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Old 01-10-2010, 07:07 PM   #1
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3D classics coming to a theater near you

Avatar sparks 3-D makeover for action classics - Times Online

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Hollywood is preparing to re-release some past hits, including Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 3-D following the record-breaking success of Avatar.

Studio executives are drawing up schedules of popular films that will be “retro-fitted” with 3-D technology after the science fiction blockbuster, directed by James Cameron, last week became the second highest grossing movie of all time.

A 3-D version of Avatar has driven ticket sales to more than $1.14 billion (£700m) in just three weeks; only Titanic, Cameron’s 1997 epic, has made more money at the box office.

Rival studios had been waiting to see if Avatar took the 3-D experience — albeit using special glasses — beyond the popularity of animated tales such Monsters vs Aliens.

Experts now predict that 3-D will become the new multiplex standard within five years. This will be as dramatic a shift as when the “talkies” killed off silent movies in the early 20th century.

Retro-fitting a screen classic with 3-D imagery could take as little as four months, using software to manipulate a digital copy of the film.

Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings, said last spring that he wanted to reissue the trilogy in 3-D if Avatar persuaded enough cinemas to put in new 3-D projectors. Last week technicians at Weta, the production company that had worked on the trilogy, said they had experimented with 3-D battle scenes and proclaimed them to be “gob-smacking”.

The Lord of the Rings is expected to be re-released after Jackson has finished producing the two-part version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit over the next two years. This would mean that a 3-D version of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of the trilogy, could be in cinemas by Christmas 2012.

It may be beaten to the screen by a revamped version of Star Wars. George Lucas, the director, spent $13m filming the original in 1976, added special effects in 1997 and 2004, and will now spend another $10m to change it into a 3-D spectacular.

“George cannot leave it alone,” said an associate. “He is salivating at the opportunity to play with it again. This time the Death Star is really going to explode all over the audience and leave them gasping.”

At the moment there are only half a dozen companies that can turn reels of celluloid into 3-D digital movies.

Last week one of the leaders, Legend Films in San Diego, said telephones had been “ringing off the hook” as Hollywood bosses seek to revive past glories.

“We can turn an older film into 3-D in around 16 weeks,” said Bobby Jaffe, the chairman. “It mostly suits action films, such as Top Gun or The Matrix, but Avatar proved it’s best to use the technology to immerse the audience in the story rather than throw things at them. This is the new, more sophisticated era of 3-D.”

The “Avatar effect” means that conventional 2-D films commissioned last year are already being updated. Sir Ridley Scott has asked for a further $8m from his backer, Universal Films, to add an extra dimension to his untitled Robin Hood venture starring Russell Crowe in the lead role and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. Two versions of the film will be released in May.

Last week the University of Southern California (USC) published a report suggesting that after seeing a 3-D film in the cinema in 2009, 40% of people would prefer to watch television in 3-D, too.

“It will quickly become the new norm,” said David Wertheimer, director of USC’s entertainment technology centre. “It’s no longer a gimmick, but an expectation.”

They will not have long to wait. Last week in Las Vegas, Sony and LG, its Korean rival, revealed 3-D television sets, still requiring special glasses, which will go on sale this summer. Panasonic showed a prototype 3-D television with a giant 152in screen, perhaps more suitable for pubs and for showing advertisements in shopping centres than for home viewing.

Broadcasters are also gearing up to meet demand. Sky is preparing to transmit matches from the football World Cup in South Africa this summer on a dedicated 3-D channel, even if few homes will have the new televisions by then. “Few had high-definition televisions when we started broadcasting in HD either, but it shows the future,” said one executive.

The pace of change is accelerating. The first 3-D films on Blu-Ray, the successor to the DVD, will be released by Christmas. They will be a mixture of 2010 hits and remastered old favourites.

One other advantage of 3-D that has encouraged the film studios is the fact that, at least for the time being, it is pirate-proof. Avatar is estimated to have been illegally downloaded at least 1m times over the internet, but such 2-D copies do not match the cinematic experience.

“It’s only a matter of time before a teenager develops a 3-D stealing camera, but meanwhile Hollywood has a breathing space to earn some money,” said a studio executive.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:49 PM   #2
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3D bad for eyes - life-style | Stuff.co.nz

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Movie buffs and sports fans looking to 3D televisions for the ultimate home theater experience may want to get their eyes checked first - or risk a 3D headache, US eye experts said.

The growing popularity of three-dimensional movies such as James Cameron's "Avatar" - now a $US1 ($NZ1.38) billion box office hit - has inspired a crop of 3D TV sets, unveiled this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

And while new digital 3D technology has made the experience more comfortable for many, for some people with eye problems, a prolonged 3D session may result in an aching head, they said.

"There are a lot of people walking around with very minor eye problems, for example a minor muscle imbalance, which under normal circumstances, the brain deals with naturally," said Dr Michael Rosenberg, an ophthalmology professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

He said in a 3D movie, these people are confronted with an entirely new sensory experience.

"That translates into greater mental effort, making it easier to get a headache," Rosenberg said in a telephone interview.

In normal vision, each eye sees things at a slightly different angle.

"When that gets processed in the brain, that creates the perception of depth," Dr Deborah Friedman, a professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

"The illusions that you see in three dimensions in the movies is not exactly calibrated the same way that your eyes and your brain are. If your eyes are a little off to begin with, then it's really throwing a whole degree of effort that your brain now needs to exert.

"This disparity for some people will give them a headache," she said.

i'll take my chances...
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:56 PM   #3
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Yeah I did get a bit of a headache. I hope I don't have to get some prescription 3D glasses
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:15 PM   #4
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“George cannot leave it alone,” said an associate. “He is salivating at the opportunity to play with it again. This time the Death Star is really going to explode all over the audience and leave them gasping.”
I always get the feeling Star Wars is like the really hot chick he dated back in high school and everytime he finds himself single he fanatasizes about how it could have been if only it had worked out...
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:37 PM   #5
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I always get the feeling Star Wars is like the really hot chick he dated back in high school and everytime he finds himself single he fanatasizes about how it could have been if only it had worked out...
He said he wanted to do small films before going back to big ones but I guess he gave up on that. After seeing what Coppola did with "small films" I think George should just stick with Star Wars.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:36 AM   #6
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I wish we had gotten some American Graffitis and THX 1138s between Jedi and Menace, but that's just me.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:42 AM   #7
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Wont the converted 3D films look like shit compared to the ones that were filmed with the proper equipment?
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:45 AM   #8
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“George cannot leave it alone,” said an associate. “He is salivating at the opportunity to play with it again. This time the Death Star is really going to explode all over the audience and leave them gasping.”
So he calls it the 'Death Star', does he?
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:45 AM   #9
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Wont the converted 3D films look like shit compared to the ones that were filmed with the proper equipment?
Haven't seen 3D Nightmare Before Christmas yet, have you? IMO that looks better than any of the other 3D films I've seen yet because they don't try to throw in random shots to make the audience go "oooh 3D!"
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:50 AM   #10
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But without the proper camera to give the sort of natural binocular effect, they'll be artificially going in and choosing the different planes. I cant imagine it will look anywhere as good. I dunno though. I havent seen any of the newly converted ones
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:02 PM   #11
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But without the proper camera to give the sort of natural binocular effect, they'll be artificially going in and choosing the different planes. I cant imagine it will look anywhere as good. I dunno though. I havent seen any of the newly converted ones
From what Peter Jackson says about LOTR tests it looks like the technology has improved though I still doubt it will look as good as U2:3D and Avatar since they were made specifically with those cameras that James Cameron used. Even Avatar looks to me not quite 3D as in life.
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