Friday, July 6, 2012

Is 3-D Cinema Finally Getting Some Respect?

Let’s see. This past year Hugo, a 3-D drama, received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Pina, another 3-D picture, was nominated for Best Documentary. And the stop-motion 3-D animated film The Reality Clock, by USC student and LA 3-D Club member Amanda Tasse, was awarded the Student Academy Award for Best Alternative Short. At the theaters, the 2-D to 3-D conversion of The Avengers was both a critical and box office hit. The animated features Brave and Madagascar 3 are proving to be very successful. And The Amazing Spiderman, natively shot in 3-D, is currently doing very well. 2012 will see major 3-D features from such name directors as Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann, Ang Lee, and Peter Jackson. And while George Lucas’ 3-D conversion of Star Wars Episode 1 fell flat (both figuratively and literally), we are starting to see more creative use of depth by filmmakers who are learning to experiment and take risks.

This was evident in my own recent experience as lead stereographer on the theatrical short Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (Now playing with Ice Age: Continental Drift at a theater near you). This was the first foray into 3-D for longtime Simpsons director David Silverman, and at the beginning of the production he was more than a little skeptical about using 3-D in a traditionally animated film. But he quickly embraced the 3-D as an element of his visual storytelling, and learned the “language” as we worked together. I’m incredibly proud of the finished product, and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to help create it.

Yes, it’s a good time to be working in the world of 3-D. And speaking of the world of 3-D, I’ll see you at the NSA 3D-CON at the end of the month.