What’s Right and Wrong with 3D Today: An Interview with 3D Imaging Consultant, Nick Constable
Explore3DTV's Matt Whitlock got a chance to speak to Nick Constable, stereoscopic 3D imaging consultant and guest Explore3DTV contributor, for fascinating one-on-one chat covering a wide variety of 3D topics.
March 09, 2011 by Matt Whitlock
NC : A reason for this is because of advertisements and in-store displays. What do we see? Nothing but 3D material on those screens. When you see a magazine ad, all you see are images of things flying out of the screen with people watching with glasses on their face. So, they’re being told that this is a 3DTV, and there is no going back. It’s going to be 3D, and that’s all you’re going to see on the screen. Of course, that’s not true. It’s a 3D capable television, and only when you’re watching a 3D program is when you’re wearing the glasses. Most people need to be better educated to understand that most of the time they won’t be wearing glasses, and the HDTV will look perfect in 2D as well without glasses.

MW: It’s a good idea, and hopefully they’ll improve on that.

NC: It’s all education, and 3D really is confusing. Most journalists think that every movie in the 1950s at the theater used red and green or red and blue glasses, but that’s not true. Those movies used the same glasses we are using today in RealD cinemas; polarized glasses viewing via a silver screen. The technology has not really changed that much.

My biggest gripe with everything is that everyone is saying that 3D gets you sick. 3D, no matter how you slice it, is different for everyone; everyone perceives it differently. If you watch a 3D program knowing that you’re tired, that can induce a headache more than anything. Or, if you’re already feeling nauseous or intoxicated, that can really ruin the experience. Basically, when you watch a 3D program you should be ready for it and you should be alert enough. Some of the best advice I can give to those seeing a 3D movie in the theater is to sit in the furthest row back that centers the screen. The closer you are to the screen, or the more off to the side you are, creates more visual problems.

I also often hear that children under six years old shouldn’t watch 3D. If that was the case, View-Master reels wouldn’t have been around for kids that long. People have been viewing stereo images for over 100 years.

MW: Well, hopefully people will be viewing 3D for another 100 years. There’s something to be said about 3D proliferating the home. In the past, good 3D technology was pretty much limited to the theater, but now that it can be enjoyed at home, this may be the time it really sticks.

NC: I think so. With all the different content that’s available in 3D, between movies, sports and porn… I would personally like to see a music variety show or a lot of music videos in 3D. Some colleagues and I would love to do these kinds of programs because you can really go all out when it comes to the 3D. I often imagine some great things that could be done in music video with Katy Perry, Rihanna, or the Black-Eyed Peas in 3D. The possibilities are endless.

MW: I’d say you should send that idea to MTV, but I forgot they don’t really play music videos anymore.

NC: (Laughs.) Yeah, maybe some kind of American Bandstand return in 3D, or something like that.

MW: Let’s wrap up with one last question. Of the 3D movies that have come out so far, let’s say in the modern times since the resurgence of 3D, which ones do you think are the ones to go see.

NC: Well, I know it sounded like I trashed Avatar, but that one’s up there toward the top of the list. Another one that is very underrated, made by a great group of people over at Paradise FX, is My Bloody Valentine 3D.

MW: Any others you would recommend?

NC: How to Train Your Dragon was interesting, and not bad. It did use a lot of depth which I was surprised about. One thing I wanted to say is that directors and producers in Hollywood are being told that gimmicky 3D is anything that comes off the screen at any time. I believe audiences would like to see objects leap off the screen once in awhile especially when it’s plausible to the story. Movies like How To Train Your Dragon would’ve been incredible if you had some out of screen effects.

MW: It’s a fine line.

NC: Yep. What really is gimmicky to me is when 3D effects happen without context to the story itself, like if somebody [an actor] starts throwing things at the camera for no reason, or if the story doesn’t lend itself to it for some reason. What also is gimmicky today, as far as 3D, is if you make a movie in 2D and then add 3D as an effect for marketing purposes. Nothing comes out of the screen, nothing is deep, nothing is enhanced because of the 3D. To me, that’s what makes 3D a gimmick.

I’m also really looking forward to seeing Drive Angry in 3D. I think that might be interesting and I hope the 3D is really good in it.

MW: And I hope people are looking forward to our Drive Angry 3D Review, which should be out by the time this interview gets posted (it’s here). I think that wraps up my questions. I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, and to also say thank you for your guest editorial, which I encourage people to check out. I hope we get to see your name on the site quite a bit in the future as we continue to explore 3DTV (pun intended).

NC: It’s definitely nice getting with you guys. Your website is a great knowledge base for people who want to explore 3D even further, especially 3D in the home - there’s a lot of good articles on it. I’m glad your site is so devoted to 3D. I think 3D is going to continue to evolve even more, and would love to see your site as the go to place for 3D.

MW: That’s much appreciated. Thanks again, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Matt Whitlock manages several technology-focused community websites, including Explore3DTV.com, TechLore.com, and several others. With almost 15 years in the consumer electronics industry to draw from, his writings span a wide range of technology categories, from home entertainment systems to electronic gaming and everything in between.

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