Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Now Available in Yellow and Purple

I have five pairs of 3D glasses on my desk. As I understand it, there was some sort of halftime show or commercial or something that was broadcast in 3D during the Super Bowl. I'm not sure; I don't get a TV signal here, and even if I did, I wouldn't watch the Super Bowl or any other sporting event. Whatever the case, the most highly-watched annual broadcast contained some snippet displayed in stereoscopic 3D, and, as a means of promoting the advertisement-filled show and getting advertisement-covered glasses to the masses, some gigantic corporation or another was giving away free 3D specs and I grabbed a perforated sheet of four pairs.

Great, so there's this 3D football commercial thing. Then, since so many people will have the glasses by now, anyway, there's some TV show that was on tonight or yesterday being aired in 3D. Makes sense.

Oh, and have you heard that every animated Dreamworks movie that comes out from now on will be designed from the beginning to be displayed in 3D?

And let's not forget the iZ3D computer monitor, the first monitor specifically designed specifically for playing stereoscopic 3D games, which has been on the market for a little over a month.

3D technology has improved a bit in recent years. Most likely this will turn out to be a quiet little fad. I'm not expecting anything to come from all of this, but all the same, I'm going to keep an eye on this 3D stuff.

If I get to see just one movie trailer where a whole audience is wearing cardboard glasses and then half of them spill their popcorn because a hand reaches out over their heads, I'll be satisfied.

Update: I stepped away from the computer for a moment after writing the above and it occurred to me that not only is it poorly written; it misses the point entirely. Let me take another shot at this.

3D glasses and 3D movies/shows/etc. are on a bit of an upward trend. The question of the above was, "What does it all mean and where will it lead?" This is the wrong question. What I should have asked was, "Who will it benefit?"

Will a rise in the presence of 3D benefit me? Yep, if only because I love the goofy retro appeal of slipping on my glasses and going to town to see a picture in the exquisite glory of 3D that the Space Age affords us good Americans, unlike those godless red commies.

Will it benefit you? Unless you share my appreciation for anachronistic technology and fads, probably not. Even I'll admit that stereoscopic 3D is Dullsville, daddy-o. Everything is dyed red and cyan (or, in the case of modern 3D movies, purple and yellow); you have to wear cheap, flimsy glasses; and, in most cases, the 3D effect just isn't that impressive. More than anything, 3D is fun because of the novelty. Take that away, and the whole thing is kinda stupid.

Alright, so who stands to gain? Intel, for starters. There the ones behind the yellow and purple "INTRU3D" glasses*, and you know that the R&D that led to a radical shift like "using something other than red and cyan" cost a pretty penny. They're invested in this, and they need to see a return. Technology on its own isn't that profitable. Being able to show something in 3D is good, but it's nothing compared to showing something that people might actually be interested in seeing. So there has to be a content provider. Dreamworks, perhaps...

Well, Dreamworks has always done relatively well, but there has to be some reason that they'd want to attach a gimmick to all of their new releases. This can be explained quite easily. Movie ticket prices are up, the economy's a mess, and watching movies at home - whether through DVD rentals, video streaming, or just substituting other things like video games or the Internet for time that might otherwise be spent at the movies - has done terrible damage to box office revenues. The INTRU3D Web site claims, "Consumers will get a premium experience when going to see 'Monsters vs. Aliens' firsthand in theaters March of 2009." In other words, if you go out and pay for an expensive ticket for every person in your group, you will get something you can't replicate at home.

*I'm making up all of this as I go along. I'm not doing any research, so Intel may, in fact, just be following a trend started by RealD. Maybe there's a third company I'm ignoring. Regardless, if you switch the names around a little, I bet the motivation still works out approximately the same way.

Update update: See, man, like, what you don't understand, bro, is, like, the corporations, man. Man, the corporations, like, rule the whole world, and you people don't even see it, bro. I've got this book, man, and, like... Man, if you people even knew half the stuff that the corporations did, man. Man, it would, like, totally blow your mind, bro. You gotta open your eyes, man, 'cause you don't even know about these corporations. Seriously, bro.

1 comment:

Jake said...