Why I Hate 3D

Before starting todays topic, apologies are due for not bringing a post out in a few days. However, deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage a post every day. I just wanted to try it for a little while because I wanted to force myself into some work. Problem is that on days where I’m doing other work I just don’t have the time to write a post, and there simply isn’t enough topics that I could cover to make a daily post manageable. Instead, I’m going to try and find a topic that I can write a post on once a week, probably every sunday, so that I’m still writing to a deadline and can still get in lots of writing practise, but without it being an impossible task.

With that out of the way, lets get on to a topic that I can’t believe I haven’t ranted over before – 3D. Specifically in movies and TV – I haven’t got any radical ideas about life in two dimensions. The short version of my opinion is that 3D is beyond irritating, and pointless. You can find out why by reading on, or you can leave now and save yourself an, albeit eloquent, wall of text. I don’t mind either way – I’m gonna rant about it regardless.

First off, a little context and background. In the 1950s, movie makers and cinema chain owners were terrified of the rising popularity of TV. Having the ability to watch programs affordably in your own home meant that a lot of people were abandoning the cinema. It still had it’s plus points – the showcase of big budget films on huge screens shared with a hundred or so other people – all things that cinema still has going for it today. As TV became more popular though, cinemas were certainly loosing profit, and so in a last ditch attempt to make their business more meaningful to audiences, a variety of ideas were tested. This included, I kid you not, smell-o-vision, where audiences were given scratch cards to sniff during certain parts of the film, and you guessed it, 3D films.

Unfortunately for film producers, the technology of the time just wasn’t able to make 3D viable – only about 50% of the audience actually got the 3D effect – the rest just got headaches. The idea was abandoned, and as we all know, cinema didn’t suddenly die out. When the home video was created, once again cinemas cried of the end, but again they survived. Profit margins were certainly reduced, but cinemas were able to survive well enough. This didn’t mean that cinema owners didn’t push movie-makers in certain ways. Ever wonder why films only come out in the cinema to begin with, and we have to wait for the home release? It’s got nothing to do with technology and never has – cinemas will boycott any film that attempts to release on DVD too early, and so movie makers wait their alotted time for the home release so that their product reaches as many audiences as possible. Over the years, the time between cinema release and home release has shortened, but it will probably never reach the point where films come out on several platforms at once – not if cinemas have anything to say about it, anyway.

Fast forward to today, and the advent of digital media is upon us. Cinemas are no longer just fighting pirated films being downloaded online – now consumers can access films online legally, cheaply and easily, and often not much longer after the cinema release. Scrambling once again to boost sales, cinemas revived the idea of 3D films, and started a wave of promotion world wide to make 3D viable and popular. The problem, for the cinemas anyway, is that they were basically too successful. The hype over 3D became so big that TV companies decided they wanted a piece, and so now 3D TV technology is advancing quickly. Cinemas are still pushing 3D as a reason to go to the cinema, but they’ll soon find out that it won’t be a unique selling point for them much longer, and its my guess that 3D films will suddenly stop being promoted so much…

But why do I hate 3D? It’s got nothing to do with the fact that cinemas are pushing it to make more profits – I understand the logic behind that. Of course, knowing why its being promoted does sort of take the shine of the idea away – we’re being told its good because it will make them more money – that doesn’t mean it’s actually good. So why is 3D supposed to be a good thing? Well, it supposedly increases immersion in the film by making everything seem more realistic. If items are apparently hovering in front of your face, rather than just on a screen, the idea is you feel more involved in the film.

Problem is that its just not the case. One of three things will happen when watching a 3D film.

  1. You become immersed in the film, and so you no longer pay attention to your surroundings. At this point, you forget you’re wearing 3D glasses, but you also forget you’re seeing things in 3D at all. At this point, what’s the point of having 3D? You’re too busy enjoying the film to notice it.
  2. You notice the 3D. It reminds you that you’re sat watching a film, with 3D glasses on, which breaks immersion.
  3. The 3D doesn’t quite work and you get a headache.

All of which means that 3D is pointless. I don’t care if it catches on even more so that it has now – that just shows that the wave of advertising being pushed out by cinemas, and now TV companies, is working well. 3D simply doesn’t do what everyone seems to believe it to, and that’s never going to change.

I would rant on longer about all the other issues 3D has, but I’m at my word count. Thanks everyone for reading, remember to subscribe or follow me @heroicrant on twitter. Until next time.

/end rant

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2 Responses to “Why I Hate 3D”

  1. Whenever I see a film advertised as “IN 3D” I just think “I’ll catch that on DVD then because I am not going to the cinema for it.” I like the cinema because I am watching a, hopefully good, film with other people and enjoying it, not because I want to feel immersed in an explosion or have glass fly at my face. I just want to watch the film!
    Maybe I am just hard to impress, but 3D just doesn’t give me a buzz

    • Thing is, 3D works in places when you’re there for the special effect, like at a themepark. It doesn’t work in a film or game because the interest comes from the central medium, and not from seeing the 3D. When I go to see Harry Potter at the cinema, I want to see how they transferred the book to the film – I don’t care about seeing the dragon scene in 3D instead of ‘boring’ 2D.

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