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The Realism of Stereocopic Television

This weekend, my 3D movie selection was Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. It is a computer animated film that follows a convoluted storyline with, you guessed it: Owls, as most of the characters.

Guardians succeeds by painting a rich and deep stereoscopic experience, with extreme detail in all areas, from the brush of wind against owl feathers to saturated orange sunsets with beams of sunlight cutting through the cloud. This is a great example of how real that we are able to make the unreal appear. Almost every shot is an advertisement for the 3D experience.

Guardian fails in a way that I find typical of most of the current 3D movie lineup: losing parallax during transition. In other words, when a new scene appears, the left and right images do not look to be lined up correctly, resulting in ghosting of dark edges.

That said, as stereoscopic cinematography becomes more common place, camera operators (both real and virtual) and editors will become more skilled at overcoming the technical hurdles associated with making them. It’s quite obvious, when comparing Guardians to the work of the experienced team behind Under The Deep 3D.

Where Guardians struck me the most was in the final battle scene, which is a drawn out slaughterfest between two armies of owls. This is where 3D shows its real legs: REALISM. The fighting is so vicious and violent that I felt the need to stop the movie.

I’ve played a couple of first person shooter (FPS) games, such as Battlefield 2 and the new Call of Duty Black Ops. They are far more immersive than any 3D movie I have watched so far, but they also carry on the growing trend of more and more realistic violence depictions. Are we getting “too real?”

I’ll steer clear of Saw 3D, thank you!

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