time I saw good 3d was when I was a kid and Captain EO played at Epcot. Only time I can remember trying to reach out and grab stuff or when the evil ladys hands came out at you and your dodged out of the way. I guess since ive gotten older or used to 3d I no longer get that affect, I just enjoy the depth it now gives you
 
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I watched pretty most of those 50's 3D films back in the day. Yeah, I'm an old fart too! They all pushed the pop out gimmick. I you want to relive that type of 3D get a copy of "The Bubble". Pretty silly sci-fi, think a bad episode of Twilight Zone but LOTS of into the room pop out made it fun.


Ed
 

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I watched pretty most of those 50's 3D films back in the day. Yeah, I'm an old fart too! They all pushed the pop out gimmick. I you want to relive that type of 3D get a copy of "The Bubble". Pretty silly sci-fi, think a bad episode of Twilight Zone but LOTS of into the room pop out made it fun.


Ed
Agreed. I enjoyed THE BUBBLE for that very reason (plus Deborah Walley!). Recommended to anyone who has not picked it up yet.
 

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The biggest issue I have with today's 3D is that the 3D effects are no longer able to break the focal plane of the screen. so all the 3D effects lie behind the screen rather than in front of it, leaving the viewer with less of a feeling of intimacy and more of a feeling of viewing the movie through a window where all the action takes place on the other side. It would be great of some technical Hollywood guru could figure out how to make today's 3D break the screen focal plane again!!
I think this is mostly due to "artistic" reasons rather than technical ones. These days, 3D is often an afterthought dictated by the studios so you end up with a lot of filmmakers who (1) completely ignore framing their shots to take advantage of the stereoscopic effect and/or (2) go out of their way to avoid any kind of imagery that may be considered "gimmicky" for fear of being ridiculed by the critics because they still think 3D isn't a serious visual medium.

There are exceptions - Scorsese's Hugo comes to mind - but for the most part, many modern filmmakers just haven't embraced 3D and that's a real shame and a missed opportunity.
 

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I think this is mostly due to "artistic" reasons rather than technical ones. These days, 3D is often an afterthought dictated by the studios so you end up with a lot of filmmakers who (1) completely ignore framing their shots to take advantage of the stereoscopic effect and/or (2) go out of their way to avoid any kind of imagery that may be considered "gimmicky" for fear of being ridiculed by the critics because they still think 3D isn't a serious visual medium.

There are exceptions - Scorsese's Hugo comes to mind - but for the most part, many modern filmmakers just haven't embraced 3D and that's a real shame and a missed opportunity.
I think most of us underestimate the thought and effort that is put into most 3D films. The use of positive and negative parallax are artistic considerations, which I believe are made with a lot of forethought. I too believed that more negative parallax enhanced the storytelling and wondered why negative parallax wasn't exploited more. Then I tried a couple of experiments to determine just how much negative parallax was being used and I got a very big surprise.

Here's something everyone can do to see of themselves how negative and positive parallax are employed in a 3D movie. Just put your monitor's menu on screen while watching a 3D movie and leave it there for awhile -- the menu will locate the plane of the screen for you and you can now easily detect what is behind, at and in front of the screen. There is a lot more going on in most 3D movies than I would have at first thought and if done right it all unites in a cohesive whole. We might disagree with how much positive or negative parallax is used in a particular 3D movie but I now believe that there is a concerted effort by those involved to get it right in most instances -- I don't always agree with the decisions made but those decisions are not my call -- I suspect that in most instances directors want the audience to watch his or her movie and not the 3D (those directors who are actually interested in 3D) -- the 3D is to enhance the story, not be the story.
 

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Or get the 2nd edition of the Spears & Munsil calibration disc, which has test patterns showing your display's performance with positive & negative parallax along with tons of other goodies. Popping out from the screen is not a technical problem. But it does cause discomfort for some viewers.
 

