When's the 201 AS (UK) exam? Exams start on the 16th - the G322 exam: Thursday 19th May, 9am. Yr12 Study Leave begins after ? May (Yr13 from the ?)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

3D

This post gathers together a range of resources - and viewpoints - on the issue of 3D. This is a key development for cinema in the UK and worldwide; for the time being at least, notwithstanding the first batch of 3D TVs being released and the growing number of 3D broadcasts and channels, this remains one area in which cinema offers an experience 'home cinema' cannot match.
Cinemas routinely charge 2-3 times normal ticket prices for the privilege of getting 3D, which is actually most often a 'retrofitting' of a 2D movie, rendered into 3D via a computer process rather than planned and shot in 3D.
Its a key issue to consider not just for your AS exam, but also your coursework!
Speaking of which, with the A2 task in mind, I wonder when we'll start getting music videos in 3D? Surely somebody has thought of this by now?! If you find the article which considers director Wim Wenders' opinion that 3D transforms dance-based movies, surely the same applies to the average performance-based music video?


The Guardian gathers together articles on 3D at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/3d

Here's a good, opinionated article to get you started. The user comments are typically robust, featuring some strong language, but a goldmine too, eg this from 'Gelion':
At present putting a film out in 3D must be synonymous with the audience knowing that that film is going to be poorly rated.
Some weeks ago on another thread I looked at the scores for films in 3D out to date on Rotten Tomatoes.
The average score was 30% (you could argue the only one holding it up was Avatar - but take the special effects out of that film, and in my view you have very little left.)
The Last Airbender with 6% and Cats and Dogs, The Revenge of Kitty Galore 3D! at 13% were the bottom of a very bad pile.
So at the moment, 3D remains a gimmick used to entice film goers to pay their money to view poorly rated films.
It must be a haunting fact for the producers of these films that 3D might soon be common place. 
 The article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/sep/29/star-wars-inception-hbo-3d):
 Blurred vision on the 3D bandwagon
With Star Wars and Inception returning in stereoscopic vision – and three-dimensional HBO due to launch – is 2D dead?
Jar Jar Binks, Star Wars So much prettier in 3D ... a two-dimensional Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Photograph: AFP The intriguing thing about 3D is that even after the enormous success of Avatar nobody knows yet how extensive its use will become in modern film. Might 2D eventually become the exclusive preserve of low budget or independent film-making, with virtually all mainstream fare pushed into stereoscopic vision? Or, once all the fuss and hype dies down, will we see 3D only where its use is sensible: in features with the kind of content that lends itself to the experience?
Up until recently, most observers have seen the second outcome as the more likely one. But there appears to be a rabid frenzy going on in Hollywood right now, with every project under the sun seemingly being green-lit in 3D. Today, the US trades confirmed the rumours that George Lucas is to bring his entire six-film Star Wars saga back to the big screen in stereoscopic vision, starting with 1999's The Phantom Menace (because blooming Jar Jar Binks' fizzog will naturally be infinitely less irritating in three dimensions than it was in two) in 2012. And, in a separate report, I read that Warner Bros is considering retro-fitting Christopher Nolan's Inception for a 3D re-release in cinemas and on the small screen, via US network HBO's soon-to-be-launched 3D TV channel.
Yes, that's right, 3D TVs are very much here. You can buy one now, though you may have to remortgage your house to do so. Naturally, however, as more people grab one the prices will come down. And before long you won't have to wear glasses in order to see that extra dimension: new technologies are already in place which use a different system to trick the eyes into picking up extra depth.
Whether we actually want all this extra gimmickry is a moot point, but it has to be a concern if Hollywoodinhidef.com's report is correct and a film-maker such as Nolan, who specifically chose not to make Inception a 3D project, is now being pushed into doing so retrospectively. Even worse, the article suggests that the film-maker's forthcoming sequel to the Dark Knight, the third in his excellent Batman series, will be shot in three dimensions – whether Nolan likes it or not.
Imagine that. In a few years' time, you sit down for an eight-hour Batman marathon, watching all three films back to back (I'm sad enough to have done this with Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, so I'm confident that this is a genuine potential scenario) and when it comes to the final movie everything suddenly goes all 3D. Or will Warner insist that the first two films are also refitted? What a bunch of jokers.



I'll add a few links here in due course, starting with this...from The Guardian. I can't recommend strongly enough that you browse/read the paper/site regularly, it is a real treasure trove.
With the market overall slipping 3% from the equivalent frame from 2009, when Slumdog Millionaire and Gran Torino led the field, cinemas are hotly anticipating the arrival of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland on Friday. All the big plex chains have now made their peace with Disney over the film's early DVD release date, presumably extracting more generous terms in the revenue split on box office. This means Alice will be limited only by the still insufficient number of 3D screens, where it will presumably lose the late-evening showtime to Avatar.
Alice will also play on 2D screens, of course, but you only have to look at the Avatar results – 89% of its total box-office achieved on 3D screens, 11% in 2D – to see the negligible value of those sites for a 3D film. As for Avatar, the 26-28 February weekend, which once again saw James Cameron's film top the chart, may prove its last hurrah. After 11 weekends of stunning grosses and gentle declines, it must surely now experience a big drop, losing so many showtimes to Alice at 3D venues.
Source: Gant, Charles (2010) "The Crazies lurch to UK box office success", The Guardian [online], 2.3.10. Accessed online 2.3.10 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/mar/02/the-crazies-uk-box-office 

