The 3D craze - how not to fall flat on our faces

3-dimensional (3D) entertainment, either in the form of video or even print has hit Singapore and the rest of the world in a big way this year. You see ads for 3D movies and for new 3DTVs vying for your attention in electronic stores. However before we surrender our hard-earned money and follow the hordes, only to be disappointed with the results back home, we should take a long hard look at the current state of 3D.


Manufacturers, and movie productions thrive on new technology. It helps to sell TVs, movie tickets and software. This generates revenue for the companies since the newer the technology, the more justification for higher profit margins. However there are some issues with this. Firstly, 3D movies do not always look good. Some animations like Avatar with a high quality computer graphics animation unit, have showcased what the best 3D can look like. Others employ some hurried post-production alterations to cash in on this phenomenon, and look similar if not worse than their 2D counterparts. Take the recent “Clash of the Titans” where the only thing which really looked 3D was the subtitled right smack in the middle of the screen.


Despite the aggressive sales promotions, 3DTV has also not caught on in mainstream media yet, be it DVDs or the higher definition Blu Ray, there are less than a handful of movies for owners of new 3DTVs to purchase. There are also not many plans to create shows natively in 3D and older movies may not fair well in the kind of conversion which resulted in the awful “Titans”. How many times can we watch the same show?


3D currently also needs the user to wear glasses, which can be passive (like those in the cinemas) or active ones that are used for 3DTVs domestically. The active ones are expensive, they decrease contrast and require good vision in both eyes. That means people who have lazy eyes, or lack stereo vision will not be able to enjoy 3D. furthermore, in a population where more than half the younger ones wear spectacles, these 3D add-ons are cumbersome and not designed for the spectacle wear in mind and are quite uncomfortable.


Ads have a way of making new technology appear enticing, but we should scrutinize 3D properly before we all fall flat on our faces.





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