After James Cameron’s success with Avatar he successfully planted the seed and everyone got caught up in 3D being the next big thing. 2013 saw a decline in the quality of 3D movies released along with a huge drop in overall enthusiasm for 3D. With CES and various other events over the past year it would appear that 3D has been pushed aside to make room for 4k. What does this mean for the future of 3D, is 3D dead?
In 2013 there were over 40 movies that were released in 3D. This isn’t too huge of a number but it is still a decent amount of movies and is consistent with the number of films released in 2012. So what’s been causing dip in peoples love for 3D?
The main reason that the hype for 3D has dropped is the quality of films being released. While there are movies out there like Avatar and Oz The Great and Powerful that were filmed in 3D and offer a great 3D experience the vast majority of film studios bolted on 3D at the last minute. Adding 3D in post production is a quick and cheap way cash in on additional cost for a ticket in the cinema for a 3D movie. Movies like Men in Black 3 were filmed using regular cameras and converted to 3D after filming was complete resulting in a weak 3D effect. Films like this make people less likely to go see another 3D film since the experience was a waste of money. Why will anyone pay the extra money to go so a 3D movie when the 3D effect sucks?
The quality of 3D might explain the reason hype has dropped amongst consumers but it doesn’t explain why TV manufactures and film studios have stopped pushing 3D to consumers. TV manufacturer Vizio announced at this years Consumer Electronics Show that they would be dropping 3D support from their future Tvs. Even though Vizio have dropped supporting 3D in their TVs doesn’t mean 3D will be dropped by all TV manufacturers. While the vast majority of consumers would prefer to watch a movie in 3D over 2D most people do not like the fact that they have to wear often uncomfortable glasses to view it. So what about 3D without glasses?
Glasses free 3D or auto-stereoscopy has been around for quite some time but it has a lot more limitations in terms of viewing angles and conditions when compared to 3D with glasses. While most TV manufacturers still produce Stereoscopic 3DTVs, research and development has shifted toward making auto-stereoscopic TVs more affordable and effective. Currently there are a few different ways to make this type of 3D possible. One way to make this possible is to put some form of sensor that will be used to track viewers eyes in order to project the 3D image in the correct direction. This will obviously be troublesome when you are viewing a movie in a dark room which will be the case for most people watching movies. Sharp have recently shown off their latest 8k glasses free 3D, the 3D effect may not have been great but it doesn’t require eye tracking and is proof that this technology is being worked on and wont be long until it is perfected and becomes a standard feature in TV’s.
Glasses free 3D is still a few years away from our homes but don’t worry it isn’t all grim news for 3D. Stereoscopic 3D might not have been a hit with consumers who watch movies but it looks as though this may change quite soon for the gaming community. The Oculus Rift is a head mounted virtual reality headset that will immerse the gamer into the virtual world. The headset is set to offer two screens displaying in 1080p that will give the user a strong stereoscopic 3D effect. Reviews so far have been very positive which gives us hope that 3D may make a return and this time be a success! This is obviously a step in a different direction from a 3DTV but its looking like this is the best 3D fans are going to get until auto-stereoscopic becomes more affordable and effective.