The 3D Revolution: Here today, gone tomorrow?

There’s no doubt about 3D being the next big tech-marketing scheme. It’s not surprising. Now that Blu-Ray has been out for a while, the powers that be in the electronics and media industries are conspiring to peddle 3D wares in everything from TVs to movies to handheld devices.

Admittedly, I am skeptical – Avatar was a visually stunning movie, but it relied too much on the 3D aspects to make up for an average storyline. Therein lies the beauty of the third dimension film: the movie studios are tricking us into seeing things that are not there, suspending our disbelief and covering up sub-par writing with shiny, pretty treats.

Most 3D movies released are in the same vein, but I won’t be surprised when “regular” movies starting coming out in 3D (you know Hollywood will have lost it when they think it’s time audiences see a Kevin James flick in a full, 360 degree experience.) Recently released was Michael Bay’s latest explosion fest, Transformers 3D. Interestingly, Sprint is running pre-movie commercials showing off a new HTC phone that can shoot in 3D – no glasses required. Cool? Sort of. Gimmicky? Definitely.

One has to wonder if the 3D craze is really worth it. How many times have you shot videos on your cell phone and thought “Wow, this would be way better if I could watch it in 3D on a tiny screen!” Sprint, with all their marketing muscle, accidentally pointed out a glaring flaw in their ad: the father actually has to get the kids to “do something cool” for it to look good in 3D. You need to be at a certain angle, at the right time, to get the oh-man-it’s-flying-right-at-me feel. However, this phone will surely be popular – as any early adopter will tell you, the price you pay for having the latest gadgets is the fact that the first incarnation is essentially the final stage of product testing.

We are lab rats for the media-tech empire, at the end of the day. One of the downsides of 3D is the strain it puts on your eyes. Three hours of Transformers did not harm me, but after the movie was over it took a few minutes to adjust to the real world. Not everyone can use the glasses either; for some, they come with headaches, strain, nausea, and for others it just plain doesn’t work.

So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s too early to say. 3D TV is still in its infancy, and the 3D handheld market has yet to really take off. Having said that, movies like Transformers and Toy Story 3 look set to remain box-office hits – at least before the novelty wears off. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: do I really want to wear special glasses in my own living room?

Leo Watson I'm an optimistic, aspiring strategist at the University of Oregon. My passions are advertising, technology and baking. I was born in England and raised in Hong Kong. Twitter: @itsLeoWatson

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2 Responses to “The 3D Revolution: Here today, gone tomorrow?”

  1. Camille

    I think it’s too early to call it a “revolution” because not everyone has adopted it and I doubt it’ll change behaviors the way the social media revolution has. Even top critics don’t watch as much films in 3D. Really, I’m pessimistic about its future. And yes, it causes nausea, too. :)


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