The Science of 3D Explained The Science of 3D Explained

The Science of 3D Explained

The United Kingdom’s leading film critic Mark Kermode explains the difference between 3D and 2D:

(Thanks, DeK)

  • My sentiments exactly.

    It’s interesting how pas experiments for film gimmicks like 3-D have come back since the film industry needs to make more money by doubling the price of tickets since the industry OBVIOUSLY needs more money.

    This is probably the main cause of the rush of terrible 3D animated films like the horrid looking Yogi Bear.

    One of my biggest problems I had when I watched Avatar in IMAX was in fact the 3D glasses. The same thing happened when I saw Coraline in 3D. I was so distracted by the 3D effects that I lost focus of the film and began to have motion sickness.

    I couldn’t stand it, and if anything, it distracted me from the film and wasted my money. Ugh.

    James Cameron can suck it.

  • Peyo is greater than Cameron

  • JMatte

    Seeing as there is a CG movie of the Smurfs coming up, possibly in 3D…I wonder if it will be compared to Avatar XD
    (especially since every movie IS being compared to Avatar nowadays)

  • Chris S

    I agree, 3-D doesn’t change the narrative of the film at all, but i do enjoy the visual immersion of it. I go out of my way to see a movie with really good 3-D. What is going to kill 3-D for me is the new pocket digging inflated price of $20 to see a movie in 3D. $30 for two tickets hurts, but I’ll never pay $40 to see a 3D movie with a date. At that point I’d rather get tickets for a concert, theater performance, live comedy show, or get plastered at the bar.

  • I don’t recall the exact number, but as much as 15% of viewers just don’t fuse stereoptic imagery, or can’t, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many more find it so distracting that they’d be better off watching it in standard projection. You don’t like it? Fine. 3D is getting more people in theaters, just like color, wide-screen, cinemascope and multi-channel audio got people in theaters when television had been keeping people home in droves. I enjoy well-done 3D, but unfortunately, most theaters that employ it think that it’s more important that the audio be deafening rather than properly spatially separated. 3D, and seeing it upon release, are the only reasons to attend a movie when I can enjoy every pixel in 1080p without any audio compression, properly staged without all those strangers in my viewing room. People leave protein spills at amusement parks too, but they’re no mere fad either. 3D and its higher ticket price is paying for better exhibition. Digital projection will ultimately lower the price of movie distribution, all good things for everybody. I’ve enjoyed 3D screenings of Coraline, Up, Avatar and How to Train Your Dragon–and also enjoy the Blu-Ray releases in 2D at home. your mileage may vary.

  • FP

    3D argument aside, the guy in the video sucks at comedy.

  • I see in three dimensions.

    I can’t see why I’d be against seeing film in 3D. Just like going colour, stereo then surround sound, each improvement hasn’t really changed the nature of good storytelling but it gets closer to my own senses.

    But then I’d be up for smell-o-vision too.

    The problem for me with 3D is simply one of technology. I find the 3D thing a bit hard on the eyes. Right now, it doesn’t work the same way my eyes do and that’s a problem. And, being totally honest, while I’m all for 3D, it’s not really a draw either – I won’t go see a film I wouldn’t have anyway just because it’s in 3D.

    But if they can get to a point where I can just turn up to a cinema and watch a movie that happens to be in 3D and I have no focus issues, I’m all for it.

    One of the great things about 3D is that the worst 3D film of all time has already been made (Freddy’s Dead, the Final Nightmare) so it’s all uphill from here.

  • One thing I noticed about seeing Coraline in 3D was that the compositions weren’t working properly. The flow and framing of the images was designed to lead the eye through the frame to a focal point, but the 3D was forcing the eye to one particular focal point. Trying to look anywhere else made it feel like my eyes wouldn’t focus. It took away a lot of the beauty of the designs for me.

  • NC

    If only they spent less time playing with 3D glasses and begin developing perspective glasses that will provide films with some plot and character and some real darn PERSPECTIVE!!!!!!

    I hate to sound like Anton Ego but seriously… am I right?

  • Clement

    What’s called 3d is in fact 2.5d, just like topographical maps. Maybe if we were able to see films in real 3d with head tracking systems and glasses films would look a bit different. At least it wouldn’t feel flat when you move your head.

  • FP, Kermode knows he’s the unfunniest thing on the planet. And years of knowing this makes watching stuff like this simply laugh out loud for me, because at the point he can no longer express his rage through words, he despairs and tries desperately to amuse himself by attempting comedy.

    Though, in terms of future of cinema he’s completely right. No wonder he despairs. In fact on his radio show today (I strongly reccomend the podcast-available from BBC) he had a wonderful rant about how good ‘flat’ cinema can show just as much ‘depth’ as stereoscopic 3D presentations and that the current trend is simply studio power and weakens the impact of a truly well-made film.

  • tom


  • Pedro Nakama

    Hmmmm… Makes me think…
    I wonder if the new Smurfs movie is going to be in 3D?

  • creepy

    Avatar was a very lame film and I still cannot believe how weak the story was and how many people embraced it. yuck. I was given free tickets which was the only way I was going to see that show.

  • Toby Prince

    I agree with some above. When 3D is done well, I have enjoyed the experience, such as Avatar and how to train your dragon. When the 3D is a bit of an after thought and just slapped on at the end of production, this is where it becomes a gimmick and the studio just trying to cash in on the current trend, and it’s really not an enjoyable experience to see the film this way. This use of 3D in films and raising ticket prices are what will do the most damage to 3D.

