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Are We in the Midst of a Full-Blown 3D Takeover? Read This.

Guess what—there’s a brave new world ahead of us, and that world is going be presented in three amazing dimensions! Because, let’s face it, our lives were so bland and two-dimensional before. Right? Well, if we’re to believe the 3-D hype machine that’s currently operating at full capacity, yes.

Though the technology has been around for decades, it’s finally reaching its full potential for mainstream application, and for obvious reasons. Last year, the film industry stood in collective awe when a remake of Ferngully (otherwise known as Avatar) went on to become the highest grossing film in history, due in part to the fact that it utilized 3-D imagery in a more artful and immersive fashion. Predictably enough, the presentational technique caught on and attempts were made to recapture that same innovative essence—minus all of the save-the-rainforest melodrama.

"Avatar" entertained with striking 3D imagery.

"Avatar" entertained with striking 3D imagery.

Over the past twelve months or so, movie theaters have played host to an unending maelstrom of would-be blockbusters that were either filmed in or adapted to the 3-D format almost purely for the sake of generating extra revenue. Naturally, the true value of 3-D technology in modern movie-making is up for debate, but at the end the day, money talks. According to an article by Fast Company, “roughly 33% of [box-office] earnings are now generated from 3-D films, and in 2010, six of the top [ten] highest-grossing movies were shot in 3-D.”

It goes without saying that we’ll continue to see much, much more of this trend throughout 2011 and beyond. The question is: will successive 3-D films use the format as a way of telling richer and more detailed stories, or will they exploit the illusion of depth for its marketing value?

In any case, thanks in part to the overwhelming financial success that 3-D technology has brought to the movie business, the trend is going viral. The video game world has now apparently decided that a measly two dimensions will no longer suffice. None other than the Nintendo Corporation itself has decided to contribute to the 3-D craze with a new handheld gaming system due out this spring.

The Nintendo 3DS allows users to experience 3D with the naked eye.

The Nintendo 3DS allows users to experience 3D with the naked eye.

The portable device (called the Nintendo 3DS) will allow users to play games, watch movies, and take pictures in 3-D—all without having to wear those bulky glasses, as the device lets users experience the immersive effect with the naked eye. To some extent, the new device is just a way for the company to take advantage of the excitement that the 3-D format tends to instill. At the same time though, Nintendo knows that true gaming is about immersion. And after all, what’s more immersive than objects and characters literally jumping out of a screen? Not much, that’s for sure!

But wait—that’s not all! Maybe you’re not a moviegoer or a game-player. That’s alright, because in the years to come, the format might just make its way into your living room. Though 3-D television sets didn’t quite take off in 2010 the way retailers and manufacturers expected, expect to see newer and more accessible iterations of 3-D appliances in stores this year. Advancements are being made and prices are starting to drop, which means that the trend may just become affordable enough to catch on. Much like Nintendo’s handheld system, newer 3-D TVs are expected to function without the viewer having to wear cumbersome glasses, which may prove to be the advancement necessary to get consumers on board. Couple that with the fact that 3-D cameras and camcorders will be hitting the shelves at in the near future and you’ve got a recipe for an entirely revamped home theater.

Of course, the concept of a “3-D takeover” is mere conjecture at this point. The advancement of 3-D as a platform will be determined entirely by the average-Joe consumer. Truth be told, the only real drawback to embracing such high-tech entertainment is the extremely high price tag attached with it. As we know, the possibilities are endless when it comes to technology.

Will this latest advancement be one worth buying into? Is it one that purveyors and manufacturers can follow through on with continued innovation? Most importantly, can it be made affordable? And if so, is it worth embracing in the long run?



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. JPO

    I think with everyone having just spent big and upgrading to HD TV, that sales of 3D TVs will be slower than expected (again). Its a nice feature for sure, but is it essential and enough to warrant a new purchase? I just don’t know.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Very true. It all comes down to the price for most people, myself included. In another year or two (or three), I think it will definitely be a more common component in home theaters.

  2. Jill Tooley

    6 out of the 10 top-grossing 2010 films were shot in 3D? That’s nuts! 2 years ago I got excited about 3D movies because they only came out once in awhile and they were incredible (“Coraline”, anyone?)…but now it seems like every movie is doing it.

