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DreamWorks Animation CTO: Bad 3-D movies can make you sick

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DreamWorks' Ed Leonard at GigaOM RoadMap 2011Backlash? What backlash? DreamWorks Animation is still very much committed to 3-D, said the company’s CTO Ed Leonard at our GigaOM Roadmap conference in San Francisco on Thursday. “For us, it was an exciting opportunity to take the next evolutionary step in film making,” said Leonard about 3-D, going on to say that the step from 2-D to 3-D was similar to going from black-and-white film making to color.

However, Leonard admitted that some of Hollywood’s 3-D releases in recent months have been duds. “There’s been some stuff that has hit the market that has been less than great,” he said diplomatically. Unfortunately, 3-D is a much more sensual experience, which can include very physical side effects when you watch a bad movie. “With “3-D, you are really like: I don’t feel that good,” said Leonard.

He went on to say that he sees a big opportunity for 3-D in the home as well, particularly once the technology advances to displays that don’t require viewers to view glasses anymore. “Those kinds of technologies will really get us over the hump of consumer adoption,” he explained.

Leonard also gave a brief look behind the curtain of the technology involved in making movies like the current blockbuster Puss in Boots, explaining that that the amount of computing used to produce a movie doubles every times DreamWorks releases a sequel to an original title. He not only credited Moore’s law for this kind of progress, but said that the company actually had its own version of the popular prediction, named after DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. So what’s Katzenberg’s law? Said Leonard: “We always want more and more.”

Photo by Pinar Ozger.

3 Responses to “DreamWorks Animation CTO: Bad 3-D movies can make you sick”

  1. Brian Lynch

    That Shrek version of Puss In Boots can go to hell, I just don’t like this version of Charles Perrault’s beloved feline hero for all I care you turned him into Douglas Fairbanks and didn’t work for me I’m afraid, and of course I co-wrote the lame script too.

  2. Scott Jensen

    3D is not that popular anymore. If it wasn’t for the insanely inflated cost of the movie tickets, it would be a financial dud. At my local multi-plex and after talking to its manager recently, 3D doesn’t get the choice starting times anymore and more people are opting for the 2D version of movies when given the option.

    3D rarely adds to a movie. For it to work, you have to have the object essentially float in the middle of the screen and not touch any of the sides. It touches a side and the effect is ruined. And thus only a few genres benefit from 3D. Mainly science fiction (flying spacecraft), action (flying exploding objects), and horror (flying bloody axes). Romance, mystery, suspense, spy thrillers, and a long list of other genres don’t benefit but are actually hurt by 3D. They’re hurt because 3D is so infrequently used in those genres that when it is used, it is jarring for the viewer. It knocks the viewer out of the movie and reminds them that they’re watching a movie. For 3D to be part of a movie, it has to be always used in the movie but that puts too much demand on flying objects and, again, only a few genres can fulfill that demand.

    As for 3D TV, what a stupid idea. Will a newscast benefit from 3D? Soap operas? Dr. House? SCI? American Idol? 60 Minutes? No. Not at all and most that try will only hurt themselves.

    3D isn’t the next wave in movies or home entertainment. It is a fad that has already run its course and is now in decline. It always resurrects itself every decade or so and then peters out as the novelty not only wears off but wears thin.

    Next fad: Motion seats in movie theaters.

  3. For some people, it does not have to be bad, just 3D. IMAX movies of flying through the Grand Canyon make people who suffer from motion sickness feel ill. 3D movies can exacerbate the problem.