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Agreed. I enjoyed THE BUBBLE for that very reason (plus Deborah Walley!). Recommended to anyone who has not picked it up yet.
"The Bubble" was the very second 3D movie I ever saw (polarized glasses). I saw it under the name "Fantastic Invasion Of Planet Earth". The first 3D movie I saw was "House of Wax" using red/cyan glasses! "The Bubble" had 3 different release titles ("The Zoo", "Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth", and "The Bubble").
 

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I am watching 3D movies from 50's and 80's on my projector these days. I agree with saclarkdoc that there is definitely a difference in 3D style of then and now.
In old 3D movies, you are effectively "inside" the movie, whereas in new movies you are sort of viewing the movie from a "window". Older style is definitely much more fun.
I suppose that newer 3D style is deliberately done by filmmakers to avoid any awkwardness in small screens and 2D versions.
 

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My only problem with some older films is that they make the pop out effects specifically gimmicky. "Get ready for it, here it comes" and then "ohhh ahhh". Back in the 50's that may have been enough. By now, that's not enough to entertain anyone and just downright silly. But there are a number of older films that use it effectively without getting ridiculous and overdone. I think Creature From the Black Lagoon was done right. I've only given it one viewing, at least from my memory it didn't seam too gimmicky, also Dial M For Murder.

These days the onset stereographer calculates the amount of parallax for any given scene. Since the movies are targeted for large screen theater release, the amount of disparity is set for that screen and theater size which will appear less effective if you use the same settings and make a Blu ray release. I think this is one reason that most films appear conservative in their level of 3D, at least for movies that are filmed in 3D, once they reach Blu ray. For converted movies I think there are just limits to the level of 3D that look convincing. It's getting better and with some movies they are making it nearly as good as native, but still the best 3D is native.
 

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Another problem is when they do pop out 3D when you view the 2D version, it seems out of place like there's an inside joke you're not aware of. Jaws 3D is one that comes to mind. Scenes like that leg falling down in water. 3D should add to the entertainment value, not make it worse when you view in 2D. At least, the last time I saw Jaws 3 was on DVD rental from Netflix, it just seemed so out of place in 2D and it was those pop out segments for shock value, I then discovered it was a 3D movie so it made sense. But if any genre best benefits from pop out 3D it would be horror, Texas Chainsaw, My Bloody Valentine, had plenty of pop out 3D effects. But most movies, not going to work if you rely on that to impress the viewer.
 

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I think one of the reasons is a movie is longer these days, plus the sick factor.

I mean, I demo Ultra-D displays all the time, and I have mine set to default conservative settings. With this I can look at the screen all day long without feeling queasy at all. But when I demo, I crank it up to impress the viewer, and then I get the headaches and queasiness after a few minutes. Luckily I never leave it more than a minute because they too note at the default, it's very watchable and natural, while they note with it's cranked up, it's impressive, but can induce sickness.

Perhaps that's why modern 3d is more conservative - I remember during the older presentations they say if you feel sick to put your head down and close your eyes and it'll pass in a few minutes, but not anymore. So the 3d is dialled back to keep people from getting sick.

I have to admit the dramatic 3d is best used sparingly for the dramatic scenes, while the more subtle 3d is used to give the whole scene the added dimension. I remember Tron Legacy was well regarded for it's use of 3d - not excessive, and even going to 2d. Depth becomes an additional knob the director can tweak to control where the audience focuses, or to control how dramatic a scene is.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There's a reason the old 3D "Popped Out," and It's Not What You Think!

Since I started this thread, and I have seen lots of subsequent conjecture about how directors strive for subtlety, or they are setting up to avoid (or accentuate) parallax. All the comments are interesting, but not totally accurate. The first time I found out the real answer, IT BLEW MY MIND (and destroyed all my pre-conceived notions). I was visiting a friend in Hollywood, and we were having lunch at the Beverly Hills Country Club. Another friend of his (a movie producer) joined us, and eventually we started talking about 3D. Here is what I learned:

The 3D of the '50s was NATURAL, that is, it was filmed by two cameras offset by the average distance between our eyes (some cameras did this physically; others did this offset optically). The result was a separate roll of film for each eye. Playback required two projectors (each with a polarized lens in an opposite directions). The projector motors were linked with a fixed shaft running from one projector to the other projector, so both motors were in perfect "sync."