    For me it doesn’t matter if you are watching a film on VHS with an 15 inch screen or in the cinemas with high definition and surround sound. A good film is a good film. At the moment I see 3D as a technological advance that can add to the experience of the film the same way surround sound or high definition adds to the experience of seeing a film, rather then a tool thats used to advance the story.
    As the technology improves and film makers use and experiment with it more, then maybe one day it could make the jump to become a tool thats used to advance the story.
    I certainly wouldn’t put it up there with sound and color when it was first used in film, but I’m sure that at the time there were some that saw these advances maybe the same way 3D is seen now, but they have become an essential part of film making and storytelling. I think its very optimistic to think that stereoscopy could ever have a similar impact on story telling, but who knows where they may take it in the future.

  • Uninspired as Avatar’s story may be, I’d rather watch any three-minute segment of it again than listen to this twit and his smurf brogue falsetto.

    Mean-spirited, obvious, too long, and utterly unfunny.

  • Chris J.

    I was about to write exactly what Cassidy wrote.

    What a tool.

  • Julian Carter

    I think Mark Kermode is a hoot! Especially his line about the unobtunainable Unbtainum (or whatever Cameron calls that stuff).

    And the Brothers Chaps just updated their Homestar Runner website after a 5 month hiatus. I’d like to see Homestar Runner featured on the Brew someday. The cartoons those brothers make are gems.

  • Matt

    “United Kingdom’s leading film critic Mark Kermode” – excuse me?

  • Mac

    Craig Ferguson mentioned that the new Clash of the Titans was converted to 3D. He said it was originally shot in…double D. He then opened his jacket and shouted “TITANS!” while shoving out his chest. TITANS! He is just nuts and a great way to end a crappy work day.

  • “United Kingdom’s leading film critic Mark Kermode”

    That’s up there with “kick-boxing champion of Belgium”

    I enjoyed “Avatar” but it’s come after too many other 3D movies to be a “game changer”.

    All the film technologies (color, widescreen, 3D, surround sound) are aimed at just getting film to be more like real life so there’s a limit to how much shock and awe they can ever induce.

    Animation and VFX are the only techniques that get you seeing something you really couldn’t see outside the theater.

  • Brian

    As a comedy, the video was lame. As a “scientific” argument for disproving 2D films… it was lame and poorly constructed. He just used the same jokes every other bloody comedian and their grandmother have made about Avatar and 3D films in general. Yes, they are blue people, so they look like Smurfs. Is it just because I didn’t grow up in the 80s that I didn’t find that joke funny the first 50 times?

    I’m personally intrigued by what 3D could do as an artistic device, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be a major game-changer in the long-run. I’d love to see filmmakers use short films to experiment and really take advantage of 3D as a diorama of sorts. There was a particular shot from that Beowulf movie overlooking a gigantic canyon that nearly gave me vertigo. I still think about shots like that, and wonder how these films can be done better. It’s a tool like color or sound, and right now it’s not being used well- the audiences are going gaga over the technology, but it doesn’t really add any inherent meaning to the film. Color can be symbolic, and so can music- why not 3D?

  • He has a point though comedy wise it is very weak.
    Well, as the 3D subject matter has been brought back here just let me have my say:
    Please movie industry, stop throwing out shit on us dressed as groundbreaking technology. This tricky will just last for a while. Audience will soon be begging for good stories again.

  • Oliver

    Before you give any weight to anything Kermode says, remember this is the critic who gave the live-action ‘Thunderbirds’ a good review.

  • Ian

    Not funny. Not insightful. Why’d you post this?

  • Christ, Kermode, your hands are massive!

  • Hehe, I enjoyed that…

  • I’m with Steve Worth here.
    3D seems to intend to mimic the human eye to create levels of depth, but unlike an eye, you have no control on what your eye is focused on.
    I find it incredibly hard to watch a movie like this.

  • Well, he’s proved scientifically that he’s a total douche. Congrats, man, now hundreds of thousands of Brits are gonna start watching 3d films just to avoid being associated with you, you silly twat.

  • Bill Turner

    Whatever happened to getting lost in the story? A good movie or book engages you and employs your imagination to get you emotionally involved. Every 3-D movie I’ve seen, with the exception of theme park rides, breaks that connection by showcasing effects shots. It’s like a slap in the face saying “You are not in Pandora. You are in a theater!” The same goes for shaky camera movies or tv shows.

  • Mr. James

    Wow, you guys are FAR too critical of this guy. It was funny if for no other reason than I have yet to hear anyone make a joke about the “unobtainium” being one of the most ridiculous pieces of movie-making ideas ever put on film. For such a serious plot it almost bordered on “Naked Gun” type of humor. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s got to hard to find something to post on this site 365 days a year and I salute the fact that this site exists at all and gives me some alternative to other news sources.

    Oh…PS…3D should be banned until they get it right. I’m tired of paying extra to view a move that was flawed in the first place and then adding the 3D gimmick as an after-thought.

  • Jon

    Kermode is a fantastic film critic, an excellent broadcaster and a huge supporter of animation, – check out his reviews of Coraline, Curse of the Were-Rabbit etc on Youtube (if they’re still there) – and his discussion on the two Toy Story films (‘ perfect… animations’ equivalent the Godfather part 1 and Godfather part 2)

    he should’ve gotten the BBC’s Film 2010 slot now that Ross has vacated

    He is he best film critic in the UK by far, and other than Ebert a hell of a lot more insightful, passionate and entertaining than any American critic also.

    and “kick-boxing champion of Belgium” what on earth does that mean

    p.s. Hello to Jason Isaacs.