THE ASTONISHING FIGURES BEHIND AVATAR
See the article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jan/04/avatar-3d-film-twentieth-century-fox (Clark, A (2010) "Twentieth Century Fox's 3D gamble pays off with billion dollar blockbuster", 4.1.2010)
The most expensive movie ever made (reputed to cost $300m), 'made cinema history by raking in $1bn (£620m) at cinema box offices in just three weekends.' It looks like its sole rival for most successful movie ever is Cameron's previous epic, Titanic:
By the end of this week, Avatar is set to overtake Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings series, which made $1.2bn, to become the second biggest film of all time. The race is on to catch Cameron's last record-breaker, Titanic, which hauled in a treasure chest of $1.8bn. 
The movie is proving vital to the vast News Corp conglomerate's profitability too:

For Fox's parent company, News Corporation, the success could hardly be more timely. Murdoch's global empire, which spans BSkyB and Fox television, the social networking website MySpace and newspapers including the Sun, Times and Wall Street Journal, lost $3.4bn in the year to June 2009 as it struggled with a worldwide slump in advertising. Within minutes of the stockmarket's opening for 2010, shares in News Corporation gained 2.3%.
Industry estimates suggest Avatar needed takings of $217m in the US and Canada alone to break even. With North American receipts standing at $352m, the film has easily passed that mark already. From here onwards, News Corp sees money flow directly to its bottom line, with very little in the way of extra cost.
Of the ticket price paid by moviegoers, about 50% goes to cinema operators, said Tony Wible, a media analyst at US stockbroker Janney Montgomery Scott. Out of the other half, News Corp was likely to recoup its outlay of about $130m on advertising and marketing, then get a share of perhaps 8%, with the remainder going to stakeholders including Cameron, other "talent" and the film's financial backers.
Avatar caps a remarkable 2009 for Twentieth Century Fox, which had already scored significantly with two other fantasy yarns – Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The studio's takings for the year are forecast to be up by 38% on a disappointing 2008, when several big releases proved a flop, including Baz Luhrmann's period drama Australia. The Hollywood studio accounts for a fifth of News Corp's revenue.
3D An Effective Anti-Piracy Weapon?
The article also notes:
Copyright pirates may have met their match. The 3D technology used in recent Hollywood blockbusters such as Avatar has made it far harder to produce cheap knock-offs for sale on the black market. Movies including the Disney/Pixar hit, Up, and the 2008 DreamWorks release Monsters vs Aliens use ground-breaking depth perception seen by enthusiasts as the biggest breakthrough in cinema since the introduction of colour. Walt Disney has a dozen more 3D releases slated over the next few years, including a new version of Alice in Wonderland, due for a US debut in March.
For Hollywood studios, a key advantage of 3D is that bootleggers cannot make copies using the simple method of sitting in a cinema with a furtive video camera. If they do, the image they get will be, at best, very blurred, with handheld technology befuddled by digital depth. "Ninety percent of piracy is done by people in the theatre. A crook sits in the theatre with a camcorder," Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, told an industry audience last year. "Good luck camcording that."

An article from January declares George Lucas' plans to release 3D versions of all 6 Star Wars films. I'm very much in agreement with the writer:
People in their 20s and 30s bought tickets to The Phantom Menace in the hope of re-experiencing the joy which the earlier films had brought them as kids, then managed to persuade themselves that the next two instalments would surely be better. But with the third film, Revenge of the Sith, having long been and gone, it's apparent that none of these films really came close to capturing the spirit of their predecessors. The later prequel films performed well at the box office, but will those who saw them the first time round really pay again to see them in 3D?
 Interesting comments, as ever, follow the main article; consider these, and what they suggest about the nature of audiences:

They will be successful. I'm a school teacher and the kids (especially the boys) still love Star Wars. Even more surprising, they rate the prequel trilogy as better than the OT. Even more galling, they consider Jar Jar Binks funny. That's the sign that you're getting older right there. [andyboy32]
PLEASE Spielberg and Lucas.... just leave the classics alone!
The originals were great, they were better than great they were amazing.
The remastering of the original Star Wars was a pointless money maker.
The making of the three dissapointing prequals was again a money maker and anyone of any age that thinks they are better than the originals is really in need of a new sense of taste in movies.
The 4th Indian Jones movie was a disgrace, a f**king disgrace.
We don't need Star Wars 3D. [ArtemisClydeFrog]  [DB: original comment is uncensored]

READ MORE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/jul/14/resident-evil-afterlife-trailer - a sarcastic look at new Resident Evil 3D flick

NOV 2010: Here's a nice one; 3D-sceptic Mark Kermode interviewing the great auteur Martin Scorsese, whose new foray into 3D is rather surprising: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/nov/21/martin-scorsese-3d-interview-kermode
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