/ Technology

Why are we still underwhelmed by 3D cinema?

People wearing 3D glasses looking bored at cinema

How was your last 3D cinema experience? I can’t say I enjoyed mine, thanks to the heavy glasses. With only one in five saying that 3D improves the cinema experience, what needs to be done to win audiences over?

I was looking forward to seeing the latest Harry Potter instalment but left disappointed. Some may claim this is down to my terrible taste in films… but for me that wasn’t the problem.

It started on the way in when I was handed some massively heavy 3D specs. I could feel them bearing down on my nose from the second I put them on. I actually sat there for a while propping them up on my hand, but then I felt like a bit of an idiot and decided I should toughen up. Maybe I’m a wimp, but I don’t think many other viewers would have found it a comfortable experience.

3D doesn’t improve cinema – yet

According to a YouGov survey released this week, it looks like I’m not alone. Only around one in five cinemagoers feel that 3D improves the cinema experience. But nearly half of all film watchers (47%) thought 3D either made no difference, or actually made it worse.

Take the viewing itself, I can’t help but be distracted by the 3D effect when I want to be concentrating on the story. Taking off the glasses doesn’t help either as it’s all a blur. As someone who loves going to the cinema, I believe that for 3D cinema to be a true success it has to be more than just a gimmick.

I’m certainly not averse to technology advances either, it’s exciting (or should be) but best used to enhance our experiences rather than distract from them. Most of us would be intrigued enough to see a film in 3D at the cinema at least once – the overwhelming success of Avatar, the first real 3D blockbuster, is a case in point. The thing is that to keep us going back it has to be enjoyable.

Is glasses-free the future?

Interestingly, the final question in the survey asked if respondents would be more or less likely to watch a 3D film in the cinema if they didn’t need to wear the 3D glasses. Over half (52%) said they’d be more likely. Could this be where the future of 3D cinema lies?

Glasses-free 3D technology is not possible on this scale (yet), but I can’t see film studios and cinemas giving up without a fight – after all it’s a reason to go to the cinema rather than watch at home, so we shall see.

What do you think of 3D cinema? Perhaps you’ve had much better experiences. Would you pay more to see a film in 3D or would you be much happier watching it in 2D anyway?

Do you enjoy watching 3D films at the cinema?

I haven't seen any (46%, 129 Votes)

No (32%, 90 Votes)

Yes (23%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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I haven’t been to cinema to watch a 3D film because I don’t want to pay extra to be uncomfortable with wearing a pair of glasses ontop of my prescription glasses. I do like 3D as I have a 3DS and a 3D phone but I don’t want to have to wear 2 pairs of glasses to watch 3 D films.

The only 3D film I’ve seen is Avatar. I was impressed with some of the 3D features but largely underwhelmed by the thin and predictable plot. I think the problem is some film makers think by making something in 3D it’ll be an instant hit, which obviously isn’t the case.

I am really surprised that more people haven’t taken to 3D. We have it at home and have to wear quite large Samsung active glasses but nobody has complained about them. They are only bought out for special viewing and to me they kind of add to the occasion!!

The picture is superb and the depth of field is amazing. Obviously glasses free would be better and a lot more convenient but its just not here at the moment so we have to make do.

Glasses free 3D does exist the TV manufacturers are just trying to make loads of money on glasses 3D TV’s before releasing the glasses free versions. Toshiba have 2 3D TV’s for sale which don’t require glasses they just have slight issues but still watchable. I also remember reading a article about some kinda of device which converts a normal TV to a 3D TV. Any TV that can display at 120Hz can display 3D using Nvidia Vision.

According to Radio 4’s “The Film Programme” this afternoon, there’s a problem with 3D movies being shown in multiplexes where they no longer have technically-trained projectionists, which can cause 2D movies to be shown at only about half the standard light output, making for very fuzzy 2D movies. No-one checks on these standards, so the multiplexes are getting away with it. A topic for Which? ?

Tony says:
5 October 2011

I’ve seen quite a few 3D films at the cinema and I’ve been impressed by the extra dimension they bring. I wear glasses and have to say that once you become immersed in the film I forget I’m wearing the 3D glasses on top of my normal glasses. I was surprised at how well colours are rendered with 3D, I had assumed that the glasses would mute the colours but for me they still appear bright and vivid.