3D TV may not be brand new but it has recently made a huge breakthrough. The technology is now available in the home with products such as the
Panasonic 3D TV
, and the films themselves have reached a new standard.
Recent films such as Coraline, Monsters vs Aliens and Avatar have demonstrated just what 3D technology is capable of. No longer resigned to the cinema, 3D TV is making its way into more and more homes.
Last October, 3D technology took another bold step with the design of 3D TV that doesn't require the viewer to wear glasses. The 3D TVs currently available to home viewers require glasses, whether they are using active or passive technology. In the active sets most of the 3D technology is stored in the glasses themselves, compared to the passive set where the technology is mainly in the TV. Either way, the step to
3D TV without glasses
is incredibly innovative.
What has helped the increase in demand for 3D technology is the quality and success of some of the films that have recently been released. Different productions have made viewers and film makers aware of what is possible.
The biggest film in the 3D genre, or any genre for that matter, has been Avatar. The most popular movie at the box office in cinema history has been criticised in certain circles for its script, but the visual aspect is undeniable. Fifteen years in the making led to one of, if not the single most, ground-breaking film in cinema history.
Previous 3D films, while being impressive have simply been about bringing elements into the audience. Avatar was an exercise in creating genuine depth to the environment on screen. The action scenes may have been shot using the 3D Fusion Camera System, but it was the scenes with no live action that really caught the imagination of audiences.
A new virtual camera system was developed using photorealistic computer generated images. Essentially, the technology was used to help tell the story, rather than being there to show off. This technology created a depth and belief that what the audience was seeing was genuinely happening. It has now become the level that all 3D films will have to be judged against.
Monsters vs Aliens was one of DreamWorks' first forays into the 3D world; the film was the first one developed by the company specifically for the 3D format. The story and design of the film made it a perfect mixture for 3D; with the bright colours, the action in the fight scenes between all the creatures and the lasers and explosions flying across, and now out of, the screen.
Whereas Avatar was deeply serious about what it was producing, and rightly so, Monsters vs Aliens was able to use the story and target audience to see how much fun the technology could get out of the film. The movie has shown that these full-length animation stories are perfect for the 3D format; the likes of the Toy Story and Shrek franchises were always going to follow. The colours, action and general mood of the films are a perfect match for 3D. This does not mean that 3D isn't suited to the calmer film though, far from it.
Coraline has proved that 3D doesn't require action to prove its worth. With no spaceships, lasers or explosions flying into the audience, some films have struggled to make the most of the technology in hand. Coraline, however, has managed to do so.
The dark, fantasy novel was adapted into a stop-motion animation, filmed in 3D as well as using 3D figures. What it actually managed to achieve, in a similar way to Avatar, was to bring the audience into its world, rather than the film spilling out into the audience.
The movie was extremely successful at creating empathy and giving the audience the sense that they were sharing the experience with the film's characters. The winding tunnels and dark underworld captured the viewers, and with it gave film makers the belief that these types of stories could still benefit from 3D technology.
The technology for these films will continue to develop and expand; the films described above are just three examples of a technology that is still in its infancy. As more films are made in 3D, and more 3D TVs make their way into people's homes, it isn't too difficult to conceive of a day when this is the norm.