What if you had a leading expert in 2D-to-3D conversion technology go toe-to-toe with an expert in shooting movies in native 3D (dual cameras)? Which do you think would come out on top as the 3D platform of choice?
I witnessed an interesting evolution on a comment thread from my 3D movie site. My post was about, “What classic movie would you like to see converted to 3D?” and I got some great ideas from my readers.
But later in the comment thread, Phil Streather of Principal Large Format interjected with a complaint: “I don't want to see ANY live action films converted until someone shows me something converted that looks as good as if it was shot in live-action stereo 3D in the first place.”
And, hey, I am with Phil on this if you are shooting a brand new 3D movie -- do it in Native 3D. However, when you are dealing with the classics, I would love to see some (or most) of these converted. It has to be done right, of course -- but there would be no limit as to what I would like to see. "The Matrix" in 3D, for example.
Neil Feldman of In-Three took exception to Phil’s remarks and replied: “Not only can conversions ‘look as good as if it was shot in live action -- ours can (and do!) look better. I defy you to claim how our work on George Romero's ‘Dawn of the Dead’ could look any ‘better’ if it had been originally shot dual camera. But, guess what? If there is something amiss in any scene we have converted, we can always change it to meet your artistic needs! Unlike being locked in to "what you shoot is what you get" with dual cameras. I absolutely claim that we could have fixed all those nasty and problematic shots that you displayed from Bugs! during your IBC seminar recently held.”
Now let me interject at this point and say that Neil and Phil know each other and have met several times. This is a battle of 3D philosophy … not fisticuffs! Still -- very interesting.
As I instantly receive comments posted on my site through my email system for moderation, I was intrigued! This was turning into a confrontation that I have wanted to see for quite some time! In fact, the issue of 2D to modern 3D conversion in post production has already come up on my site through Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
You see, Burton is shooting many scenes in 2D and having them converted to 3D in post. Not sure of his reasoning, but perhaps budget or availability of trusted stereoscopic experts may have had something to do with it. Incidentally, other directors are not so thrilled with what Burton is doing; James Cameron (“Avatar”), for example.
So to the meat of the matter -- Phil replies: “I am coming to L.A. in week or two. I'll bring the drive of the DPXs of the trailer (which was the only ‘Bugs!’ footage I showed at my IBC Masterclass … and maybe you can do me a conversion and we can run it side by side at my next Masterclass and do an audience straw poll an see which they prefer -- how's that for a gauntlet!”
To which Neil replied: “Yes, we are certainly game.”
Thus the first 3D gauntlet was dropped. Who will win this showdown? Apparently a room full of students at Phil’s Masterclass -- a lucky bunch, if you ask me.
It’s not every day that you get to witness that. My money is on the audience having a great time!