Ask anyone born in the early seventies and chances are they’ll tell you that trends come and go. It is a fact of life, and while that piece of information may apply to bellbottoms and platform shoes, the same can be said about technology. A constantly evolving collection of machines, systems, tools and techniques, technology has spawned a slew of crazes including the 3D revolution. What once began with simple glasses boasting red and blue lenses has now generated three-dimensional films, video games, flat-screen television sets and an array of movies. However, has America outgrown the 3D fad?
It certainly seems that way. According to highdefdigest.com, theatrical 3D could be on the way out the door. It’s no secret that the cost of movies has gone up. With the economy being what it is, it isn’t surprising that some individuals are opting to stick to two-dimensional motion pictures as opposed to their 3D counterparts. After all, 3D movies cost more to see than the standard 2D ones. Then there are the shoddy effects to take into consideration.
Not every film released in 3D was shot in 3D and it shows especially when explosions, bullets and careening strollers fail to jump out at the audience. According to Entertainment Weekly, 3D movie sales were down last summer. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides earned just 46 percent of its $90.2 million opening from 3D screenings. Furthermore, Kung Fu Panda 2’s 3D showings accounted for a sad 45 percent of its $60.9 million debut. Lower sales of 3D movies led to shares dropping in RealD, the technology company responsible for designing those nifty glasses for cinemas…glasses that can give some individuals a headache. Could that be another reason for the sales drop?
Migraines aside, 3D is still regarded as an impressive technology. But how does it work?
Well, according to mashable.com, 3D is generally achieved by the glasses, anaglyph and polarized glasses to be exact. Anaglyph came first. By projecting a film or video in red and blue, each eye gets a different perspective causing the brain to put the three-dimensional effects together. In recent years, polarized glasses took over. These glasses utilize light by either giving it different orientations or simply polarizing it. While one image may be able to be projected in a vertical polarization for one eye, the other can be horizontal in the other. Sound tricky? It is.
However, it isn’t just the glasses that create the 3D effect. Information found on mashable.com states that geometry and precision play a key role in changing something from 2D to 3D. Furthermore, when it comes to shooting a three-dimensional movie, filmmakers generally need two versions of the same scene shot with the exact same angle in addition to triangulating the distance between the cameras and making sure they are focused on the same shot.
As remarkable as all of this sounds, is it still enough to keep the 3D fad going? One could argue that it is. There are a slew of 3D video games on the market now, but how are they doing in terms of sales? Bgr.com reported that Nintendo recently dropped the price of its 3DS, a portable 3D gaming console, by 30 percent in an effort to sale more devices. However, insiders at Bloomberg believe it isn’t enough to help the company meet its sales expectations. Furthermore, it also doesn’t help that 3DS games usually cost around $40.
Economical? You be the judge.
While 3D films and video games have seen significant drops, 3D televisions haven’t exactly had better luck. According to investorplace.com, 3D TV sales have been progressively dropping. Some are even calling it one of the single worst misjudgments of consumer interest. Despite lowering the prices, manufacturers such as Sony, Toshiba and Samsung just aren’t selling a lot of 3D TVs. In addition to this, Nielsen studies showed that 30 percent of adults exposed to 3D television sets said they were not likely to purchase one in the future. Ouch.
So, with that being said and done, is it safe to say that the end of three-dimensional entertainment is near? One can never tell. Theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios utilize three-dimensional technologies in several of their attractions. Perchance 3D works on a larger scale and not in the comfort of one’s home. Perhaps in a world of escalating gas prices and a higher cost of living, the 3D trend just doesn’t fit. After all, fads do come and go.
It doesn’t take 3D glasses to see that.
- Jaylen Christie