    For example: “Jackass 3D”? Come on, people! Do you really need to pay $16 a ticket to put on a pair of dorky glasses and watch a bunch of idiots hurt themselves? That’s definitely a marketing ploy to pick up a few extra bucks a ticket. I’m willing to pay extra to see well-done animated movies in 3D (or visually-gorgeous ones like “Avatar”), but I’m not going to shell out the extra dough for any old piece of entertainment!

    3D cameras and camcorders? Really!?! I guess I’m not that surprised, but I didn’t think they’d be in the works for a couple more years. I wouldn’t buy a 3D TV even if I could afford it because I know that there will be some amazing glasses-free 3D coming out in 2012 or 2013…and that would be so much better. Who wants to gather around a TV in their living room and wear plastic glasses? I certainly don’t!

    The Nintendo 3DS is pretty sweet, but I can’t justify buying one of those, either. The screen is just too damn tiny! :)

    I love this post – it makes me wonder if this 3D obsession is going to continue to grow in popularity or fizzle out.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’d obviously love to see the trend grow, if only to see 3-D entertainment become cheaper. I’d love to be able to afford it sooner rather than later.

      But more importantly, if the trend grows, I think we’ll see some pretty immersive and engaging new developments. If glasses were no longer a hassle, then 3-D television shows and movies becoming regularly available can only be a positive thing. It’s just an amazing new dynamic to add to a traditional home theater. And hey, if you get sick of the effect, you can always turn it off. It’s still an option, after all.

    • Vernon

      I would have to agree w/you that not everything needs to be shot in 3-D. This ploy really reminds me of when video games/movie tie-ins were big they would have the video game made before the script for the movie was penned. I just see a bunch of executives sitting around a table thinking of movies that they can make and remake in 3-D and tie into a Xbox Kinetic video game…. I GOT IT!!!! The Step Up franchise has been huge w/the tweens, remake Breakin’ or a prequel; BREAKIN': THE WRATH OF O-ZONE THE BOOGALOO BEGINS!!!!

      • Joseph Giorgi

        Haha. Yeah, it’s sad that VG tie-ins are churned out so regularly for the sake of making a quick buck on a below-average product. And don’t even get me started on remakes!

      • Tony Promo

        Okay Vern, you’ve now gone too far. Style Wars in 3D, now we’re talkin’…

        I’ll buy a 3D TV when they don’t have powered glasses and I don’t walk away staggering and dizzy. This all coming from a guy who doesn’t even drink!!

  3. LGroce

    I have yet to see a movie, or watch anything for more than a few minutes on a 3-D screen. One thing that I’m anxious to watch in 3-D is sports. ESPN has begun broadcasting some of the major sporting in 3-D and I would love to see what it is like. I feel like if it is worth watching and television stations can make it affordable, 3-D television could really take off.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I haven’t had the chance to check out any 3-D sportscasts yet. I’ll bet it makes the viewer feel almost like they’re in the game–or at least closer than ever before.

      I’m sure that 3-D television will be successful if it’s made more widely available and if a decent amount of content is there to be viewed. I’d love to see the premium networks (like HBO and Showtime) offer future seasons of their shows in 3-D.

  4. Vernon

    While I have always been a Nintendo fan, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot w/the different innovations that they keep coming out w/of their Gameboy franchise. This will be the fourth iteration of the DS that they are putting out. Granted I don’t have lemming tendencies so I don’t have the need to buy each one, I still have and play the first version of the DS. It would be one thing if the games for the DS, DSi, DSLite and the 3-DS didn’t play on each other, but they do. So I really don’t see a point to buy something that I really won’t use.

    In the 80’s it was everything needed to have a digital clock on it, 90’s belonged to CDs, 2000 mp3s reigned supreme. Now for this brave new decade it would seem 3-D is what you need to attach to everything.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      That’s an interesting prediction. I wonder if 3-D will prove to be the innovation that defines this decade. Hmmmmm.

  5. Lauren

    For those of you that didn’t watch the game this weekend… the effects of 3D…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpKn27v8Sh0

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Haha. Nice! I WISH 3-D effects were that invasive!

  6. Alex

    I’m with Lou on this one. I can’t remember the last time I watched something in 3-D, and I never really have been a fan of it. I do think the 3-D televisions will be a common thing to see in homes in the next couple years, but as for my personal opinion…I think I will stick to the bland 2-D entertainment.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I think most consumer sentiment is still anchored in 2-D entertainment, and for the most part, mine is too. I just hope 3-D tech becomes affordable enough to at least be a viable option for homes in the near future.