Today's 3D movies are ARTIFICIAL. Believe it or not, they are ALL shot in 2D. After all the editing and sound scoring are completed, the film is given to one of the myriad of 3D conversion companies in Hollywood. They have powerful computers that analyze the movie frame-by frame and literally adjust the depth of every object in each frame. This is not as difficult as it might seem, because movies really consist of a number of scenes of varying length. Once the computers analyze the first frame in a scene, they merely adjust any objects that change from frame to frame.

The next time you go to (or show at home) another 3D movie, watch the end credits. Look for the name of the "2D to 3D" Company and the names of the people who oversaw the process to convert toe movie artificially to 3D. It is this process, by the way, that precludes objects (guns, spears, arrows, etc.) form crossing the plane of the screen and reaching your face.
 

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No, they are not all shot in 2D. Some are native 3D movies, they're not all converted and they are usually subtle in 3D effects too, though not always.

Comparing native 3D films now to native 3D films then the main difference and aside from IMAX features they are filmed with an over/under rig. This allows medium to closeup shots to be filmed with a disparity range all the way down to zero (2D). Side by side camera rigs have a minimum subject distance that is determined by how close the cameras are able to be placed which is no less than the width of one camera. If you have a camera width of 5 inches then your interaxial (distance between the lenses) is also 5 inches. This would yield a minimum subject distance of around 12 feet.

I don't know as much about the older stereo cameras but from the few that I've seen they are side by side so that would afford more pop out on closer subjects a result of physical limitation of the rig, unless they had mirror rig setups then. Today's movies they align the cameras closer on medium to closeup shots for comfortable 3D.

What happens when you get closer to your subject with a side by side camera like the one in my avatar, is that objects begin to pop out. On this camera that will happen when you get closer than 2.5 to 3 feet and can go about as close as 2 feet with max negative parallax (pop out effect).

With an over/under rig, you can take the lenses as close as you want, even overlapping on real close scenes. So if the DOP wants the camera 12 inches from the subjects head, this would require a very small interaxial that is overlapping of the lenses.
 

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Since I started this thread, and I have seen lots of subsequent conjecture about how directors strive for subtlety, or they are setting up to avoid (or accentuate) parallax. All the comments are interesting, but not totally accurate. The first time I found out the real answer, IT BLEW MY MIND (and destroyed all my pre-conceived notions). I was visiting a friend in Hollywood, and we were having lunch at the Beverly Hills Country Club. Another friend of his (a movie producer) joined us, and eventually we started talking about 3D. Here is what I learned:
Here's something else to BLOW YOUR MIND. Some of the special effects in movies aren't real either. Some of them are computer generated!!! Can you believe that?!?!?

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Putting aside the pure sarcasm from Stereodude, I'd like to direct this to tomtastic:
I sincerely appreciate your additional insight on present 3D films. Being 76 years young and a disabled war vet, my knowledge of film making and film projection is primarily focused on my days as a projectionist in the 1950s. To expand my knowledge base, I'd really appreciate knowing some of the current 3D movies that were shot in Native 3D (I'd like nothing better than to tell my Hollywood friend that his Producer was wrong).
 

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Yes, that list is for most part right, although I wouldn't call it fake 3D, it's converted and I still consider it 3D, though it isn't as effective as native, some films are better than others. It should be noted that even some native filmed 3D moves contain some converted portions. Even Avatar had some conversion done. But the majority and primary capture method on native 3D movies use two cameras, the setup is just different from the past.

Oh and there's a couple movies that are in the wrong columns I've noticed. Hubble is listed as converted, it was filmed with the IMAX rig so it's native. And Paranormal Activity was converted listed as native. I haven't checked the list in awhile but those two are wrong.
 
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