Coming in December: Cinematic revolution?

Have you heard about this? The headline says it all:Avatar: How James Cameron’s 3D film could change the face of cinema forever:

If you’ve had previous experience of 3D, your impression will probably be one of a flattish image with the occasional object ‘flying’ at you’.

But these advances are different – the entire screen has depth, taking on the appearance of a window through which the viewer is watching a ‘world’ on the screen, with a distinct foreground and background, rather than a flat, moving painting

In effect, the cinema screen becomes a theatre stage.

There’s still at least one throw-back to the ‘early days’ of 3D – viewers will need to wear glasses to get the illusion.

However these are not the red and green cardboard cut-outs you used to get free with Sugar Puffs before Comic Relief.

These are polarising glasses, untinted, which do not cause the headaches experienced in the past, or more importantly rely on frequent ‘pans’ of the camera to make the image appear in 3D.

Each lens has a different filter , which removes different part of the image as it enters each eye. This gives the brain the illusion it is seeing the picture from two different angles, creating the 3D effect.

The film depicts a battle between Earth and the alien civilisation from Pandora – but who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

Continuing to develop new technology as he went along, Cameron also devised a ‘virtual camera’, a hand-held monitor that allowed him to move through a 3D terrain.

This, Cameron said, allowed him to create ‘the ultimate immersive media’, which he anticipates will exceed any and all expectation.

Here is the trailer, unfortunately in mere 2-D:

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    It is sounds like the viewing experience will be the same as it was for Up. The really impressive thing here is that this is live action – Up was animated. I am pretty excited to see how it looks.

  • Joe

    It is sounds like the viewing experience will be the same as it was for Up. The really impressive thing here is that this is live action – Up was animated. I am pretty excited to see how it looks.

  • Carl Vehse

    The first full-color, live-action, science-fiction polaroid 3-D movie I saw was “The Bubble” back in 1966. What it lacked in plot and dialogue, it sought to make up in emphasizing the 3-D effect, like sticking various objects out toward the audience.

    Now, if Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens” had been made in 3-D, THAT would have been something!

    I’ll be curious to see “Avatar.”

  • Carl Vehse

    The first full-color, live-action, science-fiction polaroid 3-D movie I saw was “The Bubble” back in 1966. What it lacked in plot and dialogue, it sought to make up in emphasizing the 3-D effect, like sticking various objects out toward the audience.

    Now, if Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens” had been made in 3-D, THAT would have been something!

    I’ll be curious to see “Avatar.”

  • Cap Stewart

    Thanks for linking to this article! I must admit, after seeing the first trailer a couple weeks ago I was incredibly underwhelmed. At best, the CGI looked serviceable; I wasn’t all that sure what the movie’s amazing technological advances were. Now, I’m much more intrigued.

  • Cap Stewart

    Thanks for linking to this article! I must admit, after seeing the first trailer a couple weeks ago I was incredibly underwhelmed. At best, the CGI looked serviceable; I wasn’t all that sure what the movie’s amazing technological advances were. Now, I’m much more intrigued.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, is it me, or is that some seriously overblown “journalism”? An advertisement masquerading as reporting? “Change the face of cinema forever”? Good grief.

    It’s a 3-D film. Using polarized glasses. Which have been around for decades. Heck, I saw a film using that 3-D method at Disney World over 20 years ago.

    The trailer Veith posted is a bizarrely chopped version of the one at the Daily Mail site he linked to — go see the full widescreen version at the link if you want to see what the trailer is meant to be.

    That said, I don’t have much hope from seeing that trailer. Cameron’s bet the whole hog on CGI here, and from what I saw, it doesn’t quite work. “Uncanny valley” and all that. CGI is great for monsters, spacecraft, and landscapes, but frequently lacking when it comes to emotional creatures of a humanoid sort. The scenes I saw with the aliens looked a lot faker — and thus were more likely to stop the viewer from suspending his disbelief — than the other scenes.

    But then, Cameron’s better than a lot of sci-fi directors as far as picking stories with actual, you know, stories. He pushes the technology, sure, but at the end of the day, he makes a compelling movie, as well. So even if the CGI doesn’t do everything it needs to, it could still be a good movie.

    Not that the Daily Mail article seemed nearly as interested in the actual storyline.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, is it me, or is that some seriously overblown “journalism”? An advertisement masquerading as reporting? “Change the face of cinema forever”? Good grief.

    It’s a 3-D film. Using polarized glasses. Which have been around for decades. Heck, I saw a film using that 3-D method at Disney World over 20 years ago.

    The trailer Veith posted is a bizarrely chopped version of the one at the Daily Mail site he linked to — go see the full widescreen version at the link if you want to see what the trailer is meant to be.

    That said, I don’t have much hope from seeing that trailer. Cameron’s bet the whole hog on CGI here, and from what I saw, it doesn’t quite work. “Uncanny valley” and all that. CGI is great for monsters, spacecraft, and landscapes, but frequently lacking when it comes to emotional creatures of a humanoid sort. The scenes I saw with the aliens looked a lot faker — and thus were more likely to stop the viewer from suspending his disbelief — than the other scenes.

    But then, Cameron’s better than a lot of sci-fi directors as far as picking stories with actual, you know, stories. He pushes the technology, sure, but at the end of the day, he makes a compelling movie, as well. So even if the CGI doesn’t do everything it needs to, it could still be a good movie.

    Not that the Daily Mail article seemed nearly as interested in the actual storyline.

  • Elizabeth F

    After seeing this trailer tonight in the movie theater, and now reading this article, I am left with the impression that a)this may be a “new” way of filming that would be neat to watch (although I agree with tODD on the Disney thing) but b)the actual plot of the movie (as shown in the trailer) along with the acting left much to be desired. At this point I would much rather spend my money on some good beer and watch something from netflix on my computer, or even better, read a book.

  • Elizabeth F

    After seeing this trailer tonight in the movie theater, and now reading this article, I am left with the impression that a)this may be a “new” way of filming that would be neat to watch (although I agree with tODD on the Disney thing) but b)the actual plot of the movie (as shown in the trailer) along with the acting left much to be desired. At this point I would much rather spend my money on some good beer and watch something from netflix on my computer, or even better, read a book.


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