  7. Cybernetic SAM

    sigh… Curse you, Nintendo 3DS!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Hey now, that’s not a very constructive response. Let’s keep personal qualms to a polite minimum in public forums, please!

  8. Kyle

    I’m not buying into this whole 3D craze (at least not yet). It just seems like a cop-out to be releasing movies upon movies with “3D” slapped onto the end of the title. Sure the technology is getting cheaper, but nothing 3D-related has really blown my socks off to justify the high prices associated with the technology.

    I believe moving away from the glasses (take a note from Nintendo’s bag of tricks) will help broaden the appeal of 3D significantly, but for now I’m more than content with my shiny new “2D” TV.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Yeah, seeing the word “3D” in big, bold print on every other movie poster is really starting to get on my nerves! It’s too bad that such a cool dynamic is being reduced to a gimmick.

  9. Stantz

    As 3-D becomes more popular in the home theater, I wonder if “4-D” will take over the movie theater. I saw a few “4-D” movies at theme parks recently, and it combines 3-D with live-action, physical effects (like spraying water on the viewer) to almost fully immerse the viewer. Perhaps this will be the trend in the 2020s?

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Now, I’m assumin’ you’re refferin’ to T2:3D?

      And yes, it would be awesome if that kind of presentation caught on! Definitely a more interactive experience.

      But, technically, a “4-D” motion picture would be one that allows the audience to travel through time while watching. That would be the bees knees for sure!

  10. Bret Bonnet

    Wow… tons of great comments people! Thank you.

    Ok, my jabs are as follows:

    a.) Do 3D glasses work the same as beer goggles do; as in can they make the most hideous people look attractive, even if only temporarily? If so, where can I get a pair!

    b.) 4-D would be kind of cool but it sure sounds messy and expensive. Plus, I’d get REALLY tired of having to refill my fog machine and reload the hoses with water after ever scene pretty fast.

    Finally, while I’ve been DYING to get a 3D TV set just so I can watch the “Yuletide Log” in 3D on Comcast (Xfinity) during the holidays, the #’s don’t look that encouraging for 3D TV sets:

    Acccording to new data from The Nielsen Company, State of the Media 2010, the average US household has 2.5 TV sets, with 1.9 standard definition TVs and 0.6 high-definition TVs.

    … ok; so you mean after almost 10 years of general market availability standard definition TVs still WHOMP HDTVs by a ratio of almost 3 to one? If I were a television mfg. I’d say 3D TV’s future isn’t looking so hot right now.

    I’d argue that 9 out of 10 people would chose PICTURE QUALITY over IMMERSION any day of the week so if it’s taken HDTVs this long to get that measly of a market penetration, it’s going to take 3DTVs that much longer.

    Now… 3D football/sports SOUNDS cool, but then again, since when have sports ever been about the game? It’s all about the tailgate experience and the fans that surround you. Can you make that 3D?!?

    Last, but not least (I always leave really, Really, REALLY long comments – sorry), why not 3D computer monitors? I’d argue that some on page flash content or even web browsing (think of a 3D iPhone) would be better suited in 3D compared to TV.

    Hollywood has long been the MASTER of stealing are hard earned cash, so much so that I KNOW I’m going to have to eventually run out and buy one of these stupid 3DTV sets just so I can watch the third installment of Transfomers in all it’s glory again, and again, and again….

    http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/transform-your-brand/

  11. Yowhatup!

    It’s all about 3-D now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it!

  12. Joseph Giorgi

    It will definitely take some time for 3DHD televisions to catch on—in fact, they may not. I just hope prices start to drop sooner rather than later so I can get my hands on one.

    Depending on the success of the 3DS, 3-D tech in mobile phones, tablets, and laptops may or may not become a reality in the near future, though it would definitely be cool. We’ll have to see what pans out in the “portables” market.

    Same goes for computer monitors. The idea of a three-dimensional internet (or even just some 3-D page content) is tantalizing! The only problem with 3-D web content would be the level of expertise and the sheer amount of time it would take to design such content. Adobe will have to release Sigourney Dreamweaver 3-D.

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