3D Technology is Here to Stay
Until recently, 3-D technology has mostly been associated with gimmicky Hollywood movies, rife with special effects that seem to be more intent on simulating theme park rides than with contributing to the quality of a film. But something has changed and we are about to experience a revolution in entertainment. 3-D technology will soon invade our homes, theaters, and lives, immersing us in previously unrealized ways. And that is largely thanks to James Cameron’s "Avatar."
I understand the cynicism that many feel after hearing yet another reference to the interminably hyped blue alien love/war film. However, I'm not referring to the movie's quality, but the way in which it changed the film industry from a technological as well as economic standpoint.
Before the film was released, the industry had to prepare for its arrival by converting thousands of movie theaters around the country to accommodate it. This was a gamble, and it took a lot of push from industry leaders to convince theaters to undergo the costly conversion process. As early as a week before the film's opening, "Avatar" was being billed as a “crucial test” for the format by *Variety*.
The film lived up to its expectations. By shooting every scene in 3-D, it was one of the first films to not draw overt attention to the technology, and it proved that audiences are universally willing to embrace the format, having recently been crowned the highest grossing film of all time. Following the film's success, studios, TV manufacturers, and even the gaming industry lined up to show off their new home 3-D technology at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Samsung, Sony, and LG will all be debuting 3-D TVs this year, and many video games are now undergoing their laborious conversion into 3-D.
Those who see "Avatar" as nothing more than a $300 million "Pocahontas" are missing the point. The movie was a technological marvel and is probably the closest thing to our generation's "Star Wars" that we're likely to experience. So I urge the skeptics out there to reconsider their opinions on the technology. 3-D is simply the next evolution of entertainment in a world where media increasingly seeks to transcend its medium's boundaries. 3-D entertainment can be an entirely new experience, as it jumps from the confines of the traditional rectangular box and demands to be seen as a physical entity. So enjoy it while it lasts, which will be awhile.