In the age of home theaters, studios have had to really go the extra mile to get audiences out to the theaters. It’s one of the many reasons why so few mid-budget films are made nowadays — audiences need a real reason to sit in a dark room with a bunch of strangers. Generally speaking, the promise of explosions on a big screen is more appealing than grounded, hard-hitting drama. This is also the reason Hollywood opted for more 3D showings. It was a way not only to get butts in seats, but a way to charge moviegoers a premium.
Of course, 3D movies existed long before the late-2000s, but the film that largely popularized 3D in movie theaters was, of course, James Cameron’s Avatar. Like Peter Jackson and George Lucas (who pioneered high frame rate playback [HFR] and digital filmmaking, respectively), Cameron is someone who likes his movies to push the limits of what’s being put on screen, and it was a big deal when it was revealed that he pretty much handmade Avatar to be viewed in 3D. Since that time, 3D has stuck around (though, it’s seemingly long past its peak by this point), and if the acclaimed director has his way, may be in for a modified revival.
While accepting honorary membership into the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Cameron revealed a goal for his impending Avatar follow-up movies, and for film technology in general:
“I’m going to push. Not only for better tools, workflow, high dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rates (HFR) — the things we are working toward. I’m still very bullish on 3D, but we need brighter projection, and ultimately I think it can happen — with no glasses. We’ll get there.”
It’s no surprise to hear that Cameron is still optimistic about the evolution of the medium. While many filmmakers and auteurs lament the changes (clinging onto a sense of purity in the medium), his forward-thinking nature is the kind of thing that brings with it tremendous innovation and future career and/or artistic opportunities. At a surface-level, many of us view it all as a gimmick, but so were color and sound when they were first introduced decades back. That’s not to say that 3D is something that’s as necessary as sound or color, but it could be one of the steps needed to lead us into truly amazing an integral experiences.
Plus, when all said and done, whenever we go to a James Cameron movie — whether we like his films or not — it’s usually something of a technological marvel. Let’s just hope that Cameron will be able to utilize these advances by the time we see the second Avatar film in theaters.
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SOURCE: Indie Wire