There may be little worthwhile on television, but soon you’ll be able to watch it at home in 3D – without the funny glasses.
The advent of Nintendo’s 3D TV sets this autumn is one of the topics up for discussion at the UK’s first all-purpose 3D conference next month at the National Media Museum.
This get-together of people working in film, television, games and interactive media follows the box office success of 3D feature films such as Avatar and Toy Story 3 at the museum.
Screen Yorkshire, the regional agency that promotes film, and NorthernNet, a digital design company, supported by the NMM, Bradford City of Film, Game Republic, the trade association for the games sector in Yorkshire and Humber and Edge Magazine, are hosting the two-day event on October 21 and 22.
There’s nothing new about 3D as such. Stereoscopy, as it’s called, has been around since 1838. The Lumiere brothers in France made a silent picture in 3D in 1903. Since then, more than 250 films and TV programmes have been produced.
The golden age of 3D is attributed to the decade between 1950 and 1960, with 3D versions of movies such as Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Dial M For Murder and Honcho, starring John Wayne.
Poor viewing facilities in cinemas reportedly led to the decline of 3D. Its current resurgence is put down to the development of 3D IMAX technology, computer animation, digital cameras and 3D home theatre.
But is this resurgence, and the specialist technical lingo that goes with it, just a novelty driven by unexpected box office returns? Emma Cheshire, head of industry development at Screen Yorkshire, said: “The 3D trend is not a fad – it’s here to stay and it is revolutionising the way content is produced across all screen media platforms.
“Whether you’re working in film, television, games or interactive media, either within a business or as a freelancer or student, you need to find out about these game-changing technologies and developments if you want to play a part in the screen media industries of the future.”
But not everyone is easily impressed by three dimensional films. Bradford-born artist David Hockney, probably in the vanguard of new technology applications to the making of electronic paintings, walked out of Avatar after about 40 minutes, finding the film’s images “uninteresting”.
Simon Barrett is the director of 4 Door Lemon, the Bradford company that specialises in electronic games.
He said: “For games, 3D could be very interesting, if it’s done right, being able to examine the depth and inside of objects.
“It might not be the biggest step, but with all new technologies there tend to be other applications which can be useful. The health service has started using 3D panels for CAT scans. It’s very expensive.
“Nintendo’s 3DS (dual screen) consoles don’t require glasses to use them. There are some 3D televisions like that as well.
“If the manufacturers get together and agree the format, as they appear to be doing, eventually you won’t be able to buy a TV screen that isn’t 3D.”
Whether 3D television is worth watching depends on the people who decide the content of programmes, he added.
But for those who either are or like to be thought of as at the cutting edge of new developments, the two-day conference in Bradford, described as “ambitious”, offers the opportunity of taking stock of what’s been happening, seemingly rapidly, over the past few years.
One of the speakers is Angus Cameron, co-founder of 3D specialists Vision3.
He said: “Ongoing advances in technology have not only created incredibly exciting creative possibilities for those of us in the industry, they have also made 3D content widely accessible for the first time.
“From cinema screens to the 3D laptops that are just now coming to the market, 3D has wider reach than ever before and the general public’s appetite shows no sign of waning.”
- The 3D In Your Face conference at the National Media Museum is on October 21 and 22. For more information, go to 3d-in-your-face.co.uk